I spend time in the wild year round, it isn't season specific though choices in gear are often season driven. One of the criteria I have for gear and clothing for field use is a wide span of usability. I want things that will serve me over the longest amount of time in a year, multi-season use as well as general durability for many years of said use when I can get it is a definitive plus. I am cost conscious and don't have money to burn, I do however have a relatively small number of things that I am willing to spend money on, this gives me the ability to spend my hard earned green backs on the best of any given thing that I can find.
Enter top end field clothing often from boutique type hunting clothing companies. While the outdoors clothing companies are many and most produce fantastic products there are not that many whose primary focus is the hunting community. Anytime I find top end quality focused for the hunting community I'm very interested. Among these types of brands there are a few that I consider the upper echelon. Kuiu, First Lite, Kryptek, Sitka, are what I consider the top four. While there are many others this particular group is catering to the cutting edge, durable, technical, lightweight and performance driven segment, this comes at a cost and they certainly have some sticker shock at first glance. I own several pieces from all four of these companies, this thought summary however will focus on Kryptek's Alaios Pants, the Spartan's Cuirass in ancient terms.
Kryptek entered this clothing market several years ago, their big splash was the Highlander pattern early on and they've done nothing but grow ever since. Their background wasn't necessarily hunting though, from Kryptek...
The concepts that spawn our products are forged in combat. From the mountains of Afghanistan through the desert plains of Iraq and on to places known only by a distinguished few, the employment of Combat Forces has never spanned environments so vast, varied, or punishing. Created from battlefield necessity, innovative technologies, equipment and apparel have emerged. Kryptek Outdoor Group’s concept designers draw their knowledge of what works through actual combat experience. The idea of incorporating proven tactical gear concepts and evolving this technology into the hunting and outdoor adventure markets is the driving force behind what we do.
The concept of Kryptek is driven by passion. The principals of Kryptek have an overwhelming desire to do what no other organization has done before– provide customized and performance based apparel that is specifically tailored to the environment, meets or exceeds the performance expectations of the user, and consistently delivers required comfort, function, and durability. Through extensive field testing and customer feedback, Kryptek continually adapts and integrates product features that will exceed our customers’ needs for overall performance. The Kryptek Outdoor Group founders retain connections to the military to fuse their combat experience with their love for the outdoors. We believe that combat technology should not be limited to the battlefield.
The military organizations that Kryptek draws feedback from depend on their apparel. Their clothing systems are the critical component of their combat gear. It can mean the difference between victory or defeat, or sometimes life and death. Kryptek innovations and technologies are derived from people who know the difference between mere clothing and actual gear. These customers ultimately set the bar for performance requirements.
Our nation’s elite warriors are the ultra pro-staff of Kryptek. These heroes drive new concepts and products. These operators are the primary test bed for Kryptek’s research and development. Kryptek’s critical connections to these organizations are the lifeblood of the company, and what separates Kryptek from the competition.
I've been buying products from them since 2011 and to date have not been disappointed in any of it.
The Alaios Pants are their primary hunting pants, they have others in the line up but those are geared towards more specialized circumstances and not necessarily broad spectrum use. The Valhalla pant for example is great for hot/warm use but not so much for cold. The Cadog is a heavier soft shell type of pant better used in cold (late fall/winter for me), they have other versions still for rain gear, extreme cold, and a soft-shell windsheer type in the Dalibor/Einar line.
The Alaios Pant is designed for the utilitarian user. Constructed with robust materials to provide utility, mobility, comfort and performance in all field scenarios. Pockets are plenty and locations are efficient for gadget sorting and ergonomics. This material wicks moisture from the body then dries quickly to protect your comfort and battle readiness. Designed for high exertion in mid range climates.
