Non-Shell Jackets Page 1 2

As a sizing reference: I'm 5'7", 155 lbs (yeah, I'm a little guy), medium build (BDU top medium/regular, BDU pant medium/short), waist 32", chest 43". Keep this in mind when you read my comments with respect to sizing, so you have an idea of how the garments featured below will fit on you. ALL garments in these pages are size Medium, unless stated otherwise.



TAD Gear Battle Hoodie (discontinued)

9/26/08 - Triple Aught Design (TAD Gear) comes out with new stuff faster than I can keep up. The Battle Hoodie was designed as a cool/cold temperature, arid-desert warfare hooded jacket. It's a specialized jacket, and was produced in response to very specific requests for a quiet, non-melting, insulated garment for dry environments.

TAD Gear was asked to design a garment that would be tasked for the colder months at higher altitudes in Afghanistan and Iraq. It had to be no-melt and was to be used in dry/arid environments, so a cotton blend for the outer fabric was chosen. Warmth was desired, so it is fully lined with a cotton liner. The Battle Hoodie is the garment that resulted from this criteria. It's reminiscent of a combat smock, but lined instead of just a shell. It also reminds me somewhat of the old M-65 field jacket, but of a much more modern design and lighter in weight. A non water-resistant, cotton/cotton blend, insulated jacket seems like a narrowly focused garment, given the variety of today's soft and hardshell jackets, and the tendancy towards layering. But when you look at the popularity of similar jackets in the civilian arena (Carhartt cotton duck insulated work jackets come to mind), you realize that it's actually a practical choice for an everyday, cool/cold weather jacket if it's dry and windy.

Overall Features

Combat Jacket, hood rolled up

Hood down


  • Material - The choices for the Battle Hoodie materials were driven by the request for a predominantly non-synthetic jacket that would not melt like most other synthetics. The Battle Hoodie comes in solid colours (OD Green and Desert Tan), and Crye MultiCam shown here. The solid colour fabrics are 100% cotton ripstop and the Crye MultiCam is 50/50 NYCO ripstop fabric. While these fabric are not FR (Fire Resistant), they do not melt and aggravate burn injuries like most non-FR synthetics. They provide breathable comfort in cold, dry environs for which this jacket was designed for.
    The lining is an ME-brown, high cotton-content, warm and soft flannel-like knit. It feels very much like mid-weight flannel that has been broken in - very soft and comfy. The lining is not quilted to the jacket and is sewn down at the seams.
  • Multi-panel construction - The body utilizes 4-panel construction with a 'military cut' for integration with combat equipment.
  • TAD Signature AERO hood - The same, improved AERO hood design used on the Stealth Hoodie is used on the Battle Hoodie. Elastic shock cords allow the hood face opening to be adjusted (loosened or tightened) with one hand. The brim protrudes outwards, providing good protection without coming too low to restrict vision. Worn down with the collar zipped closed, the brim sits against the back of the head to seal in warmth. When not in use, the AERO hood lays relatively flat against the upper back. The elastic draw cords are internally routed to keep the collar area free of clutter. The cord ends are accessed through the high-rise chest pockets.
    There's a flap sewn to the inside of the collar which velcros inside the hood when not in use (the H.R.U.F.). When the hood is rolled up, the flap goes over the rolled-up hood and attaches to the two velcro patches on the outside of the collar. To unroll the hood, the flap is simply pulled off the velcro and the hood deployed. There are 1" x 1" velcro squares sewn to the back of the hood for glint tape or Ranger eyes. The hood is fully lined with the soft, cozy flannel-like cotton fabric.

