Yup, now we’re finally getting to those long-awaited OTPs. Helikon has been roasting our curiosity for quite some time now, teasing us during all the fairs and exhibitions they would attend, and finally they’ve decided to let them out into the wild. Basically, it’s the same thing as the UTPs, with a more synthetic and elastic material. Do you maybe remember (or maybe even use yourself?) the popular Trooper softshell (here you can read the review) from the same brand? Well, in OTPs, the same material was used – only in this case, it was additionally covered with a layer of Teflon.
Actually these pants are doing a real good job as trekking gear – they dry swiftly, they’re comfortable and elastic and let’s not forget that the sheer amount of pockets they’ve got built in makes them win in this field with most other trekking and tourist pants. I wouldn’t really call them trekking pants per se, but Helikon has managed to make them into an all-rounder which will do its job as well on the mountain trail as during a stroll around the town or when taking a day’s break at the shooting range.
The only thing I fear in reference to the OTPs is the material’s durability. Not during everyday use or while taking a hike through the forest or in the mountains, but rather during a camping. I wouldn’t actually take them with me when going camping into the forest – there I prefer to wear the more classic cotton UTPs. Striking fire while on your knees or roaming through a rough underbrush could hardly do this softshells pants any good. Remember, this are just my presumptions, as I have not yet managed to actually damage or wear down any pair of OTPs. It’s just a kind of an educated guess based on my expectations of what I can come across while out in the woods. This elastic material is also not always comfortable in combination with tools equipped with a clip – it happens that a clip-equipped knife will drag the edge of the pocked while being drawn, which is not at all a comforting feeling.
And be careful if you’re expecting heat and heavy sun. Even though it’s my second summer wearing the short OTPs and I don’t feel any discomfort worth noting even when the temperature rises to 30 degrees Celsius, the long version will, in similar conditions, make you boil in no time. I surely would not take those pants with me for a summer hike in the mountains, where there’s a high possibility of high temperatures.
Also, you can’t forget about the few but notable differences in construction (apart from the type of fabric, of course) which differentiate the OTPs from the UTPs.
– the inside of the pockets is made of mesh, not solid fabric – this makes them more prone to tearing, but on the other hand, improves ventilation. All in all – worth it.
– no front pockets for 9 mm magazines
– a wider cover of the front „phone” pockets which will allow you to cover the mechanism of the cargo pocket’s zip.
– two rubber bands inside the cargo pockets for keeping equipment in place
To leave you with some more knowledge and sum it all up and, let’s go through all the variations of the UTP and OTP pants available up to date:
UTP – Urban Tactical Pants in three types of fabric: rip-stop, cotton and poly-cotton.
UTP rip-stop shorts – (Helikon doesn’t name them in any specific way, but I personally like to call them UTS – Urban Tactical Shorts).
UTP 8,5” rip-stop shorts – same as the ones above, but a bit shorter. I like them much more than the regular short ones, as the end right above the knee, making both the length optimal and the ventilation much improved.
OTP – Outdoor Tactical Pants
OTP 8,5” shorts
UTP Women’s – yup, that’s right – a special variant of the UTP shorts made specially to match the curves of a more feminine body 😉
In my personal opinion for which I take full responsibility – great pants. Good for using both out on town and at the office as well as during an airsoft skirmish, a visit at the shooting range or a hike in the woods and mountains. Both their shape as well as size and placement of pockets are very practical and well-thought. Maybe not very elaborate or sophisticated, but also not the basic version – wearing them makes you feel immediately, that’ you’ve put something much more advanced onto your butt than the old and well-known BDUs. I use them all through the year, in various versions, and I sure ain’t planning to stop.
Pros and cons:
+ a very functional, comfortable cut and shape
+ well-thought and practical pockets
+ universal, multifunctional all-rounders
– the fabric wears down and loses colour too fast (UTP)
– the aesthetics takes a head-dive over time due to the wearing off and loss of colour on the edges
– long OTPs are a bit too warm to wear in the summer
– mixed-up sizing; it happens that e.g. UTPs and UTSs marked as having the same size in reality have various waist sizes.