Updated for 2023
A good pair of pants is essential in order for EMTs and Paramedics to perform at their best while on the job. First responders will spend a lot of time in a single pair of pants and in a variety of environments.
During the course of their career, an EMT will go through a pair of pants about every year. Most companies will buy their employed medical responders a new pair as needed.
This can either be through reimbursement or some sort of uniform balance made available to employees. A uniform balance is an amount of money that a company sets aside for employees with the intention of keeping uniforms looking new and fresh.
Getting a good pair of pants that are durable and comfortable is essential.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best EMS Pants for EMTs and Paramedic Shortlist
We know your time is valuable. So here is a quick list of our choices. Think of this as a TL:DR on the Best EMS Pants for EMTs and Paramedics.
- 5.11 Men’s Stryke EMS Pants – Best Men’s EMS Pants
- 5.11 Women’s Taclite EMS Pants – Best Women’s EMS Pants
- LAPG Men’s EMS Cargo Pants
- LA Police Gear Women’s Operator Pant
- Dickies Men’s Flex Comfort Waist EMT Pant
- First Tactical Women’s V2 EMS Pant
- Rothco Deluxe Men’s EMT Pant
- 5.11 Women’s Stryke EMS Pants
- 5.11 Taclite Men’s Company Pants
- Propper Women’s Critical Response EMS Pant
Our Top 3 Picks for the Best EMS Pants for EMTs and Paramedics
How I Ranked My Choices for the Best EMS Pants
When I were evaluating the EMS Pants for this list I chose the following criteria as I felt these are the most important ranking factors when choosing the best pair of EMS boots.
You will be spending 12 to 24 hours in your EMS pants. Having a comfortable pair of pants can make or break your time on the road.
A good pair of EMS pants need to be durable. EMTs and Paramedics often find themselves working in adverse weather conditions and your pants need to stand up to the elements.
EMS pants need more utility than a standard pair of tactical or cargo pants. First responders need to have quick access to a variety of tools. EMS pants have specialized pockets that allow for easy organization and quick access to these tools.
A Guide to Buying EMT and Paramedic Pants
When evaluating a pair of pants it is important to remember that EMS provider pants are one of the most important pieces of equipment they will own. Not only should they be water-resistant, pathogen-resistant, and breathable.
Pants should be made from poly materials that allow for maximum durability and comfort. Pants should also contain enough storage to allow the EMT or Paramedic to carry the essential tools and gear such as stethoscopes, shears, etc.
Features of Good EMS Pants
- Quality Zippers
- Blood Borne Pathogen Resistant
- Fit and Comfort
How to Choose Your EMS Pants
EMTs, Paramedics, and First Responders often work in a diverse range of situations. This can range from responding to medical emergencies to life-threatening traumatic injuries. Many of these situations require a wide range of tools in order to properly perform their duties and care for individuals in need of their aid.
Emergency medical care may need to have a number of different items and tools with them. EMT Pants can offer a tactical advantage in their line of work. These pants typically feature pockets that allow for easy access to specialized tools.
The best EMS pants are ones that utilize protective materials that are lightweight and durable. These pants should allow for a comfortable range of motion and provide enough storage space to keep your medical equipment with you and easy to access.
When it comes to choosing pants for your EMT uniform, you’ll want to make sure that the pants are approved by your company. Pay attention to the required colors or if you are even allowed to have cargo-style pants.
The materials of your EMS pants should be comprised of lightweight, durable and protective fabrics. But, what does this mean? Shouldn’t a regular pair of black or blue cargo pants work? Well, not quite.
EMT Pants need to offer a fair amount of weather resistance. First responders are frequently in outdoor situations such as traffic accidents and other environments. Your pants need to be able to stand up to the wear and tear that comes with working in these situations.
Depending on the pants you choose they may be constructed from materials like cotton, polyester, nylon, and/or spandex. These types of fabrics are generally light, flexible, and strong enough to handle the everyday job on the ambulance.
These pants may be designed with certain threading/twill techniques and hem patterns like ripstop. These patterns improve overall durability and protection. A pair of EMT pants usually have reinforced construction in the knees as well.
Ripstop technologies are designed to prevent clothing from tearing. A first responder is frequently exposed to hazards that could tear and compromise their pants. In fact, Ripstop should be the first consideration when looking at pants.