Collar cinched up

Rear view

Hood up views
  • Upper sleeve velcro swatches - These are sewn onto the upper sleeve pockets and measure 4" x 4".
  • Full volume upper sleeve pockets - The upper sleeve pockets measure about 7" x 7" and have expansion gussets at the rear and bottom for more volume and are accessed via vertical zippers at the front.
  • Longer sleeves to prevent creep - the sleeves are cut longer so that they don't ride up the wrists when in the prone position or when reaching forward. I did find that a bi-swing back would have added to the mobility as the jacket can get tight around the back in that position.
  • D-ring keepers in pockets - The upper sleeve pockets and side-entry chest pockets all have plastic D-ring keepers sewn to elastic at the back of the pocket, for dummy cording critical items from loss.
  • "Hi-rise" main chest pockets - These are side-entry pockets located on the torso and are designed for LBE and pack waist belt clearance (hence the higher location of the zipper). There is an additional slim 'stash pocket' inside for flashlights, pocket knives or pens. The stash pocket is about 1.5" wide and 5" deep. The hood drawcord end enters the pocket via a reinforced grommet and is pulled to cinch up the hood opening.
  • Two inside chest pockets - Sewn to the cotton liner is a 6" x 4" pocket on each side of the chest, with elasticized openings. Perfect size for iPods etc. There's a web loop on the inside left of the main zipper for routing headphone cables etc through.
  • Lower left sleeve ID pocket - Another TAD signature item; used for ID, change, keys etc.

Collar details, hood rolled up

Hood opened

Hood adjustment

Side entry pockets

Side entry pocket

Cuff and ID pocket
  • Pit zips for venting - at 11" long, these are shorter than on most other TAD jackets, but aren't common on most other cotton jackets. Even though this is a breathable jacket, the ventilation is welcome when you start getting active.
  • Rear dual-entry 'Duck pocket' - Now becoming a standard feature on many of TAD's jackets, this is a large 16" x 10" pocket, like a 'poachers pouch' on the lower back of the jacket for storing soft items like beanies, gloves etc. It's easily accessible from both sides.
  • Adjustable cuff tabs - The wrist cuffs are half elasticized and have velcro adjustment tabs. The elastic allows you to stick your hand through without undoing the velcro tabs.
  • Reinforced shoulders and elbows - The tops of the shoulders are double reinforced with 500D cordura for abrasion resistance to pack and equipment straps. The elbows are also reinforced with 500D cordura patches which form a pad pocket with velcro closure. TAD's TPro elbow/knee pads will need to be trimmed to fit, or Crye elbow pads will fit without alteration (shown here). The MultiCam cordura panels match the ripstop so well you don't even notice they're there.
  • Bias cut bottom hem with cord locked draw cord - The back of the jacket is cut longer in the back and there are one-handed elastic mini draw cord locks on both sides to seal out the wind.
  • Details - YKK reverse Covert zippers, DTM milspec elastic shock cord and mini-cord locks. The Covert zippers have the teeth on the inside so the outside is protected against dust and sand. All the zipper pulls have flat webbing zipper pulls sewn to them. Finally, we see a large, heavy duty main zipper on a TAD jacket, which I like better than the smaller ones (for the main front zip). It's backed by a storm flap.

Elbow reinforcement

Bottom hem

Rear duck pocket

Rear duck pocket detail

Pit zip

Pit zip detail

Sizing and fit - From the way it fits, the Battle Hoodie is sized more as a stand-alone jacket than one intended to be worn over additional layers. As a Medium kinda guy at 5' 7" and 155-160 lbs, the Medium size fits me just about perfect with a little bit of room all around, but the added volume of the cotton lining inside doesn't leave room for anything but a thin base layer or short-sleeved t-shirt. I wouldn't wear it with anything bulky underneath. The sleeves are cut longer to prevent the cuffs from creeping up the fore arms when the arms are reached out or up, so they reach down to my fingertips. The bottom of the Battle Hoodie is longer than the Stealth Hoodie, and covers my butt.

There are a couple of things which I felt could be improved when it comes to fit:
1. The cotton liner is sewn to the outer shell at the waist and wrist cuffs, pit zips, and of course, the perimeter of the jacket. So, for the most part, it's relatively loose. When donning the jacket, the loose liner in the sleeves can collect at the cuffs and protrude - it just needs to be pulled back inside the sleeves through the pit zips. I'd like to see the lining in the sleeves sewn down for the entire length of the sleeve along the main seam. This is another reason why I'd recommend something very thin and smooth that doesn't grab the cotton liner if you really want to wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath.
2. The outer shell material, being cotton rip stop, is essentially non-elastic. When extending my arms to the front, it gets a bit snug around the upper back and under the arms, even though the sleeves are long enough to prevent the cuffs from riding up. A bit more room around the shoulder area or a bi-swing/pleated back would be nice.

