• Endicott's Army Surplus : Austrian Army Ripstop Combat Trousers (TAR-S)

    By John Fenna

    OK, a couple of things I should say at the start of this review:

    1. I have no connection with Endicotts Army Surplus,other than buying a couple of bits and bobs there over the years;

    2. I normally only review brand new commercial kit, not army surplus gear.

    For this review I am changing this! When Kev Endicott asked me if I had tried the TAR-S I was intrigued. When he offered to send me a pair for review, I was not sure they would be my “thing”. When I tried them I was convinced!

    The TAR-S are made from a 67/33 polyester cotton mix with a rip stop weave that is tight enough to be pretty windproof and, although they feel fairly light, both to pack and to wear, are tough and durable and solidly built. The poly/cotton fabric has a lightly “peached” finish which makes them very comfortable against the skin, quiet to wear and with a pleasant “drape” or “hand”. The TAR-S come in a pleasant “Austrian Dark Olive” that is – and it sounds strange to say this – not overly “military” in appearance and does not look out of place in the local high street - never mind the woods!

    The TAR-S have all the features I really want in a pair of trousers, without too many gimmicks and are built for use not looks – but end up looking good too!

    The waistband has six .75” wide belt loops that will take a belt up to 1.5” (38mm) wide, fittings for “loop through” braces inside and closes with a single button. Unlike so many military trousers that have a button fly, the TAR-s have branded YKK zip fly front for “convenience”. As I am no lover of button flies I really appreciate this.

    The knees of the TAR-S are double thickness but the seat has neither reinforcing nor back pockets, the pockets provided being two good, deep, front slash pockets with open tops, and two semi-bellows thigh pockets.

    These thigh pockets measure approx 8.5” deep x 8” wide with a 2” bellows at the base and rear side giving excellent capacity without excess “bulge and flap”. These pockets have an unsecured flap cover over a 7” branded YKK zip closure complete with a padded zip pull extender. Inside both thigh pockets there is a secondary pocket, approx 6” x 4” with a Velcro tab closure, ideal for securing smaller items.

    At the hems of each leg there is a useful elasticated draw cord with a locking toggle adjuster for blousing your trousers to your boots to seal out creepy crawlies with ease.

    Now, with my bulging waistline and short legs I have a problem with getting trousers to fit “off the shelf” and normally have to hack up to 6” off the legs to get something I am happy with. No problem with the TAR-S though, Kev was able to send a pair that fitted me fine, 28” inside leg and 39” waist (military sizes are not generous – I normally take a 36” waist in commercial makes, 38” tops! Honest!)

    As usual with Endicotts, the service was second to none with the TAR-S arriving the morning after I gave Kev my sizes.

    Since the TAR-S arrived I have hardly worn anything else - around town, at church and in the woods - all without looking out of place, and all in comfort. I have run, jumped, climbed, cooked and sat around, carved, sewn, chopped, pushed through dense undergrowth and the TAR-S have been comfortable throughout and show no sign of distress. The TAR-S are easy to wash and dry quite quickly and can be tumble dried, but don’t really need ironing! If I had to compare them to any other trousers I have worn, I would say that they compare well with some foxy old Scandinavian trousers I used to rate highly.

    Although the TAR-S are only available in one colour, “Austrian Dark Olive”, a greyish green that Endicotts are calling “Olive Grey-een” (pronounced “grain”) they are available in a wide range of sizes and qualities: waist 32”-42”, leg 26”-32” and in Grade 2 at £5.95, Grade 1 at £9.95 and Grade 1+ at £12.95 plus,. If you buy Grade 1+, Kev will give you a limited lifetime guarantee on the trousers – not bad for army surplus!

    Tough, durable, non-restrictive, not baggy, well featured and thoroughly practical the TAR-s are close to my ideal bush trousers, and the prices are very affordable!

    I am so taken by the performance of the TAR-S and Endicotts’ service that I am going to invest in a couple more pairs!

    For more information (a lot more) plus humour, visit Endicotts website of phone them on 01392 433331 or drop into the shop in Exeter.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. DaveBromley's Avatar
      DaveBromley -
      These look like just what i'm after

      Thanks for the comprehensive review John!

    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      I ended up buying 3 pairs from endicotts, they are that good!
    1. maddave's Avatar
      maddave -
      I bought a couple of pairs after reading your review John and IMHO they are fantastic outdoor pants. Tough and versatile. If I was to find only one fault (and it's not a fault really) they have no back pockets but they do have two map pockets on the legs, so what I kept in my back pocket simply lives in the map pocket. I opted for supergrade and Endys only had one in my size so offered me a pair with a small repair. I accepted and they knocked the price down. However when the pants arrived I was hard pressed to find the repair. Eventually a tiny bit of stitching (about 2.5mm) was found on the inner thigh. So in conclusion the TARS pants are awesome , and the service from Endicotts was amazing. It was my 1st endys purchase and I'll definitely be going there again.
    1. Corfe's Avatar
      Corfe -
      Just ordered two pairs - Endicotts are snowed under at the moment so there's a bit of a delay - reckon your review is working wonders for their popularity John!
    1. laro13's Avatar
      laro13 -
      Those trousers look interesting.

      How does the size/fit compare to 5.11 trousers?
    1. Mick721's Avatar
      Mick721 -
      Just bought 2 pair of these from Military Mart. The sizes are out a wee bit. I'm usually a 32-34" so ordered a 34" and they are a tad tight. Leg is about 1" too short too. The quality is excellent, though. Just what I was looking for. Can't be beat for less than a tenner a pair. Service at MM leaves a little to be desired compared to Endi's by all accounts. No affiliation to either etc., etc.
    1. Steve13's Avatar
      Steve13 -
      Just got one pair to try from Endi's

      very comfy , good fit well worth the money
    1. madmax's Avatar
      madmax -
      How small do they make them because they look realy good.
    1. John Fenna's Avatar
      John Fenna -
      Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post
      How small do they make them because they look realy good.
      Ask them - Kev is a great guy and will help sort you out
    1. Bartooon's Avatar
      Bartooon -
      Hi Madmax - you are right, they are great trousers. I virtually live in mine. If they had a couple of back pockets I reckon they would be just about the perfect bushcraft trousers.

      I'm not sure whether Endi's have any left though. I was half-heartedly looking recently and I couldn't' find them. As John says though, give them a ring - they are always super-friendly and helpful.
    1. Erik1's Avatar
      Erik1 -
      They also come with matching braces (Hosenträger)