Review: Helikon-Tex MCDU Combat Pants
The MCDU Combat Pants by Helikon-Tex were already introduced to the interested audience during IWA 2022. However it took another year for the pants to be released as everything was delayed because of the war in Ukraine. This year Helikon-Tex released this new pants model and I already took it through its paces to give you a closer look.
The Helikon-Tex MCDU Combat Pants are aimed at the entire tactical and civilian market, offering a total of 12 slots and pockets plus 2 slots in the cargo pockets. A long zipper on the side provides ventilation, while DyNyCo and Versastretch fabric result in a flexible and comfortable wearing experience. The knees are reinforced with Cordura and can hold knee protection inserts. The MCDU Combat Pants can be further adjusted by straps below the knee and at the lower leg.
I did a first impression video for Patrons of the blog. If you are more interested in videos, here you go:
The MCDU Combat Pants
Helikon-Tex took inspiration from a Polish Airborne design from the 1950s, when developing the MCDU Combat Pants. However this is the only “old” thing about these pants. Using modern fabrics like DyNyCo (which is NyCo with some stretch), and Versastretch material, they produced a pair of pants with excellent comfort.
A total of 12 pockets is distributed all over the real estate of the pants, ranging from the standard side pockets to four cargo pockets, which are placed to the front and back of the upper leg. The front cargo pockets are zippered and feature an angular flap that covers the opening. On the inside you will find mesh lining for more ventilation as well as a mesh pocket for smaller items. The cargo pocket to the back is closed by two velcro areas. It is possible to attach the flap of the cargo pocket to the inside and turn it into a dump pouch.
Adding to that you will find 4 slots in total that feature enough room for standard AR15 magazines. As a result they are also big enough for smartphones and other similarly sized items.
The sides of the thigh feature a long zipper. It provides immediate and excellent ventilation when the pants get hot. A mesh fabric makes sure that you won’t get any debris or insects into the opening.
Both knees are reinforced with a sturdy Cordura fabric. Below this reinforcement one can insert protective pads for the knees. Large neoprene pads have room just like other similar inserts.
The lower end to the back of the knee also features straps to adjust the circumference of the pants in that area. Usually straps like that are placed higher, but the backside of the knee area is made of Versastretch material for flexibility, thus making it impossible to place them there.
The lower leg features zippered compartments on both sides for smaller items. More adjustment straps can be found at the end of the leg, making it possible to tighten the pants around your boots.
The MCDU Combat Pants feature 8 belt loops with plenty of room for the standard duty belts. A zippered fly closes the pants, just like a velcro flap that replaces a button. This results in a more comfortable wearing experience when carrying a belt.
Level of Manufacture
When looking at the quality of the Helikon Tex MCDU Combat Pants, there is nothing to complain about. Since moving their production to Vietnam, the products have increased in quality and the overall look and feel is very decent.
Stress areas are reinforced, the stitching looks very good and Helikon Tex is using good raw materials.
The MCDU Combat Pants in use
Overall the MCDU Combat Pants perform very well in the field. The fabric is comfortable and the use of Versastretch material in the back, in the crotch as well as the back of the knees results in good flexibility. There is no feeling of being restricted and the pants are very comfortable to wear in this regard.
The zipper of the sides is an excellent source of ventilation and this is needed actually. The Cordura reinforcement on the knee results in a heat trap, where you can feel the temperature building up very quickly. In combination with protective inserts this feeling is increased. Opening the zippers a few centimeters helps a lot.
Adjusting the circumference of the leg below the knee needs some getting used to, as the strap moves up and down on the lower leg.
Having two cargo pockets to the back, functioning as dump pouches, proved to be a very practical thing during everyday use. However, when carrying something in the magazine slot above them, access to the dump pocket becomes restricted.
One thing is important to note as it might affect active duty personnel. The Cordura reinforcements on the knees as well as the Versastretch material are not IR treated, meaning that they are considerably bright under night vision. This is apparent even without using an IR Illuminator!
For these pics a standard PVS-14 by Lunox was used.
Even though Helikon-Tex took the inspiration of some 1950s pants, they actually managed to spice up the market and offer something new and unique. Combat pants started to look all alike in the last few years, as it is impossible to reinvent the wheel.
With the MCDU Combat Pants, Helikon-Tex came up with a practical solution that will fit both the civilian as well as military world. If you don’t take issue with the non IR treated Cordura reinforcements, these pants are worth considering for everyday use. However, if you need full NIR protection, these pants are not for you.
On the other hand, everyone in the Outdoor, sport shooting or Airsoft community will find an excellent piece of apparel in the MCDU Combat Pants.
With that being said I want to thank Helikon-Tex for the opportunity to take a closer look at the pants.
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