Imagine ripping your trousers in the middle of a call. You can’t just stop, go home, and put on a new pair. Your patient’s life may be on the line.
EMS pants also need to protect EMTs from common job hazards. Hazards/elements such as the weather, hazardous chemicals, bacteria, dust, fire, and other potential threats can put emergency medical service providers at risk. A proper pair of EMT pants can mitigate some of these risks.
Here’s a quick list of some common hazards EMS workers may face while in the field:
- Sharp objects
Comfort & Mobility
Being a prehospital care provider often means that you will be spending a lot of time in your pants. This is not a job where you work 8 hours or part-time. A typical EMS shift is 12, 24, or even longer.
If your pants are uncomfortable to wear then these shifts can seem like they will last forever. It’s better to have slightly loose-fitting pants then pants that are too tight.
Look for pants that have some stretch to them. This will allow you a comfortable range of movement. A good belt that allows for quick adjustment is another way to ensure your workday is a comfortable experience.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing EMS pants:
- Overall fit (regular, loose, sling, straight leg, etc…)
- Range of motion
- Stretch-ability (material flexibility)
- Adjustable waistband
Try and include as many of these features as possible so that you can render aid dependably and comfortably.
Storage & Organization
This is the main reason why EMS workers have specialized pants. As mentioned earlier, EMT pants have pockets designed for optimal gear storage. Look for pants that allow you easy access to the pockets while you are in a variety of positions.
For example, how well can you reach your pockets when you are standing, kneeling, or in a squat? Do your pants have snaps that allow you to secure your trauma shears or other EMS tools (link knife article)? Some agencies may have guidelines as to what type of pants you may wear and how many pockets you can have.
Some companies do not allow traditional EMS pants. The company I worked for wanted us to wear simpler pants with no side pockets. That is why I included the 5.11 Company Pant on this list. Be sure to check with your company guidelines before you purchase pants.
Hopefully, this article was helpful to you. Now you should be ready to make educated pants purchases.
Top 5 Best Men's EMS Pants for EMTs and Paramedics
1: 5.11 Men's Stryke EMS Pants
Best Men’s Pants
These are the most comfortable pair of EMS pants I have worn to date. I did not think it was possible to unseat my 5.11 Taclite pants but the Stryke pants have done it.
These pants do not feel stiff, are lightweight, and have enough storage to fit the everyday carry items I need to perform my job duties. Each piece of gear I carry in these pants is secured due to every cargo pocket being sealable with velcro.
The tool retention straps are secure via a snap and velcro, which is a nice touch over just snap loop retention straps.
These are my go-to pants while working on a critical care truck. My RN partner has a lot of needs you would not expect. The Stryke pants have plenty of room for the hemostats, tape, trauma shares, IV flushes, notepads, penlights, pens, and even a crescent wrench that I carry every day. This gear fits comfortably in individual pockets and holsters. I no longer need to throw all of my items into large cargo pockets. Everything stays neat, secure, and organized.
The Stryke EMS Pant is made from durable mechanical stretch Flex-Tac® ripstop fabric. The gusseted construction offers maximum mobility for even the most demanding situations. With 19 pockets including mission-specific thigh-mounted cargo pockets, outer pockets with retention straps, welted rear pockets, front thigh pockets, and lower calf pockets, you’ll have plenty of storage options. The Flex-Tac® fabric is treated with Teflon™ for stain and soil resistance, and the double-layered knees are ready for kneepads.
This pant also features a regular fit, a comfortable waistband with stretch panels and gripper elastic, reinforced front hand and scissor pockets, expandable cargo pockets, canted lower leg pockets, and an articulated knee for added comfort. The double-time belt loops and reinforced back hem guard provide extra durability, and the pant is imported.
The 5.11 Stryke EMS pants are a pair of pants that any EMS professional should consider.
- Mission-specific pockets with velcro closures
- Very Comfortable and lightweight
- Unmatched durability
- More expensive than most EMS pants
2: LAPG Men's EMS Cargo Pants
Best Budget EMS Pants for Men
LA Police gear is a leading brand of Police and Fire outfitters. They produce some of the best products at some of the best prices.
The LAPG EMS Cargo Pants have a lot of the same features as more expensive brands. One of the standout features of these pants is the 19 total pockets, making it easy to keep your gear organized.
