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Thread: Helikon SFU Tactical Pants: Review

  1. #1

    Default Helikon SFU Tactical Pants: Review

    I’ve been wearing Craghoppers Kiwi’s for the last two or three years, but have finally got fed up with the fact that they give up the ghost after that sort of time scale. The main gripe being that they split at the crotch area….

    So after looking around the net for a brand in this price bracket, that hopefully would be more robust... I settled on a brand called Helikon, a Polish brand who make military cargo type pants & clothing, that have had some excellent reviews on the French Bushcraft forums.

    Helikon SFU Tactical Pants

    I ordered a couple of pairs as they retail at around £25 or 27€….I got one pair in Coytote and the other in OD. The Coyote is a weird colour, looking greener than one would imagine. But I'm fine with that.

    The trousers are made of 50/50 nylon/cotton Nylco mix and are fairly light weight. They are however, heavier material than the Craghoppers Solardry. They feel a very substantial garment, which is nice. The seams are all double stitched, with the seat and knees double thickness.



    The waist has 6 belt loops, wide enough for military type belts… the waist is closed & flies are closed by buttons. 501 wearers amongst you won’t mind this, but the fly does gape a bit. I guess the fly is like this to allow you to have a ‘jimmy’ by opening only one button…. No zips is perhaps not a bad thing as my Craggies had a number of bust zips after a time, especially on the pockets.

    There are a myriad of pockets. All are closed by Velcro. Two rear pockets, two cargo pockets, two hip pockets and two small pockets in front of the hip pockets, for a phone, lighter or pocket knife. Finally there is a strange pocket on the right calf… not sure when one would use that!!!!

    The double thickness on the knees has an opening at the base, again closed by Velcro, which allows you to insert a knee pad, should you wish. Finally the ankle has a draw tape which means you can cinch it over your boots

    Size wise, I ordered Large/Regular.. this equates to 35-38 waist and 32 leg. I find they are about equivalent to the Craghoppers Kiwi 34 regular.

    All in all a very nice trouser… they are perfect for anyone into outdoors, fishing , hunting or bushcraft…. They are very well made, looks really robust, and practical. At around £25 you really can’t go wrong with these.. I’m well impressed.

    Cheers
    Gareth

  2. #2

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    I had a pair and concur with everything you say! The flies did gape, and i usually take a 34 waist and ordered what was supposed to be the equivelent size range, but the waist came up too small. Apart from that though, good trousers.

    The wierd pocket on the lower leg which seems de rigueur in such trousers these days is for a folding knife, with the outer elastic designed for cyalumes (usually IR ones).

  3. #3
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    Ive got a pair in the Polish desert camo, not quite as tough as US bdu's but apart from that i like mine.

  4. #4
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    How about an update? I was thinking about some of these as my 5.11 are a bit sweaty in this heat. How is nyco in 28 degrees?
    Regards,

    Lostplanet

    " Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. " Albert Szent-Györgyi

  5. #5
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    I've got 3 pairs of these, a coyote pair (which are pretty much every day use) and a couple of darker coloured pairs for outdoorsy stuff.

    I find them comfortable enough even on fairly hot days. As others have said, the button fly can gape slightly but not a major problem.

    The pockets are easy enough to access, with the thigh pockets being a bit higher on the thigh which means you don't have to contort yourself into a pretzel just to get into the pocket. The waist adjusters don't really work well out of the bag but a bit of a squeeze with pliers and they're fine now.

    Don't know how they compare to 5.11's weigh-wise but the side cut of the trousers allows a good airflow. If it helps, they're heavier than my craghopper kiwis and basic basecamp trousers.

    I'd certainly recommend them as they are comfy as hell and look great, even for casual wear.

  6. #6

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    I bought two in black, I prefer the style and feel of craghoppers. The Helikons are a lot more tougher though and I don't think I could wear them in summer.

  7. #7
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    I picked up a pair of Helikon US BDU's and compared to the 5.11 tactical pants they are ten times better and allow complete freedom of movement which the 5.11's certainly do not. I also much prefer the cut and fit of the Helikon's compared to the horrible 5.11's. Maybe 5.11 have improved their tactical pants since I bought a pair nearly 4 years ago? I'll stick with Helikon for now, though.

  8. #8
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    I done a wee blog on these a while back, So just to update i still have them ,hardwearing material but the thread they sew them with does not match !Mines have burst in several places crotch etc.As for the 5.11 i like the setup but the fit is shocking ,The crotch sits half way down the thigh so this make them hard work just to walk in !
    Not all those who wander are lost !

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    I done a wee blog on these a while back, So just to update i still have them ,hardwearing material but the thread they sew them with does not match !Mines have burst in several places crotch etc.As for the 5.11 i like the setup but the fit is shocking ,The crotch sits half way down the thigh so this make them hard work just to walk in !
    Oh dear, that doesn't sound promising looks like I'll have to continue my search for some hardwearing trousers that doesn't tear at the crotch.

  10. #10
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    I have given up on most brands of trousers and only wear Haglofs outdoors now, stunning but even in the sale three times that price. In terms of pound per outing I find them better value though. These Helikons are getting good reviews and I like the look of their softshell jackets.

