Product Review: TAD Force 10 AC
I’m cheap, first and a skeptic second; I feel like imparting that information first to hopefully give you, the reader, a better understanding of where I am coming from. This piece is about pants, pants to wear to the mailbox, the range, to work and even abroad. I am pretty picky about what sheath I encase my legs in, certain criteria must be met; not the least of which is that the CDI factor be high. CDI factor being important for many a young man and even a few young women.
I picked up a pair of second hand Triple Aught Gear pants a while back, feeling that the price for a new pair just wasn’t something I could part with for a totally unknown quantity. I found a pair of their Force 10 pants in the AC fabric in my size on one of the equipment exchanges that dot my browser history. I really wanted to know if the hype that surrounded TAD was earned, or merely the product of an overactive internet fandom.
Well, to spoil those who like to actually read the whole article, they make some fantastic pants, I have since bought a new Glocks worth of clothes from TAD.
For those who actually care about my thoughts on their products and most specifically their Force 10 AC pants, we shall continue. I’m spending the summer of 2016 in Georgia, the country; not the state I usually reside in. I had a great opportunity to come out to their version of West Point and interact with their cadets, to include field time. What better time than to get a good feel for my new(ish) high speed pants than while cruising around Georgia playing mountain goat with the cadets. Now to be clear I’m here as a civilian college student, so wearing a uniform wasn’t something that I really wanted to do, and I couldn’t grow my Viking beard and keep within AR670-1, and if you’ve ever read John Ringo’s books you know that Vikings are alive and well in Georgia.
So the testing, basically 1 week field time with their 2nd year cadets and then a second week with their 3rd year cadets. The location, various military training areas in the country, all mountainous and either lightly wooded or covered with thorny thick growth. The weather mostly cooperated, that is to say, it was good training weather. While with the 2nd year cadets we got smacked by a big storm, thunder lighting the whole shebang. I, and my TAD pants, got soaked, no amount of water proofing would have kept us dry without also overheating, and I’ll deal with being wet if the temp isn’t an issue. But the Force 10 pants dried out completely within a few hours of being soaked through. A big plus considering that I tend to pack light and only brought one spare pair of pants in case shit happened. This tendency to dry quick was again tested while in the field with the 3rd year cadets, who had the distinct pleasure of even better training weather, it rained every day. The training area here was also covered with thick undergrowth that tended to be very thorny. So snagging and pulling was a new hazard. Chasing cadets through this as they went about their leader’s recons, movements and assaults certainly would have led me to expect my light weight quick dry pants to be shredded at the end, but nary a loose thread or tear. Now they didn’t offer a whole lot of protection against said thorns, nor the brambles and other pricklies I encountered, I felt every thorn and most of the thistles, but again, that sort of discomfort is secondary to being able to be dry pants soon after the rain stops, in my opinion. One other hazard that I did not intend to face was the mostly clay trails through the hills that I followed from training area to training area, for those of you that avoid foul weather outdoorsy activities; clay, when it gets wet becomes slick. This gets to be great fun when the clay trails in question go up and down steep gullies and draws, several times I slid down the trail on my fourth point of contact rather than try to remain standing and pull a “George of the Jungle” with a thorny bush. So in addition to rain and thorny underbrush I got the opportunity to coat the skid surfaces of my TAD Force 10 AC pants in thick sticky Georgian mud, grey thankfully, not the red clay that I know so well. The fabric resisted the impregnation of the clay very well, and once it dried most of it I was able to dust off quite easily.
So the fabric of the Force 10s, the AC fabric, dries quick, resists tears and snags very well, and resists becoming stained or otherwise holding too much dirt, mud or clay. The only down side is that it offers little protection from small punctures, but this is a tradeoff that the buyer will have to make. The pant style itself, the Force 10 pattern, is a more or less standard cargo pocketed pair of pants, but as with much the differences set them ahead of others. The Force 10s have pockets in the knees for the addition of knee pads, T-Pro Armor pads. The cargo pockets feature a billowed design to keep it streamlined when not in use and drain holes to assist with shedding water. The inside of the pockets also features individual slots for other gear. On my left side I kept an SF light, Leatherman multi tool and a bottle of hand sanitizer, each in an individual pocket that kept everything organized and kept it from becoming a pocket full of junk. My right side kept sunflower seeds quick to hand. One aspect to these pants that I like but never had a reason to use are the included D-rings, one per cargo pocket and front thigh pocket, keeping expensive (and serialized) items safe and in your possession through the aerobics that being outside can bring is a really nice thing. Going on from there the next feature I appreciate is the front hip pockets, great for keeping high use items easily accessible, for my case it was my cell phone on one side and a few pens clipped to the other for my notes and observations. However, these pockets would also hold an M4 mag, a few pistol mags, Garmin, flashlight, TQ or any of a number of different useful items to have on one’s person. TAD says that the Force 10s feature 8 pockets, 2 cargo, 2 front hip, 2 rear hip and 2 Airforce hand warmers. They also include 2 hidden pockets to secure personal paperwork or small items, basically sized for a large wallet but only accessible thought the inside of the pants.
So the TAD Force 10 AC’s in review. 8 well designed pockets, with dividers and D rings for tie downs as needed, 2 hidden sensitive document pockets that keep needed documents close but well out of sight. The material is advertised as mildly waterproof, unfortunately I was not in a mildly rainy area, if it was raining it was pouring so I cannot say for sure if they perform as advertised there, however the quick dry feature I put to the test throughout the field training. I did not tear, snag or otherwise compromise the pants light material, which was surprising. If I had been wearing the standard issue ACU type uniform I would have most certainly experienced a tear and or blown out a crotch; not to mention the heavier, non-quick drying material. I would hesitate to use the TAD Force 10 ACs for things where I know I’ll face heavy abrasion or the like, gravel ranges, rough rock faces or if protection from thorns and brambles was what I wanted. For hot and humid with high probability of rain, the AC material was great. So these work great as range/ training pants for the south or for hiking where increased on body cargo carrying is preferred.
(UNC Graduate, U.S. Army Veteran, Rogue at Large)