After a particularly heinous winter endured by pretty much the whole country warm weather is finally upon us. With the summer looming and the days growing longer, I was finally able to try out my new britches – the Phantom Ops Airflow collab from Vertx and Fighter Design, originally announced back in January. I actually received a part of Phantom Ops Airflow pants the day before SHOT Show startd, and have been looking forward to trying them since them. I am a huge fan of their clothing line; Vertx makes top notch “tactical” pants, shirts and outer garments (I’m sure you’ve seen me wearing in them in past reviews of other it). Their ‘Phantom Ops LT’ pants are probably their best, and have in fact become my favorite pants for just about all occasions. With a great fit, comfortable fabric and robust stitch work, their trouser line has the features I search for, but without that overt “hey, shoot me first” look.
When I first put the Airflows on, there was still snow on the ground. I went outside to get something out of the truck, and as the arctic vortex nipped at my sack I silently said “nope” to myself. I put the pants in my dresser drawer with the impression that while these trousers were no doubt going to be great once the heat set in, putting them through their paces would have to wait. If I tried to wear them outside a single day during this past winter, my legs and other, even more important stuff would have undoubtedly have turned blue and fell off.
That’s the whole point of these pants; to catch a breeze and allow heat to escape. They feature rugged nylon mesh on the inside leg seam and a small mesh “window” in the lower cargo pockets. The loose but comfortable fit, combined with a slight breeze is all you need to feel like you are wearing shorts. Having worn these pants at several classes and range outings since the weather has turned nice, I’m already in love with them. I generally dislike wearing shorts while shooting or really doing anything other than scoping out chicks at the beach. Shorts don’t protect your legs from the sun or when walking through thick woods. Briar and thorns will slice your calves up quick! Shooting from the prone, sitting or kneeing position in shorts is a surefire way to get rocks in your boots and sand up your shorts. On hot ground, you can even burn yourself. For this reason, the Phantom Airflows are now my go-to pants to wear when doing anything outdoors.
The trousers are styled in the same way as the standard Phantom line, which has deep slash pockets with squared off edges. This pocket design is to better facilitate knife carry of your favorite clip-equipped folder the cargo pockets lay flat when not in use, and look more like “outdoor” cargo pants from a big box camping store. They have a small internal divider pocket inside, which will hold a M4 mag upright, keep your cell phone from floating around, or your can of dip handy. The back pockets have small flaps to secure your wallet, which are buttonless, just like the cargo pockets below. There are also two small pockets located below the slash pockets, following the outside seam of the legs. These slim pockets will hold a pistol mag, pocket knife, multitool or pens at the ready.
At first I didn’t like these small pockets, but I soon found myself keeping sharpies and pens in them at the range. They are actually a worthwhile and useful feature! With thick belt loops and polyester/cotton blend, these pants are made for rough use and long service life. I have found them to be very water and stain resistant, with firearms carbon and oil failing to stain the khaki color. The MultiCam mesh obviously stands out, so I haven’t been wearing them much out and about town but the MultiCam isn’t intended for the typical user. They actually did that during the first production “T&E” run so direct everyone’s attention to the mesh – it was intentional.
I know what a lot of you are thinking, but relax. You will not have to buy Airflows that have a contrast or tactical color feature.
It is my understanding that Vertx has color matched mesh in more colors coming out soon, and I will definitely be buying some more Airflows when they do. For hot weather, rigorous training, or just enjoying the breeze and keeping cool, these pants are the ones to get. They might be a little pricey by some people’s opinion, but to me they are worth the money for the comfort you gain. Check them out here.
Mad Duo Nate
About the author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” Murr is a former USMC Sergeant who recently transition to being a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters who have no idea WTAF he’s talking about. A graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. He has many years of experience as a lead farmer (Pb farmer) spiral tube tech, is a fully qualified American Jedi and handsome badass. He has numerous deployments to the Middle East and Africa (combat and CFID), is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better than its original designers could, and is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing career has included such publications as Breach-Bang-Clear, Military.com, RECOIL Magazine, Penthouse letters and of course the inside of burn shitters on 3 continents.