The last few years I've been hearing a lot about Blaklader, a Swedish company that makes work clothes that are designed to be functional, durable, and professional looking. Tools of the Trade asked me to try some of these clothes out and I have been wearing them for about a year. Here's what I can tell you about them...

Heavy Worker Pants.
These are the mother of all work pants, and are designed to last a very long time. The main wear points (knees, crotch, back side, and ankles) are reinforced with Cordura. According to the manufacturer, this fabric is 10 times stronger than cotton.

The bottom of the pockets are folded rather than stitched to so the contents do not wear against the stitching. For the pockets to wear out you'd have to wear through the fabric — which is much more difficult than wearing through stitching.

On the left leg there is a snap flap pocket with a Velcro flap cell phone pocket on top. The snap pocket is large enough for a large wallet or note pad but the phone pocket is too small for a smartphone. There are also some pencil slots, which vary in length so short pencils don't get lost in overly deep slots.

There are two versions of these pants; one has utility pockets (that function like the pockets on tool bags) and the other does not. I went with the version that does not have utility pockets because I carry a lot of stuff and need to wear bags.

These pants are extremely durable. I wear them mostly when doing hard dirty tasks like foundation work. I've had them for a year and they still look new. Another thing I like about these pants are the built-in spaces for foam or gel kneepads. At first I thought, "Well that is nice but I don't need kneepads that often". I was wrong, having the kneepads there made me realize just how often I bend down on one knee.

Heavy Worker Pants retail for $90 online. Would I buy them? I absolutely would. I have gone through a lot of Carhartt pants over the years and these fit better and look more "technical". My only complaint is that the fabric (a cotton/poly blend) is very stiff at first — but in time, it will soften up.

Bantam Work Pants.
These pants have most of the same features as the Heavy Worker, but are a lighter weight cotton canvas. They have the Cordura at the knees and the pocket for kneepads. I found these to be a very comfortable pant and cooler to wear in hot weather. Of the pants reviewed here, these are the ones I wear the most often. They were instantly comfortable when I put them on.

Bantam Work Pants go for about $50 online. I would buy them over Carhartts or jeans any day. It's hard to overstate how useful it is to have built-in kneepads.


Tim Uhler is a lead framer for Pioneer Builders in Port Orchard, Washington, and a Tools of the Trade contributing editor. He has been framing since his teens and has authored numerous technical articles and tool reviews for JLC and Tools of the Trade.

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