General Notes - TAD envisioned the Battle Hoodie to be their version of a smock, but more modern and updated. But since it's lined, it feels more like a field jacket, or a smock worn over a comfy sweatshirt (or actually, a flannel pajama top). In other words, warm and comfortable. It's best suited for temperatures 70° and below, in my own estimation. It's definitely not a wet weather jacket, being designed for cool, dry climates. Abrasion resistance and durability will be similar to or better than a set of ripstop BDUs; the lining provides some padding and the elbow and shoulder cordura panels will be very wear resistant in those areas. It's also very wind resistant - I tested this out by going on a chilly, early morning ride on my motorcycle. When the sun goes down and a cool breeze starts blowing, the lined hood is especially welcome. Not normally found on cotton jackets like this are the pit zips, which really do make a difference in ventilation. Some might argue that pit zips are necessary only for less breathable garments like hardshells and some soft shells, but I like having the ability to vent a large amount of warm air without having to open the main zipper or rely 'breathability'.

The Battle Hoodie functions well as a casual jacket (in the solid colours, if the MultiCam is a bit much for around the town wear) for everyday use in cool and dry weather, and can take the place of a heavy sweatshirt while providing wind resistance and of course, more utility with all its pockets. It can also be considered a field jacket or insulated smock. For a seemingly niche product designed for a narrow task (in the military or contractor role), I think that it's a pretty versatile jacket well suited for general purpose, everyday casual outerwear. The fact that it's a damn good-looking jacket doesn't hurt either.


TAD Gear Limited Edition Striker Leather Flight Jacket

12/4/07 - Just like they did with their Legionnaire Classic pants and Garage Jacket, TAD Gear has yet again given another classic design the TAD Gear treatment. The Striker Leather flight Jacket is patterned after the German military (Bundeswehr) issue flight jacket (flieger jacken), which is issued to pilots in the Air Force (Luftwaffe), Navy (Marine) and Army (Heer). It's a superb example of current issue military style and design that's versatile enough for every day wear just about anywhere you can think of. Patrick at TAD Gear bought his first current issue Luftwaffe jacket back in 1987, and really liked the design as it was unlike anything else on the market. The cut was designed for every day wear, like a baseball or letterman jacket. It was a more casual fit, and less restrictive than a close-fitting motorcycle jacket, but still a great military/”industrial” function-first type design. He had been wanting to do a higher quality version for a long time, so finally, the Striker jacket was born.

TAD Gear's website states that "Our Striker Flight Jacket is perfect for everyday street wear, adventure travel, motorcycling, pilots, 4 wheeling, and anyone looking for a totally distinct, and excellently made EDC leather jacket. Looks great with your favorite pair of jeans, khakis, or cargo pants. From the first moment you put it on, you'll feel like you're wearing an old broken-in favorite." I'm inclined to agree.

Material - The Striker jacket is cut on the exact same pattern as the current issue German Pilot and Air Crew Flight Jackets, and custom made in one of the finest bespoke (tailored) leather shops in the USA, specializing in Motorcycle Police and Competition Racing leathers. TAD chose select American Free Range Goatskins for their superior strength to weight ratio. Goatskin is a strong, supple leather with a proven track record for durability and its long-lasting properties. Compared to cowhide, it has the same durability for less weight compared to cowhide and even more comfort from their supple characteristics. The Striker jacket is constructed out of 3 oz goatskin. Many foreign-made leather jackets and coats are made of 1 oz leather. It's determined by taking a 1 ft x 1 ft sample cut from the finished hide and weighing it, and comparing that weight to the thickness. 2.5 oz or 3 oz leather is considered the optimum leather weight for flight jackets, providing a good balance between durability and suppleness. Each goatskin hide is unique and displays distinct grains & textures from free range goats.

Instead of the gray colour that the German flight jackets are made of, the TAD chose a unique colour they've dubbed as 'Terra Green'. It's difficult to pin down as it looks different depending on the lighting conditions. It looks more brown under yellowish light (in the late afternoon light above, for example) and greenish-brown under artificial (fluorescent) light and overcast days in the photos below. Whatever it is, though, it's a smart-looking shade that goes well with just about any other colour. In the far right photo below, the Striker is shown right next to a dark brown leather A2 flight jacket.

