The Ranger Hoodie’s zipper pulls are made of sewn, flat webbing, which occasionally I found a little difficult to get a solid grip on with gloves. TAD has included fabric zipper garages at the top of all of the zippers, which strikes me as pretty unnecessary, since the zippers aren’t waterproof anyway. If I’m out in weather where I’m worried about water seeping in at the top of the zippers, I’m probably already soaked.
I’ve also had an issue with the jacket’s chin guard—the seam where the chin flap meets the main jacket doesn’t lie flat, so it chafes my chin an unnecessary amount.
Weight / Warmth
This isn’t a “light is right” jacket. TAD intentionally designed the Ranger Hoodie to provide increased wind protection and to “withstand demanding use across diverse climates and conditions.” But if this fleece is heavier than you’re looking for, TAD also offers the Ranger Hoodie in an LT model that uses 8.5oz WindPro rather than the Ranger Hoodie’s 10 oz fabric.
Since I (1) live in the high desert and (2) generally prefer to wear layers rather than wear a single, thicker jacket, the Ranger Hoodie LT would likely be the better match for me. I don’t often rely on fleece layers as stand-alone pieces, so I often found the Ranger Hoodie to be warmer than I needed when used with a base layer and a shell. Then again, if I lived somewhere colder and wetter than New Mexico, I would be inclined to stick to the heavier Ranger Hoodie.
What’s It For?
I found the Ranger to be best suited for activities with moderate cardiovascular output in cooler weather, such as fall and spring climbing and hiking. Additionally, the hoodie was a great casual layer with a nice, athletic cut that provided warmth and light protection from inclement weather.
For more sustained aerobic activities like mountain biking or backcountry skiing, I found it was a little too heavy and wasn’t breathable enough, but worked well for activities that demanded a wide range of motion and a limited (read: warmer) range of insulation.
Who’s It For?
This question completely depends on what you want from a fleece midlayer, and what sort of design you like. I imagine those who spend a lot of time belly-crawling through the brush during hunting season would want a back hunter pocket. And if you’re interested in something with a bit more of a tactical look and feel, the Ranger Hoodie should definitely be on your radar.
Also, if you live somewhere really cold and wet, where light down options aren’t going to be your best bet, the Ranger Hoodie might fit right into your collection. Or, if you tend to run cold, the heavier weight would work well for you, too.
The Triple Aught Design Ranger Hoodie has a nicely designed cut and high-quality construction, showing none of the wear you might see from a less expensive piece. It also offers great wind protection and warmth for a midlayer. So if you’re interested in a durable, thicker, wind-resistant fleece, the Ranger definitely deserves a look.