Top Ten Things You Can Carry In Cargo Pants Pockets

Hello, you probably have awesome things and need a place to carry them. It’s possible you are a purse person or that you use a messenger bag, but ultimately, I think you know what the true solution is when it comes to carrying all the things: cargo pants.

I wear cargo pants at least 40 hours a week because I’m a lesbian and also because I am an AV manager at my school’s student union. The dress code is the very ambiguous “khakis,” and while my mother urged me to get these pocket-less monsters called “slacks,” I followed my little gay heart and opted for cargo pants.

The slacks are voting for Mitt Romney

I used to buy all of my cargo pants from Old Navy (all one style, all one size, three different colors) because they fit well and last forever, but unfortunately, Old Navy no longer sells cargo pants in women’s sizes (wtf). Their men’s cuts are basically identical, though, don’t worry. Also, as my friends have pointed out over and over again, there are probably other places that sell cargo pants.

I mostly use them to carry keys and Mac adaptors and my overly butch multi-tool (just kidding, there’s no such thing as overly butch), but since I don’t carry a purse, I need a place to put all my stuff in the event that I carry more than that. Luckily, my cargo pants can carry plenty — and it’s pretty much all cooler than anything that would fit in a “clutch” or what have you.

A Gameboy Advance (color, obvs)

Cargo Pants used DAMP! it’s super effective!

I’ve never played Pokémon, but I’m 84% of the way through Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup. So.



Only in your mouth

Yes, cargo pants are useful for sneaking candy into movie theaters, but it is a truth universally acknowledged by Tumblr that Nutella is at least twice as good as any candy, except possibly for peanut butter M&Ms. I would also like to take this opportunity to plug the idea that someone should invent fat-free Nutella.


A Harmonica

Do you know why you suck at harmonica? Because you don’t practice enough. You should carry one around with you all the time. Also, what happens if you run into a cute girl who says she loves harmonica but you don’t have one with you? What then?


A Naked Mole Rat

If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

But only for very short periods of time, such as the time it takes to snap a picture because it would be cute. Please don’t sit on/ kill your rodent. Sidenote, Puppy In my Pocket is still a thing.


Paperback Books

courtesy of Intern Madi

If your pocket was under an Undetectable Extension Charm

Instead of taking out your phone when you get bored, you have the option to take out a book, which is just better for so many reasons. Also, on a scale of one to Rachel Maddow, you look like about a nine in intelligence when you’re waiting for the bus and reading Waiting for Godot.


A Digital Camera

courtesy of Brittani

obligatory kitten picture

Never miss a shot.


A Flask

this is where the whiskey comes from

Never miss a shot.


Sex Toys

I’m just saying.



I meant these to look like cargo pants, but they could also be an alien with a sweatband.

Play-Doh is the most versatile substance in the universe, followed immediately by carbon and the glue on the back of sticky notes.


Reward Stickers

I have found that there are very few people whose day cannot be somewhat improved by the sudden appearance of a “great job!” sticker. Non pants-related also though I guess? Whatever works for you.

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Intern Grace

Grace Ellis has been writing and making hack-job graphics for Autostraddle since 2011 and is a co-creator and co-writer of the comic book series Lumberjanes. She is mostly an intern in name only. (Mostly.) She lives in Columbus, Ohio because why anything. Also, she wants to write the Black Widow movie and feels like if she just keeps telling people, eventually she will be allowed to do it. She has a Twitter and a Tumblr, both of which are pretty above average.

Grace has written 89 articles for us.


  1. I think I just had a heart attack upon opening the Puppy in my Pocket website. A bad heart attack, that is. Not one of the ‘aw cute’-variety, but a ‘OMG SCARED TO DEATH WHAT’S THIS NOISE’-one.

    Also, yay cargopants.

  2. Unfortunately work dress code prevents me from wearing cargo pants in my day-to-day life. But I always keep a pair or two as my “concert pants” b/c having to hold/keep track of a bag at a concert is just bananas. Also I can sneak in my little digital camera.

  3. grace, you and i are usually so in sync, but i am going to have to SERIOUSLY disagree with you here. cargo pants are only okay if you are hiking in the woods, or if you are a spy, and in that case they have to be black.

    i am speaking as a former theatre lighting technician, so i know all about functional pants and carrying stuff. i found a way to do it without torpedoing my credibility as a human that knows how to dress herself. you can too.

    we are in a fight.

  4. This is relevant to my interests.

    Also, if you are in a fight with yodelmachine, Grace, I got your back. I have an extra slingshot and a bag of marshmallows THAT I KEEP IN MY CARGO PANTS POCKET. Take that, yodelmachine.

  5. Also, I just spent more time on the “In My Pocket” website than any 25 year old should…I was a fan of the ones in the ’90s, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I NEED these new ones. I am so glad I live in a world where I can buy flocked miniature stingray or musk ox figures.

  6. As a wannabe poet, I keep my cargo pants full of notepads, pens, candy, a flask and any other miscellaneous items that may be relevant at the time lol gotta love the full functionality of cargo pants.

