This post was written by Brandon Cobb, one of our current Hubbard Fellows. Brandon came to us wanting as much land stewardship work (and other experiences) as possible to supplement what he learned during his academic career at Yale. As you’ll see in this post, he’s gotten plenty of land management experience and has the pants to prove it. – CH
Growing up, I loved playing in dirt. I remember my dad would get truckloads of dirt delivered to our house in Oklahoma and I would be the first one out of the door to play in it. Back then, what I wore didn’t matter. If I wore out a pair of pants or got them dirty, my mom would always be there to either give them a good cleaning or take me to the store to get another pair.
Those times have changed. I’m fresh out of college, and pinching pennies is my middle name. Whatever pair of pants I decide to use for working in the prairie, they’d better be able to last me at least a season. Well, let me tell you, that has been anything but the case. In one season alone, I have torn my way through three sets of work pants and am currently on my fourth. Upon hearing this statistic, Chris introduced me to another fellow Alex’s work pant themed blog post. Somehow, Alex had made it an entire season in just one pair of Dickies work pants. At the end of the blog post he says “The science is still ongoing, but if you’d like to contribute to my (very scientific) research, I’d be curious if you have any good stories about your trusty workpants!” Well Alex, I don’t know if I’d call my work pants “trusty” but I do have some ongoing (very scientific) research to add.
Work Pant 1: The ‘Ol “Reliable”
To be fair to these old Levi jeans, they had already been through hell and back when they came into my possession. They were previously owned and worn by my best friend and college roommate, Andrew. Drew is a Montana farm boy and these jeans got used plenty while working on his dad’s farm. Here’s a picture of Drew picking rocks on the farm while wearing these jeans (notice how much they’ve faded since that picture):
They were passed down to me in college, and they were the first pair of jeans I used when I got to the fellowship. They lasted me a good 3 or 4 months, but unfortunately, they met a fate that you’ll notice seems to be a reoccurring theme with these workpants, the seam rip.
Work Pant 2: The New Guy
After wearing out Drew’s old Levis, I thought it’d be best to go get myself a real pair of work pants. Our preserve manager, Cody, wears nothing but these Wrangler work pants, so I drove up to Menard’s and got myself a pair.
There are a few stains on these, but you can see they’re noticeably less worn than Drew’s old pair. That’s because within the first month or so, tragedy struck once again. Now to be fair, I’m a pretty large lad. I enjoy powerlifting outside of work, and it can be hard for me to find pants that fit both in the waist and in the thighs. That being said though, I’d expect any pair of new work pants to at least last me a season. Thanks for nothing Wrangler.
Work Pant 3: Time to get serious?
At this point, I’m reeling. Will I ever find a work pant that fits? How much money am I going to have to spend before I finally find the one? It was time to get serious, so I busted out my wallet and called up the good folks at Carhartt to send me out a pair of their finest dungarees.
Again, a few stains here and there, but you can tell that these pants haven’t seen a lot of work. Can you guess why?
That’s right, within the first couple of months, we were right back at square one.
Now I’ve only heard good things about Carhartt and I’ve worn plenty of their clothing before so I thought this was an oddity. I called them back up and they quickly gave me a refund and said “those weren’t really work pants they’re more of a “day-to-day” pant, try out our real work pants and you’ll see”. Well with a challenge like that there was no way I was going to back down. A week later it was back to testing.
Work Pant 4: The “Real” Work Pant
So here we are, the end of the line. There’s not another pair after this so these must be the ones, right? Well, sort of.
Coming in Carhartt’s “Hamilton Brown” color, triple stitch seams all around, and with a much sturdier canvas material, these pants have lasted me a good 4 plus months now. They’ve seen me through fencing projects, oil changes, and even a bison roundup.
And just look at that, not a single sign of wear to be found. Good job Carhartt, you had me worried there for a second. Now, just because these Carhartt’s have stood the test of time so far doesn’t mean they’re perfect. The canvas material they use can be quite stiff and they still don’t quite fit my waist to thigh ratio.
So, Alex, based on my extensive research and analysis, here is my call to action. There needs to be a work pant that is just a durable as my current pair of Carhartt’s but with the added flexibility and stretchiness of an athletic fit jean. I’m sure this is a challenge from a materials and durability standpoint, but should someone figure it out, I’ll be the first in line; that’s a guaranteed $50 right there. Should anyone happen to know of that work pant floating around, please send it my way, I will be eternally grateful. But until then, I will keep testing work pants until I find the pair that truly can do it all.