Fjallraven Kebs VS Tru-Spec Xpedition Trousers

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Cro, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Hobbyist Lifetime Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I recently posted the following on one of my websites. Since there have been many inquiries around pants lately I thought it might also be of use to some folks here as well. Particularly when comparing these two trousers, they are quite comparable and since I've had the chance to use both I thought it might be worth sharing...



    Anyone who has been immersed in the Bushcraft community, or outdoors activity in general is familiar with the venerable Fjallraven Keb trousers. They've become ubiquitous in the hiking community and bushcrafting communities, with the Viddo Pro being somewhat more common for bushcrafters.

    I bought my first pair of the trousers several years ago and I'm still using them regularly today. They've been used and abused from Minnesota to Alaska and the Rocky Mountains in between. They've taken everything I could throw at them and have stood up well to the use.

    If you were looking for a supremely rugged and versatile pair of pants for heavy duty outdoor pursuits, you'd be very hard pressed to find something better. The fabric, G1000 was the heart and soul of these pants, incredible durability and versatility. The trousers have the G-1000 in the seat, front of the legs beginning below the pockets, the knees, and on the inside bottom of the legs, where there is also a second layer of fabric for reinforcement against wear from hiking boots. The densely woven fabric (65% polyester and 35% cotton) is treated with Greenland Wax. The trousers also feature a polyamide material above the thighs, inside the thighs, and the back of the knees. This material is a four way stretch and breathable.

    Enter the Truspec Xpedition trousers. They were originally announced at Shot Show in 2017 and were released some months later. While TruSpec has made quality clothing in the past, the Xpeditions represented a new direction from their tradition tactical path.

    The pants use a poly/cotton blend they also added highly breathable 4-way stretch panels and a DWR coating. The panels are a double weave of 91% nylon, 9% Spandex The stretch panels also aid in flexibility and ease of movement, as well as making these areas capable of extremely good moisture vapor transmission.

    These panels are are added behind the knees, at the thigh pockets, above the rear pockets, and in the crotch.

    Below you'll find a pair of youtube videos I pulled at random in order to give two other perspectives for each of the garments. I have no affiliation with either of these channels. Then a section regarding the technical specifications and features of each. At the end I'll summarize my thoughts on both pairs.

    Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition


    Full specifications from Tru-Spec.

    [​IMG]
    Features
    1. Integrated soft 4-way stretch flex panels on the hip yoke, back of the knees and front cargo pockets for ease of movement
    2. Comfort fit slider waistband
    3. French fly inside zipper for added security
    4. Deep front slash pockets designed to hold most folding knives
    5. Front facing inset stretch cargo pockets with hidden snap closure and internal D-rings
    6. Left cargo pocket has zipper closure under flap for secure storage
    7. Easy access DropN pocket behind right cargo pocket
    8. Dual mesh zippered cooling vents on each leg at the thigh and calf area for increased air flow and temperature regulation
    9. Gusseted for ease of movement
    10. Carabiner or key chain loops on front belt loops
    11. Back pockets – one with an easy access flap closure, one with a secure zippered closure
    12. Articulated knees
    13. Double zipper leg opening with expandable mesh lining and venting options
    14. Additional layer of nylon webbing fabric for reinforced durability from boots
    15. Strap adjustment with snaps on ankle cuffs and boot hooks
    The Keb Trouser from Fjallraven

    Specifications for the Keb Trousers.

    Tech Specs
    [legs and seat] G-1000 Heavy-Duty Eco (65% polyester, 35% cotton)
    [stretch panels] 63% nylon, 26% elastane
    Mid-rise
    Waist Pockets 2 hand, 2 thigh
    Waist belt loops
    Gusseted Crotch
    Claimed Weight[size 48] 1lb 6oz


    What do I think?
    I wear these types of pants everyday and while I do wear other types these constitute 90% of my day to day wear. Since I'm retired I'm not constrained by a profession, and because I'm not engaging in social activities dictating some other decorum, these types of pants are my day to day.

    As a result I'm asking more from them than their primary design was designed for in some ways. Neither was designed for cutting multiple winters worth of firewood for example. I cut a lot, I burn an average of twelve cords a year to heat the cabin. Wood cutting like that isn't easy on any kind of pants. Both worked for this activity, they both performed reasonably well. I do wear chainsaw chaps so that kept both in good condition.

