Tradecraft is an old word that used to refer to the work, or craft, of any profession, or trade. It likely acquired its specific association with spy work during World War II, though it is a word most heavily associated with the Cold War.

The word Tradecraft can trace its lineage to the Cold War spy jargon of the 1960’s. Although the Cold War is over…I think…the word has continued to be used in the Special Operations community. SOF soldiers continually hone their tradecraft to reap maximum effectiveness in their dangerous profession. Outdoor Research has been supplying the military and more specifically, SOF Units with high-quality outerwear for some time now. In a previous article, I covered the Infiltrator Jacket and Pants. Which is the company’s premier Gore-Tex outer layer. One part of their IAS (Integrated Apparel System) is the new Tradecraft Jacket.

Tradecraft Jacket

Tradecraft Jacket

Designed to be used as an insulation layer or a stand-alone piece, the Tradecraft Jacket is a versatile garment. Lightweight ripstop nylon makes up the majority of the shell. While critical wear areas like the elbows are reinforced with a thicker, more durable rip-stop nylon. Primaloft Gold is the gold standard for synthetic insulation. And it’s what will keep you warm in the Tradecraft Jacket. Whether wet or dry. The adjustable cuffs, drawstring hem and insulated soft-touch collar all help keep your body heat where it belongs. Near your body. Finally, on the exterior, you’ll find a pair of zippered hand warmer pockets along with a chest pocket for your phone.

These types of insulated jackets maintain their usefulness for 8+ months of the year. Because of this, they remain a critical piece of my kit. Living in Northern Michigan, my closet is full of various insulating layers. Some for skiing and snowshoeing. Others for a day at the range or fall camping. Either way, I find them to be the most useful type of jacket available. Although not entirely waterproof, the Primaloft insulation does a great job of maintaining loft and warmth even when soaked. Something most down jackets can’t claim.

Tradecraft Jacket

While the Tradecraft Series consists of three different pieces available in different colors, don’t feel like you need to purchase all of them. Pick and choose wisely because they are not inexpensive. However, I’ve always lived by the mantra “you get what you pay for” and it hasn’t let me down yet. The Tradecraft Jacket is no let down either. Made from the highest quality materials available, coupled with a very well thought out design, it’s a true performer. In the video below, Nathan will dive into the finer details of the Tradecraft Jacket.

Tradecraft Jacket specs courtesy of

  • Fabric: PrimaLoft® Gold
  • Center Back Length: 29˝ / 76 cm
  • Weight: 16.2oz / 459g (L)
  • Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant#Wind-Resistant
  • Design Features: Zip Chest Pocket#Zip Hand Pockets#Internal Front Stormflap#Brushed Tricot-Lined Collar
  • Functional Details: Single-Separating Front Zipper#Hook/Loop Cuff Closures#Elastic Drawcord Hem
  • MSRP $300

Images courtesy of the author

Items in images: Sig P365, Peltor Tactical Sport 500, OR Tradecraft Pant, MTM Vulture, 5.11 XPRT 3.0 Boot