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Like most geeks, I have specific needs for tools I carry on my person. I must have a pocket on my shirt (including t-shirts) for a Moleskine Cahier, a Hipster PDA, and a Varsity fountain pen, and pants pockets for earbuds and wallet, belt with iPhone and Leatherman Wave, etc. So I can relate to this piece in the recent Cool Tools e-letter, by MAKE contributor Todd Lappin, about his use of these heavy-duty, cheap uniform trousers with a “sap” pocket (cell-phone-sized pocket in the right rear leg area), used by law enforcement types:

copPants.jpg

Until someone sees fit to design a proper pair of dress pants that can accommodate a mobile phone, I found an acceptable solution in the pages of Galls, my favorite law-enforcement catalog. Beat cops wear dress-style slacks as a basic part of their uniforms, and some of those slacks come with a “sap pocket” — a small pocket built into the rear of the leg that’s used to hold billy clubs, blackjacks, or flashlights. For civilians, however, a sap pocket is also great for holding cell phones.

Every day I carry a wallet, a chunky set of keys, and a mobile phone. I also spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, so I keep my rear pockets empty to avoid discomfort. That leaves me with two pockets in the front, and three things to carry. The alternatives (belt clips and carpenter’s pants) just don’t cut it for me. Personally, I think belt clips are conspicuous and a little bit tacky. Carpenter’s pants have a slim pocket on the side that’s ideal for carrying a phone. Trouble is, it’s inappropriate to dress like a contractor when working in a professional office environment.

Galls DutyPro trousers pants aren’t as nice as the dress clothes you’ll find at Barney’s or Saks. On the other hand, they’re uniform tough, they’re permanent-press for easy care, and they’re cheap — less than $25 per pair with free hemming included. The rear leg pocket is perfectly sized for an iPhone, and my mobile slides in without creating a bulge or altering the basic fit. Alternatively, if I ever need to carry a billy club into a business meeting, well, I expect these pants will be good for that too.

–Todd Lappin

DutyPro Uniform Trousers
$25
Available from Galls

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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