If the Greek gods of love, war and fire were to hook up in some weird ménage à trois and create the warmest, softest and battle ready jackets then I’m pretty sure that they would look exactly like the offerings from Triple Aught Design. And the TAD Ranger Hoodie would be their love child.
I consider myself a bit of a fleece jacket connoisseur….well if there was such a thing….then that’s what I’d be. In all reality a fleece jacket hoarder is probably a more fitting description of my obsession with the all so warm and comfortable fleece wear. I have owned pretty much all of them, from the crappy generic ones that embroiderers emblazon with random logos to the much much nicer ones from the likes of Patagonia, Mountain Hardware and North Face. I’ve been happy with other fleece’s, but happy doesn’t begin to express my undying love for the Ranger Hoodie from Triple Aught Design (TAD). The Ranger Hoodie has every feature that I have ever wanted in a jacket, in fact it has a few features that I didn’t even know I wanted or needed until now.
Link to the world’s warmest fleece jacket
I’ll talk about function first and then touch on the form.
The heart of the Ranger Hoodie is its fleece and what wonderful fleece it is. The fleece is a 10oz Polartec Wind Pro, this didn’t mean much to me when I read it on the website, but once I received the jacket I knew what it meant. 10oz is a heavier fleece than any other fleece jacket I have, it’s a warm and fluffy, yes I said fluffy, fleece. The weight and “fluffiness” of the fleece, along with the Wind Pro technology, makes this jacket one of the warmest I own. I don’t make that statement lightly since as I mentioned before I have some very nice jackets from some top name companies. None of them compare to the Ranger Hoodie for pure warmth, I may own something warmer, but it would be much heavier and have liner/shell type setup. The other item that this fleece jacket has that many of my others don’t is the hood (as you might have guessed from it’s name). We all know the fact that gets repeated time and again, as much as 50% of your body heat can be lost through your head, that hood really takes this jacket from comfortable to cozy warm on those really cold days.
Pockets….there’s six of them! When I first saw all the pockets I thought it was a little bit of a gimmick. I mean seriously, who needs pockets on their biceps and forearm? Well, apparently I do. Being used to the standard 2 pockets, I guess I’ll call them hand wamer pockets, I thought that was plenty for an average jacket. What I’ve learned though is that it’s nice to be able to put your keys and wallet in the other pockets which then leave the “hand wamer pockets” free to keep your hands warm without the fear of losing anything out of your open pockets. Nothing can ruin a good hike like losing your keys on the trail.
The one feature that I don’t find functional is the thumb-hole cuffs. You’re supposed to slip your thumbs in the holes and then during activity the sleeves can’t ride up your forearms.
However, for me, these holes are just an inconvenient place for a cool breeze to blow in. The jacket is warm, warm enough that I typically only wear it with a short sleeved tee, so any wind blowing in lands directly on my bare skin. I’d like to see the thumb holes go away if it were up to me.
There are also other nice touches like zipper garages, Ipod “ports” for routing headphones through the jack, nice matching zipper pulls, etc. If you’ve read my Stealth LT review you’ll know that all TAD Gear is over the top on the finer details of function. These little things continue to set Triple Aught Design a step or two above their competitors.
As for form, TAD nailed it there too. The jacket fits very well, I wear a medium and it’s a snugger fit than my Stealth LT, but I guess that makes sense because if I choose to layer these two jackets then I need the LT to be a little larger than the Ranger Hoodie. The jacket has a higher cut then the Stealth LT, I can use it for a concealed carry cover garment but I wouldn’t want to be reaching too high on a shelf as it could ride up. This wouldn’t prevent me from wearing it with a pistol, but I am more aware when doing so. You can see in the picture of me shooting the AR that the Glock is no longer concealed due to the shorter cut. Like my LT, the Ranger Hoodie also gets plentry of nice comments. People tend to notice the quality and good looks and make a point to ask me about both jackets.
To sum it up, if you’re in the market for a warm fleece with the highest quality then the Ranger Hoodie is for you. I will warn you though that it’s warm, very warm. In my opinion, in anything but the coldest weather, the Ranger is best suited for low level activity like watching outdoor sports, casual walking and hanging around outside. If you plan to be hunting, hiking and any other high movement activity then the LT version of the Ranger Hoodie might be for you.