    For field use they are both outstanding. They function as designed, are very comfortable and both are durable. I found the Kebs to be warmer in colder weather, enough so that they remained comfortable. The Xpeditions however rand colder. I believe their stretch fabric panels, that are so good for breathability, allow a lot of airflow. Not necessarily the best thing when it's very cold out, especially in the areas that the panel covers. Particularly in the crotch. What was comfortable in the summer and fall, was suddenly quite cold in the winter winds. The Kebs have a similar affect but due to their material and the fact that there was less of it, translated to a reduced feeling of important bits freezing.

    That being said, the opposite was true in the summer. The Kebs ran too hot for me in the heat of summer while the Xpeditions were very cool running in all the right places.

    Additionally, the G1000 fabric on the Kebs is not nearly as breathable as the 6.5 ounce poly cotton rip stop of the Xpeditions. G1000, while it's also alleg a 65/35 poly/cotton blend, it is wax treated with Greenland Wax. This fairly significantly decreases breathability. This covers the legs from below the pockets and the seat. This made the summer use, particularly in hot and high activity pursuits quite uncomfortable for me. The Xpeditions also have zippered vents along the outside of each thigh outboard of the cargo pockets and two more zippered vents on the low calf. I found these very useful when venting from overheating.

    From a direct durability perspective, the G1000 is slightly more durable in my opinion, largely due to the waxing. If you do manage to rip, tear, or slice the fabric it will run on as the weave is not rip stop in nature. Both offer reinforcements, double layers where needed. The Kebs just slightly edge out the Xpeditions, but only slightly.

    Comfort, they both excel, but in different seasons in my opinion. In winter I much prefer the Keb, but in summer the Xpeditions are the winner. The waist on both are comfortable, the Xpeditions are more comfortable and allow for more stretch. This is particularly important if IWB carry is important to you.

    Functionality, both have well appointed pockets. The Xpeditions have more pockets, a security pocket, reinforced corner tabs on the front slash pockets if you carry a flashlight and or a knife, both left and right are reinforced. There is a D-ring on the top of the right cargo pocket of the Xpeditions, important if you want to dummy cord an item, like a lighter or a compass, to the pants to prevent lost. The left cargo pocket on the Xpeditions is both covered by a flap with a button, and has a security zipper. Once closed, nothing is coming out of it. So, in functionality, the Xpeditions win easily in my opinion. Additionally, both pants offer adjustable cuffs allowing you to run them loose or tight depending on the season.

    Price? The Xpeditions are running from $70 to $98, depending on color and the Kebs run $130 all the way to $225 depending on color and size.

    In the end, they both have solid showings, are great trousers, and well worth the investment. I find I prefer the Xpeditions in summer, and when very cold, the Kebs in winter. I purposefully did not bring the Fjallraven Vidda Pro into this comparison because they are solid G1000 material and are more durable than either of these. I often recommend the Vidda Pro to bushcrafters and other hard use types, however in my opinion, they serve a different function than the Keb or Xpedition, if you're after some of the toughest pants on earth then look at the Vidda Pro. If you're looking for extremely comfortable, durable, and functional multi-use type trousers, then the Kebs or the Xpeditions are the better choice for all but the most challenging terrain and hard use.

    If I had to choose between them, I'd buy the Tru-Spec Xpeditions due to the price difference. I can always add a merino base layer for winter use in order to offset the fact that they run slightly colder.

    So there you have it, just one bushbum's opinion.
     
    MAD Punty, mjh, Elliott3EW and 20 others like this.
  2. scottmm2012

    scottmm2012 1 Peter 1:20 Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have two sets of Xpeditions and I love them for Spring, Summer, and Fall. I agree with all the above, about the Xpeditions. Winter, I'm a wool wearer.
     
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  3. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    Excellent.

    Warmer weather gear has been on my mind as I gear up for another round of trips out west this year. My wool pants are a non starter out there except at weddings :39:

    Timely info. Thx!
     
