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Gear Revisited: Triple Aught Design Raptor Hoodie

There are times when a piece of gear doesn’t rotate out of our inventory and it becomes a favorite.  Such was the case with the Triple Aught Design Raptor Hoodie.  I’ve worn the Raptor for a year and a half.  When I reviewed it last year, I originally thought it would only be a three season jacket.  Since then, I’ve revised my thinking when it comes to layering systems and now I wear it year-round.  

The Triple Aught Design Raptor hardshell is now part of my winter layering system.

The Triple Aught Design Raptor hardshell is now part of my winter layering system.

 

As it turned out, the Raptor paired with an insulating breathable mid-layer and a synthetic base layer is a great cold weather combo.  Base layers are somewhat of a commodity for me.  I wear whatever is on hand.  For my mid-layer, I went with the Patagonia Nano Air Hoodie.  It fits well under the Raptor.     

 

The Raptor paired with Patagonia's Nano Air Hoodie

The Raptor paired with Patagonia’s Nano Air Hoodie

 

I opted for the Nano Air in hoodie form versus the jacket because when temperatures really drop, the Nano Air’s insulated hood inside of the Raptor’s hood provides extra head warmth.  And even when the hood is down, it keeps the back of my neck warm.

 

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Of course, there are alternatives to the Nano Air.  Triple Aught Design has a Polartec Alpha mid-layer called the Equilibrium (EQ), which is now available as a hoodie, jacket, and vest.  I really liked the Alpha insulation in the EQ jacket, but unfortunately the hoodie version wasn’t available when I purchased the Nano Air. 

So why has the Raptor worked so well as a winter shell?  First, it’s water-resistant.  If you keep up the DWR, rain and snow just beads off.

 

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Second, it does a good job of cutting the wind, which is always an issue here in the Midwest.  Wind chills can drop real feel temperatures well below zero.  And third, the Raptor is extremely breathable.  When I hike, I usually start at the trail head cold, but quickly warm up.  Despite having no pit zips, the Raptor dumps heat and prevents inside/out moisture build-up better than any shell I’ve used.  In fact, it vents so well that I’ve learned not to keep my iPhone in the chest pockets because it’s always wet when I pull it out.  One of these days, I’m going to forget and kill my phone that way.

Other features that I’ve liked include the three-way adjustable hood with a brim.

 

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The suede polyester at the collar is also a nice detail.

 

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The Raptor’s Aquaguard zippers are not the smoothest you’ll find but they keep moisture at bay and so far they’ve held up great. 

 

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If you only have enough money to invest in one premium shell then I highly recommend the Triple Aught Design Raptor Hoodie.  As part of a seasonal layering system, it’s difficult to find an outer layer that can adapt to such a range of weather conditions like the Raptor. 

The Triple Aught Design Raptor Hoodie retails for $425 and comes in black, gunship, multicam, and phantom and it can be purchased here

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One Response so far.

  1. Rob Y says:

    Rob,

    Haha, thanks. Good questions. My thoughts:

    1. From a durability perspective, the Stealth LT is definitely more hardshell-like. TAD calls the Raptor a hardshell, but Neoshell is soft, stretchy, and probably not as durable. Mine has held up fine, but I’m not bushwhacking or rock climbing. The downside of that extra durability is that the Stealth is noticeably heavier and bulkier to pack. It does breathe but not like Neoshell. Among all of the membrane fabric technologies, Neoshell is near the top when it comes to breathability.

    2. I get lost in all the Arc’teryx model designations so don’t count me as an expert on Deadbird gear. In general, the Alpha and Beta line is mostly various incarnations of Gore-tex Pro so everything that I stated about the Stealth LT would pretty much apply except for the weight. For instance, the Alpha SV is considerably lighter than the Stealth (although still 115 grams heavier than the Raptor). Note that it’s also a lot more expensive. 😉 I have a few Arc’teryx jackets including the Atom SV, Atom SL, and Beta SL (which is Paclite). I like everything about them except for the hoods. Unless you’re always wearing a helmet, TAD’s hoods fit much better IMO.

    Thanks,
    Blaine

    Thanks for another useful review Blaine. You seem to be one of the few gear/review sites that consistently cover brands like TAD, it’s great for gear but dangerous for our wallets.

    Two questions:

    1. When do you use a layer like the Raptor over TAD’s Stealth? From comments and other reviews it looks like the Stealth is heavier or more durable, has more pockets but doesn’t pack down as light.

    2. What’s the difference between jackets like the Raptor and Arc’teryx’s Alpha or Beta line?

Comments and Questions are Welcome!

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