If you follow us on Instagram you may know that we are highly sceptical of „tacticalized“ fashion as a concept. When German manufacturer LMS gear reached out to us the first time, to let us test their tactical jeans; I was like „No thanks dude, I have Carhartts“. The answer however was an excellent one „Dude, I have Carhartts myself and really like them, but you wont regret to try ours“. I really like it when manufacturers dont look down on other options out there. Thats the right mindset.
So full disclaimer: LMS did supply me with two of their pants as samples, free of charge. In return I promised an honest, no holds barred review that would take The M.U.D (Multy Utility Denim) as LMS calls their own jeans to their intended use and beyond their borders.
THE TIME AND PLACE FOR “TACTICAL” JEANS
While I dont have an issue hitting the flat range with cammies, its not always necessary. A nice pair of work jeans does the job, I can still go and drink post-range beers in the pub without looking like just coming back from a patrol in Kunduz province. Additionally the added storage capacity of utility jeans enables me to use its pouches for dumping stuff while my (usually small) EDC doesnt get in the way.
The other application of tactical jeans is concealed carry, I like the ability to store additional mags and other stuff, but most often work jeans dont do it here as they stand out in certain environments. Most tactical jeans I have seen so far looked pretty unfashionable, while most fashion brands didnt enable me to carry additionl items in a concealed fashion.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS & CONSTRUCTION
I received two models of The MUD. The first model being the Blue Denim 2.0, which is essentially made out of 84% cotton, 15% polyester and 1% spandex. The spandex creates a slight, yet comfy stretch and the overall fabric felt heavy and rugged, just like a good pair of jeans needs to feel. The fit is pretty much true to size and features a classic cut, its neither skinny, nor athletic and prevents items you carry inside the pockets from printing on the surface.
The construction is well sewn and features reinforcing rivets on the front, the back lacks any rivets and replaces them with bartacks. This sounds like an odd choice but is actually a great idea, as sitting on a rivet can actually cause some serious discomfort.
Pocketwise I actually had to search for the pockets and didnt recognize them at first sight, which is a good thing. The M.U.D is a classic five pocket jeans, when you look at it the first time, you need a second or third glance to see the additional stash pocket on each legs front. Both are sized to accept a G17 magazine or comparable item. The use of very discreet yarn, small seams and them being positioned right under the classic stash pockets makes them hard to spot, additionally their high position lets an untucked shirt conceal their contents as well, no knive clip will scream „Gun“ this way.
When using jeans, there is often an issue with the inner fabric of the traditional stash pockets. This fabric is usually a very soft and comfy, yet nimble fabric that manages to get shredded by keys or sharp objects. A solution we often see is replacing that fabric by some kind of nylon, which is a more rugged approach but can create lots of discomfort. LMS Gear did chose to simply utilize a traditional lining, but with a higher fabric weight. This is a nice solution, while the fabric is still not „bullet proof“ it will have no issues with keys, folders or other stuff while being very comfy.
On the back its a simple affair too. You get the two traditional pockets, sized for passports or a wallet, i actually would have liked LMS Gear to integrate a envelope style retention there, which is not a big deal as you got additional pockets, but it would be a nice feature.
However, LMS did place two generous stash pockets right over the traditional pockets. Those are sized to hold an AR15 magazine each, but feature some extra space. I even managed to place an A6 rite in the rain notebook cover in there. Now „the thing“ is that those are placed up very high and therefore again get concealed by any untucked shirt, jacket, pullover or t-shirt.
On the left side of the trousers inside LMS decided to integrate a secret pocket, it is intended to store items like a small lock picking set, emergency money or coins. In theory its sized and placed in a way that you could carry a G17 spare mag for deep concealment right in there. A nice feature for those that need to apply absolute discretion when it comes to carrying a gun.
All MUD jeans feature classic but bartacked beltloops, which are just big enough to accept a 50mm range belt. I like this slight oversize as it enables me to route even cobra buckled belts easily the way i want them. Closure of the jeans is exclusively done by buttons, which is a thing I personally prefer.
The second sample we got was the more stretchy „The MUD V 2.0“ in „urban grey“ aside from the color and the more stretchy fabric, it differs by having two additional pockets on each side. The classic „watch pocket“, which is a staple of five pocket jeans got replaced by two stash pockets sized to accept a multitool or pen light. Additonally, this pocket setup is also featured on the other side of the leg. As I usually dont carry an abundance of EDC items with me, I dont need that feature, but I guess some may find a lot of utility here.
Tactical fashion police
So, as said before, the biggest issue with most tactical jeans is that they look like tactical jeans at first glance. This can either be caused by the additional pockets visible on an instant or an abundance of labels. The MUD features, as said before, very discreet but yet functional pockets. So the first issue is eliminated on an instant. When it comes to branding, LMS Gear decided to only make branded buttons. If someone comes as close to inspect the buttons, your pockets contents are most likely exposed anyways, so its a nice touch and no giveaway.