There are 2 front pockets with knife reinforcements, 2 traditional rear pockets, and 2 rear hip pockets sized for rifle magazines or smartphones. The 2 expandable cargo pockets come with pass-throughs, divided internal pockets, and D-Rings, making them ideal for carrying medical supplies and other needed EDC.
There are also 4 mission-specific pockets for pens, knives, etc., and 2 EMS scissor pockets with hook & loop tape straps. The 1 knife/tool pocket above the right cargo pocket and 2 lower leg pockets with pass-throughs are perfect for carrying tools or additional supplies. The pants also have 2 internal knee pad pockets, adding an extra layer of protection.
The pants are made with Rip-Stop fabric, which is durable and comfortable to wear. The waistband is self-adjusting, providing a snug fit without restricting movement. The roomy gusseted crotch allows for a full range of motion, and the 7 belt loops can accommodate up to 2 1/4-inch belts.
These pants are comfortable but feel stiff before the first few washes. The knees can also be a bit tight when kneeling. It has a great pocket layout, I wish all the tool holsters had retention straps. However, for the price and quality, these are minor drawbacks that should not affect your decision to purchase these pants.
- Great price that fits almost any budget or uniform allowance
- Plenty of organized storage space
- Ripstop fabric
- Not every tool holster has a retention strap
- Can feel tight around the knees when kneeling
3: Dickies Men's Flex Comfort Waist EMT Pant
Dickies is a brand many will recognize. Dickies Industrial Flex Comfort Waist EMT Pant is a great entry onto this list. The Dickies company does produce some of the finest work clothing on the market and their EMT pant is no exception.
Made from the same tough fabric as their traditional work pants, these EMS trousers are some of the best on the market. I place these as on par with the 5.11 pants in terms of durability and comfort.
Dickies possess a reinforced knee and durable tear-proof material. These pants are very comfortable and it is easy to spend 8 hours or more in a pair, perfect for those long EMS shifts.
These pants are very comfortable and it is easy to spend 8 hours or more in a pair, perfect for those long EMS shifts. These pants also feature a triple grip stretchable waistband for a snug fit and to keep shirts neatly tucked in for that professional look.
They also feature side cargo pockets with a tool pocket and loop snaps to easily store Stethoscopes and Shears. Comfortable and durable these pants are perfect for the professional-looking EMT or Paramedic.
Our wishlist for these pants would be a better articulation of the knees and tool and retention straps on both sides of these pants.
Dickies makes a good durable pair of pants. They are cost-effective and can easily fit into a uniform allowance.
- Doesn’t fade after washing
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Dickies durability at an affordable price
- Lack of pocket organization
- non articulated knees
4: Rothco Deluxe EMT Pant
Rothco is a brand that is a gold standard in EMT Pants. My very first pair of EMT pants were the Rothco Deluxe EMT Pants. They have a rich history of supplying military and tactical gear. The company also works closely with military charities.
Their EMT pant is comfortable, durable, and sharp-looking.
They are made of a 65-35 poly-cotton blend and feature an elastic waistband for comfort as well as to keep shirts tucked in.
They contain the four standard pants pockets as well as side cargo pockets with plenty of room. A very good choice of pants that is only outdone by higher rated brands due to ripstop fabrics and additional pockets.
These pants offer everything a first responder will need in a pair of pants. However, they do come with a minor inconvenience. You will have to have the legs hemmed for you. Rothco mass-produces its uniforms for public entities and as such you will have to either size them in yourself or see a tailor.
On the plus side, this means you can get an exact fit. These pants are great for people that can never find the correct length in their pants.
- All the storage you need
- Common EMS pant means it fits most company’s uniform specs
- The first and last brand of pants for many EMTs and Paramedics
- Requires either sowing skills or a trip to a tailor
- No Ripstop fabric
5: 5.11 Taclite Company Pants
The last pair of pants we will mention here is on this list specifically because some EMS companies do not want their employees wearing pants with cargo pockets. The 5.11 Company Pant fills this niche perfectly. They are durable and comfortable.
These pants feature a self-adjusting waistband and a fully gusseted inseam to allow for maximum mobility. The fabric is fade, shrink, and wrinkle-resistant for a truly professional look during all parts of a shift. The drawbacks of these pants are obvious, lack of storage, not being as durable as other brands.