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  4. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    Excellent review from the perspective of honest, real-world use.
    Thank you for taking the time to write it; I'll be looking to pick up a couple of the Tru Spec.
     
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  5. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    I nabbed a pair of the Tru-Spec Xpeditions off Amazon last night for $55. Boring old khaki color probably was reason for the discounted price. They are the perfect color scheme for my use in southern california and points north and east.

    Thx again for the tip, Cro.
     
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  6. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Tracker

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    Good info. Haven't owned either, but I have concerns with any expensive outdoor pant that has areas of single line stitching.
     
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  7. wisconsinwalter

    wisconsinwalter Supporter Supporter

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    I agree with Cro's assessment. I wear mine 3-4 days in a row and they show no wear from that use. Only a deer blood stain has blemished the pants
     
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  8. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    Mini report on the Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition, from a different standpoint:

    These pants are outstanding for air travel. The five front pockets are great for storage of and quick access to documents, cash, phone kit, and personal items. The pockets are roomy without resorting to bellows type cargo storage, and so I was not tempted to stuff more than I needed, affording more comfort. I always wash my flight clothes ASAP after flying, and these were as easy to clean as 1-2-3... dunk/soak/soap; dunk/soak/rinse; hang dry.

    Because of the relatively conservative khaki colorway that I chose, I wore the pants for ten days, under a variety of business, social, and family circumstances. A pair of trousers I'd taken for cleaning were lost by the dry cleaner, so I wore the Tru-Specs to a funeral, too, and felt respectful and respectable.

    The hidden elastic band in a nice touch, and allowed a variety of options for carry gear without the need to swap outfits based on equipment.

    The leg openings are really generous for boot wear. For city slicking, snapping the ankles tight made a straight legged, casual Friday look.

    I am generally surprised by the quality and value of these pants, especially for the $55 they cost me. I'm sticking with them.
     
  9. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Hobbyist Lifetime Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Nice to hear that perspective. Since I don't travel anymore I hadn't considered the usefulness of the pocket configuration for flying. Makes perfect sense though, as I believe the original design was heavily influenced by vehicle born operations.

    Happy to see you found 'em up to snuff.
     
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  10. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    Solid review and comparison!. Thanks for posting.
     
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  11. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    Update: still really digging the Xpedition pants. Now that the heat and humidity are ramping up, temperature and moisture management are critical. So far, so good... the Xpedition pants feel great after several hours or days of field and yard use.

    Mine did, however, suffer a catastrophic crotch "blowout" while I was hanging fence... I squatted down for the umpteenth time, and they tore along the hem, in two planes. Bummer, but similar to problems I've had with plenty of other work pants in tough conditions. The lighter weight ripstop material just doesn't bear shearing stress the same way that heavier, more substantial weaves will.

    However, Tru-Spec offers a 24 month warranty (with exclusions). Their website directed me back to the retailer, which in this case was Amazon, where my "return window" had already closed. I explained the problem and TruSpec's warranty, but the Amazon customer service agent wasn't able to make a decision, so she directed me back to Tru-Spec, and asked me to then follow up with her. Hilarious.

    Here is where it gets interesting... Tru-Spec agent listened to my ten second inquiry, immediately apologized for the failure, asked for my pant size and color and shipping details, and promised to send a new pair TODAY. That is what I consider effective customer service.

    Color me yet more impressed.
     
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  12. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Lifetime Supporter Supporter

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    Good review, thank you. Will take a look into the xpeds.

    If you dont mind me asking, what are your other websites? I find your postings informative and useful... no fluff added
     
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  13. XMP

    XMP Mountain Man Supporter

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    How did I miss this?!

    Anyway thanks for the insight it's helping me as I consider alternatives to the Sitka hunting pants I'm currently using.

    @Cro (or anyone else) any thoughts on the Tru-spec Xpedition pants vs. their regular 24-7 cargo pants? They use the same main fabric without the stretch panels. I'm familiar with them and have found them very durable (and I can teach in them too, as a bonus).
     
  14. wisconsinwalter

    wisconsinwalter Supporter Supporter

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    For me, they wear completely different than the 24/7 pants. Different cuts.

    The xped’s offer adjustable cuffs and zippered vents.
     
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