Where to start with this one? Well to get a good idea of the background of these pants I recommend you first take a read of my write ups on the Mk2 and Mk3 Tac Dax and see the foundations on which the V4s have been built.
Before we start I would also like to put in a little disclaimer about my relationship with Plat. While I have no financial bias with them (i.e they don’t pay me), I do have regular contact with some of their team and have been given items to review in the past. That being said, just like your favourite flannel shirt wearing Youtuber I always do my best to poke holes in the gear I write about and any problems I find also go straight back to the guys at Plat to see if it’s an issue they’re aware of. I also bought these trousers with my own actual money, and so have every right to chat shit if I so want to.
The other disclaimer to get out of the way is this: obviously under the current circumstances in the UK I have not been able to put these to any serious use, and so from a durability perspective have only been able to test them as far as being that nonce that walks his dog in combat pants. That being said I have a lot of experience with Platatac products both professionally and recreationally and so am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt that these will also have a long service life. I have been told first hand of a issue on Mk 3’s that caused a pretty major failure, but we’ll get on to that later. Rest assured he’s a trusted source and I will definitely be treating his experience as a warning when using the V4s more rigorously.
So that’s the boring bit out of the way, what the fuck are Tac Dax V4s?
I was lucky enough to know about the V4s several months before their release and have been eagerly anticipating them throughout the new year. I’ve owned every generation of Dax pants from the Mk2s onwards and have always held them in very high regard especially when compared to their American cousins.
The Dax project started back in the early 2000’s when Crye was starting to really make waves in the USSF community, and operators around the world started to go green with envy. Unfortunately (as is still the case now) Crye is and was simply too expensive for the units of smaller nations to adopt on a wide scale and for a long period of time, thanks to their handmade nature and need to be Berry compliant (thanks America and your stupid laws). This didn’t stop the guys at the sharp end of the stick needing the gear around the world and so they started to look elsewhere. The Dax pants were born out of a need by NZSF and were custom built to their specification.
Before I go any further I just want to touch on my pet hate that regular readers will know all about. Cloning. There’s no denying that Dax pants (along with many others) are inherently similar to Crye’s line of combat trousers, and so by rights I should hate them with a passion. The reason I don’t is that the Dax project wasn’t started solely to make a quick buck off someone else’s ideas, but was instead the urgent requirement of people doing dangerous things on a budget. Sure Platatac have made plenty of money off of them, but they also could have charged Crye prices and stopped good men from doing bad work effectively just to make more profit.
What really sets the Dax apart though is the subtle differences born from being developed for a different user group which will form the meat of this review. By the way TL;DR version: they’re pretty damn good.
Features of the V4 Dax pants
There’s quite a lot to go through here so I’m going to try and go top to bottom without flying off on any weird tangents. If I do, bear with me.
Belly to Balls
The top end of the V4s actually have a deceptive amount going on that adds up to a very comfortable pair of trousers. It’s no secret that I’ve hardly got the body of a God; being short-ish, stocky-ish and more recently round-ish all this adds up to me liking a bit of breathing room in my trousers. This means that traditionally I’ve always liked the roominess found in the likes of Crye’s AC/Gen2 pants and not been a great fan of the uber slick style found in G3s. For this reason I decided to go for the bigger end of the size spectrum in my V4s, and I think I found the right balance.
If you’re looking to get a pair for yourself I think I would rate these as G3+ on the “bagginess” scale. They’re comfortably fitted so won’t chop your balls off every time you kneel down, but also don’t flap about like a parachute getting caught on every small to medium sized object that you walk past. A by-product of being a short arse however is that if I want to wear these at my preferred ride height I do have to hike the groin up a bit or else simply wear them like Simon Cowell. I call this the “deep-crotch” effect, and have been ridiculed by my mates for being a weird cunt. If you often suffer from the “deep-crotch” effect too however (you know who you are), then this is something to be aware of when buying the V4s.
So top to bottom. The waistline houses one of the real hidden gems of the Dax line of trousers, and that is the serious padding. It’s not so much that you feel like you’re wearing a nappy, but there is absolutely no chance of being rubbed or pinched by your belt when wearing these pants. It was one of my favourite features of the Mk2s and I’m glad to see it’s still around in the V4s. Direct mounting things like Safariland UBLs to your belt can over time cause discomfort, but so far in my very rigorous running round the house dressed as Action Man testing I can confirm that it’s not an issue you’ll likely face in V4s. Besides the padding, the usual velcro/elastic waist adjusters are there, along with 5 belt loops sized and spread out to avoid the areas where you will normally be mounting gear and so preventing your first line clashing with your pants.
