5.11 Cepheus Softshell Pants By:

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While 5.11 cargo pants may be a bit of a meme in the firearms world, they are more than cargo pants. 5.11 Tactical has expanded its range to include a variety of modern and stylish pants. Beyond the traditional cargo pants, they offer the Defender series, a range of khakis, and intriguing options like the Cepheus Soft Shell Pants.

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Cepheus is a bit of an interesting title. After a quick Google search, I found that Cepheus was the king of Aethiopia, and he had to sacrifice his daughter to the god of the sea. It’s also a constellation, and I’d guess that 5.11 Tactical named the pants after the constellation, not the fabled king. 

The Cepheus Softshell pants are a new addition to 5.11 Tactical’s lineup. I was fortunate to receive them for free at a 5.11 SHOT Show event, not for review purposes. However, I’ve been wearing them for several months now and have been consistently impressed with their performance. 

Off the bat, these aren’t dress pants with a tactical edge. They wouldn’t look right with a blazer. They are outdoor pants, first and foremost. These are the kind of pants that are perfect for a hike, kayaking, hunting, or if you take a shooting class and need comfy, durable, and weather-resistant pants. 

They are at home on the range, at the waterfront, on the boat, and up the mountain. The Cepheus Soft Shell Pants are designed with a tactical edge, featuring durable materials and weather-resistant properties, making them ideal for outdoor activities. 

The Cepheus pants are made from 92% polyester and 8% elastane double weave. What does this mean to you? It means they are lightweight at only 9 ounces. Second, they stretch and move with you. It’s comfortable to do all sorts of motions, and we’ll talk more about that later. The material provides a soft shell resistance to water that allows it to bead rather than soak in. 

The pants come with shoestring clips on the bottom and a button-and-strap design to blouse them to keep things from getting up there. This helps keep out bugs, sticks, plants, etc. It’s optional but quite handy in the great outdoors. 

5.11 produces the Cepheus pants in pecan and black. These are clearly the pecan 

They are arguably cargo pants, but not your dad’s cargo pants. They are a bit more subdued in their cargo pocketry. The cargo pockets are placed higher on your pants than normal and feature a subdued, flat design. The pants have some stretch, so they only extend as much as needed. The cargo pocket portion features total security zippers and a flap covering the zipper and pocket. 

Speaking of pockets, you have two cargo pockets, two front pockets, a pair of hip pockets just big enough for an AR magazine, two back pockets, and a very deep coin pocket. Pockets, pockets, and more pockets. The front pockets are reinforced for common pocket clips on knives, lights, and concealed mag pouches. 

The front pocket fits my S&W 432 UC perfectly. It disappears into my pocket, and the way the pants sit provides awesome concealment for the gun. Something about the design of the pants makes sure it’s not too tight around the gun and avoids displaying the tell-tale shape. The pocket stretches, making it easy to draw the gun, and doesn’t provide much resistance against the draw. 

The Cepheus pants provide room and storage for all manner of goodies. This includes guns, fishing gear, EDC gear, and beyond. 

With the Cepheus pants, squatting, climbing, and moving in dynamic ways feel comfortable and natural. I can deliver some serious karate kicks. (If I knew how to do karate kicks.) In reality, doing stuff like loading and unloading a boat, climbing up and down on a truck, or running amok in the great outdoors is comfy and easy. At the range, it’s easy to assume a good kneeling position on the fly. The pants just move with you and provide a crazy amount of comfort. 

As it heats up, the soft shell nature doesn’t make them the coolest pants, but they still beat jeans. The cargo pockets and rear pockets are zippered for increased security and to keep you from losing your crap on whatever adventure you dig into. It’s easy to zip and unzip your pockets and retrieve your stuff as needed. 

The Cephus pants are an excellent example of the modern 5.11 style of pants. It’s not khaki cargo pants with giant pockets anymore. It’s sleek, modern, and intuitive.