What are Carpenter Pants?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Carpenter pants are work pants which are specifically designed to accommodate an assortment of tools. Painters and other manual laborers, as well as carpenters, wear the pants. Several companies are well known for manufacturing carpenter style pants which are rugged and well designed. Some of these companies also make a variation for women that has been tailored to fit the female body more comfortably. A pair of carpenter pants can be rather expensive, but since they are designed for hard labor and extended wear, most workers feel that the price is worth it.

Carpenter pants have a wide waist to accommodate a tool belt.
Carpenter pants have a wide waist to accommodate a tool belt.

The design of carpenter pants incorporates two primary features which distinguish a pair of the pants from normal pants. The first is a loose, flexible fit which allows the wearer to squat with ease. The loose cut of carpenter pants also promotes freedom of movement. The second feature is a plethora of pockets, tabs, and loops designed to hold tools of the trade. Many pairs of carpenter pants also have a wide waist to accommodate a tool belt.

Carpenter pants may have a twisted loop on the side for hanging a hammer.
Carpenter pants may have a twisted loop on the side for hanging a hammer.

The loop for a hammer along the side of a pair of carpenter pants is a familiar design feature. However, the pants also have wide, deep pockets which can hold tools like measuring tapes, along with smaller tool pockets to hold screwdrivers and similar items. The waistline is usually nipped in to ensure that the carpenter pants fit snugly on the body, even when heavily weighed down with tools and equipment. Carpenter pants are also generally boot cut, so that they can be worn over heavy construction boots.

Typically, heavy materials such as cotton duck and canvas are used to make carpenter pants. The pants are usually also reinforced with rivets and double stitching. Some companies pad the knees for extra comfort and reinforcement, since the knees of work pants tend to see a lot of wear. Colors such as taupe are common, and the pants are usually safe to wash and dry at high heat.

The fashion industry has also adopted carpenter pants, along with many other aspects of working class apparel. Fashion carpenter pants tend to be made out of more lightweight material, making them unsuitable for serious work. The lines of the pants may also be smoothed with a reduction in loops and pockets. Carpenter pants designed for work can usually be found at specific supply stores or through online retailers, while fashion carpenter pants are stocked in department stores and boutiques.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


There is no good reason for the loop to be on the left side unless you are left handed. I've been a carpenter for over 40 years, so I have a little bit of knowledge in this area. Most people are right handed, most carpenters are holding their chisel, nails, block of wood, etc., in their left hand long before they think of grabbing their hammer. That being said, try grabbing your hammer with your left hand when it's already holding something. I'm pretty sure no carpenters posted these answers.


The hammer loop is on the left side for the same reason swords and guns are harnessed on the left side of the body: it provides a more fluid withdrawal of the tool. Putting it on the right side would make for awkward arm positions to take the tool out, plus in a crouching position you would have way too much arm length, making for even more awkward and longer withdrawal times, especially if the hammer is large or long-handled.


To Anon35493, I have been aksing this same question for years and have never been given any logical answer. In my thinking, which is probally wrong, if we'll say most people use their *right* hand to hammer with, it should be on the right. Here's hoping someone can give us an answer.


Why is the hammer loop always on the left side of carpenter pants?


BlakLader workwear offers an exceptional line of carpenter pants. Their line of work pants features built-in knee pad pockets in which removable knee pads are inserted. They are very comfortable and offer great knee protection.

Post your comments
Forgot password?