Propper HLX: For Duty of Daily Wear

Introduced at the NRA show in 2018 and released in late 2019 after some initial improvements, the HLX clothing line by Propper Apparel is designed for professional and civilian use, and offers improved durability and comfort for whatever the mission.

The HLX pants represents a blend of features from Propper’s popular traditional tactical pant line, and the Kinetic lines to give a polished and professional appearance. Constructed of a 5.8oz polyester ripstop (67% polyester / 33% canvas), the material is treated in Durable Water Repellent (DWR) to offer a large degree of abrasion and water resistance be it on the job, at the range, or just as an every-day wear.

At the waist, the HLX pants have seven 1.5” wide belt loops (four on the front, three on the back) with a contoured, elastic waist line. The waistline is secured via metal push-through button, with flex panels built into the pocket, and on the waist. The fly uses genuine YKK zipper and the shuttle comes with a logoized pull tab.

The “classic” cut of the HLX pants offer a wide pant-leg from hip to ankle that maximizes maneuverability. It also has the standard four-pocket layout at the waist (two pockets in the front, two zipper-secured concealed pockets in the back), with the front pockets re-enforced to accommodate clip-on items (such as a pocket knife or flashlight).

Each thigh has a 4” wide low-profile pocket that will fit most modern smartphones or a single rifle magazine. Additionally, each leg of the HLX features a rear-opening concealed pocket behind the magazine pocket for documents or other items.

The HLX comes in Alloy Grey (featured), Black, Earth (featured), Khaki, and LAPD Navy and is sized between 28 to 56 waist, and 30 to 37 inseam.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At $59.99 the HLX is rather inexpensive as a tactical pant, combining design aspects from previous Propper lines while not breaking the bank. The polyester blend involved (both in percentage and weight) is inexpensive, while still providing moderate resistance to abrasion. Appropriate comparison to other trousers on the market include Under Armor’s Enduro Tactical Cargo Pants ($85), 5.11’s Apex ($69) or Stryke Pants ($74.99), and Galls Elite Ops Tactical Pants ($49.99). Obviously there are tactical trousers (such as by Crye) that far exceed the HLX in terms of cost, as well as some trousers (Condor) that are cheaper—so it becomes a balancing act for the consumer what features and materials they feel are needed for the task they want the trousers to perform. As is, and among those competitors noted, the HLX is of median (or average) cost to the consumer for a light tactical pant.
  • Comfort Fair (2/5): With minimal gusset in the crotch and inseam, flexibility for more dynamic body movements (lunges and taking a knee) was notably limiting, but not restrictive, in the upper thigh and inner groin. The overall material of the HLX felt lighter than Kinetic pants, and while Propper states the fit of the HLX is a “classic” cut, the trousers felt more like athletic fit (which would explain the tightness). The front pockets had an interior polyester lining on the bottom, and soft fleece on the top and were a nice improvement on comfort over other tactical trousers. But items placed in the front pockets (keys) profiled to some extent (due to tightness in the thigh). The zipper-secured rear pockets felt nice and kept the contents in place regardless of the stressors. The inner lining of the low-profile pockets were also lined with fleece; however, it should be noted that the low-profile pocket will accommodate a rifle magazine or cell phone—but not a cell phone in a protective case. For these aspects, and hopefully some areas of improvement, the HLX scored fairly but could use some improvement in fit.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): From a durability aspect, the HLX had extensive bartack throughout the pants and the reinforced stitching was noted at key stress points to include at the belt loops, and pockets. The DWR did keep some light moisture off (poured water) thanks to its repellent properties, but the long-term application of this treatment could not be tested. It is likely the DWR will keep some aspects of moisture, such as rain or mud, off for a time, but not if submerged. The YKK zipper slid easily and did not cross-thread, while the metal push-through button was a notable improvement over the Kinetic’s plastic one, and the button had sufficient durability despite the pockets being weighted down and a gun belt added.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): Functionally, aside from serving as a pair of tactical trousers, the HLX had some aspects that the Kinetic did not, while could have used some that the Kinetic did have. Specifically, the HLX presented a lower profile and sleeker fit that avoided the obvious statement of being tactical. There were a number of lose threads in and around the belt loops that was purely aesthetic and needed to be either pulled or burned (typically associated to the bartack machining process). Elsewhere, the rear pockets were secured via zipper, which ensured the contents remained contained, and avoided spillage (something that was an added bonus during stressor drills to avoid loss of the wallet). And while the elastic waistline of the HLX did provide a little flex, it was not nearly as adjustable as the elastic sliders found on the Kinetic. The gusset could have used a little additional material, which in turn would have provided more flexibility to the upper thigh and waist. This would be my recommendation to Propper in future considerations for the HLX that would maintain its low profile, and provide added flexibility.
  • Weight Excellent (5/5): At a measurable 1.5 pounds, the HLX was extremely lightweight, something attributed to the polyester blend of its materials that balanced abrasion resistance with flexibility. This also makes the HLX lighter than the Enduro Tactical Cargo Pants or Apex (2 pounds), and just under the Elite Ops Tactical Pants (1.6 pounds) or Cyre’s G3 (1.7 pounds). Overall the HLX extremely competitive in terms of weight and amongst its competitors on the current market.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

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IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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