- Suspender Compatible
- Athletic Fit
- Articulated Knees
- Knee Pad Pockets
- 10 Pockets
- bonded laminate on
- gusseted crotch
- stretch fabric
- weight 23.0oz
Poly/Spandex=90/10%, 134T*139T/75D/40op, 75D/40op+340D
First drawn by the Highlander pattern which I've found to be great, I was hooked by the quality and the function. 10 pockets is over kill but they are well positioned and roomy. The calf pockets I don't use that often but have used them, the double thigh pockets get used all the time though. Situated in a pocket behind the pocket format one of them is a long vertical zipper while the other is horizontal. The horizontal pocket seen below with a 20oz plastic water bottle and a Sawyer mini water filter, perfect size for this type of hydration carry/capability. The 20oz bottle fits completely in the pocket, the only thing extending above the pocket line is the filter. Quite secure and convenient. Stopping at a creek or pond to refill is easy and no need to carry much of anything else for hydration purposes.
As you'll also see in the above image, there is a vertical zipper. That opens up a pocket that is the same size as the one holding the 20oz bottle. Very roomy, I've stuffed gloves in them, carried cameras, maps, PSKs etc etc. Sturdy stitching and the zipper stays up.
There are two zippered pockets on the back as well and the normal front pants pockets, plus the zippered calf pockets getting you to ten overall.
The pant utilizes a low profile waist adjustment system; this style of system doesn’t interfere with a belt, and allows the user to adjust for a custom fit. I found this a very nice feature indeed. It seems like a small thing but when you routinely have a waist belt cinched tight from a heavy pack it makes things much more comfortable than the typical metal slide found on most other BDU type pants. After several miles with those I found some hot pain points where those metal slides were. With these it's flat and soft, no hard spots, while allowing generous waist adjustments.
Also note in the image below, the belt loops also have a section for affixing suspenders. Something else I've found overtime is I do like to use suspenders. I have a couple sets with the quick attach/detach hardware and they work perfectly with these loops.
This was another feature that drew me to these pants, a built in knee pad pocket. I can't stand external knee pads, I hate the straps, I hate the slip, I hate the pinch when kneeling. I don't need hard plastic type pads, what I like is soft inserts that protect my knees from rocks and rough edges when kneeling and from freezing when kneeling on ice or snow. I found the Alaios set up perfect for my knees needs!
As you can see in the image below they simply slide up into the compartment, velcro closes to keep them in place. Kryptek has knee pad adjustment tabs that are built into the pant for snugging the knee pad up against the leg as necessary, minimizing the “roll” effect the knee pad has against the knee. For those that hunt with aftermarket Velcro attached knee pads will quickly appreciate the “no bind, no pinch” at the back of the knee.
The material over the knee pad is also reinforced and has a bonded laminate over the knee pad pockets provide extra abrasion resistance as well as waterproof protection.
When you think about how much time is spent kneeling doing fire prep, cooking, looking for game and all manner of other reasons, knee pads just make sense to me in a field pant and the execution here is the best I have seen.
After a lot of hard use the pants have held up exceptionally well. The stitching is well done, the material is quite robust, so far there's nothing to complain about.
The material isn't listed as DWR but they shed water fairly well, they wick away and dry fast in my experience. They also stretch with me but not too much. I've found them good temperature-wise from high 30s to 70 degrees, warmer and I'd go to the Valhalla pants. With a good merino base layer they're good to high 20s, colder and I'd go to the Cadog pants or similar.
The cut leans towards the athletic, they are not baggy BDU type pants. They fit well and move well, perhaps the most comfortable pants I've owned, tied with Kuiu's Attack & Guide pants easily.
What a person wants in a pair of pants is pretty subjective to the individual, another reason I debated posting this. In the end though, after much use, these pants offer so much in the way of utility, durability, comfort that I wanted to share my thoughts. I understand the price point can be contentious, after all $150 is a lot of coin, at the same time they're proving more durable, more comfortable, with improved function than typical BDUs. I expect I'll see four to five years of use out of them and that's year round bush-bumming. When you break the price down from that perspective it really isn't a bad price at all.
Kryptek Alaios, Backwoods Bum Approved!