I’ve never worn clothing that has gotten me more attention than the Triple Aught Design’s (TAD) Stealth LT Hoodie. My typical thrift store clothing and hand me downs are hardly impressive (to say the least), but all that changed when I hung TAD’s Stealth Hoodie LT up in my closet. Suddenly, people were stopping me in the lift lines, in the parking lot at my local crags, in REI, at the grocery store, or even on mountain rescue operations to ask me about my jacket.
They would play with the multitude of zippers, pull the glow-in-the-dark patches off of the many velcro attachment points that dot the jacket, and I even had one guy unzip the jacket while I was wearing it to see what the inside looked like! This jacket sure is a crowd pleaser, and I must say that I am quite happy with it too. In the last few months I have become quite the TAD fan. Their gear and brand imaging is unique, and their Instagram and Facebook are pretty cool to boot.
If you are the type of outdoor enthusiast who prefers Patagonia or Arc’teryx over other cheaper brands than TAD might just become your preferred outer and technical apparel. This jacket never let me down, from chilly afternoons sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, to ski touring in the midst of the season’s first heavy snowfall, to rock climbing on harsh, Joshua Tree granite.
This jacket is practically bombproof, which is what you would expect from the urban outdoor lifestyle look. I found this out firsthand on pitch two of Right On, an easy grade Joshua Tree classic rock climb. It is a wide, unprotected chimney which also happens to be in the shade pretty much all winter and therefore gets quite chilly. I set off on the rope stretching, sparsely protected second pitch forgetting that I was still wearing the Stealth LT (this jacket is seriously comfortable). Securely wedged in the chimney, out of sight of my last piece of protection, I thought for sure the back of my jacket would be looking like swiss cheese at the next belay station. But upon arriving, a close inspection proved this jacket is just about bombproof – it did not even have a scuff!
Besides being “wedged in a Joshua Tree granite chimney” durable this jacket is also a good water and wind barrier. When it gets really cold I wear my Patagonia down jacket underneath. Conversely, when it is raining and I begin to sweat the armpit zips do a great job airing me out. I did notice that I felt less clammy than in my other rain jackets. The hood is nice and big – in fact, I could fit it over my climbing helmet and with the zipper all the way up I was quite snug.
When you do not need the hood it rolls up nicely and is stowed by a velcro flap. I also enjoyed the double zipper which would allow the jacket to be fully zipped up yet I could unzip the lower part of the jacket four to six inches to access my belay device while wearing it on climbing trips. However, the zipper was not perfect; my only real complaint with the jacket was that sometimes for the life of me I could not get the jacket to zip up. Often I would give up and come back to the task a few minutes later only to have it zip up effortlessly. I could never determine what was causing the problem.
There are pockets are all over this jacket – six to be exact. There are two chest pockets and two bicep pockets, all of which come equipped with earphone ports that allow you to route your headphones inside the jacket. Even in a rainstorm you can listen to your tunes! The left arm of the jacket has a forearm pocket that is the perfect size for a chapstick and a few credit cards.
My favorite pocket is the lower back one, dubbed the “double-entry hunter’s pocket.” The pocket is constructed as such that it zips open and closed from either the left or the right side. On one hike in a blizzard I started to overheat and so I removed my warming layer and stuffed it into this pocket. It rides in the small of your back so you hardly notice anything is in there. It is very convenient and a “why didn’t I think of that?” feature that I would like to see on all of my jackets.
So there are some cool features on the Stealth LT Hoodie, and quite a few “under the hood” features as well. I will just quote TAD rather than try to paraphrase the technical specs. This jacket is built using various textiles that feature:
- c_change® fabric: An advanced membrane that reacts to changing temperatures, closing when exposed to cold and opening in response to heat.
- 3XDRY®: A treatment on both the face and tricot, it repels water, dirt and stains on the surface while wicking away moisture and perspiration on the inside to keep you cool and dry.
- coldblack®: A special finishing treatment that reflects UV rays to keep you cool and also prevents the garment from fading.
These are pretty wild textiles that seem like they are straight from a sci-fi movie rather than on a technical jacket. From my experience I did feel like the jacket was very warm when I needed it to be and breathed quite well all of the time. I never once experienced a problem with it leaking (all of the zippers have rain guards dubbed “zipper garages”) so it is a great rain jacket, too. This jacket is very well-built and the fabrics used to construct it are quite fascinating (if you care to do further research, here are a two links to check out. So, is it worth the $475 price tag? Only you can make that decision, but based on my experience with the jacket I think it is.
- Good looking & well cut
- Highly technical materials
- Lots of pockets
- Zipper got stuck from time to time
Manufacturer: Triple Aught Design
Date available: Currently available
Manufacturer’s Website: Stealth Hoodie LT
Listed Weight: Not listed
Actual Weight: 27 ounces (size: medium)
Materials: Fully seam taped, welded reinforced elbows, c_change® fabric
Warranty info: Repair, replacement, or refund (in the form of a gift certificate) on all manufacturer defects. Normal wear & tear is not covered.