Walls Ditch Digger and “Kick It”Stretch Pants Review
Article by Ralph Mroz
What’s one tool that you use every day, all day long? Your pants. Jackets, sweatshirts, and even t-shirts may come off during the day, but your pants stay on (at least I hope they do if you’re doing residential work!) This article is about Walls Ditch Digger Double Knee Pants
Stretch Work Pants – New Trend
One of the work pant trends that’s come on strong the last few years is adding a bit of stretch to them, and it’s a welcome trend. No tradie sits or stands still during the day. In fact most days they’re usually spending time bent over, kneeling, or scrunched up — maybe in a crawl space or behind something, and they’re constantly changing positions from standing upright to lying on their backs, and everything in between. Much of this time is spent in uncomfortable — sometimes downright un-natural — positions where they’re trying to shift around to get the leverage or bracing they need to use a tool or set something in place. It’s nature of the job.
Problems With Traditional Pants
Traditionally they’re wearing pants made of a material that doesn’t give. When they kneel, the pants bind; when they bend, the pants cut into their stomach. Let’s talk about that stomach for a minute. Your stomach naturally expands and contracts throughout the day, and throughout the seasons. A pair of pants that feels great in the morning when you’re standing up with a t-shirt tucked in will often feel tight later in the day, or when a heavy flannel shirt is tucked in, or when you bend over. While we can cinch in and let out our belts to adjust to these changes, traditional pants themselves don’t accommodate them – we’re stuck with the exact waist diameter that the pants came with.
All this is why work pants that give a little is a welcome idea. We’re not talking about those goofy elastic-waist jeans that old men wear, nor about the Lycra tights that bicyclists use. We’re talking about regular, heavy-duty, long-wearing canvas work pants with just enough give in the fabric and in the waist to make the day comfortable. The work’s hard enough as it is.
Who Is Walls?
I’ve been looking at two such pants from Walls Outdoor Goods (or just “Walls”). Walls started in 1938 in Texas, making work wear for the men of the oil and gas industries. Walls had more of a regional reputation until recently, but it was always well-known in some circles. Remember Red Adair, the famous “Hellfighter” who put out raging oil and gas well fires all over the world? He wore Walls.
Do you hunt? Well, Walls founded the modern camo hunting gear industry as the original exclusive apparel licensee of both Realtree® and Mossy Oak® patterns. Since they were bought by Williamson-Dickie in 2013, Walls work wear has been easily available far and wide.
Walls Ditch Digger Double Knee Pants Features
Walls Ditch Digger Double Knee Pants are made from 11 ounce brushed duck that’s 98% cotton and 2% Spandex (see here for more information about the differences between duck, canvas and fabric weights). Other basic specs:
- An elastic section of the waistband
- Gusseted crotch
- Relaxed fit
- Articulated knees
- Reinforced kick plate at the back bottom of the legs
- Water repellent
- Deep pockets
- Right side tool/phone pocket
Oh That Reinforced Knee
I’ve never warmed to double knee pants before because they were always stiff and restrictive when I knelt, plus they just felt too heavy for me, but I’m glad I tried these. Rob is a big proponent of pants with padded knees, but that’s a whole different article.
Related Article: Wearing work Pants With Padded Knees
I had to re-check the specs when I got them because they were so comfortable. The 11 ounce duck — which is heavy-weight material — was comfortable and broken-in, as per Walls’ reputation, but not too soft — the pants still felt like they were very substantial. The double knees weren’t restrictive in the least, due no doubt to the 2% Spandex.
Double Stitched Construction
There’s double and triple needle stitching virtually throughout, the center back belt loop is an extra-wide 2.5 inches, and all pockets — the usual five and a tool pocket on the right leg — are wide and deep; there’s little worse in a work pant than pockets that are too small to be useful.
Deep Durable Pockets
All pockets have an extra-wear band at the top. The inside of the front pockets are made of very sturdy material that you’d really have to work hard at to wear through. And for bonus points: those inside front pockets are made of orange material with jobsite safety rules printed on them (you have to have the pants off to see this, but it is a cool touch!)
Let’s Talk SRETCH!
The stretch aspect of the Ditch Digger pants is of two kinds. First, the 2% Spandex, as just mentioned, lets the pants give as you kneel. Yet the material feels just like regular duck canvas and there’s no indication of the Spandex other than the comfort it provides. The other stretch aspect of them is the hidden elastic waistband sections. These two features combine to make them utterly comfortable. The fit is relaxed — not like clown pants, but not skinny either; in other words, just what you want in a work pant. After all, comfort and function are king when working — I’m not trying to showcase my buns.
I particularly liked the fact that the Ditch Diggers were comfortable around the lower abdomen – the section between the crotch and the waist. Some brands are fitted too tightly (meaning uncomfortably) there, even on my fairly slim 5’10”, 170 pound frame. The ride is at the waist, not below it, which is perfect — I never understood the appeal of low-riders in work pants.
Do they Shrink?
If you don’t baby your pants when you work you shouldn’t have to when you wash them either. I tried on the Ditch Diggers when they arrived, and then washed them in cold water and dried them with the dryer setting as high as it goes. They shrunk maybe an eighth of an inch in length and the waist, which is to say not enough to notice. And speaking of water, their claim to be water repellent is true – water does bed up on them (although I’m sure a downpour would eventually soak them).
Overall Thoughts On The Ditch Digger Pants
The bottom line with the Walls Ditch Diggers is that they are very, very comfortable to work in because they’re not tight and they give when you move. They are highly functional because of their roomy pockets, and they’re durable because of the heavy duck and reinforced stress points. They look professional, too. I wound up liking these pants a whole lot — seriously, a whole lot. If I could wave a magic wand the only thing I’d add is another tool pocket on the left leg. They’re keepers and will get a lot of use.
Walls Kick-It Khaki-Styled Trousers
Walls “Kick It” pants are khaki-styled trousers, made of the same 98% cotton duck / 2% Spandex blend, only in a somewhat lighter 8.9 ounce material. I’ve often thought that this style of duck pant is under appreciated. I see them as ideal for someone who needs to be at a jobsite, doesn’t mind getting a little dirt on their clothes, but who probably isn’t working with the tools and needs to present a neat, professional appearance. Maybe you’re meeting with a project’s architect or engineer at the site; maybe you’re meeting with home owners that day. In either case you don’t want to be all dressed up — that looks too slick, nor do you want to dress in ragged, dirty work clothes. These pants, with a neat shirt, strike just the right tone.
With double and triple stitching, deep reinforced pockets, a drop-in phone pocket, and gusseted crotch, the “Kick It” pants will last you for years, even as it projects a squared-away image. The fit is not as loose as the Ditch Diggers, but not skinny — more of a happy medium that works for everyone. I’ve been wearing these for casual wear instead of jeans and really do love them. Like all Walls’ products they come with a lifetime unconditional guarantee.