Coming down the back and into the groin of the V4s are the large stretch panels and reinforced seat that you would expect from any modern combat pants. It’s a similar set up to the AC/G3 pants and provides ample mobility when moving about with the confidence that you’re not going to accidentally convert the V4s into tactical chaps. Something I would have liked to see in this area is a button fly instead of a zip. I’m British, we like buttons and they’re super easy to fix in the field. They also give someone with a sewing mind a little bit more adjustment in the tightness of their pants.
The first really “big” feature of the V4s is the slash pockets. Let’s be honest, in a professional scenario who actually keeps essential gear in their slash pockets deliberately and on the regular? Absolutely no-one. We’ve all experienced the heart stopping moment when you sit down and your phone slides out and disappears into the abyss, now imagine its something essential like a full magazine going deficient. I’ve felt that feeling, and it fucking sucks. Crye got around this on the G3 by making the pockets so tight that they’re basically inaccessible, but we all know slash pockets are actually for one thing only: your hands.
For this reason it’s nice to find that the V4s have reasonably loose slash pockets and are also mesh on their front face. This makes them slicker when not in use, faster drying when wet (pockets are basically always the last thing to dry) and of course softer on your hands and far less likely to result in bloody cuticles. This does raise the concern of losing one item I always keep in my slash pockets and that’s a knife. To get around this there is a dedicated knife sleeve inside the pockets on the Dax sitting low enough to prevent snags, but high enough that you can get your trusty shank out in a hurry.
Moving down we get to two of the differences that make the V4s stand apart from other brands: hidden sleeves and cargo pocket design.
Both the cargo pockets and thigh pockets have hidden sleeves behind them that allow fast access to items that might otherwise have been in bulky leg rigs or belt lines. Behind each cargo pocket is a nice deep magazine pouch, perfectly sized to take a single AR/5.56 mag and hold it low enough that it won’t go anywhere. Now I know I JUST said don’t put mags where you might lose them, and I admit when I first got the V4s I thought this might be a bad idea for patrolling with, but in trying it out the difference in position actually makes it a viable option. In slash pockets when you sit down something long and hard like a magazine is squeezed from the bottom by the face of your thigh, and takes the path of least resistance out into the realm of shit I wish I hadn’t lost.
By placing the magazine pocket on the side of the trousers the swelling of your thighs actually pulls the opening of the pocket tight, and as the magazine sits so low in it you essentially secure it at its most vulnerable position. With all that being said, I still wouldn’t recommend relying on it if you can avoid it. I think this is a great feature for low risk environments like training ranges or as a quick solution in a pinch, but unless you’ve got balls the size of flowerpots it’s not something I’d deliberately do live.
The smaller thigh pockets also have this separate sleeve hidden behind it, and I’ve found them to be the perfect size for tourniquets and NICO flashbangs. Both of these fit the bill of fast access items and having them front and centre makes them easy to acquire in just about any position.
Both the cargo and thigh pockets are closed with velcro, and I do miss the dual button/velcro closure method found on the Mk3s although it’s far from a deal breaker.
The issue I mentioned at the start of this review comes from the design of the cargo pocket which is similar to that found on the Mk3 2019 version. Compared to the Crye pockets they are definitely smaller, with a less expansive bellows function. While this works wonders for keeping things low profile if you’re used to the capacity of the Crye pants then you run the risk of blowing out the cargo pocket as my source found out. He had been running about pretty hard in them with a water bottle in his pocket, and after one maneuver managed to cause a partial failure of the front seam (where the cargo meets the thigh pocket). While this was easy to fix, it was still surprising to have it happen to him and is food for thought.
Knees and Toes
Something that you might notice about the V4s is that the stretch area around the knees looks a little “large”. It’s a great way to tell the pants apart from other brands but also serves a very practical purpose. While the industry standard kneepad for this sort of item might be Crye’s G2/Airflex/G4 pads they are not the only pads available on the market, Platatac themselves have their own versions which are… well to be honest they’re a bit shit BUT they’re free, so are a great way to get going in the V4s without having to buy all the extras.
