Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: Triple Aught Design - Amphibious Cargo Shorts

As it heats up, I wanted to get some shorts that would both fit (yes, I have apparently grown as I have matured and done more running) and would be able to take with me whilst camping or adventuring. One such adventure was the Stampede Mud-Run, which I will discuss in a post soon. I had been in touch with Mr Tay Choon Mong of HorNest, and he put aside a pair of the Triple Aught Design Amphibious Cargo Shorts for me.

I'd been a fan of the TAD Gear for a while, and when I saw their line of Amphibian Cargo Pants get some screen-time in the blogosphere, I kept my eyes out for what else would come from these guys. I already have a couple of little things of theirs: patches and Ranger-eyes so I was looking forwards to more. There were no exception.

Made from an "Amphibious Cloth" which is to say 100% Nylon (3.4 oz) with a DWR Finish (Durable Water Repellent), the material is silky to the touch and light. You can see a 1" loop field poking over my right thigh, with a TAD logo Ranger Eye glow in the dark patch fitted to boot (Thanks Hornest!)

Made for movement with a gusseted crotch, and clean seams, they provide unrestricted movement running or clambering, whilst still being comfortable when I am chair-bound. More importantly, they are "Engineered for Abuse" with triple needle stitching on the in- and out-seams, and the pockets and seat are also reinforced to enhance ruggedness.

What about pockets? Well let me get you going here: These shorts are constructed with five sets of pockets! From the front you can see Two Front Welt Pockets, which each having a D-ring hanging from below the belt loop, these were both deep and broad enough to take my iPhone 4s in its Opt Silicone Armor iPhone case, and the carabiner on the bottom of it clips nicely onto those D-rings. They also make good attachment points for my paracord lanyard.

Two hand pockets, come in where you might normally expect them, and also feature a deep (two knuckle) coin pocket, which is probably sufficient to hold a pistol magazine, if that's your thing.

The thigh cargo flap pockets sitting mid-thigh passed my favourite test, they fit my iPad1, but more importantly, feature with hidden dual-button closure, with drain hole grommets. I put these to a good solid test at The Stampede and can report not only did I NOT scoop up pocketfuls of mud, but the water that I took on rapidly drained away. and Thru Slot. You can see the length of fabric ending with a D-loop poking over the top of the iPad here. This sits inside the cargo pocket, letting you secure items, but it doesn't stop there. On the seam-edge of the cargo lid flap, is a cutaway gap, allowing you to feed items into, or have them slung out of the pocket! Cables, cord and tubes, oh my! I thought I had torn the stitching, and was thrilled to see it was a feature. Awesome!

On the backside, the two rear flap pockets feature the same hidden dual button closures as the thigh Cargo pockets, which not only means your gear stays in, but the wilderness stays out! I don't often use my seat-pockets, having a bony ass, so being able to button-up and forget is a great option for me.

One really exciting feature that I only noticed after washing them inside out was the two hidden passport pockets on the rear inside, hanging off the back of the flap pockets, to hold your personal documents discretely: passports, tickets, visas, whatever. They aren't waterproof , so be advised you'd need to wrap whatever you stuff in there, but a great option to have when traveling in unpleasant places.

All the buttons are affixed with nylon webbing with bartack stitching for greater staying power and quick repair out and about, rather than being sewn directly to the pants. The fittings are all plastic, making these, when combined with a nylon belt buckle seen on the 5.11 TDU belt, make these an airport safe pair of pants! I "go commando" and they are very nice to wear, the gusseted crotch, and clean seams really coming to the fore there.

Probably the best thing I can say about these shorts are how well they fared in some pretty rough conditions. The Stampede mud-run may have only lasted two hours, but I was climbing over logs, crawling through mud and rocks, running through ponds and mud-pits, and they just shook it all off.

Have a look at the picture and tell me what you think. If I hadn't wanted to wear them to work, I think I could have just hit them with a stick a few times and knocked the dust off. They dried off SO quickly, that the only reason I was damp was what I was wearing under them.

Totally worth the investment!

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