The Ranger Hoodie from Triple Aught Design
Major Pandemic 06.22.13
I am addicted to coats of all styles, colors and shapes. I have two closets filled (ok maybe three, but who is counting) with what could be or might be a better jacket than the last. I own both stand-alone jackets and those that can be layered, but I most often find myself wearing a Polar Fleece jacket as a layer or as something to throw on to take the dogs out on cold nights.
Fleece offers a lot of flexibility, but most fleece jackets lack useful pockets, style, or the features found on a dedicated jacket. Such jackets are also not typically tailored to the tactical-minded. Enter the Ranger Hoodie from Triple Aught Design, which offers a ton of style, pockets everywhere, and has a cut and features that make it the ultimate outdoor jacket for going anywhere and doing anything. Typically, the satisfaction I get out of a new jacket wanes in a month, but not with the TAD Ranger Hoodie — a few months in and I am still giddy over the features, comfort and design.
About Triple Aught Design
TAD was founded in 1997 by Patrick Ma, former US Army, with the goal of inspiring people to explore their world using comfortable, high performance, durable and reliable equipment. Ma founded TAD with a signature focus on combining rigorous functionality with sophisticated design. If the Ranger Hoodie is any indications of the design capabilities of TAD, they are incorporating plenty of innovation into their designs.
My favorite thing about TAD is they are beating their own path on style, features and comfort. All too often, a company offers a big seller and everyone scampers to replicate the product. TAD pays no mind to what others are doing, and I believe many of their products will be the ones that others will emulate.
TAD is clearly taking the time to think through how their product will be used and how they can evolve the design. It’s the little things on the Ranger Hoodie that set this USA-made jacket apart from the others.
Fit and feel
The Ranger Hoodie has evolved since its introduction in 2002. According to TAD, customer feedback drove changes to a fit designed specifically to ease layering and increase range of movement during activity. The result of a decade of refinements delivers one of the most comfortable and versatile jackets you can own. The heavy Polartec® Wind Pro® material provides substantial warmth even in wind and rain without added weight.
TAD notes that when you are out in the field, a little comfort goes a long way, and I would add this is certainly the case in outdoor situations when things turn bad. The fleece is extremely comfortable, and the Polartec® Wind Pro® allows breathability while blocking wind.
Another nice feature is the single panel that runs from the cuff up the arm and down the torso to the bottom hem. This single panel enables a full range of motion, so that you can move in a completely unrestrained way without binding. I have worn the Hoodie as a base layer during a range of outdoor activities, and also as a stand-alone, and it has been extremely comfortable across all cases.
Features and functions
Beyond the aforementioned fit and the high-tech fleece, the following features and little refinements are what really set the Ranger Hoodie apart from others.
Although the fleece breathes, there are open armpit vents to allow extra ventilation at these hot points. The hood itself has a special TAD Aero design which lays flat when not in use, but provides more coverage to the user when needed; the hood even has a built-in fleece visor extension which works great on sunny but cold days. The hood also has two one-inch Velcro squares to attach Ranger eyes or glint squares. (Ranger eyes are used by special forces to identify friendlies during night operations.)
The hoodie’s main zipper is a full-front, double-coil zipper with chin flap for comfort. All the zippers have looped pull tabs for ease of use, and there are zipper garages on all pockets for a quieter jacket and cleaner look.
TAD has your backside covered with a lowered motorcycle back cut to keep all manner of butt crack or concealed carry firearms covered. For the CCW holder, this extra material around back is another refinement that makes the Ranger Hoodie something special.
Taking a cue again from motorcycle jackets, TAD thought it would be nice to add extra length to the sleeves for full coverage even when your arms are out straight, which they usually are if you are doing anything. Along the way, they even added thumb hole cuffs (I call them thumittens). The half-mitt thumbholes facilitate adding and removing layers while providing thermal protection when your gloves are off or during unexpected cold snaps.
There are pockets everywhere on this jacket, and each one is placed strategically to accommodate users wearing packs or web gear. I found the pocket placement perfect for access to essential outdoor items. (These essentials for me include a Zippo lighter, LED Lenser tactical Flashlight, large folding knife, firesteel, my phone and keys, to name a few items.)
The chest and upper arm pockets include D-rings to secure gear, a pen/knife pocket, and reinforced rubber grommets to pass electronic cords through. The headphone/earbud cords can be routed through the grommet and secured to the cord holders on each side of the zipper channel — all of these nice touches make your smart phone an integrated tool versus something you fumble with.
The left wrist pocket is handy to stash small items in. A long list of things could go in this pocket, but my dog insists that this is where the treats go.
Located on the back of the hoodie is what many call a field game or hunter’s pocket. This large pocket opens on each side, and is commonly used for maps; but this is a very spacious pocket that could easily accommodate a backup hydration pack. The hunter’s pocket has been upgraded to be more discreet by integrating the zippers into the seams. All the pockets are mesh-backed so that they breathe and stay clean and dry.
TAD offers the Ranger Hoodie in both Patched and Unpatched versions, and your choice of black, grey or loden green. Patched versions include a loop at the bicep, and another loop on the back of the hood to accommodate TAD’s Ranger Eyes.
The Ranger Hoodie offers more features than any other fleece on the market all while being made right here in the USA. I’ve had an idea of what I want in an ultimate outdoor jacket for about two years now, and in the TAD Ranger Hoodie I’ve finally found something with the flexibility and durability to fit the bill.
The fit and feel of this jacket are absolutely impeccable, making it by far more than just a base layer and more than just a jacket. As far as I’m concerned, the Ranger Hoodie is the ultimate outdoor jacket.
- Material: Polartec® Wind Pro® 100% Polyester
- Finish: Durable Water Repellent Finish
- Patterning: Single Underarm Panels with Pit Vents
- Hood Configuration: Aero Hood Design
- Hood Features: Two Velcro Squares on the Hood for Ranger Eyes Or Glint Tape (Available on Patched Version Only)
- Chest Pockets: Two Large Chest Pockets with D-Ring and Media Ports
- Upper Arm Pockets: D-Ring and Media Ports
- Back Pocket: Single Large Double Entry Hunter’s Pocket
- Forearm Pocket: Left Forearm Only
- Zipper Configuration: Full Front Double Coil Zipper with Chin Flap and Pull Tab
- Cuff & Sleeve Conf: Thumb Hole Cuffs Integrated into the Seam
- Patches: Two Upper Arm, Die- Loop Swatches for Accessory Patches
- Hem Configuration: Drop Back Hem (Provides SOB -Small of Back coverage)
- Drawcord: Adjustable Locking Drawcord
- Fit: Active cut
- Logos & Labels: One 1″x1″ Loop Swatch with Logo Patch at Right Hip
- Color Options: Black, Loden Green, UE Grey
- Size Options: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
- MSRP: $239
- Made in the USA!