I love the TAD products for the simple reason, that most of their things are adaptable for a wide variety of applications and environments. The clothes have that “grey man” air about them, but they do not scream “tactical” and “military” when worn in the public. Still their every product is made with the highest standards and to last extensive use and wear on the field.
And so it is no wonder that I have written yet another review of yet another TAD product. Now it is the Praetorian Hoodie’s turn (and I can promise you, this will not be the last one). I have actually longed for one of these since I learned about TAD some ten years ago and saw a picture of one, but never had the money or opportunity to get one. But my luck with getting sweet gear with a bargain seems to be never-ending and hopefully it will remain so for a long time. But now to the review itself.
For those who are not familiar with the Triple Aught Design (or TAD), in short, they are a somewhat small manufacturer of high-end military inspired tactical/outdoors clothing and equipment from San Francisco, USA. For a longer introduction to them, please refer to my other reviews of their products, like the Tracer Jacket, or go to their own website and find all about them there.
The Prateorian Hoodie
Much like the Tracer Jacket and some other products of TAD, the Praetorian Hoodie too has its core design and idea sourced from the history and the historical foundation is already in the name of the hoodie. Praetorian guard was an elite force of the ancient Romans, tasked with protecting the higher officials of the state and hand-picked for their position for their courage and prowess of arms. The design of the Praetorian Hoodie is made to reflect the variety of situations these elite warriors needed to operate, still maintaining the luxury feel and reward that the Praetorian guard was accustomed getting after their service ended.
And this is made possible by the hallowed Merino wool used in the hoodie. The hoodie is knit of 100% Merino wool and thus the capabilities of the wool are not hindered by any other materials. The construct of the fabric is two-fold and it is called MAPP© (Merino Advanced Performance Program), with a more technical MAPP© Tech Fibre on the outer surface, which is slightly wind resistance and more rugged, and on the inside you have the MAPP© MERINO fibre, which regulates your body heat while at the same time releases moisture and allows your body to breathe naturally.
One big issue, when considering products made with Merino wool is mulesing. Mulesing is a practise of cutting strips of skin from the sheep’s backside to make it scar so that a certain kind of parasite fly cannot lay its eggs in the skin and thus inflict the sheep with a painful disease. But mulesing is considered to be brutal and a violation of the animal rights and causing more pain to the sheep than the disease it prevents. That is why you can see these “mulesing free” tags on Merino wool products, and I was unsure what is the status of the wool TAD uses. I contacted their Support team and they swiftly replied me, telling that Triple Aught Design takes these matters very seriously and that the wool they are using is going to be certified as non-mulsed during this year.
The natural elasticity of the wool and the active cut of the hoodie allows a nice freedom of movement, with the hoodie moving with your body. The hood is of the TAD signature AERO design, and the back hem of the hoodie is made longer, so it would not ride when worn under 1st line belts. The cuffs feature thumb holes to help the sleeves to keep on the move and the elbows are reinforced with a double layer for durability.
Detail of the thumb hole and reinforced elbow leading all the way to the cuff.
The Hoodie is offered in variety of subdued solid colours, which all reflect the covert nature and design of the garment. TAD promises that the Praetorian hoodie will hold up on any mission you throw at it, while it still maintains that cool professional “grey man” look and is nicely comfortable to wear.
The Praetorian has three pockets, two hand warmers and one zippered “Napoleon pocket” on the chest. The full frontal zipper and the one on the chest are both quality YKK zippers, as one would expect. Also, because the fabric is not excessively thick it works great as an insulating layer with other garments, like the Stealth Hoodie or the Tracer Jacket.
Detail of the Napoleon pocket.
Unlike many of the TAD products, the Praetorian Hoodies are made in China, rather than the US, but I have not noticed this to affect the quality of the garment in any way.
I have had this hoodie for a good six months now. I got my “Heather Phantom” coloured Praetorian used from a guy who had not used it much, so there were no signs of wear and tear on it at all. Lucky me!
The Praetorian Hoodie is 175 US dollars from their own website, which seems quite a lot and I only paid less than half of it, which really was a steal. But considering it is a 100% Merino wool and well designed and constructed garment, I think 175 dollars is not over the top, although some might consider it to be too much for “just” a knit hoodie.
