For more bargain tac pants options the Genuine Gear brand has popped up semi recently. With a little research it appears the pants are actually made by Propper which I consider a good thing as they have been making solid uniform items for a while. The core material is overall lightweight (6.25-ounce) consisting of a 60 % cotton / 40% poly blend. Upon first look, the layout certainly has that 5.11 original tac-pant vibe, but there are plenty of differences to make the Genuine Gear pants unique.
For an improved fit while not using a belt, there are elastic zones built into the upper waist sides. Not too much, just enough to give some elastic flexibility. The fly area uses a simple button and YKK zipper. The zipper has a fabric pull cord that is a small yet useful detail. I'd say the side hand pockets are about medium size. It would be nice to have them slightly bigger, but I didn't run into crowding issues until I had my wallet and ZT knife in the same pocket. The pocket openings have some extra binding tape to increase the durability with any clip items such as knives, but I wish more material was used to give further coverage. Something is certainly better than nothing, however I know the pant will eventually wear a hole just a little further down the pocket. On the right hand side pocket, a bonus coin pocket is integrated which I have mixed feelings about. Despite working well for coins hence the name, the pocket also can be a bit of a snag point when inserting larger items such as a wallet in the main pocket. The coin area can potentially hold smaller folder knives which I think the raised position makes for an easy grab. I'd recommend making the pocket slightly deeper as you can see it is a little short for my ZT 0350, which is not a huge knife. This would require a careful balance as a pocket too deep will make the user look like a chump requiring a finger bang session to retrieve coins.
The rear pockets utilize velcro flaps and are of decent size able to fit a 30 round magazine. The velcro spacing and strength makes for a solid hold without being a pain to open. Further down the legs are the cargo pockets which unlike the old 5.11s are also able to hold 30 round magazines. Velcro flaps are used again as well and billows are incorporated so these pockets have good expansion. What makes this area unique is definitely the extra pocket space behind these pockets which have no closure. This is where user preference comes to a fork in the road as they are really convenient for quick storage and access, yet not so good for security and make the closed cargo pockets a little more floppy. Examples of ease of use would be being able to quickly store a pair of gloves without having to open anything up, while on the flip-side going prone or heavy movement will cause a general retention issue with any items inside. As long as you are standing up they make for pretty nice dump pouches. Not to be overlooked is the upper left frontal thigh pocket. Using a velcro flap the sizing is great for many phones and can hold most pistol mags as well. The only down side to this pocket is I wish there was another one on the right side. This pocket placement is handy to still be accessible while sitting down (vehicle ops).
Overall I like the fit and the Genuine Gear pants can handle my best ninja impression without a crotch blowout. The main thing I look for is leg freedom and that is delivered. So far durability has been solid so I'll continue to keep an eye on them in the long run. That tends to be the main concern on budget priced pants, but these appear to be a good bang for the buck for the time being. The most unique feature is definitely the open compartments behind the cargo pockets so I suggest potential buyers put in some consideration if they think it will be more useful to them then a hindrance.