The cut is a pretty classic cut with a relaxed fit. You wont find any ridiculous „gunfighter“ features like stretch sections or cordura reinforcements on it. Actually The MUD doesnt even feature a gusseted crotch. Freedom of movement is provided by applying a more generous cut in areas where it is needed. For example: The crotch area is a bit more generous without looking baggy and the waist is cut high enough to help concealing a handgun without looking like you are wearing your grandfathers service khakis.
LMS views itself as a manufacturer of tactical garments second and as a manufacturer of quality denim first. This means you actually get quality jeans, the hand of the denim does not to hide behind quality manufacturers like wrangler, while the added polyester adds some abrasion resistance, quick drying and wicking properties without making the jeans look cheap. Its a fashionable, yet functional jeans. Period.
Colorwise the blue denim comes with a very decent stonewash, so its suited for most dresscodes. As with every quality jeans, you are intended to improve on this wash by actually wearing your jeans. Cleaning them with a hard brush and a wet cloth does most of the job and will „weather“ your jeans over time. You can of course machine wash LMS Gears Multi Utility Denims, but you shouldnt do so to often. Cleaning them by hand, even utilizing cold water and hanging them to air dry will create the nice „weathered“ effect people usually pay a huge amount of money for. You are even doing something good for your environment.
PERFORMANCE DURING EDC USE
Iam a believer in a small yet streamlined EDC. Beyond carrying my ID card, papers, keys and wallet I basically carry my handgun, a small innova pocket light, a handheld flashlight, a very small Gerber Dime multitool, a folder and a TQ which is carried IWB. That being said, I didnt at any point explore the full „load bearing“ capabilities of the LMS Gear jeans. But i enjoyed the fact that I was able to organize my EDC way more than with regular jeans, while always having at least one additional pocket left to dump stuff or carry more.
So if you are a minimalist in EDC, just like me, LMS Gear´s The MUD maybe something for you. You can still carry an additional small IFAK and/or urban survival kit if you like to. If you are looking to carry a cold weather sleeping system, five different flashlights, a plethora of multitools and a full sized IFAK in your pants, you will propably be dissapointed, because you are obviously not part of LMS gears intended customer base.
But more important, no item I carried inside my jeans pockets did create a print at any point. I also never got approached by a member of the tactical crowd asking the infamous „wHaT pAnTs aRe tH0s3“ when I did wear „The MUD“, which is a good thing as those pants arent even a giveaway to guys who obviously dedicate a lot of their lifetime towards the research of tactical garments. However, I got compliments for the nice fit and look of my jeans by various people, no matter if i did wear them casually with a t-shirt or in conjunction with a tucked in shirt and blazer. So I guess my estimation of „The MUD“ being a pretty fashionable pair of pants is true.
“The mud” in the mud
Iam not Jason Bourne, so my everydaylife and duty use in close protection didnt bring LMS gears „The MUD“ even close to its borders in regards to durability and performance. But what about the use of jeans as a pair of rugged outdoor pants? I started with using them on the range with no issues and later did use them in the woods while conducting some fieldcraft and patrol exercises. If you know any of the old pictures from the vietnam war, you may see that a lot of SOF units trusted jeans more than their issued cammies. And actually, I was pretty surprised with the good performance of „The MUD“ denims in the woods. While lacking any large cargo pockets, I was able to store an admin pouch, small map, a baseplate compass and a swiss pocket knife in them. I lost none of those items during my time in the field and „The MUD“ did actually hold up well crawling, entrenching and passing rough terrain.
Especially in warm/wet weather conditions the cooling properties of cotton, combined with the wicking properties of polyester did work out very well. Even in a night which was dominated by constant rain my pants always felt comfy and never drained body heat. So yes, they can make really rugged and comfy outdoor pants as well.
LMS Gears „The MUD“ Denim changed my mind in regards to „tactical jeans“, they have a time and place and when done with the necessary attention to detail, in regards to form and function they can bridge the gap between daily life, range- and field use very well. In fact Iam wearing my blue MUD right now as Iam finishing that review.
While LMS Gears entry to the tactical denim market is the best designed and executed sample ive seen so far its not without aspects that are still lacking. For example, as mentioned earlier on, I would love to have an envelope style retention at the back pockets. Also I would like the pockets to be cut a bit more generous, this is especially true for the traditional style stash pockets in front. But all in all „The MUD“ is an excellent item to have.
Even or especially, if you are not a part of the over the top EDC crowd. If you are looking for a feature ladden tactical jeans with webbing reinforcements and zippered pockets, I have to dissapoint you, but there are plenty of other options out there. If you are having a social life outside the tactical world and/or simply need a jeans for concealed carry, LMS gears „The MUD“ will be right up your alley.