Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Apparel Review


They Had Me At the Button : AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts


Date: 10/13/19
Tackle Type: Apparel
Manufacturer: AFTCO
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.50 - EDITOR'S CHOICE

Once that thermometer crests about sixty five degrees I practically live in shorts. Pleated, flat front, cargo, I have a good collection of cotton shorts that I wear fishing, camping, traveling, doing work around the house and more. The shorts I've actually always found most comfortable were board shorts essentially swim trunks. They're lighter than cotton shorts, less restrictive, there's no fastening button to lose, and they dry relatively quickly when you get them wet. The trouble is, they're not typically made with the pocket layout of everyday shorts. AFTCO has a solution. Here's our very belated look at their Tactical Fishing Shorts.


AFTCO Tactical Shorts Specifications

Material 95% Polyester 5% elastane
Sizes 30 through 42 in even numbers
Colors 5
Features 2 way rip stop construction, sublimated camo, water resistant, plier pockets, 21" outseam
Origin Made in China
MSRP $61.99

Introducing AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts

Quality/Construction: AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Short is the rough equivalent to the traditional cargo shorts only made from a material more akin to swim trunks. The material features two way rip stop construction and is water resistant. It has the typical belt loops, fastening button, zipper and there are two back pockets, two front pockets, a plier pocket on the right leg, and a cargo pocket on the left leg.


I received my first pair of these shorts in the Fall of 2017. I now have 5 pair

Real World Tests: I received my first pair of these shorts in the Fall of 2017 when gifted a pair at a writer's conference held by several prominent fishing industry manufacturers including of course AFTCO. I now have five pair and have worn them for so much more than just fishing, including international travel, building projects, and as everything that daily life throws my way.

The Tactical Shorts are made from a rip-stop, nylon material

Sizing: AFTCO's Tactical Shorts come in seven sizes from waist size 30 through 42. I am literally a 33. On my not so fit days, I wear the 34, but I have to wear a belt to keep the shorts up. I don't like belts. On my more fit days, I can wear the 32 without a belt. Sizing is pretty traditional and between the waist sizes, I don't really notice any difference in terms of restriction down along my hips when kneeling down. I can't say the same for some of my cotton shorts. The fit on a couple I have is less forgiving.

The material is light and non-restrictive

Mobility: Cotton shorts can also limit mobility. Not in a very obvious or restrictive way, but moving around from seated to standing or kneeling down, bending over, etc., sometimes shorts can bind a little. AFTCO's Tactical Shorts have a very comfortable cut. I barely realize they are there. The material is light and my movement is not restricted in anyway.

The fastening button on front is secured with fabric rather than thread

Features: One of the features I really enjoy about these shorts is the lightweight material they're made from. AFTCO markets it as water resistant. I find it more quick drying than water resistant but I water does bead on it at first. But because the material is so light, they also pack in your suitcase or duffle bag very easily and take up far less room than cotton shorts.

The AFTCO Tactical Shorts fold down to about the same height as a light weight t-shirt or one made from performance fabric. Cotton shorts are far more bulky to pack.

Side pockets for pliers and other tools are standard

Design & Ergonomics: The big thing with fishing shorts I guess are pockets. Pockets for accessories not just your wallet, keys and cell phone. AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts come with a plier pocket on the right leg. It has a Velcro closure tab in the middle to keep your pliers from falling out and two weep holes on the bottom to let the pocket breathe so your pliers can dry.

This outer front pocket on the left leg is a good place to store your cell phone

There's another accessory pocket on the left leg with a large flap and Velcro closure. The two back pockets have a similar flap also with Velcro closure. My absolute favorite thing about these shorts, however, is the way AFTCO secures the fastening button on the front. I cannot tell you how many times the threadwork for that very same button on my cotton shorts comes loose and has to be re-sewn. AFTCO secures the button on these shorts with a loop of nylon fabric that is then secured to the shorts with an almost finish seam thread pattern. It is not coming loose!

It is secured with a dab of Velcro (as are the rear pockets)

The shorts are offered in one of five different fishing camo colors. The camo pattern is the same, but the base colors are different. There was a time the shorts were offered in solid khaki and maybe one other solid color too. That's what made them a great cross over pair of shorts, but it appears AFTCO is all in on the fishing camo now for these shorts. I can see a marlin in the pattern and a finless, one eye blob of a fish that reminds me of Jackall's Cross Tail Shad.

AFTCO's recently introduced their Nukam Fishing Shorts

AFTCO recently debuted their Nukam Fishing Shorts which turn out to be essentially the same as their Tactical Shorts, but with a new and updated camo pattern. I purchased a pair to check them out and the material, fit, and pocket layout is the same.

The Nukam pattern is a little more abstract than the Tactical, and the Nukam is currently only offered in two colors. If you find yourself a fan of the Tactical's fit, you'll enjoy the Nukam as well.

The Nukam short is essentially the same as the company's Tactical Shorts only with a new, updated camo pattern

Price & Applications: Gone are the days of "affordable" $25 or $30 shorts. I'm aging myself again, but it always shocks me to find a pair of standard, everyday cotton shorts runs about $50 - $70 these days depending on the brand. AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts retail for $62. Right in the middle of this average.

AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts retail for $62


AFTCO Tactical Shorts Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Well thought out and nicely made pair of shorts 10
Performance Great fit, quick drying material, pockets for just about everything you need fishing or not 10
Price Right in line with a normal everyday pair of shorts 7
Features rip stop pattern in the material, unique material fastened button 8
Design (Ergonomics) You have to be ok with the camo 8
Application I wear these shorts everywhere 8

Total Score


Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ Lightweight, quick drying material - No more non-camo solid colors
+ Comfortable fit - Usually requires a belt
+ Button is held in very securely  

AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts have won this Editor's Choice Award

Conclusion: While I really like the fun, fish camo pattern AFTCO is using on these shorts, I'm a little bummed they're not offering the solid colors anymore. The khaki pair I have is actually my go-to when wearing the shorts around town and during non-outdoor activities. Otherwise, if you couldn't tell by now, these shorts really tackle my enthusiasm. AFTCO's Tactical Fishing Shorts have won this Editor's Choice Award.


Looking for a AFTCO Tactical or Nukam Shorts?

Try TackleWarehouse : Tactical Shorts : Nukam Shorts









Copyright 2000-2023 TackleTour LLC All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy information