Blaklader Bantam Pant Review – Get Euro and Ditch the Tool Belt

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blaklader khaki bantam pant with utility pockets
blaklader khaki bantam pant with utility pockets

Do you ever notice those contractors with the 700 pound tool belts loaded with every tool on the planet? They’ve got suspenders, suspension systems, and those little proximity sensors from car bumpers so they don’t accidentally back into something. Don’t get me wrong. We’re all for having a lot of tools on-hand. But there comes a certain point of diminishing returns. Eventually, you’re carrying so many tools you’ve lost your mobility, efficiency, and ability to get the job done. For the typical DIY’er or even contractor doing relatively specialized jobs, sometimes all you need is just a few tool essentials. In Europe, it’s not uncommon for tradespeople to not use a tool belt at all. They just have silly looking overalls with lots of pockets. And, they also have some kick-ass pants from Blåkläder (yup, I even found the umlaut button for their name)! Blåkläder sent us a pair of their Bantam Pants with Utility Pockets to review, and we’ve been strutting euro-style and practicality since.

Blaklader Bantam Comfort

bantam belt loop
Nice wide belt loops abound

Nice, soft feeling cotton seems tightly woven and still has a durable feel. If you work in hot weather, or just like a non-suffocating pant, you’ll love these. I really dug how lightweight the Bantam material is. These particular pants utilize 8oz cotton, however they also make a 12oz version if you like a little thicker material. For everyday work wear, I like my pants to be light and move with me. The 8oz Bantam pants do just that. Wide belt loops everywhere but the front two loops keep your belt, and your pants, where they should be and riding comfortably. All in all, these are the most comfortable work pants we’ve used.

Bantam Utility Pockets

blaklader bantam pocket
Angled corners make it easy to grab all your M&Ms

The Utility Pockets on the Blaklader Bantam pant really set these pants apart from most any conventional cargo pant. Angled, double stitched corners make it easy to retrieve fasteners or M&M’s, whichever you prefer to store there. The Utility Pockets are located far enough out to flare around your legs when you sit down so you don’t lose all your M&M’s, and far enough in that they’re not hanging off your sides and getting in the way when you walk around. Their semi-frontal placement also makes them supremely accessible to your hands.

bantam utility pocket open
Utility pocket in all its untucked glory

I did find that the pants are more comfortable with the utility pockets out. When they’re tucked in, you’ve got about five layers of cotton where your pockets are, which makes that area a little bulky. But it is nice to know you can tone down the Euro/Utility vibe by simply tucking in the pockets when needed. Great for unexpected visits to the country club on your lunch break.

bantam cargo pocket

Other Pockets
On many of the pockets on the Bantam, including the big utility pockets, the cloth is actually folded over at the bottom before it’s sewn. That makes for a stronger pocket since the seam and stitching isn’t directly at the bottom, where it’s subject to the most abuse. The folded-over pocket bottoms also have the added bonus of separating stored items a bit from your leg, increasing overall comfort and possibly reducing leg stabbings. Back pockets on the Bantam pants are roomy enough to park a sandwich in (not recommended). Leg side pockets are thoughtfully engineered and can comfortably store your cell phone, utility knife, pencil, and even a wrench like our favorite Knipex pliers. You can even carry longer items like screwdrivers thanks to small holes and detached pocket corners that help direct the sharp tips of the tools outward more.

bantam cargo pant hammer loop
Real pants have hammer loops

They also reduce the chance of the screwdriver popping out of the pocket every time you crouch down. A tape measure clip and hammer loop also keep those essentials handy. I also like how the cellphone pocket has a velcro closure making it both secure but quick to access.

On a side note, we couldn’t help but notice the Euro-labeling of the Blåkläder Bantam pant.

personal protection
FYI – Personal Protection does not mean Birth Control

For one thing, the descriptive label sounds suspiciously like it applies to a certain birth control product. But then right behind that, there’s a “Warning Label” which informs you the pants are not fire resistant. So if you’re doing anything that involves say molten metal, open flames, showers of sparks, or incendiary devices, don’t you dare think these 100% cotton pants will protect you. For all you pyromaniacs / metal workers out there, we have no word yet on a Nomex Version.

blaklader knee pad

Knee Pads
We can’t forget about the knee pads! We first discovered the joys of integrated knee pads in pants when we reviewed the Duluth Trading Firehose Cargo Pants. Unlike the Duluth pants that use velcro, the Blåkläder Bantam Pants have an extra pocket of fabric sewn around the knee. You simply insert the knee pads (it takes a little wiggling) and then tuck the bottom of the pads into the little pocket at the bottom. I found the light weight makes them barely noticeable. You can also insert gel pads if you’re into that kind of thing, but I prefer the light foam personally. Plus the foam pads are cheaper. Blåkläder also thoughtfully chose to make the knee pad pockets out of extra-strength Cordura fabric. Good ‘ol cotton would likely wear out pretty fast on the knees, so the Cordura here makes a lot of sense. Once you try work pants like these that have a knee pad option, you may wonder how you and your knees ever survived without them.

bantam utility pocket tucked

Blåkläder offers a lifetime guarantee on seams, so you know they’re serious about the quality of these pants. Just about every seam I could find on the Bantam Utility Pants was double or even triple-stitched. Bar tacks are also located strategically to further fortify the Bantam’s strength to conquer whatever abuse you can throw at it, just no flamethrowers please.