    As for the pocket on the calf. I was told - as they are tactical trousers, when fired upon the tactical wearer will drop toone knee to return fire. The easiest accessible pocket for the next magazine will be on their right calf! It is also a great place to put car keys when doing stuff like mountain boarding and stupid activities as you are very very unlikely to fall on that spot, I always fall on my phone or keys when they are on my hip.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.- Benjamin Franklin

    http://s124.photobucket.com/albums/p...ifeandleather/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    I done a wee blog on these a while back, So just to update i still have them ,hardwearing material but the thread they sew them with does not match !Mines have burst in several places crotch etc.As for the 5.11 i like the setup but the fit is shocking ,The crotch sits half way down the thigh so this make them hard work just to walk in !
    I got a pair of these off heinnie a while back, have'nt really worn them as I too was a bit dissapointed with the finish. The thread had already started to loosen round the crutch and I hadn't even tryed them on. I know heinnie would have refunded but I couldn't be asked to be honest. They are in the maybe back up box for now.

    Material wise I dont think these are any better than the budget/market trader M65/BDU, W/E etc and other military cut cheap trousers. I bought another set of 5.11 TDU cheap from ebay, they are so much better in terms of build quality, function and fit when sat side by side and not that much more expensive. I'll probably look at getting a couple of pairs of the tac-lite material for next summer, if we get one.

    If not I think I'll stick with Issue CS95 for summer as DPM doesn't bother me
    Last edited by lostplanet; 30-09-2012 at 21:22.
    Regards,

    Lostplanet

    " Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. " Albert Szent-Györgyi

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougster View Post
    As for the pocket on the calf. I was told - as they are tactical trousers, when fired upon the tactical wearer will drop toone knee to return fire. The easiest accessible pocket for the next magazine will be on their right calf!
    Not actually true, to reach a pocket on the right leg requires somebody to remove their hand from the pistol grip of the weapon (unless they are left handed)- something that wouldn't happen- mag changes are generally done with the left hand. The pocket wouldn't be used for a magazine, possibly a pocket knife or similar. The elastic loops on the outside are designed specifically for cyalume light sticks- often the IR ones so that you can be identified as friendly through NVGs.

  13. #13
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    Ah you mean "pants" in the American sense.

    I was expecting a much different thread.....

    "He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom."

  14. #14

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    The helikon pants are still going strong my only problem with them is that I would like them to be a little bigger around the crotch and the waist.

  15. #15
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    I have worn mine once and the stitching is coming out on two of the pockets already.
    I like the fit but so far the build quality is poor.
    Here and there.

  16. #16

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    Sorry to report a massive tear in my helikon pants from the scrotch to the knee, I was doing a sparring session with a friend and I stretched and it tore. I don't know where I go from here, I'm going to France on monday, I need to find some durable pants fast.

  17. #17
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    Sorry to hear that. I've just bought a pair of these as well.

    The other pair I was considering before I got them, which may now be of use to you, were Dickies Eisenhower trousers. I haven't tried them however the brand is usually quite hard wearing, they have cordura knees and hems and also come in olive green. Perhaps someone else here has a pair and can comment further. For sub £30 they look very promising.

    Gordon

  18. #18
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    I've had three pairs of these for ages now (year and a half or so). Very hard wearing and comfy, no failed stitching, had to resew one waistband button. The waist adjusters are made of metal, and trigger airport detectors, so I cut them off. I would say that the dark greens are starting to fade a little. I think I'd be happy to buy again.
    Nomad

    Bushcraft: Farting about in the woods with fires and knives and bits of stick.

  19. #19

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    Hi there
    Strange to read of problems with these trousers... coming up to a nearly a year since my first post and I've worn both these pairs almost daily during that time...occasionally wearing Craghoppers in the hotter months.

    Mine have been a very good and comfortable trouser so far. No tearing, no stitching coming undone, no rips or other abnormal wear.

    Virtually every pair of Craghoppers has ripped at the crotch but the Helikon are still going strong.

  20. #20
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    I have three pairs of these also, and they are great, hard wearing, practical and quite smart compared to other combat type trousers.
    He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his deserts are small,
    Who dares not put it to the touch,
    To win or lose it all.

  21. #21
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    I'll add that I've found them fine in warm weather - was in Singapore for a few days in August last year, up to 34° with sweat-bucket humidity. At no point did I feel that the trousers were too heavy, even though my upper body felt rather sweaty at times in a Craghoppers shirt, sometimes with a t-shirt underneath. In fact, the trousers in that environment didn't even enter my head until I saw this thread.
    Nomad

    Bushcraft: Farting about in the woods with fires and knives and bits of stick.

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    I bought a pair of these. Unfortunately, despite the waist and length being fine, the 'fit' was far too tight for me.

    They were also less 'substantial' feeling than I was expecting.

    Then again, my 5.11s (both canvas and Taclite), that other people have said that they don't get on with, are a great fit on me (as are my other trousers from USA-based companies) so I've now bought another pair of those instead.

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