Generally I love Patagonia’s gear for how well it works in the mountains. I’ve reviewed so many of their products and had them go on to become favorites that I pull out every trip. What I am not as familiar with, though, is Patagonia’s line of work wear. I’ve never totally understood why they design and maintain this line, so I decided to take a closer look. So, I took a pair of their All Season Canvas Double Knee Pants for a week of framing houses in Tijuana.
Patagonia All Season Hemp Canvas Double Knee Pants Features:
- Made from 9.6-oz 55% industrial hemp/27% recycled polyester/18% organic cotton canvas.
- Fair Trade Certified™ sewing
- Contoured waistband has seven belt loops; zip fly with button closure; double-fabric seat for abrasion resistance
- Two front drop-in pockets with knife clip gussets; two drop-in back pockets
- Double-fabric knees; the doubled knees have bottom openings that accommodate knee pads and allow easy cleanout
- Gusseted crotch for freedom of movement
- Wide pant legs fit over boots or can be tucked in
- Available in three inseam lengths: 30″, 32″ and 34″
- 777 g (1 lb 11.4 oz)
- MSRP: $69
Work pants that are green, in more way than one:
Patagonia offers their All Season hemp work pants in two different weights. The weight that I tested is lighter, at 9.6oz. The heavier weight comes under the ‘Iron Forge‘ heading, and they clock in at 12.9oz. I wanted to try the lighter 9.6oz version, primarily because lighter hemp fabrics can actually be quite comfortable and breathable. Patagonia is used to balancing durability and breathability in their alpine outerwear, and it’s interesting to see the same design tensions at play in some work gear – 9.6oz hemp is a fairly light and breathable fabric, but it’s also durable.
The fabric is a blend of hemp, polyester and cotton. Hemp is a strong foundational fabric, but the addition of polyester and cotton does a couple of important things. For one, it makes the fabric soft and comfortable right out of the box. There really isn’t much of a break-in period with these pants. But the polyester and cotton also lead to a tighter weave, which adds abrasion resistance.
There are a few small features which make the work pants really excellent. Number one, there’s a gusseted crotch. If you’re doing a lot of crouching and bending over, you need the extra mobility. It adds longevity to the pants. The rear pockets are also very deep drop-in pockets. There’s plenty of space for small tools or nails or whatever, but one of the key things is that it serves as a reinforcement for the seat of the pants. So it’s basically double-layered there. The other obvious double-layer is on the knees, which have an open slit on the bottom for slide-in knee pads. I used strap-on pads so I didn’t try out this feature.
Other parts of the pants are clearly born to work well. The waist band is very comfortable and played well with the heavy leather work belt I was using. The zip is strong and doesn’t slip down. The fit through the leg is very relaxed, and tends towards baggy if anything. The bagginess can be annoying if it catches on things that stick out, like stakes. The waist fit is true-to-size, but relaxed. The hemp/poly blend has a nice give to it, too, so there’s a little stretch. Others have complained about the length, and the pants do run a little long. With work boots it’s not a problem, but they feel a good inch longer than what I’m used to for the waist size. Patagonia offers these in three lengths, so it’s an easy fix.
In practice, these hemp pants lived up to my hopes for them. The fabric is very comfortable and fairly hard wearing. I love the comfort because I can’t stand working in hot weather in heavy fabric. I sweat an insane amount. But the hemp pants, while not exactly airy, certainly kept from feeling oppressively heavy. They also moved with me very well, thanks mostly to that gusseted crotch and the generous cut. I had no issues using my tool belt and accessing pockets.
My one issue is a bit predictable with the hemp fabric. Despite the increased density thanks to the polyester and cotton, I still managed to put a big rip in the double knee when I snagged the pants on a stake holding a concrete form. Fortunately it’s on the double knee so it’s no big deal, but I do think it points to the relative weakness of hemp versus, say, Patagonia’s 12.9oz canvas. So let’s call it burly, but not bulletproof.
- Hemp/Poly/Cotton blend has a very desirable mix of qualities
- Comfortable fit, nothing constricting
- Gusseted crotch helps ensure longevity
- Big back pockets are basically a double fabric layer
- The do run a bit long
- 9.6oz hemp is strong, but I still managed to put a rip in them after a day or two
The Bottom Line: Patagonia Hemp Work Pants
If you’re looking for a pair of work pants and want to stick with a trusted brand with an ethical supply chain, it’s hard to beat these double-knee pants from Patagonia. They’re made with a lot of design know-how and they work hard.
Buy now: Available from Patagonia.com