REVIEW: The Tactical Distributors Neptune Pant
Lightweight pants are an essential part of any outdoor lifestyle. Whether it is kicking back around a campfire, attending a shooting class, or hiking a 14er, gear that is suitable to the task makes all the difference. As garments become more technical, fabrics more advanced, and a customer base more discerning by the day it is no surprise that the lines between tactical and outdoor lifestyles become more blurred than ever. When I was sent the Neptune Pants from Tactical Distributors Inc., I immediately (and judgmentally) thought, These look cool but I bet they’ll never hold up.
Made from an ultralight fabric, which according to TDI is 96% Nylon and 4% spandex, the Neptunes are extremely compressible for packing and feel super light when worn. They almost feel “chintzy” but I quickly realized therein lies the benefit. I’ve only had the Neptunes for about a month at this point so I can’t speak to the long term capabilities, but out of the box they have been a great activity pant.
As read on the TDI website, the Neptune Pants have the following features:
– Ultra Lightweight Fabric 96% Nylon, 4% spandex
– Quick dry fabric, Abrasion resistant
– 2way stretch
– 6 Pocket design, Left hand leg mag pocket
– Back secure zip wallet pocket
– Mesh Pocket bags for venting and water dispersion
– Snap Button fly and YKK zippers
– Articulated knees
– Gusseted Crotch
For an in-my-closet comparison, I will throw the Triple Aught Design Force 10 Amphibious pant and the Propper STLIII into the ring as other lightweight options.
Compared to the TAD pants, the Neptunes take a much more minimal approach, which makes sense as they are marketed as hiking pants and nothing else. With a classic six-pocket design, the Neptunes are not a cargo pant and don’t even come close to looking tactical, which I liked. The sixth pocket is on the left leg on the side/rear panel near the knee and is supposed to hold either a rifle magazine or a cell phone. With a zipper closure I can understand the pocket’s usefulness but the Propper STLIII extra pocket, while much smaller, is in a more friendly location on the front right thigh. I could see myself dropping my phone into this Neptune pocket and then sitting down, crushing it. I’m pretty clumsy like that.
All pockets on the Neptunes are lined with mesh to act as a venting system, drainage system, and to keep weight down. It will be interesting to see how the mesh holds up to carrying things like car keys or extra rounds. I would have liked to have seen some reinforcing in the stitching of the front pockets to stand up to the abuse of a pocket knife, since most folks out hiking will most likely have some sort of tool with them.
In a wholly unscientific but astoundingly white-trash science experiment, we momentarily tossed the pants in the tub and ran shower water over them to simulate heavy rain or hiking through a stream. Immediately we noticed that water soaked through the fabric, indicating no level of DWR or durable water repellent. To be fair, this is not listed as part of the production, but there’s always hope that it’s included in an outdoor pant. Drying time at room temperature with no movement was around 90 minutes, but I’m sure that in real world conditions they would dry quicker based on my experiences with similar garments. That’s not a failing of the pant, but if you’re out hiking and the weather doesn’t cooperate, at least you know how your gear will perform.
Rear pockets are secured by velcro (left hand) and zipper (right hand) giving you multiple security options for your smaller items.
When worn, the pants are roomy but slouchy looking. The two-way stretch is nice, but I’d rather have a four-way stretch for an extremely active pant. That’s a nitpick that would most likely increase production costs considerably. I’d also rather see a button rather than a snap waist closure. The cut of the waist wants to ride high rather than low, and the stretch across the waist and the front face felt on the smaller side. While we were happy it accentuated certain physical attributes, it also felt really tight across the hips and posterior. Not so much that I thought it was going to rip, but it was certainly snug. Those of you who are Executive Warrior sized may want to consider that even with a bit of stretch, if you are in between waist sizes, I would recommend ordering the larger size. The front face/hip area of the pant aside, I did not feel like my movement was restricted at all by the fabric. The gusseted crotch allows “the boys” ample room when squatting and the articulated knees again allow for freedom of movement.
The pants fit fine through the legs and the ankle cut fit comfortably over my Asolo hiking boots. One thing to note is that the legs bunch up at the ankle which is why I think they present a slouchy appearance. Perhaps my 32” inseam has shortened in my advanced years, but even with the waist hiked up the pant legs were still too long for my liking.
Lastly, they are on the loud side. Meaning, you get quite a bit of the “shwee shwee” sound when you walk. For those of you who are the stealthiest of the mall ninjas, that may be of concern in your keyboard commando ops. I don’t operate that hard so I don’t care.
Are they going to stand the long term test? That’s still unknown, but the level of production, weight savings, and features that went into these pants may make them a new go-to in your fairweather closet. The fit issues seems to be the only drawback and you may need to think carefully about the proper size when ordering. At only $55 they are a good ultraminimalist hiking pant that will take up almost no space in your ruck.\
Breach-Bang & CLEAR!
This Post is part of our Trails Found Series. What is Trails Found? Members of BreachBangClear and some other badass media outlets assembled together this last September to train with one of the last of what has been called the “old Border Breed”, in the desert of Arizona. That man they were training with was no other than the legendary Jim Grasky. In 1965 Jim Grasky was a young Special Forces soldier in Vietnam, then in 1970 he was a the squadleader for a team of smoke-jumpers parachuting in to fight remote wildfires. For about a quarter century after that he was a Border Patrolman, and literally named BORTAC. Though Grasky is a man of many talents, one of his specialties is man tracking–which is why he developed programs specifically for USSOCOM and has taught the world over. Through your various social media outlets you can track other articles and photos related to Trails Found by searching for #TrailsFound16 and #GoodGearMatters.
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: When Matt Stagliano is not busy scoring with legions of Japanese girls who think he’s Chris Costa or character acting a bit part in cheap Westerns (he usually plays a syphilis-ridden cowpuncher or similar saddletramp) he can be found shooting some of the best photos and video in the tactical/firearms industry. A former Fortune 50 consultant who is (no shit) a former DJ with a degree in Physics he never uses, Matt is not only brilliant behind the lens but also a helluva nice guy with great taste in booze. Oh, and his dog has a fierce, unnatural love for porcupines. Learn more about Firelance online or follow them on Instagram (@firelancemedia). On Facebook here.