Triple Aught Design Stealth Hoodie LT Review
The go anywhere, do anything “hoodie” you’ve all been dreaming of.
If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand having a closet full of coats for “every” occasion. I want one coat to wear rain or shine – end of Summer through end of Spring. I need it to be wind proof, water proof, and warm in cold temps, but breatheable. I need it to be roomy enough on the inside to layer up, but also form fitted enough to look good. I want to be able to pack it, stuff it, cram it, wad it up and use it as a pillow, and then throw it in the wash when it smells bad. And guess what? I’m not alone. Lots of guys want this type of jacket.
Finally, someone listened to us.
It’s no surprise that the people at Triple Aught Design were the ones to step up to this laundry list of demands. They’ve been making exceptional products since 1997. The founder of their company, Patrick Ma, has not only a love for all things outdoors, but military experience as well. This led him to found a company that’s based on a desire to create outdoor products that stand up to the most rigorous demands in all sorts of environments. Their mission statement to “create legendary apparel and equipment by blending innovation, classic design and modern technology” really says it all. It’s this commitment that makes the product they sell stand head and shoulders above the competition. Anytime you head outdoors, Triple Aught Design claims to give you the “confidence to focus on the task, not the equipment.” I think of gear as great when I don’t notice it. Trust me when I say the Stealth Hoodie is no exception.
Since a major focus of the company is modern technology, I’d like to start out by delving into the construction of this jacket/hoodie. While TAD calls it a hoodie, it does zip all the way from top to bottom, and wears like a jacket. I haven’t tested any “jackets” from TAD yet, but if a product this durable is called a “hoodie” then whatever they call a jacket just might give you enough protection to weather a nuclear fallout. The key to how durable it is lies in the basic build of the hoodie. Even though it’s thin and wearable to the touch, it’s actually a triple layer system created with textiles and fabrics made by Schoeller, a swiss company long known for this. The triple layer system is founded on a fabric called c_change. What’s cool about c_change is that it’s membranous fiber will mirror the climate both inside AND outside the jacket. This keeps you regulated on the inside during moments of heavy exertion, but also keeps you warm and dry during all climate changes taking place on the outside. The result? Just as I listed above – a jacket for just about everything you can think of.
The exterior of the jacket is built to last as well. Made up of reinforced Nylon, it’s built to resist snagging, ripping, or tearing on just about anything you can throw at it. What’s cool about this type of Nylon is that due to the insane durability of the exterior, it always looks brand new – it almost never gets ripped or frayed. While an exterior built out of rip stop fabric may be enough for most companies, it seems that it was only a starting point for TAD. They also reinforced critical wear points in the jacket with panels of fabric. Thus, the elbows and shoulders are have additional panels sewn in place to guard against any impact or tear. While I didn’t actually use the jacket for this purpose, TAD advertises that the reinforced elbow patches help for those who are in a prone shooting position for long periods of time. Military use (due to founder of TAD’s background) immediately springs to mind, but a jacket of this caliber would also be great for hunters, especially in Colorado. It’s waterproof enough for those frosty mornings, but keeps your temperature regulated enough for all day wear. Need to watch that herd of Elk from a prone position for a while? At least you’ll be comfortable.
Another really interesting thing I noticed about it is that even in direct sunlight, I don’t seem to get as overheated with the Stealth Hoodie LT as I do with just about any other softshell. Time and time again while using the hoodie, I noticed my face and head heating up… yet my torso stayed relatively cool. A brief look at the TAD website revealed the secret behind this feat – the nylon is actually dyed with some sort of secret chemical process that “incorporates Schoeller’s coldback treatment.” TAD doesn’t reveal what this actually is or what it actually means, but they do say it’s “integral to the fabric” and helps to reflect UV sunlight rays. I don’t have the foggiest idea how they did it, but I can tell you it actually works. Think of the difference between getting into a white car vs. a black car after they’ve both been in the summer sunlight for a few hours. They’ll both be hot as hell, but the white is at least manageable.
With all of this military inspired tech, it’d be easy to have this thing looking like a humvee – serviceable and rugged, yet not exactly your daily driver. Instead, the hoodie looks and feels like your typical softshell. I wear it all the time, from my most rugged outdoor activities to hanging out at my favorite watering hole at night. Versatile, yet comfortable – that appears to be another mantra of TAD’s lineup. I’ve now used this jacket on blustery days, overnight outdoor excursions, sunny days, and even in a torrential rain storm. Okay, so torrential for Colorado was thirty minutes of pounding rain followed by clear skies all day, but for that thirty minutes I had no cover whatsoever. That could’ve been miserable experience if I’d been soggy all day, but the moisture beading quality of the hoodie is such that all I had to do was shake it out when the rain stopped, and I was good to go. One can tell a bay area company created this piece, because it absolutely knows how to deal with wet conditions.
In summation, despite the high price point (over $300), the hoodie is well worth the expenditure if you are as demanding of your equipment as I am. Typically I’d tear through a softshell about once a year; the Stealth Hoodie will last me well over a few years at the worst, and hopefully five or more at the best. In my opinion, a piece of quality gear is something one hangs onto for awhile, and this hoodie will be no exception. Check the Stealth Hoodie out (and the entire lineup) at www.tripleaughtdesign.com.