I’m frequently approached by brands wanting me to review or promote their products. I turn down 95% of them because their quality and durability just aren’t there. However, when 1620 Workwear approached me their quality and materials caught my eye.
I agreed to review one of their products on the condition that they hit me with their best shot. I asked them to send me the toughest pair of work pants they had.
They responded by sending me their Double-Knee Utility Pant 2.0 made with Cordura/NYCO fabric.
Apparently, this proprietary fabric has up to 10x more abrasion resistance than the 100% cotton duck fabric you’ll find in the likes of Carhartts or Dickies work pants.
That said, let’s check out 1620 Workwear’s toughest pair of pants!
Brand Profile: 1620 Workwear
1620 WorkWear is a newer, Made in America brand-focused premium work apparel brand. Their stuff costs more, but they claim you’ll save money in the long run because their clothes can last up to 5x longer than competitors. 1620 does this by using an extremely durable proprietary blend of Cordura nylon and cotton called NYCO.
Apparently, it has 10x more abrasion resistance than traditional cotton duck canvas.
One of the advantages of 1620’s Made in America model is that they are able to keep a close eye on quality control while supporting the local economy.
What is 1620 Workwear’s Toughest Stuff?
In the interest of getting right to the point, here are 1620 Workwear’s most durable apparel.
Double Knee Utility Pant 2.0
The Double Knee Utility Pant 2.0 is 1620’s best-selling flagship product. I’m glad 1612 chose to send them to me because I feel they would be a good overall representation of the brand.
Here are a few specs:
- Cost: ~$200(check latest price)
- Heavy duty 14 oz fabric: NYKO Cordura
- Articulated knee
- PFC free water repellent finish
- Gusseted crotch
- Large back pocket– with an angled top for ease of entry
- Knife clip area: reduces the chance of the pocket tearing
- Back yoke welt pockets: above main back pockets
- Dual watch pockets: large enough for XL mobile device
- Right side phone pocket: up to XL size mobile device
- Right Side zip key pocket
- Shank button: Mil-spec
- YKK zippers
- Heavy-duty belt loops
- Hammer loops: upper right & left thighs
- Left leg utility pocket
- Knee pad insert compatible
- Fabric woven in the USA | Pant sewn in the USA
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Quick drying: 2x faster than cotton duck
- Meets NFPA1975 safety standards: no melt/no drip thermal property
On the whole, the Utility Pant 2.0 are very well constructed. There are plenty of pockets. They are well constructed and show attention to detail. The NYCO fabric is clearly very rugged and abrasion-resistant. It is double-stitched throughout with heavy-duty thread that 1620 says is 50% thicker than previous versions. Features like the gusseted crotch and double knee make these pants well suited for gritty hard work.
My only initial concern is the single-stitched hem. In my opinion, a double-stitched hem should be standard on a pair of hardworking pants like these.
The crotch is where most pants fail first. However, it is almost impossible to tear a well-made gussetted crotch. Such is the case here.
Let me explain.
The crotch seam on traditional pants act as a linchpin connecting six panels of fabric. Squatting, kneeling, and climbing can concentrate an enormous stress on this small joint where all the panels converge. A gusset is a diamond-shaped section of fabric that redistributes the strain across a larger area thereby greatly reducing the chance of tearing.
No work pant is truly durable unless they have a double knee. The 2.0 Utility pants’ double knee feature double stitching throughout and a “stealth” hole for a knee pad insert. The upper edge of the double knee tapers toward the inseam to prevent bunching up when you sit or squat. Attention to details like this makes a big difference in terms of comfort and practicality.
Manufacturers love to cheap out here. They presume folks won’t actually inspect the fabric and stitching of the pockets. Soon, enough though, nails will start falling out of your pockets. Such was the case with a pair of cheap Dickies overalls I once owned.
1620 did a good job here on a number of fronts:
- The pockets are all double-stitched and constructed of durable nylon that will hold up well without being bulky or uncomfortable.
- Attention to detail: For example, they doubled the fabric on the lip of both watch pockets so that the pocket clip of your folder knife, or tape measure won’t wear a hole.
- Multiple Device-sized pockets: The Utility 2.0 pant has a dedicated mobile device pocket on the right thigh. Depending on the job, it may be safer to move your phone in another pocket and the two rear pockets are plenty big enough to safely accommodate your phone.
1620 Workwear use a proprietary blend of Cordura nylon and cotton called NYCO. The name is an obvious reference to this fabric blend. 1620 claims that NYCO is the world’s first stretch nylon cotton blend boasting 10x more abrasion resistance than regular cotton canvas. They also say that NYCO garments can last often 5x longer.
I can’t verify these claims.
I’ve spent many years reviewing luggage and clothing, and I can tell you that after handling this material it is indeed extremely tough. In terms of durability, my experience tells me that this NYCO fabric will likely outlast the stitching.
These are 14 oz work pants, by comparison, typical cotton duck canvas work pants are 10oz. However, the trade-off for this extra durability is less flexibility and breathability.
Cordura nylon is arguably one of the most rugged fabrics available in the textile industry. Cordura is used most commonly in high-quality luggage.
Another good thing is that it is a plain woven fabric. Plain weaves are made using a simple 1:1 interlace of warp and weft threads. A plain weave is the simplest yet most durable weave in textiles.
Blown out button and zippers are another common point of failure.
The Utility Pant 2.0 uses YKK zippers for both the fly and side pocket. I feel they should have gone up a size with the fly zipper though. Bigger zippers are just easier to work with and more durable.
The Mil-spec shank button is very robust and easy to use. No complaints here. It should last forever.
Dual Hammer Loops
The Double Knee Utility Pant 2.0 features dual hammer loops just below the left and right hip. That’s good news for lefties! The positioning is nice. The hammer loops sit just below the beltline preventing the hammer head from digging into your side when you crouch down.
I would have liked to see box-stitched anchors on the hammer loops, but I suppose only time will tell how well they hold up.
1620 installed extra thick 3/4 inch reinforced belt loops. These things will last forever no matter how many times you snag them on a rusty nail.
The zipper pocket guarantees a safe place for a minimalist wallet or your paycheck especially when you are moving around a lot. The zipper pocket is a flat pocket located above the phone pocket on the right thigh. However, an average-sized bifold wallet won’t fit in there if you are using the phone pocket too.
Keep in mind that with extreme durability comes less flexibility and more warmth. Given that these are a 14oz nylon/cotton blend, these pants are on the heavy side. In my opinion, they are better suited for fall-to-spring work.
There is no question in my mind that these are indeed some of the toughest work pants on earth.
But are they worth the $200 price point?
In my opinion, the Double Knee Utility Pant 2.0 is a better proposition for professionals than weekend warriors. They make a lot of sense for folks in heavy industry and fields that are particularly hard on pants.
If you find yourself going through work pants like disposable gloves then these pants are definitely for you.