  7. It’s okay, Grace, you’ve just made me fall even deeper in internet love with you. NO BIG DEAL. I’ll just be here, holding flowers and singing showtunes under your internet window until Girlfriend Meg comes internet outside to sock me in the mouth.

  8. I am consistently irritated with the miniscule pockets in women’s pants. Because I have nothing significant to carry around? Please. I would carry a flask at all times if my pants pockets weren’t the size of a quarter.

  9. you need to make stickers that – in little tiny font – say “your work has not gone unnoticed” and give them out. or you know, you could carry cards that say that. that have k-stew on them like the one you hand delivered to me that is hanging on my fridge.

  10. My sister got me cargo pants one Christmas. The next Christmas, flannel. Followed that with a Glee shirt. What I’m trying to say is, I think my sister is ok with gay. Next year if I see a very large box with air holes, I’m going to assume she got me an inordinate amount of kittens or a woman that is just my type. Both are acceptable. Thanks to Haviland, Puppy in My Pocket will always be a thing. Also, Kim Possible.

    Plus, never miss a shot/never miss a shot? You’re really good at being a person.

  11. I tend to wear camo pants bought from the army surplus store (the big sister of cargo pants). Sure they look daggy as hell sometimes, but they’re comfy and have enormous pockets to carry things in.

  12. I’ve always steered the way of jeans and jean shorts with big pockets and a sizeable carabiner for assorted keys, shackles and other assorted junk on days when I’m tinkering with boats, but I’ll keep an eye out for decent cargo pants.

  13. Holy shit, Exhibit B (harmonica) makes so much sense, no wonder I feel incomplete whenever I wear my cargo slash pedal pants. I’m missing the music!!

    In short, the inner girl scout in me wholeheartedly agrees with Intern Grace and this post.

  14. “Regular pants have FIVE POCKETS plus ZILLIONS OF BELT LOOPS. What are you carrying that you can’t find a place for??”

    Safety glasses
    A speed square
    The tape measure that refuses to stay clipped to some of my pockets
    Drywall screws, so they don’t stab me in the thigh
    Silly Putty, to keep my fidgety hands busy while I’m studying drawings
    Water bottle
    Gaff tape
    All the miscellaneous hardware I might need when working on scenery from atop a genie lift that’s 30ft in the air
    An impact driver (DeWalt, of course)
    The kitten that turned up in our shop one day

    Sorry to randomly jump in here. I’m feelin’ a little feisty. Blame the rum & Coke…which I also carry in my cargo pockets from time to time. :)

    –A scenic carpenter

  15. I started wearing cargos at work because I cant wear any tools on belts, it’s better for me to keep them in pockets. If I wear anything on a belt, I had(have) this tendency to catch said tools on chairs, tables, furniture knobs, door locks…which would result in the tool being ripped off my belt or more common, me being ripped off my feet.
    with cargo pants, I can carry keys in my pocket and sit down without them stabbing ovaries, always a plus.

  16. you know what’s better than cargo pants? TRENCHCOATS. all the functionality (i carry my not-minuscule camera, my kindle, my phone, my ipod, my wallet, extra gloves, cigarettes AND emergency make-up things in my coat quite easily) and none of the ugly that is cargo pants. because let’s face it: they’re ugly. unless you’re lara croft. obviously if you live in a place that isn’t -2 degrees all the time then i concede that a trenchcoat my not be the best idea.

    also in a big black trenchcoat you can pretend you’re sherlock holmes swooping around london which is a main priority in my life.

  17. You know what doesn’t fit into the pockets of a pair of normal pants?
    -my wallet (a regular sized, men’s leather wallet that barely has anything in it)
    -my cell phone
    -my hand
    -a quarter
    Women’s pants pockets fit absolutely nothing. This is why cargo pants are amazing.

  18. I was agreeing with Grace until we hit the unexpected theatre safety section, so I am currently reviewing my stance, although I deal more often with actors than lighting instruments. Just purchased a pair at Grace approved Old Navy and my partner’s comment was “I like cargo pants because you like wearing them,” which is also causing a cargo pant stance review.

  19. Although I’ll concede their usefulness, cargo pants just aren’t my style – possibly because I’ll always associate them with my mom. Plus, if someone like Michelle Rodriguez is wearing them, they’re horrible. In that she should take them off, immediately.

  20. Love this post. I was considering ditching all my cargo pants but on second thought . . . if I can carry Play-Doh and Nutella around in my pants all day I can’t see it as a losing situation at all.

  21. i like a lot of butch things, but i can’t do cargo pants, except for the pair i wear to work that i got for $3.

    they’re useful, yes, but so are jackets and purses. and i can usually put a decent amount of stuff in the pockets of my Levis.

    I will say that on the right girl, they are totally sexy. especially on the floor.

  22. Am i the only one who wears cargo pants to the clubs? :-$ I mean, i can keep my money, keys, cigarrettes there… What else do i need? No purses! I can dance with all my stuffs on me… They’re the best ever!!

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