Woodworkers will talk (and argue) for days on end about the merits of the tools they use in the shop, but I’ve seldom heard them discuss the merits of clothing as a tool. But clothing as tool is exactly what Swedish work clothing manufacturer Blaklader makes. I recently took a pair of their work pants for a test run in the shop.

Pockets, pockets and knee pads, too! 

OK, I’ll be the first to admit I’m a blue jeans kind of guy, in the shop and out. But I have to say these Blaklader pants have some advantages. The first thing you’ll notice is LOTS of pockets! In fact you’ll notice what looks like pockets coming out of pockets. Those are the two nail pouch pockets up front. They are designed to substitute for wearing a big bulky nail pouch and belt to carry a fistful of fasteners around the shop or job site. These are designed with angled corners so the fasteners are easier to pull out. And, when not in use, the pouch pockets tuck discretely into the regular pants pockets.

One doesn’t think of woodshop work as requiring one to be on their knees too often, but then why am I always wearing out the knees in my jeans? That’s not a problem with these Blaklader pants for two reasons. For one, they have heavily reinforced knees; for the other they have special knee pockets designed to take knee pads.
There’s not enough space here to list all the specialized pockets on these pants. Let’s just say, you’ll have plenty of options for things like, pencils, cell phones, keys, wallets, various hand tools, and so on. There are also some loops you can hang more stuff from.

Strong construction

The pants I tried were designed for carpentry and seemed plenty durable. The pockets are sewn outside the pants so pointy stuff is less likely to poke through into your legs. Belt loops are wide for more support. And all seams are reinforced and bar-tacked. But if you think you need even heftier construction, the company offers a tougher grade of pants recommended for masons and other trades known to be particularly hard on pants.
I had the chance to really put the knee pad feature to the test while doing some floor restoration work in my house. What a joy not to have my circulation cut off by typical strap-on knee pads! The Blaklader pads are so light weight and comfortable that you forget you have them in the pants, until your knees hit the ground, of course.

Blaklader clothing, including these pants, vests and other work wear, are available from a wide selection of online and retail outlets. You can get more information at www.blakladerusa.com.

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