The Top Workwear for Roofing Pros
Roofing pros put their pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. The only difference is, they have to have pants with more pockets than a pool table and more loopholes than the corporate tax law! Today, these types of trousers and shorts are known as “tactical pants” and “cargo pants,” formerly referred to as “carpenter pants.”
And, if you’re a female roofing pro, don’t sweat, there are plenty of cargo pants out there that are made just for you!
What to Look at When Choosing Cargo Pants for Roofing
Roofing Pants That Hold All Your Gear
When roofers are up there at work laying down underlayment, shingles, TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), or BUR (built-up roofing), all their important tools and gadgets need to be within reach. On a pitched roof especially, a roofer can’t just put something down beside him because it might end up sliding down to the gutter! So, roofing pros need pants that can hold all their stuff without tearing or creeping down their waist to reveal their unmentionables… plumbers’ style!
We set out to find the most roofer-friendly pants on the market – pants that look great, are breathable, allow flexibility for roofers to do their job, and most importantly – pants that can accommodate everything from a loaded-up tool belt to a large pair of tin snips. Not all roofers like being weighed down with a bulky tool belt, so functional cargo pants can be the ideal alternative – as long as they can carry essentials like a roofing hammer, measuring tape, nail puller, roof snake, utility knife, nail bag, tape measure, chalk box, hammer tacker, and pry bar.
The Best Pants for Roofing Pros
We started looking at the obvious candidates for this list…Levi, Wrangler and Lee Jeans. Those great American brands have been synonymous with builders and craftsmen for well over a century! Even so, in our opinion, these honored workwear designers didn’t quite make the cut when it came to features especially suited for roofing pros.
- Duluth TradeTek Cargo Pants
- Blåkläder 160013709499 X1600 Work Pants
- Propper Kinetic® Tactical Pants
- Carhartt Rugged Flex® Multi-Pocket Pants
- Engelbert-Strauss ES Motion Summer Pants
- Tru-Spec Ascent Pants
- KUHL Ambush Cargo Shorts
- REI Sahara Roll-Up Cargo Pants
- Helly Hansen QD Cargo Pants
- L.L. Bean Tropicwear (convertible)
While the brands that made our list are not all household names, they’re trusted by many roofers who know that the right clothes with the right fit can boost their productivity and maintain their comfort even in uncomfortable perches.
From Good to Great...Here our Top Picks for Roofing Pants...
10. L.L. Bean Tropicwear (convertible)
We start the list with a great brand in outdoor wear. L.L. Bean’s Tropicwear Zip-Leg Pants are nice and lightweight with plenty of basic features to help roofers hold on to their essential gadgets.
Features of L.L. Bean’s Tropicwear Zip-Leg Pants
- Two front slash pockets, two cargo pockets, two rear pockets.
- Zippered security pocket
- Elastic inserts in waist
- Converts to shorts for comfort in warmer weather
- Built-in SunSmart™ UPF 50+ rated
- Button front with zip fly
- Adjustable nylon belt
- 94% nylon, 6% spandex material wicks moisture and resists wrinkles
9. Helly Hansen QD Cargo Pants
These QD Cargo Pants are light but sturdy and they dry fast, so they’re great when you’re stuck up on a roof in a sudden rain shower. The pants stretch a little bit too, so they won’t inhibit kneeling down, standing up, straddling a ridge or stepping up a ladder. QD Cargo Pants are easily packable, as they were made for hikers and climbers.
Features of HH QD Cargo Pants
- Large cargo pockets on both thighs
- Gusseting on the crotch for added mobility
- Articulated knees for wider range of motion
- Quick dry ripstop
- Stretchable elastane and polyamide material
- Snap and hook button
8. REI Sahara Roll-Up Cargo Pants
Everyone knows REI. The brand is synonymous with quality in outdoor gear made to reflect REI’s love of the planet through the use of bluesign®-approved materials, which conserve resources and minimize impacts on people and the environment. Roofing Pros are outdoor lovers too, so these cargo pants are a great fit in that respect as well.
Features of REI Roll-Up Cargo Pants
- Reinforced knees stand up to abrasion
- Legs roll up and snap in place
- Cool nylon fabric dries fast and provides UPF 50+ sun protection
- Durable water repellent finish
- Gusseted crotch and articulated knees help you move freely
- Loaded with pockets
7. KUHL Ambush Cargo Shorts
Kuhl makes some kool cargo shorts, that’s for sure. An advanced venting system allows roofing pros to stay comfortable and prepared. Kuhl shorts have 9 pockets and are constructed from lightweight, quick-drying fabric with built-in UPF 50 sun protection.
Features of Kuhl Ambush Cargo Shorts
- 9 pockets: 2 front, 2 back, 2 cargo, 2 compartment pockets, 1 piggyback
- Technically advanced venting to keep roofers cool
- Light and quick-drying fabric
- Comfortable, micro-chamois lined waistband
6. Tru-Spec Ascent Pants
Tru-Spec has long been a leading supplier of equipment, material and uniforms to the military, law enforcement and public safety sectors. They know how to make cargo pants that ensure the top performance of the roofers wearing them, whether unloading a truck or wielding a nail gun on a 6-in-12 pitch roof.
