BDU Pants or Trousers were the combat uniform pants for the US Military. All branches of the US Military wore BDUs, or Battle Dress Uniforms, from the early 1980s until the early 2000s. BDUs are cargo pocket pants built with durability and function in mind. Because the military needed to issue uniforms to a large population in all shapes and sizes, BDUs were alpha-sized with side-adjustment tabs at the waist and blousing straps on the leg openings. They have a six-pocket design with field-repairable button closures on the pockets and fly opening. Made with felled inseams and bartacks at all stress points, these pants were designed to hold up to hard work. BDUs were originally issued to soldiers in Nylon/Cotton Summer Ripstop, Nylon/Cotton Winter Weight Twill, or in some cases 100% Cotton Ripstop. Most common camouflage patterns of this BDU era were Woodland, Desert Camouflage 6 Color, or Desert Camouflage 3 Color. BDU Pants are now most commonly seen in the Tactical and Security markets where a cost effective and durable pant are needed in solid colors such as black, dark navy, or khaki.
BDUs are the combat coats and trousers issued to soldiers in the US Army during the 1980s – mid 2000s. BDUs were originally issued to soldiers in Nylon/Cotton Summer Ripstop, Nylon/Cotton Winter Weight Twill, or in some cases 100% Cotton Ripstop. Most common camouflage patterns of this BDU era were Woodland, Desert Camouflage 6 Color, or Desert Camouflage 3 Color. They are now limited to civilian use as the US Army has replaced the BDU with the ACU uniform.
The US Army retired the BDU and adopted the ACU in the mid-2000s. There are several significant differences between the two uniforms. The BDU coat was a 4-pocket design with 2 high chest pockets and two low torso pockets. The BDU coat also had a button down design with its 4 buttons covered by a placket. The ACU coat moved the two torso pockets to the shoulders and tilted the high chest pockets inward for more ergonomic access. The pocket closures were changed from button close to hook and loop closure initially. The moving of the pockets to the shoulders provided better usage of the storage, which was hindered on the BDU by a soldier’s outer tactical vest or belt. The ACU coat changed the button down placket to a zipper front. The original ACU also changed its collar to a stand up, mandarin design from the BDU’s original pointed dress style. Later ACU revisions altered this mandarin collar to be able to fold down. BDU Pants and ACU pants are much closer in design. Both feature button flys, bartacks at all stress points, reinforced knees and seats, as well as button closure pocket flaps. The ACU added a calf pocket for additional storage.