This is a an overview and a review of the Clawgear Raider Mk IV combat pants.
First off, you might ask yourself: “What are combat pants”? According to our guide they are the more obvious, more tactical looking pants you would expect inside the tactical bubble. They are heavier, tougher and usually more feature-rich than the more unconspicous “tactical pants”.
Clawgears Raider Mk.IV fit perfectly well into this description. They are in no way unconspicous looking. At the first glance you can tell, they mean business. Big cargo pockets on the usual place just above the knee, a second pair of cargo pockets on the back of the calves and big protective patches over the knee.
So far there’s not much that’s unusual for military pants. You have to take a few closer looks to find the less obvious but not less useful features. So read on.
Features of the Clawgear Raider Mk IV
Let’s start with one of the less usual and less obvious features: You can adjust the height of the knee protectors. Inside the slash pockets there is a set of elastic drawstrings with a cord lock, each. These allow to shorten the length of the upper part of the legs. No more knee pads dangling on your shin!
On both sides of the knee there are flaps with velcro you can use to adjust the width of the leg. Together with similar flaps on the waist and the ankle you can have the pants sit like they were made to measure.
All this adjustability comes with visible parts on the outside. Be it the flaps or a bit of a rolled up look when you overdo it with the length adjustment. Again, these pants were not made to be pretty or discreet, they were made to work.
Pockets on the Clawgear Raider Mk IV
These pants have ample storage. So let’s dig into the pocket setup.
Some manufacturers have cargo pockets with several openings. That’s useful when you sit down, e.g. in a vehicle and can’t easily reach into the top opening of the cargo pockets. Clawgear went another way with their Raider Mk.IV. The cargo pockets are actually 3 distinct pockets with their own opening each.
One like you would expect it with an opening to the top. The closing flap uses a slotted button in front and velcro in the back to stay closed. So you can have the quick access of velcro and the silent access of a button. Inside there’s not much of organization but you get a D-ring for dummy cording. Having no extra inner pockets or slots seems odd but it perfectly makes sense when you consider the two extra pockets stacked over and under the “main” pockets. More inside organization would just add too much bulk and isn’t necessary with the distinct pockets. The main pockets are bellowed and have a drainage grommet each.
On top of the cargo pocket there’s a smaller, zippered pocket that opens to the front. This might seem a bit unusal but it’s intended to be used when seated down. They are still accessible while standing but they work perfectly when you’re in a car or similar confined space.
Beneath the cargo pockets there are magazine pockets that are reachable via slots on top of the flaps of the main pockets. Even if your daily routine doesn’t include carrying rifle magazines you might find these handy for similar sized items like smartphones, flashlights or multitools.
On each of the calves there’s a bellowed cargo pouch, too. They won’t snag easily to vegetation or wherever you wade through because they are on the backside. They are easily reachable when kneeling down or in a prone position.
The front slash pockets are mid-sized and have D-rings close for dummy cording items within them. Remember, there’s the drawstrings inside them so some items might get entangled. There’s an extra layer of fabric on the outside close to the pockets. So if you carry something with a pocket clip you won’t easily rip open the pants.
The back pockets are zippered which make them an extra secure storage. But if you like to slip items easily in and out of these pockets you might not be happy about that. Just above the back pockets there are spacious loops you can use for carabiners to hook in. They are made of rolled fabric so you shouldn’t use them as single mount for extra precious items. But that makes sure they won’t press into your flesh like plastic D-rings would when sitting down.
The main feature for protecting your skin while wearing the Clawgear Raider Mk IV is the fabric it’s made of. It’s US MIL-DTL-44436B 50/50 Nylon/cotton mix. That means it’s heavy ripstop that already feels tougher than most fabrics you know from other pants.
Over the knees and the upper shin there’s a patch of heavy Nylon fabric. It can be equipped with knee protectors from several different manufacturers. That’s right, you don’t have to buy proprietary protectors from the manufacturer. You can choose from different brands and get the one that fit’s your need. There are some that go into the protector pocket. But there are also protectors consisting of two parts. One inside the pocket and another one on the outside. Both parts connect through holes that look like button holes. Take this, the width-adjustment flaps and the height-adjusting feature and you end up with pants that will finally make strap on hard case protectors obsolete.
How I use them
I might not be the best example of an average user of these pants. I choose to use tactical gear in my daily life even when I don’t have to. So I got a pair of Clawgear Raider Mk IV as everyday pants.
The current pandemic keeps me from travelling like I do as part of my job. Travelling is quite stressful for gear so I’m missing one of the chances for long term tests I usually take with new gear. As a replacement I used these pants for more or less everything. From taking a stroll in the city to crawling through the woods. Especially after activities in a forest and on river banks I had to put them through quite a lot of washing cycles. So far I can’t make out any signs of wear or tear. I own them for a few months now so I will add a paragraph after longer usage.
One word of advice, though: These pants are made to get the job of protecting you in harsh environments during active and potentially dangerous activities done. Do not expect them to feel like sweat pants. If you like the tough and rugged touch of tactical gear you will love them. If you expect lounge wear with some extra pockets you might want to look elsewhere.
To get input from more users than just me you should have a look at pages from survivalists and other potential users. Especially in German speaking countries you can find a lot of users of Clawgear equipment. For example, if you look closely you can see a lot of Clawgear in the 7 vs Wild show. Fritz himselfs seems to be using a Raider Mk IV in Flecktarn.