Immediately when I put it on, my wife told me that “That is one of the best looking “tactical” clothes that you have bought”, and this is a high praise, because she does not care much for my knack for the functional tactical clothing. And that is not all! I have worn the hoodie to work and in the office on slow days and my co-workers have complimented on the Praetor several times. And that is one of the things I like most about the Praetor, that it is very stylish and good-looking garment! Knitted hoodies often look lumpy and stupid, but the Praetor looks smart in every turn.
The other great thing about it is the versatility. As established, the hoodie fits well on all those social situations and whether you are at the office or hitting the night with your friends, the Praetor has our back. But it is also great when you are outdoors, on the adventure, or doing something more active. I have worn it on several occasions on a walk in the woods, a few times to the shooting range and even climbed walls indoors with it and it does not fail you even then. The hoodie moves with you, thanks to the active cut and the wool that naturally follows your movements.
And you are rarely hot or cold in the Praetor. It was great on its own on a cold autumn evening with just a t-shirt underneath, though I have to say that the wind resistance, that the outer layer of wool is promised to have, is nonexistent. And it really does layer nicely with jackets. Just today wore it under my Stealth hoodie to the shooting range and I was comfortable the whole time, despite the action and equipment on me. The wool wicks sweat and breathes extremely well, in my experience, and I would definitely pick the Praetor over a fleece mid-layer, when the circumstances do not call for heavier insulation.
The thumb holes do not work for me at all, I am afraid. My hoodie is medium-sized and that is usually good for me, and it is in this case too, for most parts. But I think my arms are bit longer than most medium-sized guys, because I cannot comfortably use the thumb holes. I know that they are meant to help the sleeves to keep on the move with you, but to my taste the sleeves get a bit too tight and I am afraid they will stretch out too much.
Here the hoodie underneath the Tracer Jacket, showing the thumb holes.
The other thing about the cuffs is, that I think the only weakness of the construction of the hoodie is where the under arm seam is on the cuff. On my both sleeves the knit has started to come undone a bit, but so far the knit has held together and I hope it will continue to do so a long time.
The Napoleon pocket is great for storing small flat items, like my new Magpul DAKA wallet, but it is too small for larger phones and other bulkier items, which make it sag a little bit too. The hand warmer pockets can store the larger items, but only for short times, at least comfortably.
The hood is nice, although I rarely wear it. It does not hold wind very well, but on a still cold night it keeps your head adequately protected. The way the Aero design folds on your back is great when you wear and outer layer on top of the Praetor, and you wont even feel it is there. The zip comes high up to your chin and this is a life-saver when you have forgotten your scarf. And I like the absence of a draw string for the hood, it would always be on the way and anyway the slick style of the hoodie would be ruined by it.
Detail of the Aero hood.
One more thing, the hoodie is really easy to take care of! The wool is naturally odour resistant and does not start to stink, even after a rigorous work out in it. And there is no need to wash it at all, just a long good airing outside is all it needs. I have yet to soil the Praetorian too badly, but because of the knit, most dirt will brush off after airing. The knit of the garment is also phenomenally resistant to piling, which is great!
To sum up all this, I like the Praetorian hoodie very much. I actually would like to wear it all day every day, because it is comfortable, good-looking, works great on almost every activity, active of social, and just gives you a certain confidence that is hard to describe, but you will know it when you have had one. I highly recommend you to get one of these, and there is a similar hoodie for the ladies as well, it is called the Artemis hoodie, so there is no need to disregard this because of gender.
Insulation with breathability
Ability to wear as a layer
And a special mention of the strive to use non-mulsed Merino wool for TAD, and the quick response time of their Support team, thanks guys!
Thumb holes, or short sleeves
Wind resistance, especially of the hood
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased the TAD Praetorian Hoodie with my own funds for my own use. I was not required to write a positive review by any party. The opinions I have expressed are my own entirely.
And finally the “Five points assessment”:
This review was first published in the Noble & Blue. Noble & Blue is a small Finnish outdoor and tactical gear reviewing blog, that also shares stories of learning and adventure. Click here to know more about Noble & Blue