Durable carpenter jeans?
January 28, 2015 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend carpenter jeans that last more than six months?

My wardrobe is stuck in the 90s, but we have a relaxed office so it all works out. The carpenter tool pocket works superlatively as a carry pocket for my cell phone. While I might scrounge around in the datacenter from time to time, it's a rare occurance so I don't really need knee padding or firehose canvas cuffs or whatever. I'm specifically in the market for jeans with the tool pocket by the knee commonly called carpenter jeans.

However, I'm having a problem with the jeans in that form. My most recent acquisition was some Carhartts, and they both developed tears and holes where the rear pocket attaches at around the six month mark. So I'm looking for a brand that makes carpenter jeans, but which is more durable than whatever brands Fred Meyers might have on sale this week.

I'm not great with fashion and fabric; but it seems like the cheap pants are thinner and shorter lived. But I'm not sure if more expensive brands even have that pattern anymore. Or which brands are expensive because they're durable vs expensive because they're expensive.

Anyone have recommendations on carpenter jeans that will last multiple years?
posted by pwnguin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Take a look at the Arborwear brand. Their pants are designed for tree workers, but in a lot of ways they're similar to carpenter's jeans, and very tough.
posted by jon1270 at 2:19 PM on January 28, 2015

I don't know if these fit your lifestyle, but Duluth trading's Firehose pants might be what you're looking for. I've wanted a pair for a while, but don't have any myself. But everything I've heard says that they're incredibly strong.

EDIT: oh dang, I just read your comment closer, and you said not those exact ones. oops. Welp, then I got nothin'.
posted by DGStieber at 2:19 PM on January 28, 2015

I wear Dickie's carpenter pants as weekend project pants. My last two pair wore out in the crotch after 5 years of pretty hard use. They're usually about $20 on Amazon. Highly recommended.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

Diamond Gussett jeans are made in the USA. I have a pair of the Kevlar-lined motorcycle jeans for women and they are really, really good. There are several carpenter styles on the link and the price seems very inexpensive.
posted by raisingsand at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've had really good luck with Arizona Carpenter jeans - like you, the pocket is great for a cell phone and other tools. They are cheaper, but I get a good couple years out of them.

The Duluth Trading Company firehose jeans are really, really durable, though. Those are my goto "work" pants now for all my construction projects around the house or working on my truck - I save my other jeans for work at the datacenter.

The DTC regular (non-firehose) jeans are also very good, but for the same price, I can get 2-3 Arizona jeans, so...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:30 PM on January 28, 2015

I wear Dickies every day. I abuse clothing pretty good and they still last me 6 months, not bad for ~$20. The cut is consistent so you can order online or just grab your size at the store.
posted by kris.reiss at 2:33 PM on January 28, 2015

Duluth Trading Co. also makes jeans. I have a pair of the women's cut and they still look/feel great many months later, which I can only assume means the men's are nigh-indestructible. I like their Firehose pants a lot too, and don't find that they feel like overkill.
posted by teremala at 2:33 PM on January 28, 2015

I can wear through a pair of the jean-style carhartts in about the same timeframe as you; if you like the fit, the brown canvas ones are much sturdier and last a few months longer...

They don't read like regular carpenter jeans, but I can't recommend Blaklader Bantam work pants enough. Their pockets are much more usable for working enviornments, and they have a side pocket much like a carpenter jean. They're made out of courdura, so they're a little stiff at first, but wear in great.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:55 PM on January 28, 2015

Riggs is Wrangler's workwear line, I've found their pants to be much more durable than Carhartt. They fade and look "broken in" after a few washings but generally seem to hold up for about a year of pretty heavy abuse.
posted by contraption at 3:57 PM on January 28, 2015

I see a lot of suggestions for Duluth firehose pants, which my husband wears and while they seem to be generally sturdy, my husband also likes carrying his cell phone in the tool pocket, which wears badly and causes holes.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 4:06 PM on January 28, 2015

To agree with furnace.heart, the canvas duck carhartts will last much longer. I have pairs going on 5-6 years of heavy field work with only light scuffing.
posted by buttercup at 4:47 PM on January 28, 2015

Shoot, I just realize I meant Dickies in my original post, not Carhartts!

I don't really need a Harry Tuttle outfit; nor do put pants through much deliberate abuse. Every once in a while I lift some servers into a rack, and take a large cardboard box to the recycling bin. But most days I sit at a desk and make some pull requests on Github, or meet with underlings or professors.

I have an older pair of non-carpenter Levis that seems to be made out of adamantium by comparison. Definitely much thicker denim. Yet in at least one occasion I did my carpenter pants in myself while quickly inserting my wallet in the back pocket. I don't think I need stuff rated for construction work, just something with a bit thicker material than the cheap brands I normally buy.

I mean really, I shouldn't be able to accidentally tear jeans apart when rushing to work. Seems counterproductive, at the very least.
posted by pwnguin at 6:05 PM on January 28, 2015

I was coming to say canvas duck Carharrts, though I'm not positive they come as carpenter jeans. Try going to somewhere like Agway or Fleet Farm with a wall of Carharrt pants and have a dig around. (Carharrt tried to expand into quasi-fashionable jeans. Avoid those. Anything else is likely much more durable than what you're buying now.)
posted by hoyland at 7:53 PM on January 28, 2015

Carharrt B11 are what I've been wearing for the last few years -- the side pocket holds my cell just fine, and about the only reason I've had to replace a pair is if I get it too filthy. The only time I've had a pair wear out in regular use was when I was biking to work every day -- they're not great bike pants.

NB: Carharrt also makes a style they call Carpenter Jeans, style B159. The tool pocket in that is too narrow for my cell phone to fit comfortably. Style B151, "Work Jeans", have a good pocket but are a lighter weight material that did, in fact, wear out more quickly than I liked. B11 is the good one.

Bonus: they're often available cheaply through Sierra Trading Post.
posted by hades at 11:26 PM on January 28, 2015

Exactly what hades said. They're not jeans, but duck canvas, in various colors. I wear these every day to construction sites, crawling over and under large air handling equipment, so they should definitely hold up in a data center. Also, I feel like the color options give them a more professional look than jeans, while still being strong and comfortable.

The one downside is that they'll sometimes come out of the dryer weirdly wrinkly (like almost creased in random places). I haven't figured out a good solution to that, other than to run an iron across them every so often, which feels silly, but makes them presentable again.
posted by BevosAngryGhost at 7:06 AM on January 29, 2015

« Older Painting a room in two colours   |   Under what circumstances do the chemicals in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.