The World’s Toughest Workwear

Who'd have guessed? The Swedes make the manliest gear around

Before I encountered the Blaklader shorts I had been wearing jumpsuits made by Dickies or jeans from Carhartt. Both had a limited amount of pocket space, which meants I had to wear a tool belt, which became a nuisance to take off whenever I sat down to drive a vehicle. Plus, the materials constantly failed me: Neither the jumpsuit or jeans fared well against my homemade biodiesel or splashes of sulfuric acid from the battery bank.

Then Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools blog tipped me off to the Swedish workwear known as Blaklader, now widely available in the States. After three years of hard labor my lone pair of Blaklader shorts are just getting started. They begin a bit stiff and bulky, but even as they soften with wear, the durability remains. Well-placed utility pockets and huge back pouches fit handfuls of screws, my iPhone, side cutters, bailing wire, vice grips and most hand tools. Working on my WVO car, which needs frequent care, I’ve saved plenty of time by simply having all of my wrenches and vice grips in my pockets.

The only flaw in my shorts is a punctured a hole in one of the utility pockets. Well, that and I’m limited to warm days and non-welding projects. But now that I know how they hold up, I’m thinking of investing in a full pair of pants.

Looks like they now make vests and kilts. Maybe in three years, I’ll go shopping again.