It is always nice to see high end gear from unexpected places and fortunately I got to check out these cool guy pants from our friends at UF PRO in Slovenia. Taking the ideas from their original Striker Combat Pants, this Striker XT version further expands the stretch areas and made the knee areas even more ergonomic. You may have also noticed the unique camo pattern, called SloCam (we'll go ahead and guess short for Slovenian-Camouflage).
Clearly Multicam inspired, they tweaked it to their needs adding more green and slightly larger shapes to improve woodland performance. One can see in my field pictures it still blends in with Multicam fine with a slightly darker look hence the tendency to have more green than tan.
Starting with the main materials, the core is a 67% Poly / 33% Cotton Ripstop fabric. The higher poly count adds to the durability while there is enough cotton to keep the comfort level expected out of tactical pants. The stretch zones are made out of Schoeller-Dynamic which is pretty fancy offering obvious stretch while also being overall durable, breathable, and water repellent. As another big plus, it doesn't interface with hook velcro. On the SloCam pants the stretch material is brown, which doesn't necessarily clash, but I think using OD-green would blend in better. With that said, using brown stretch helps add in some browns to the green heavy camo if intended use use in more brown earth tone environments. Thanks to the generous usage of the stretch material the Striker XT pants offer noticeable mobility; they don't just cover one place as a gimmick, but all key flex zones. For overall temperature feel the Striker XT pants wouldn't be my first pick for hot weather specific environments, but they did offer a good temperate range where at the Costa Ludus class they were generally comfortable all through the 70 degree F days that snuck into barely above freezing nights.
Size wise I lucked out they even had Monkey size 28" waist available, of course still their smallest size. The little bit of elastic in the waist gives a good overall fit with some flex to not be overly snug. For the main closure a snap and hook, 2-point system is used so you definitely don't have to worry about popping it open on accident. A double zipper is used for the fly which is a handy idea as zipping up to open is more intuitive when trying to pee all kitted up, however the fly in general is just short. I'm not trying to make an elaborate "I have a huge dick" joke, but the opening comes in at around 4" while I'm used to more of a 5.5" opening. It makes a noticeable difference when trying to drop some liquids in a hurry.
Wider than usual belt loops are used with additional snap loops on top to provide support for both your "keep your pants up" belt and a tight fit to your duty belt. When not used this way, the snap loops are still handy as quick attachment points. The interior waist has a zipper connection point to interface with the optional windstopper lining. Another nice option when you know it is going to be balls cold, and executed well as I didn't notice the zipper while wearing, hell I didn't see it either till I hunted it down after reading about the feature.
Getting into pockets the main side hand pockets are pretty typical in size and depth. The interior fronts have a nice soft material to be gentle to your hands or electronics. On the right side pocket there is an additional covert zippered pocket, so sneaky I missed it during the photo session. This can be useful for both concealing and retention of sensitive items. Moving down a little over on the front are some smaller pockets good for folding knives or pens. Typically I'd like larger pockets here, but the way the cargo pockets are sized and placed there isn't much frontal thigh pocket placement room. What would be called the cargo pockets are done a bit different than usual. Not quite as tall since they don't have flap openings, but pretty wide they have zipper access on top and towards inseam sides. The zipper access gets around issues found with velcro such as noise and long term retention, however the openings are certainly more slim as a result. These cargo pockets are fairly optimized to hold one rifle magazine type item, but between the inner sleeve pockets and the slim opening I found it difficult to stow notebook like items quickly. I can't quite get the quick dump pouch use out of the cargo pockets that I'm used to, as a trade however, I do get enhanced item retention. Despite keeping generally flat in appearance on their own, if you can get passed the opening issue, there is plenty of built in billowing to stuff a decent amount of goods into the pockets. There is even a bonus external pocket on the cargo pockets, about pistol mag sized. A flap with a little bit of stiffener is used to offer a little bit of retention. I see this as a no noise priority design, however wish the flap was longer to give more item holding options and further increase item retention. As is, it helps hold the item in better than nothing, but not obstacle course ready. During class I made decent use of it as a flashlight pocket, yet as expected it did fall out a couple times.
Things get pretty fancy in the knee area sporting integrated knee pad options. Externally cordura is used to provide durability and visual matching while on the inside a two part system is used giving slots to use hard polymer pads, larger flexible pads, or both. For the foam pads two versions are even offered, their SAS-Tec ones for general foam protection or the D3O ones that offer similar protection with more breatheability. Installation was easy and intuitive with each pad type having its own compartment. The hard pads using a velcro flap based system and the soft pads accessed by a zippered opening. Surprisingly the pads stay put great, I've come across others in the past that can float around a bit. I am a big supporter of integrated knee pads since being a small guy external ones tend to not tighten enough so quickly fall down or after a long day of use, the straps start to tear up the back of the knee with abrasion. Perhaps since a more rare size on the extreme end of the sizing scale; the Striker pads hang lower than I like so end up more like shin pads. Having them raised up at least 2 inches would give me a lot more coverage, even so I was still able to do all actions I normally would with fitted knee pads. When I take a kneel to shoot, my knee is protected and that is the main concern. I'd be interested in having a back strap as seen on the Crye combat pants, yet wouldn't worry about that at all if the knee alignment is better for my size. Based on other photos of Striker XT pants worn in action, it appears the knee alignment is better on most sizes. Notably I've managed to tear out Crye knee pads during obstacle course runs and like how that won't be an issue with the Striker pants.
Keeping up with the pocket party there are the usual butt pockets and calf pockets on the lower sides; these also use zipper openings. For smaller details, billows provide bonus expansion in the butt pockets and all zippers have good sized webbing pull tabs, stitched in 2 places minimizing snag issues. The majority of the pockets have drainage grommets as well. As a less common feature, the pant end cinch system offers not only a cordlock cinch setup, but a great way to store the extra slack too. This way you don't have to worry about extra cord dangling down waiting to snag on something. All that said with all the effort put into this feature I think more loop velcro could be provided in the compartment to offer more quick secure space after tightening. Either way a lot of slack can be stored in the cinch compartment, velcro or not. The calf pockets and cinch feature actually work well together for when you actually put something in the calf pockets, cinching the pant leg openings down will help out minimizing the contents flopping around during movement.
Typical with "fancy pants" they tend to cost a lot and to give you a broad idea, the Striker XT camo pants shown with additional pads costs well over $200. They also weigh a decent amount coming in at around 3 pounds totally pimped out, approx 1 pound in pads. As a comparison, more simplistic tac pants come in at around 1 pound and even Crye combat pants with pads weigh around 2 pounds. To justify the cost the product has to perform and commonly infers unique features which I think the Striker XT does deliver. They certainly appear inspired by the Crye combat pants when it comes to core features, but there are many design differences with the Striker XT pants to offer more high end combat pant options. The substantial use of zippers gives a good alternative to those trying to avoid velcro and when in a solid color especially, with the lower key cargo pockets and non hard external knee pads, the Striker XT pants give a lower key look for a pair of full featured combat pants at least.