Striker and Legninnaire pants

Inside pocket locations and lining

Compared to brown leather jacket (Striker on right)

The main features of the Striker Jacket are as follows (size 42 shown):

  • TAD Gear Green Label - Premium American Aviation Grade 3 oz Goatskin which is exceptionally supple yet durable.
  • 100% custom made in San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • Similar in fit to US MA-1 or CWU flight jackets.
  • Leather hang loop.
  • Upgraded to solid full back with no center seam - Patrick also wanted to do a solid back instead of the issue back with a center seam. Solid backs indicate a much more expensive process as a whole hide is used for the back; not pieced together with 2 smaller hides.
  • Heavy duty charcoal-coloured nylon lining - This is heavier duty than the common polyester/silk-weight material used in most leather flight jackets. It's more resistant to abrasion so a concealed pistol in a shoulder or hip holster won't wear holes in it.
  • YKK metal zippers - these are nickel plated steel (like the original A2 jackets, not the yellow brass more recent versions). They provide a nice contrast to the rest of the jacket. All zippers have same-leather pulls.
  • Terra Green colour
  • Available in chest sizes 36"-48" - German Issue Military sizing, order a size up for a looser fit.

Inside collar details

Collar details

Collar zipped up
  • Front map pocket on left chest - This is a front-entry pocket with 6" zipper opening, and is about 7" tall and 7" deep.
  • Two side hand warmer pockets - The original German flight jacket does not have hand warmer pockets. Hand warmer pockets are a feature I'm used to having on a jacket, and I'm glad that TAD chose to add them. The Striker hand warmer pockets are about 7" deep with a 6" opening. Both the front map pocket and hand warmer pockets are lined with a heavy duty fabric - even heavier than the jacket lining.
  • Left sleeve admin/accessory pocket - This is about 5.5" x 5.5" and patterned exactly after the German flight jacket pocket. It has a 3.5" zippered opening and small items can be stored inside. The bottom of the pocket is sewn into a box, so it actually has some volume and isn't flat. On the outside are 3 pen slots. These are pretty narrow, and will only work with slim pens. They're 4" deep, and won't fit longer pens. A small 2" wide x 3" tall slot pocket is sewn on top of the pen slots.

Front map pocket

Side pocket opening

Left shoulder pocket

Left shoulder pocket details

  • Armpit vents - A 2.5" slit at the armpit provides ventilation where it's needed. It's reinforced with a circle of leather on the inside of the jacket.
  • Two internal chest pockets - There's an internal chest pocket on either side, with the opening reinforced with leather. The lining is the heavier nylon. The opening is 5.75" wide and the pocket is about 8" deep.
  • Mil-spec, aviation grade, lycra reinforced wool knit cuffs, waist, and collar - TAD used the same supplier for the knit cuffs that makes them for the best G1’s. These are chocolate brown in colour. The collar is 3.5" tall, the cuffs 3" wide and the waistband 2.75" wide.

Pit vent

Inside pit vent

Inside chest pocket

Waistband details


The Striker jacket is cut right at "flight jacket length" - just below the waist. The fit is relaxed (on me); not tight at all, but not baggy either. As mentioned above, it fits very much like a letterman jacket. There's enough room to fit a sweatshirt or the TAD Scout Hoodie under the jacket for added warmth. The Striker has no insulation other than the lining. TAD spared no expense on the Striker, and it shows. The materials, stitching and workmanship (even inside the jacket and pockets) are simply excellent. The leather is thick, yet supple with an attractive grain and that scent. I don't find it heavy or too warm; I find it very comfortable for temperatures around 70°F and below. It's ideal for cool or windy conditions, as leather stops the wind completely, yet remains breathable. The collar can be worn open or zipped up to form a turtleneck.

My only other non-motorcycling leather jacket is a 17-year old Avirex "AVG" A2, which is still going strong and a nice jacket (even though the Avirex A2 is only a loose approximation of the original A2 design, which I didn't know back then). I tended to wear it less over the years as it became such a common design, with cheap knockoff 'bomber jackets' sported everywhere. The Striker/German flight jacket style is much less common than the A2 or G1, and is classy, stylish and functional. Overall, it's a more streamlined jacket without the shoulder epaulets and flap pockets. This jacket will not go out of style anytime soon. The Terra Green shade further adds to the uniqueness and distinctive look of the Striker. I've been wearing it all over the place - every day wear to work, around town, on my motorcycle, and have found it to be a very comfortable and versatile jacket. The colour also goes well with the pants I wear most often; OD green, khaki and jeans. While I love my synthetic jackets made of the latest high-performance rain-shedding breathable membrane materials, they just don't have the character of a well worn classic leather jacket.