If you’re looking for a comfortable, meticulously engineered, highly utilitarian work pant, look no further than the Blåkläder Bantam Work Pants with Utility Pockets. The only downside – sometimes I forgot which of my front pockets I left my keys in! Blåkläder also makes a number of other work pant variations, including pants with heavier weight cotton more Cordura reinforcement, and pants without the utility pockets. You can find the Blåkläder Bantam Work Pants for about $60 from these online retailers or with the Blåkläder local store finder.

Long Term Update

In January, 2024, something terrible happened. I went to put on my beloved Blaklader Bantam pants (reviewed here in 2011) and the button above the fly popped out. While a bit frayed, stained and worn from over a decade of periodic use, these have remained one of my favorite pants for working on projects. Although they have a guarantee on seams, I’m not sure if buttons qualify. I am reaching out to Blaklader to see if they have a solution to keep these pants trucking for another decade!

Photo of author

About Marc Lyman

Marc grew up under a brave single mom who "encouraged" home improvement on the family home. Early toddler gifts included a tool set, and even a cordless Bosch drill when cordless drills first came out. In grade school (give or take a few years), Marc's mom said, "We need to cut down some trees. . . . here's a chainsaw." A father figure also involved Marc in many home improvement projects, including a summer of home remodeling in Palo Alto, CA. Toss in some Obsessive Compulsive personality traits researching everything home improvement related. The end result: a genetically pre-disposed, socially sculpted home improvement machine! For his complete profile, please visit our About page. Really, it's worth it.

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5 thoughts on “Blaklader Bantam Pant Review – Get Euro and Ditch the Tool Belt”

  1. you really should check out workmans model. built in adjustable hammer/drilldriver/pint glass loop, tape measure loop, key clip, tool pockets, and a modesty system for ladders.

    my first one is still going strong after 9 years, and i’ve only bought another to have a different color. they’re warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than pants, there’s no knees to blow out, and things evaporate wonderfully. (damp air falls in the summer, and warm air rises in the winter. there’s 5-8 layers of 12oz duck cutting the wind instead of 1-2, and really when was the last time you said “boy my shins are cold.”)

    there’s no integral kneepad, but if i need that, i’ve a pair of comphy cheap squishy foam and a pair of hard shell nice ones that don’t bunch up fabric around my legs.

    they are not cheap, but , well, they’re not “cheap.” 100% american made from the thread to the snaps, and the company takes care of all of its workers.

    i used to destroy at least 5 pairs of double knee carharts a year, so the heavier weight and better utility (you don’t need a tool belt for most tasks) more than paid off in the first year or so.

  2. Integrated knee pads are the best feature IMO. No more pain in the back of the legs from wearing wrap around knee pads anymore.

  3. I have always liked the look of Blåkläder pants and these are no exception. They are well designed for tradesmen like me. Also very important they look quite professional – especially when compared to cut-off jean shorts or just plain blue jeans for that matter.

    But I admit I don’t own a pair. I just cannot justify spending $60 on a pair of work pants (similarly I won’t spend $40 on work shirts as that appears to be the going rate). Sure these Blåkläder trousers will last longer than most other work pants but how long till they look like hell – fraying at the bottom, wore out in the pocket, tore from an errant nail, covered in paint, caulk, glue, and grease. At least for me, busted seams are a rather rare occurrence of work pant failure when compared to holes, rips, snags, frays, and stains.

    For my money (about $23/pr. at checkout) I buy Carhartt style no. B-151 work pants. Yes they are made of simple cotton, no they don’t have knee pads or work pouches but they are comfortable in most weather (cool in summer / warm in winter) they dry exceptionally fast after the storm passes, they take an amazing amount of abuse, fit better than any pant I have worn in the past, and look exceedingly professional. I buy then in “tan” which is just khaki and wear them everyday. Since they look so nice I can wear them after work and on the weekends but not look like some farmer or dirty carpenter. More importantly, since they are so cheap I don’t feel disappointed when it comes time to retire a pair… I buy ’em by the dozen anyways.

    For less than $30 I think they are at least worth a try.

    I get mine from Sierra Trading Post where they cost $28.50+shipping on a regular basis but by buying a dozen at a time to combine shipping, and waiting till certain times of the year to stack online coupons I get the price down to about $23/pr at my doorstep.


    Otherwise I have seen them at JCPenny for $36/pr. (on sale?) Still a decent deal for good pants.


    • Thanks for the comment, Dream Catcher. You raise an excellent point. Thick cotton twill and Cordura reinforcements do keep the pants looking nice for a pretty long time. And as soon we can get stain-resistant Cordura, we’re on it!

      But the pants do more than just last a long time. They make you more productive! Your tools are always close and your knee are always cushioned. Add that to long-lasting and you can see the value.


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