The reason the stretch panel looks so large is actually because the external face of the kneepad pocket is made of a combination of harder wearing nyco ripstop, and 4 way tweave. What this gives you is stretch adjustment across the front of the pad, instead of relying on the internal stretch across the back. This means that the internal stretch fabric is less taught and therefore doesn’t rub up against your knees as much and allows a little more ventilation. This also means that should you be using a variety of pads then the V4s will stretch to fit them accordingly, without disturbing you.
The backs of the V4s reveal another staple feature of the Dax line in that they have dual adjustment tabs. The problem with only having one on the outside means that you can’t finely adjust where the pad hangs so that it will definitely land below your knee when you kneel, for some it always slides off the side, and for others it simply means doing up the pants so tight that you cut off the blood to your foot. Having dual adjusters solves this and allows you to wear the V4s with plenty of knee ventilation while knowing when you kneel you aren’t going to get a surprise rock directly to your kneecap, with your pad off on the piss somewhere.
At the ankles of the V4s we once again see the now industry standard TQ pocket, which Plat have put their own little twist on. In many cases these pockets are often velcro closure just like their higher up counterparts, and in many cases this velcro quickly gets mashed up by the environment rendering the pocket completely useless. Plat’s solution to this is a risky one, but it worked on the Mk3s and so I’m happy to assume it’ll work here. They have instead opted for a heavily concealed and reversed zipper. This not only makes the pouch totally flat to your leg but will also be far less likely to pick up mud and grass potentially leading to a lost TQ. My advice would be to regularly check that the zipper is functional when not out on the ground (for example whenever you put them in the wash), and not to mess with it when you are out on the ground. This means that for the moments when you absolutely need a tourniquet at warp speed you will have a quick to open system that hasn’t let your TQ escape because of velcro that has been defeated by a few blades of grass.
The final point of any note on the V4s is the ankle closure method. In the British Army twisties are the bane of every soldier’s life. They’re a relic of a former time and being forced to buy them with your own money is one of life’s greatest injustices. They do annoyingly serve something of a purpose though. In environments where insects are totally capable of killing the shit out of you you don’t want the little bastards crawling up your legs. Using twisties, or “blousing” your boots creates a seal to stop the little fuckers in their tracks. The problem with them is they’re shit at it, often aren’t tight enough and are better at getting lost than a 1 pip without a map.
The V4s solve this by having a combined velcro/bungee ankle closure system that can only come from somewhere like Australia where everything is trying to murder you. What this feature gives you is an adjustable level of elastic tension that doesn’t require you to roll your trousers up at the bottom and make you look like a Nazi, but does do a very good job of maintaining a seal. The other advantage of having the system integrated into your pants is that you can turn it on and off whenever you like, without having to have a load of excess fabric around your ankles to account for the rolling. This system works really well in also preventing your ankle hem from riding up over the top of your boot when you take a knee as it wasn’t precariously close to doing so from the start. Seriously, fuck twisties.
My opinions of the Dax V4s
As you might have guessed by now, I think these are fucking great. I loved the Mk2s, I loved the Mk3 2019s when they came out (sorry Mk3, D3O kneepads are crap), and I love the V4s. They’re largely similar but there are incremental changes between each version and they all add up to what makes the V4s really special.
Wearing the V4s to me feels like wearing a custom tailored pair of Crye G3s. They fit me how I want, they have little innovative tweaks that have been developed by people finding problems and fixing them instead of learning to live with them, and on top of this all, they’re half the bastard price to boot. I’m one of those guys who loves having custom kit and being a fucking nerd about it, and the V4s fit that gap despite being this way from the factory. Also, mine are M81, which is just unbelievably cool considering getting the Crye equivalent is eyewateringly expensive.
One of the first questions people always ask me about Dax pants is: “Are they on par with Crye?”, well call me a fanboy but I honestly think they’re better. I called the Mk2s “Crye-killers” and I’ll be honest that opinion still stands today.
Thanks for reading through my review of the Platatac Tac Dax V4 pants, if this didn’t sound like a sales post enough so far I’ll even add a link to their site here to really hit the spot.
I’d just like to reiterate again that I’m under no obligation to say nice things about Plat, I ram that sausage down my throat totally voluntarily. If you do still want to fire some abuse over then leave it on my Instagram @thegeardocrow. Alternatively you can read the rest of my Platatac reviews here. Cheers!