My gear reviews focus on equipment that I believe is versatile, durable, and reliable. I have very high expectations and expect my equipment and gear to meet or exceed them. I have little, well no tolerance, for failure, in people, equipment, and gear, and fully expect manufacturers to back up product pronouncements.
That being said, while I enjoy equipment and gear as much as the next guy or gal, I am discerning about my personal load out. Each piece of gear and equipment must meet my stringent Fit and Function requirements and my personal preferences of minimalism, versatility, and reliability. I hate wasting finite resources—namely, time and money, although unsatisfactory gear in the wrong environment can cost you fingers, toes, and possibly your life on products that just plain suck.
Personally, I find jackets to be one of the more important purchases and one of the most difficult. Anyone who’s spent days cold, wet, and moving knows exactly what I am saying. The wrong jacket can cause you to quickly overheat or cause your core temperature to rapidly drop, it can also cause you to develop blisters and/or hot spots in extremely uncomfortable places, and restrict your mobility which diminishes your ability to get on target quickly and without detection. For the average joe or jill, jacket selection may not represent a life or death decision. But, that does not mean it is not important. For those who carry personal defense weapons, jacket selection is critical in your ability to access those weapons swiftly and suddenly.
The Triple Aught Design Ranger Hoodie is a perfect choice for most people. It fits well without modification [although you may elect to make some minor changes, as I have], is comfortable, and versatile. An added bonus is it looks good in urban environments without being tacti-cool.
Personally, I wear or keep the TAD Ranger hoodie with me all the time. Since I purchased the TAD Ranger, I’ve picked up a few other jackets for daily wear, and yet I only the TAD Ranger has earned a spot in my daily rotation.
The TAD Ranger is almost perfect. Here is what I dislike: the sleeves with the extended thumb wraps. These really irritate me. Every time I put the jacket on, I have to carefully tuck the excess material into the sleeve. During spring, summer and early fall when the temperature and breeze is not quite frigid, this act is a nuisance. Fast forward to the winter when you want the sleeves cuffed and frigid outside air away from exposed skin, and well these extra holes and material just piss me off. Personally, I cannot see a reason for these thumb holes, the extra material sits in your grip, which reduces your tactile sensitivity, creates an uneven surface from which to grab, thereby increasing response time to draw, and more. Rant finished. There is a simple solution to this problem: Remove the excess material and cuff the sleeves. One other issue stands out: the hood. It is a hoodie, and be alert to the need to adjust the hood when throwing on your pack. It gets annoying after a while, so I suggest picking up both the hoodie and non-hoodie. Problem solved. Outside of these two issues, I have nothing negative to say about the TAD Ranger. So let’s check out what it does right.
Fit/Form & Function
The key elements to any piece of equipment or gear are fit and function. If it doesn’t fit, you won’t wear it. Just like a weapon, whether it be a concealed carry firearm or defensive knife. If it doesn’t fit—is too heavy, too big, too ___—you’ll leave it at home. With the growing number of e-commerce businesses offering truly cool gear, especially t-shirts, the problem of fit is increasingly problematic.
As we all have experienced, not all apparel is cut from the same cloth or even cut the same design. I can’t count the number of shirts I bought online, only to wear them once before donating them. Ultimately, this sucks. Not just because it’s a waste of money, but because there are some really great pieces of apparel only available online and the quality, construction, and fit are all unknown.
One brand I’ve enjoyed great success with is Triple Aught Design. Literally, everything fits me right out of the box. If you don’t know TAD, I encourage you to check them out. The TAD Ranger is about the best all-around outerwear piece you can find. Versatile enough to function in a range of climates, without requiring you to layer to the point of looking like Ralphie’s little brother from A Christmas Story.
It comfortable enough to be worn in a variety of climates, including light rain, and durable enough to withstand tearing from branches, debris, and rocks [if you should find yourself crawling through the woods].
