i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgFor those of you who liked my footwear selection, you may be interested in knowing about Red Ants Pants. They claim to be “the first ever company dedicated to manufacturing workwear for women” and it is a small woman owned and operated business in Montana. The pants are not cheap, but they are durable and they offer both a straight and curvy cut. The next time I’m off on a major field adventure, I might give these pants a try.

h/t ScienceBrother, but ScienceGrandma points out that Carhartt also makes a line of women’s clothing.


  1. #1 DrugMonkey
    December 4, 2008

    hmmm, kinda spendy. can you put those on a grant as necessary field equipment?

  2. #2 River Tam
    December 4, 2008

    Obviously DrugMonkey has never gone through 5 pairs of cheap field pants in 5 months…barbed wire is a real bitch.

    I LIKE the red ants pants. I have found the “womens” for Carhartts are just men’s cuts made smaller. I might be willing to pay the extra money for something that actually looks like its made for a woman!!! Thanks for sharing, ScienceWoman

  3. #3 Liberal Arts Lady
    December 4, 2008

    Wait…you mean…clothes made for women, sized in actual inches? Field pants that might not chafe, or require a scarf tied around the midsection to prevent an upper-back sunburn (well, maybe I spend more time bending over than some field scientists…)? I think I’m going to cry. Or at least try a pair. Thanks for the link!

  4. #4 ScienceWoman
    December 4, 2008

    @Drug Monkey – Actually this sort of thing is quite a problem for us, for things like waders and snow shoes that are even more definitely “field equipment.” You should hear administrative people (and even some older, male faculty) moan and say that we should just wear the stuff the department already owns. Right, like those size 12 waders are going to work for me, much less for my 4’10” female student.

  5. #5 short geologist
    December 5, 2008

    The whole “female field clothing” issue gets me all fired up. Thanks for the link – I’m definitely going to keep them in mind when I get my next pair of field pants.

  6. #6 Peanut
    December 6, 2008

    Field appropriate and properly sized – what a concept.

    Let me count some of the past problems:

    No leather gloves in my size.
    Waders too tall.
    5 different stores in a 100 mile radius don’t carry women’s tall leather boots.
    2 stores in 100 mile radius carry women’s tall leather boots, but only with steel toes.
    All of the frame packs for carrying bulky field gear too long.

    Then there was the crusty old salt who became impatient with me. “Just don’t worry about not having a safety strap for the chest waders.” Hello? The safety strap is so the waders don’t fill up with water and cause me to drown if I fall in. No safety strap = deal breaker

  7. #7 BerryBird
    December 6, 2008

    Thanks for the link, SW. I’ll definitely keep these in mind.

    Even if you can’t get a grant to pick up the tab, save the receipts, and deduct the cost from your taxes as a work-related expense. That’s what I did last year when I broke down and coughed up the high sticker price for good wetland boots with support. They were not offered in womens sizes, so I bought the smallest mens size, and double up on the thickest possible wool socks.

    Of course there is always a wide selection of womens sizes available in the cheap, crappy, supportless rubber boots. Sigh. Too bad they make your feet hurt if you actually wear them all day.

  8. #8 Sara
    December 7, 2008

    I read somewhere that even the astronaut spacewalk suits had some issues for the female astronauts… sigh. When are we going to stop seeing proper sizing for women as ‘extra’? Lab coats and gloves have improved somewhat, but the more obscure or expensive it is, the more likely it is to be a problem.

  9. #9 ecologist
    December 8, 2008

    For 30+ years I have been deducting my double canvas field pants, waders, heavy work boots, high hiking boots, forester’s vests, heavy gloves, etc. Of course, none of them really fit! I have never had my tax deductions questioned by the IRS. Don’t forget to keep a log of all the miles you generate on your vehicle previewing class field labs and going back and forth and round-about your research sites. Unfortunately unreimbursed employee expenses don’t take much off your taxes. My university would never pay me or provide a vehicle for field lab prep, because the other faculty thought that if I got reimbursed for mileage, why then they ought to get reimbursed for coming in to the U on weekends and evenings!

  10. #10 Jo
    December 9, 2008

    Thanks for the post. I’m a geologist in the oil patch and I struggled for years. Now I absolutely depend on Duluth Trading Company for my lady field/work clothing and accessories. Much better than Carhartts, they make women’s sizes & fit for almost everything (vests, gloves, pants, shirts etc.) Even the quality is awesome. I still use the first pants I ever bought from them about 3 years ago. I love ’em, and have found some cool tools there too.

    Example of pants:
    Women’s catalog portal:

    Sorry to sound like a plug but they’ve made my life so much easier – no more too baggy or too tight guy clothes in yucky conditions around dangerous equipment and roughnecks, no more women’s clothing that I have to replace every 2 months.

  11. #11 Rachel Evans
    May 13, 2010

    I can vouch for the Red Ants Pants! They are fantastic. They fit better than my carhartts and are rugged enough for many types of field work: working cattle, horseback riding, hiking and digging in the mountains of Montana to the swamps and flatlands of the Mississippi Delta.

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