However, if your company has stringent rules as to what sort of EMS pants one can wear then these are a good pair of pants for that purpose.
- Fits certain agency uniform requirements
- More comfortable than most issued uniform pants
- Lacks a lot of the utility true EMS Pants provide.
Top 5 Best Women's EMS Pants for EMTs and Paramedics
1: 5.11 Women's Taclite EMS Pants
The Best Women’s EMS Pants
5.11 is a favorite brand on this blog. From their pants to their boots, 5.11 produces quality gear specifically for first responders and the military. The 5.11 Tactical Women’s Taclite EMS Pants are a fantastic pair of trousers.
The 5.11 Women’s Taclite EMS pants are designed for professionals who require functional, comfortable, and durable workwear. These pants come with a Teflon finish that provides added protection against stains, spills, and dirt, making them ideal for work environments where cleanliness is important. The finish also makes the pants easier to clean and maintain, which can save time and effort for the wearer.
In addition to the Teflon finish, the Taclite EMS pants feature multiple pockets that offer ample storage space for tools, accessories, and other essentials that are needed on the job. The cargo pockets can be used to store a first aid kit or other medical equipment, while the lower leg pockets can hold a flashlight, knife, or other small tools. The welted back pockets provide additional storage space for other items.
The pants also have articulated knees that allow for greater range of motion and flexibility, making it easier to move around and perform tasks that require bending or squatting. This feature can be particularly useful for emergency responders and other professionals who need to be able to move quickly and easily in high-stress situations.
Furthermore, the design of the Taclite EMS pants is compatible with internal knee pads, which can provide additional protection and cushioning for the knees when kneeling or crawling. This feature is especially important for EMS personnel and other professionals who need to be able to work on the ground or in tight spaces.
Finally, the comfort waistband with stretch panels and gripper elastic inside provides a comfortable, secure fit that stays in place throughout the day. This feature can be especially important for professionals who need to move around frequently, as it can help prevent the pants from slipping or sliding down. The stretch panels also provide added comfort for those who are sitting or bending for long periods of time.
- Lightweight and durable rip-stop fabric
- All the pockets and storage options you will need.
- Great pocket size
- Sizing can be a bit small so order a larger size.
2: LA Police Gear Women's Operator Pant
Best Budget EMS Pants For Women
As in the men’s section, our choice for budget-friendly EMS pants for women comes from LA Police Gear.
LA Police Gear’s Women’s Operator Pant is a practical and affordable choice for EMTs who need reliable work pants. The elastic waistband provides comfort and flexibility for EMTs who need to move around quickly and frequently. It also accommodates different body shapes and sizes.
The 65% Polyester/35% Cotton Rip-Stop Fabric is durable and resistant to tearing and ripping, making it ideal for EMTs who often work in challenging environments. The pants are coated with a Teflon shield and fabric protector to repel water, oil, and stains, which helps to keep the pants looking new for longer.
With 8 pockets, including slanted cargo pocket flaps for seated access, these pants provide ample storage space for tools and equipment. The dual front slit pockets are also handy for storing smaller items, such as gloves or a cell phone. The gusseted crotch provides extra room and mobility, which is particularly useful for EMTs who need to climb, kneel, or crouch frequently.
The LAPG Women’s Operator Pant is an excellent choice for EMTs who need practical, comfortable, and budget-friendly work pants that can withstand the demands of their job. The elastic waistband, Rip-Stop fabric, Teflon shield and fabric protector, 8 pockets, and gusseted crotch are all features that make these pants a top choice for EMTs in need of reliable workwear.
The only complaints from female EMTs we interviewed are that the pants run small, they wish the pockets were bigger and they fit a bit tight. Other than that, for a sub-50 dollar pair of pants, you can not go wrong in considering the LAPG Women’s Operator Pants as your go-to EMS pants.
- Under 50 dollars
- High quality construction
- Plenty of pockets
- Order a Size Up
- Pockets could be bigger and include retention straps
3: First Tactical Women's V2 EMS Pant
First Tactical is a new entry on our list this year. The Women’s V2 EMS Pant is a serious contender for the Best EMS Pants for Women. The 5.11’s edge out these pants in both price and utility.
Like the 5.11’s these are made with the EMS professional in mind.