Fit & Function
I demand mobility from my apparel and struggle to find the balance between apparel that allows me to move free from undue restriction and fit that eliminates the boxy cuts standard for the stereotypical guy who doesn’t work out. The TAD Ranger balances these needs perfectly. And does so without compromising the carry of equipment. I can easily carry my standard EDC: CRKT Crawford Kasper folder, Surefire E2D Defender [review forthcoming, until then check out this Loadout Room Reviewed alternative Surefire 6PX Defender, wallet, keys, and other essentials without my pockets bulging.
Underneath, a t-shirt, short- or long-sleeve or button up shirt (I don’t wear button up shirts and neither should you) can easily be worn. Over the jacket, a back pack, like the Arc-teryx Khard 30 can be worn without excessive noise, restricted mobility, or uncomfortability.
The TAD Ranger is at best a mid-layer jacket, but I’ve worn it in temperature well below freezing, and with my prior cold weather injuries this is no small feat. Simply add an additional layer and scarf and you’re good to go.
In frigid temperatures, you can integrate the TAD Ranger into a complete upper body outerwear system, with a wicking t-shirt close to the skin, long sleeve thermal over top, Ranger, and a gore-tex exterior in cold wet conditions; or in very cold conditions, change the gore-tex exterior for a down puff coat.
Access to EDC is made simple with the two front zippered pockets. Note: the zippers are quiet, which is a nice change and I have yet to experience any issue with the zippers not functioning flawlessly. Also, the pockets are large enough to accommodate an iPhone 7 Plus and still leave room for your hand to rest comfortably inside.
The TAD Ranger hoodie comes in three colors: Black, Compendium (think a dull/faded black), Chimera (think brown)
For over a decade, our Ranger Platform has been the premier choice for adventurers and soldiers combating cooler conditions across all 7 continents. Combining exceptional fit, streamlined storage, and the superior wind resistant properties of Polartec® Wind Pro® fabric, Rangers are the ultimate fleece capable of performing across diverse climates and conditions.
Highly Versatile: Wind-resistant warmth enables Rangers to excel as both a high-performance outer layer and as a cozy thermal layer under a protective shell for harsher weather. Mesh pockets let you selectively increase airflow to regulate body temperature as conditions change, and a durable water-repellant treatment protects from light moisture.
Ambidextrous Storage: Six ergonomically-placed pockets, including a double-entry hunter’s pocket, provide streamlined storage that remains accessible under a rucksack, body armor, or harness, and include tie-in points for dummy cording critical gear.
Engineered Durability: Advanced thermal properties last the life of the garment and don’t fade after heavy use. Engineered to resist fiber pilling and fraying that often results after numerous cycles through the washing machine, Rangers withstand abuse and don’t require special attention.
Polartec® Wind Pro®
100% Polyester (10.00 oz)
DWR Finish (Durable Water Repellent)
Three Piece Hood Design
Two 1.00”x1.00” Velcro Loop Squares on the Hood Accommodate Ranger Eyes Or Glint Tape (Available on Patched Version Only)
Two Large Chest Pockets with D-Ring and Media Port Pass through
Two Upper Arm Pockets with D-Ring and Media Port Pass through
Double Entry Hunter’s Pocket
Left Forearm Pocket
All Pockets Feature Zipper Garages and Grosgrain Ribbon Pull Tabs
Full Front Double Coil Zipper with Chin Flap and Grosgrain Ribbon Pull Tabs
All Zippers are YKK® Zippers
Cuff & Sleeve Configuration
Thumb Hole Cuffs Integrated into the Seam
Two Optional Upper Arm, Die-Cut 3.00”x5.00” Loop Swatches for Accessory Patches
Drop Back Hem
Adjustable Locking Drawcord
Logos & Labels
One 1.00″x1.00″ Loop Swatch with Logo Patch at Right Hip
Made in the USA
Check out more Loadout Room Triple Aught Design Product Reviews here:
Author – Ben Drader is Founder and Chief Instructor at District Combatives in Washington, DC. He served 8 years in the U.S. Army and has worked directly for two National Security Advisors, a Director of CIA, a Secretary of State, and a Prince. He enjoys ultra-marathons, off-road triathlons, and spending time outdoors with his German Shorthaired Pointer, Derby.