I finally got my winnings from the Triple Aught Design Fall Film Festival, a few months after the competition (still waiting for the t-shirt, patch and the trophy!). After a embarrassingly long time pondering on what to get with the $500 gift certificate, I settled on a Shagmaster hoodie and a Rogue WX, along with acouple of shemaghs.
The Shagmaster hoodie has long been around and is a well known piece of the TAD product line. And no wonder, the pelt-like appearance of the Polartec fleece is a real eye catcher! My wife was highly sceptical when she first saw the pictures of the hoodie, but she changed her mind when she saw the Shagmaster in person.
Triple Aught Design (also known as TAD Gear or simply TAD) is a well known brand, at least for the frequent readers of N&B. I have several of their products reviewed (links on the bottom of this review). They are a San Francisco based outdoors gear and clothing manufacturer. Their designs incorporate the latest top-of-the-line materials, often with mil-spec gradings and their designs fit the urban scenery as well as the harsh wilderness. Everything is expertly crafted, mainly in the US and of US sourced materials.
I have written more about them in the previous reviews, so be sure to check them out if you are interested in them! See the links at the bottom of this review.
Next I am going to go through the technical properties and features of the hoodie. I am paraphrasing and referring to the Triple Aught Design website, so the information should be accurate.
The fleece is Polartec® Thermal Pro® High Loft fleece. It is 100% polyester (9.80oz) and the hoodie has reinforcements in the elbows made of nylon, for added protection against elements and wear. The edge of the hood is also reinforced with nylon.
The fleece resembles the hide of an animal. It is comfortable and has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. The lofty fibres keep warmth in, but also it breathes well, letting fresh air in and allow your excess body heat to slip out.
The outside of the hoodie is clean and the fit is “Active”, which should allow some layering with it. The sleeves have thumb holes to help you put it on and to ease you pulling the sleeves through the sleeves of over-layers. Also the hem is a bit dropped in the back for added protection.
The hood is made of three pieces, a new design apart from the old “Aero-hood”. It has two 1”x1” loop patches on the back of the head for ranger eyes, for night time identification. There is also the TAD signature 1”x1” loop patch on the hem on the right hand side.
There are four pockets in the hoodie all together. Two on the chest and two on the arms. All the pockets are lined inside with brushed mesh fabric, that is securely sewn from seam to seam all around. The chest pockets have a single narrow, open-topped item pouch inside. Everyone them is large enough to fit a larger iPhone. All the pockets have media ports in them that are holes in the mesh, rather than separate sewn on plastic ports. Also, all pockets have grosgrain loops for attaching lanyards etc.
All zippers are YKK. The full front zipper has two pulls to open from above and below, and a comfortable chin flap. They also have grosgrain pulls and the pocket zippers have zippers carages build in them.
Notable thing is that the hoodie has no tightening cords on the hem or the hood. Also both sleeves have loop patches on the upper arm. Some do not like these so they offer the Shagmaster too without the loop panels.
Colourwise, there are currently several different shades of gray offered. Mine is one of the newer greyish colours, Gunship, that somehow has a greenish hue in some lighting. But older versions have been offered in green and brown hues too, so a little search through forums and shops should widen your selection.
The Shagmaster has intrigued me for years now. It is quite unlike any other fleece jacket. The appearance of it makes you think of Sasquatch and bears. No wonder it comes from California.
And when wearing the hoodie you do feel like a teddy bear too, it is so fluffy! The comfortableness of it is out of the roof. The fleece is soft to touch and it really soothes you. I just recently was down with the cold and I went around the house in the Shagmaster, because it was so warm and cozy!
But it is also a really cool looking jacket. I have used it around the town and worn it to pubs with jeans and it is like it’s meant to be used that way. People might take a second look, but usually I get tons of compliments rather than wrinkled up noses sneered at me.
And that last bit brings us to my second point. The Shagmaster is a really surprising all-around jacket. It is not the first one you would think you would wear to urban environment, but it fits quite well there too.
But of course it does excel in the wild and in action. The Shagmaster is a brilliant jacket due to its incredible breathability. I have used it on a brisk winter night cross country skiing trip, I have used it underneath a platecarrier while running and gunning.
And all this time it kept me really warm, but at the same time it regulated my body heat so that I was not hot (insert a “man’s not hot” joke here), but comfortable at all times. This is why I can see that it might be usable on the more chilly summer nights too, even though it is more of an autumn-to-spring jacket.
Layering Is the Key
The Shagmaster really breaths well, but only a little wind can throw all this haywire. You see while it really keeps you warm while letting out excess heat, the problem with this is that the fleece is so lofty that even the lightest breeze blows right through it. All the warmth is blown away too and you will be left shivering inside your hoodie.
This is why I was on the edge between the Shagmaster and Ranger hoodie. The Ranger hoodie is another classic design of TAD and it is made of denser fleece, so it is some what wind and more water proof.
But I opted for the Shag and I have no regrets, because there is a pretty easy solution to this: layering. The Shagmaster is a bit bulky looking hoodie, even though it is cut with an “active fit”. But the fleece is really compressible and so it really fits nicely under hard shells or other over layers. Similarly you can wear a wind shirt etc. under it too.
The Shagmaster is a brilliant hoodie, one of the best jackets I have owned. I really can see myself owning another one of these too (the green (Combat) colourway is awesome!).
The all-around usefulness of it, both on urban environment and outdoors, is great. The he way it just works for high intensity activities and chilling in pubs is phenomenal. More so than other similar jackets I have own.
The only thing I would change in the design is that it would be great if one could tighten the hood to make it better shield your face from the elements. But this is easily remedied by overing layers and shemags etc.
-does not stop any wind
-does not have tightening cord on the hood
I received this product via my own funds. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
You might be interested in other TAD reviews we have, so click on a link below to read more:
Helikon Patriot Heavy Fleece
Claw Gear Aviceda Fleece Jacket
TAD Recon RS Pant
TAD Covert RS Pant
TAD Rhino-Hide Stealth Hoodie
TAD Tracer Jacket
TAD Praetorian Hoodie