The Women’s V2 EMS Pant is a lighter version of the Women’s Velocity EMS Pant that offers a perfect fit and function. These pants are made of micro ripstop polyester and cotton blend fabric that gives them a lightweight feel, making them ideal for medical professionals who are always on the move. These pants feature a Teflon stain repellent finish that keeps them looking clean and new even after multiple washes.
The mechanical two-way stretch of these pants allows for full motion ability, making them perfect for medical professionals who need to move around a lot. The running gusset construction adds to the ease of movement, allowing the wearer to bend and stretch without any restriction. The triple needle stitching at critical seams ensures that these pants are strong and durable, even after prolonged use.
The lightweight fabric and minimal layers of the Women’s V2 EMS Pant make them ideal for use in warmer climates. These pants are perfect for medical professionals who need to work outdoors or in hot environments. They are also ideal for those who prefer lightweight clothing that does not weigh them down while they work.
These pants fit comfortably and are a great alternative to 5.11’s. The only feature missing that we feel holds these pants back from our top spot is the lack of retention straps. You have one on each leg. While this should be enough for most female first responders, the option to have more ways to secure tools would be nice.
- Amazing durability
- Plenty of pocket space
- Lightest weight and most comfortable pair of women’s EMS pants on this list.
- Lack of retention straps
- May need hemming as the pants sizes run long.
4: 5.11 Women's Stryke EMS Pants
The 5.11 Stryke EMS pants for Women are considered the upgrade to the Taclites. Now you may be asking why these are not our top pick and the facilities are.
During the course of interviewing female EMTs, we found that the Stryke pants had a nicer and tight fit, however, the pockets were too small and some participants even stated they preferred the Taclites over the Stryke EMS Pants for that reason.
However, the 5.11 Stryke EMS pants are still an amazing pair of pants. They have plenty of pocket space, 19 in total. The thigh pockets have interior pockets for easy storage and organization.
The exterior pockets are slanted for easy access even when sitting or kneeling. We also like that the pockets and retention straps use velcro as a closure.
The material of these pants is also lightweight and comfortable. You can wear Stryke pants all day during those 12 and 24-hour shifts and not be bothered by pinching or chaffing. These pants feature a Teflon coating that helps to protect the pants and you from environmental exposures.
The articulated knees have room for neoprene knee pads. This helps to ease the strain of kneeling on hard surfaces. These pants are designed with EMS workers in mind, providing functionality and comfort for those who are on the move and need quick access to their tools and equipment.
Overall, the 5.11 Styrke Women’s EMS pants are a great choice for anyone in the emergency medical services field. They provide a comfortable fit, ample storage space, and durable construction that can stand up to the demands of the job. Whether you are a paramedic, EMT, or other types of emergency medical services worker, these pants are sure to be a reliable and functional choice for your uniform.
- Amazing comfort
- Best-in-class materials and construction
- Mission-specific pockets that are divided to make organization easy
- Velcro pocket enclosures and retention straps
- Pockets could be bigger
- Order one size up
5: Propper Women’s Critical Response EMS Pant
Propper is a company that has manufactured uniform articles for the US Military as well as public safety organizations across the country. Propper’s Critical Response Women’s EMS Pant is a quality pair of EMT pants. These pants feature 17 pockets to store whatever tools you need on your job.
These pants are constructed with a Teflon fabric protector that adds liquid and stain resistance. They have a reinforced knee that can fit knee pads and are available in twill and ripstop fabrics. The pants also have a hidden slider in the waist for comfort.
A typical trend with EMS pants is they fit tight, so purchase a size larger. These pants can also fit a bit tight for providers that have larger thighs. These pants are available in Navy Blue and Black and should work for most uniforms.
These pants are also unhemmed, so they can be accurately sized to you when you buy them. There are plenty of uniform shops that will measure and hem these pants for you.
- Lots of pockets
- Water repellant
- Order a size up
- Tight fit
Frequently Asked Questions
What Color Pants Do EMTs Wear?
Uniform colors are company or department specific. The two most common colors for EMS pants are Black and Navy Blue.
What Are EMT Pants?
EMT Pants are specifically designed cargo tactical pants. They often feature specific pockets and tool holsters to allow the first responder quick access to tools like shears, pens and pen lights, IV flushes, ETC.