Two Weeks and One E3 in Betabrand Couch Commando Cargo Pants

I've never worn a pair of prototype pants before. But Betabrand, the San Francisco-based company who makes sweatshirts designed using DARPA technology or pants designed to let you eat a lot of food, decided to send me the very first pair of their new "Couch Commando" cargo pants.

I wouldn't go far as to say they're gamer pants, but Betabrand is certainly not afraid to remind customers that they're the perfect clothing to wear while killing zombies, a claim that caused my inner post-apocalyptic OCD to flare up—these are far too thin! What about clawing paraplegic ankle-biters?—until I realized they meant killing zombies in games.

They're nice pants. Let's just get that out of the way now. I think I'm going to wear them a long time. (Do you have to send back review pants? Maybe I'll go try to trade them in at Game Stop.)

I wasn't sure I was going to like them at first.

The Couch Commandos are thin, not the thick canvas-like cotton of traditional cargo pants, but a very soft cotton that actually catches wind and moves freely. Not at all like my favorite khakis of all time, the Mountain Khakis Alpine Utility Pant, pants so thick they can almost stand up on their own when new.

Two Weeks and One E3 in Betabrand Couch Commando Cargo Pants

But like the name suggests, the Couch Commandos aren't for hiking through the foothills; they're for hanging out. And it only took a couple of wears before it clicked for me: the Couch Commandos feel like sweatpants but look nice enough to wear in public. Not dressy, certainly, but nice. (The orange lining inside the olive drab fabric of my pair takes them quickly out of "classic" styling, but not-so-subtly broadcast that you're wearing a nicely sewn product.)

You won't be wearing them to a white collar job, but that's not the point. I did wear them at E3 with a nice linen shirt and this sort of silly grey sport jacket made from thick sweatshirt material that I got from a Macy's in downtown L.A. and it all worked. I looked nice, but casual nice.

Oh, nearly forgot: You won't ever be tucking in shirts with these pants, because they're drawstring at top. And at bottom for that matter.

Very, very comfortable pants, these are. And great for button downs or t-shirts or polos. They've become my toss-on-and-go pants for the last two weeks—and the only pants I don't immediately change out of when I get home.

I'm taking a vacation next week to ride my new motorcycle up to Nova Scotia. (If the Canadians let me in. I still haven't gotten all my paperwork printed out.) It's definitely summer in New England now, so I'll be riding in shorts underneath full-length mesh armor when it's hot. But the pants I'm packing for that funky temperature between "hot" and "not so cold I want to zip in my armor's thermal liner" I'll be bringing along the Couch Commandos. They're comfortable enough I'm kind of hoping there's going to be a bit of a chill.

You can buy Couch Commandos at Betabrand.com for $85.