It’s fair to say, all of us at Overland International have a collective appreciation for great gear, but that isn’t to say we all like the same gear. We each have our favorite brands, aesthetics, and feature-sets we desire and value. If we have a singular favorite piece of gear we all hold in the highest regard, I’d wager it’s Triple Aught Design’s Stealth Hoodie LT. As soon as the weather turns a cold cheek, we all show up at HQ zipped tightly into our TAD second-skins. We all like it for the same reasons, which I think serves as a resounding endorsement for just how great this jacket really is. The fact we have featured it twice before says something as well.
The TAD Stealth Hoodie LT is a technical softshell jacket made of highly sophisticated Schoeller® 3-Layer waterproof/breathable stretch fabric. As far as technical fabrics go, this is about as exotic as they get. It has a supple hand, breaths exceptionally well, and sheds water like waxed glass. Because it lacks any insulation, it’s an ideal foul weather layer for all climates ranging from summer storms to winter’s most hostile assaults when paired to the proper insulating layers like their brilliant Quantum Half Zip.
To maximize the attributes of the fabric, TAD has designed a full featured jacket ideally suited for demanding weather extremes and applications. Most noticeable are the multitude of pockets along the torso, back, and sleeves. Each pocket is accessed via RiRi weather resistant zippers, and constructed using the latest radio-frequency welding techniques, which eliminates the need to penetrate the fabric with traditional bands of stitching. To augment the breathability of the fabric, the Stealth Hoodie LT also features full-length pit zips for improved ventilation, even in the most adverse weather conditions. Lastly, the sculpted hood, often the most challenging aspect of any jacket to properly execute, is well shaped and can be quickly adjusted to pull it into the optimal position over the user’s head.
It’s a very cleanly designed outer layer with many of the critical refinements not overtly obvious. The reinforced elbows are welded in place and every seam is fully taped for waterproofness. The hood can be rolled into a well shaped collar, and the cuffs feature velcro closures to further seal out the elements.
For me, the most prized attribute of the Stealth Hoodie LT is its lean and efficient tailoring. Although cut to afford the inclusion of multiple base and insulating layers, the fit is trim without any billowy excess. Cut close to the waist, it’s also comfortable within the confines of a vehicle.
As an avid ice climber, mountaineer, and backcountry skier, I was initially dubious of the non-waterproof zippers. I might like to see waterproof zippers on the Stealth Hoodie LT in the future, but realize it would reduce zipper function and significantly add to the final cost of the jacket. That said, if the Stealth’s zippers permit the ingress of any moisture, it is minimal at best.
As we would expect of Triple Aught Design, the Stealth Hoodie LT comes in muted colors and the aesthetic is unquestionably “tacti-cool.” The sleeves are adorned with velcro landing patches for your favorite insignia, in my case a nice ExPo oval.
There’s no denying, Overland International HQ is favorably positioned in the idilic weather of Arizona’s central mountains. The weather here is seldom unpleasant, but we do have off days, and we certainly travel into meteorological ugliness from time to time. When those days confront us, you can bet the first thing we grab heading out the door is our “TAD jacket.” $475