Vertx has been doing well with their original tactical pant design so it makes sense to see them expand upon the concept with their new Phantom line. Since overall pretty similar I've chosen to do a dual review so easier to compare.
The Phantom LT is pretty much the same layout as the original Vertx Tactical Pant with the main change being using a 65% Poly / 35% Cotton 6.5oz mini rip-stop fabric with IntelliDry treatment. The more poly content helps with durability and color retention while the IntelliDry treatment is supposed to repel liquids on the outside while wicking moisture away on the inside. Upon my sprinkle water testing, the fabric did seem to repel water a little better, however this is only for light sprinkles and if you get constant drop say from a good ol' raining, they are still going to get wet fairly quick. As for wicking, hell about anything is better than full cotton.
Since based on the original Vertx pant you get all those features with the core idea of being a pair of pants that look low key, yet still have some tactical features. One of the biggest visual compromises are the flat cargo pockets that are fairly easy to overlook when not in use. They use simple sewn down flaps for retention to make any bulges minimal and have a tiny billow to expand a little when you actually want to hold something. Inside each cargo pocket is a sleeve pocket which I find handy to secure smaller items like phones or pistol mags so they stay to one's body better during heavy movement.
The hand pockets are a good roomy size; I am always a fan of the extra flat zones on the opening offering more space and a good place to hold a knife. A sneaky zipper pocket is on the right side that can be easily overlooked when closed and offers a nice item security option. The only down side is the little metal pull tab will likely rub on your knife if you carry one there.
Other standard features include a gusseted crotch, articulated knees, good sized belt loops, elastic stretch zones on the sides of the waist, bar-tacked stress points, and a durable metal zipper with metal button. As for fit, for starters I was happy to get them in my true size of 28-30, where most pants only go down to 30" waist. The result is a nice fitted look while not robbing the user of mobility like a pair of skinny jeans. They do come pretty long however assuming the buyer will get them hemmed so I gave that a shot as my first hem job and think they turned out good enough. I didn't have grey thread laying around so just used my heavy duty OD-green thread if anyone was curious why the hem line contrasts a little. On the note of color, this smoke grey is a new offering that seems popular with the urban cool kids these days and is not offered on the original pant.
As another variant option, Vertx also offers the Phantom OPS pant than leans just that slight bit more on a duty style pant. Being very similar to the LT pant, it uses the same core material with the main differences being pocket types. Now both hand pockets have the sneaky zipper pockets and a stash pocket for items like flashlights and knives has been added to each side as well. This stash pocket is a bit on the smaller side so I'm just able to fit my not particularly big Gerber SAH in there; easy enough to extract, not so easy to insert.
The Cargo pockets have larger flaps, I'll guess for improved item retention when filled, and a more traditional 2 billow folds style to offer more expansion. The back pockets also changed a little with the addition of flaps. These are done in a similar style to the other flapped pockets, but I feel have too small of an opening as I really have to ram my hand in there to get into the pocket thus putting a wallet back there may make for a complicated retrieval. I'm considering removing the bar-tacks closer to my ass crack on these pockets to lose a little item security yet making the opening a lot wider and easier. Since not as worried about looks on this design Vertx snuck their logo on the left cargo pocket for added sass.
For general wearing observations both are overall nice since based on the original Vertx pants, yet I was a bit surprised that leg lift movement was easier on the LT version than the OPS version. My best guess is something to do with the cargo pockets, but I was perplexed they would feel different at all since the hips, waist, and crotch are all the same ballpark measurements. The cargo pockets even start at about the same distance down. So as a roundup I'd say I'm liking the LT version a little more since going with the strengths of the low key visuals and feature balance of the original pants, however nothing wrong with the OPS version being offered for those who want more cargo pocket space and some bonus smaller pockets.
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