Features of Tru-Spec Ascent Pants
- Internal pockets for knee pads
- Reinforced front tool utility pocket
- Pleated side cargo pockets
- “Drop in” pocket tailored to hold any cell phone
- Flapped, inset rear pockets
- YKK® brass zipper
Hi-Tech Contractors™ Need More Than Technical Workwear. They Need The #1 Portable DIY Roofing App!
Hey, Fancy Pants… it’s not all about wearing the best garments for roofing. To look your best and achieve maximum performance, you’ll need the iRoofing portable app – the world’s #1 app for roofing professionals.
Since most of the featured work pants in this article have special pockets for your mobile devices, make sure you have the iRoofing app downloaded onto your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet. See how affordable it is CLICK HERE.
- INSTANT & UNLIMITED DIY MEASUREMENTS at one price means never wasting money on 3rd-party reports
- CLOSE MORE SALES FASTER with customized, instant estimates based on your pricing
- BUILD TRUST & IMPRESS PROPERTY OWNERS using your iRoofing digital pitchbook & projects map
- PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR GROWTH with unified messaging and virtual presentations
- VISUALIZE ANY PRODUCT flawlessly on an image of your client’s property
- ORDER PRODUCTS FROM ANY DISTRIBUTOR via iRoofing, based on details in your estimate
5. Engelbert-Strauss ES Motion Summer Pants
This is one of our choices in the European workwear category. These functional pants are from the Netherlands and we’re not sure if roofers in the U.S. or Canada can easily buy this brand in North America, but it’s clear – this is well-made gear!
Features of Engelbert-Strauss ES Motion Summer Pants
- Extremely lightweight, breathable material
- Wide belt loops with Velcro for extra work bag
- 2 side pockets and 2 reinforced back pockets
- Functional tape measure pocket and multi-compartmental thigh pocket
- Zipped vents on the back of both thighs
- Thigh and knee sections in highly durable Ripstop material
4. Carhartt Rugged Flex® Multi-Pocket Pants
Designed with your tools in mind by one of the most notable workwear makers in the world, these Rugged Flex® Multi-Pocket Pants are built to move. Articulated knees allow you to squat down comfortably, and a zip pocket on the leg keeps your phone secure.
Features of Carhartt Rugged Flex® Multi-Pocket Pants
- Fully articulated knee
- Secure knee pad pockets with cleanout openings
- Straight leg opening
- Gusseted crotch for more stretch between the legs
- Extended ruler pocket
- Full-capacity back pockets
- Utility loop
3. Propper Kinetic® Tactical Pants
These cargo pants move with you, not against you. Propper has designed some innovative features into these work trousers, including ambidextrous cell phone pockets and reinforced knees with openings for knee-pads. The Teflon™ fabric protector repels most liquids.
Features of Propper Kinetic® Tactical Pants
- Reinforced knee with internal opening for pads
- Notched front pockets with knife reinforcement
- Ambidextrous cell phone pockets
- Cargo pockets with internal dividers
- Back welt pockets with flaps
2. Blåkläder 160013709499 X1600 Work Pants
The name of these cargo pants says it all… Blåkläder is serious about its garments – no cute product names necessary, here! According to the manufacturer, All Blåkläder garments have a purpose. Every stitch, every seam has a reason for being a part of the garment. All the thought and process is for You, the professional contractor, tradesman and DIY Specialist.
Features of Blåkläder Work Pants
- 100% Cotton
- Leg pocket with pen pocket, telephone pocket, and extra spacious pocket with zipper
- Reinforced nail pockets, back pockets, ruler pocket, leg pockets, thighs, knees, and hem
- Side hammer loop
- Knee protection pockets with two placement level options
- Nail pockets – with tool holders, can be tucked inside the trousers
- Ruler pocket with extra pocket
- Adjustable hem with drawstring
1. Duluth TradeTek Cargo Pants
Making it to #1 on our list are the Duluth Tradetek Cargo Pants! Roofing is a fast-moving, high-energy occupation. Advanced workwear ergonomics can really enhance productivity. These pants have 14 pockets to haul a lot of gear, plus side tabs with the option to add Duluth’s smart accessory pouches (sold separately).
Features of Duluth TradeTek Cargo Pants
- Water repellent, 97% cotton with 3% woven-in spandex
- Built-in pockets for knee pads
- Nylon reinforced knees, cuffs, and other high-wear areas
- Tape measure strap, hammer loop, and two key-holder belt loops
- Waistband tool loops
- 14 total pockets, including 5-in-1 cargo multi-pocket plus mid-leg pockets
Show Your Professionalism with Truly Professional Workwear!
We think we put together the quintessential list of the best roofing workwear you’ll find anywhere. This article focuses on pants, of course, but each of the clothiers listed offer shirts, shoes and all kinds of garb for the roofing professional, including uniforms for those contractors who are serious about strengthening their branding through matching, high-end teamwear. For additional information about what to wear when roofing, check out these articles on the iRoofing Blog…