Shown below is the Striker Jacket with MM graphic designed and custom printed by Andrew Bawidamann. This is the same graphic as found on the MM T-shirt.

with MM graphic

TAD Gear V8 Garage Jacket

9/9/07 - So the story goes, the "Garage Jacket" had its origins as a simply-styled jacket worn by mechanics working on cars - both as protection from the cold concrete floor of the garage and when it was chilly at the drag strip. This "working-man's" jacket has become a classic American garment used for casual outerwear, no longer worn only by gear-heads and hot-rodders but by anyone appreciating its simple and practical style and cut. For the debut of their first dedicated urban street wear jacket, TAD Gear has taken this classic American garment and "supercharged" it without changing its familiar, smart, straight lines.

As you can see from the photos below, the TAD Gear V8 Garage Jacket is a great looking jacket, but doesn't look too unusual at first glance. TAD took the subtle route with the V8, infusing it with neat TAD features that are more covert than overt.

The V8 is made from rugged 100% cotton canvas, and only available in True Black. It's a substantial fabric - but not so thick as to be stiff. What sets the V8 fabric apart from other cotton jackets is that it's Epic Nextec treated, which encapsulates the fibers in silicone. This produces a highly water-resistant, windproof, breathable and washable cotton. Water beads up and doesn't penetrate the fabric, and it's also much quicker drying than standard cotton as the fibers don't want to hold water.

I took the photo above one and a half hours after putting the water on the jacket. After I shook the water off and felt the fabric, it was completely dry with no 'wetting out'. In my experience with other Epic-treated fabrics, I've found that they are highly water resistant as advertized, but not water proof, so take note of that distinction. The V8 is not intended to replace rain gear, but it will defintely keep you drier for longer than a regular jacket.

Zipped up



Inside pocket locations

Here's a rundown of the features on the V8 Garage Jacket (medium size shown):

  • TAD Gear Green Label - Natural 100% Cotton shell.
  • Special modified cut to minimize and reduce printing from shoulder or waist carry - Two inches was added to the normal work jacket length (like Dickies). While still a waist length jacket, those extra couple of inches provides just enough room to cover many waist carry holsters. Since the work style jacket is inherently “boxy” the torso cut follows a less tapered pattern which creates a nice space for most shoulder holsters. Imprinting is at a minimum with the V8 cut. The cut is generous/loose without being baggy.
  • Reinforced elbow patches - double layer of fabric on the elbows for durability.
  • Zipped cuffs with 'time check rotation' - Instead of being located on the outside of the cuff, the zippers are rotated so that they're directly over your watch face if you're wearing one. Unzipping the cuff exposes the watch to view. The idea behind this is to allow easy access to check the time on the watch instead of pulling back the cuff. Not really needed for a quick glance, but intended more for times when you want continued access to your watch - like looking at a countdown timer, or using the stopwatch function. Opening up the zipper provides unrestricted access to all the buttons on your watch.
  • Accessory pocket on left sleeve/shoulder - This is a 6.5" tall x 6" wide zipper-opening flat pocket. It's fully lined with sateen fabric. A D-ring is sewn at the rear of the pocket for dummy cording items to.
  • Two hand warmer pockets with internal Quik Draw mag slots - In each side entry hand warmer pocket is a 5.75" deep slot pocket, angled for easy access. Sewn to the opening of the slot pocket is an 18" length of tape/webbing with velcro on the end. When an object is inserted into the slot pocket, the tape is wrapped under it and is inserted into the pocket with it. The velcro is then secured on the outside of the slot pocket. When velcro tab on the tape is pulled, it ejects the object into your hand. The pocket is sized for most pistol magazines. I haven't decided whether pulling on the tape is faster than just reaching into the slot pocket (if the mag baseplate sticks out, it's easy to grab), but it does help with shorter mags like Glock 19 mags, which sit further down within the pocket. If you choose not to use the tape, just roll it up and shove it into the pocket - you won't know it's there. The slot pockets will also fit flashlights.
  • YKK Covert Zippers used throughout with zipper garages

Elbow reinforcement and zipper cuff

Left shoulder pocket

Left shoulder pocket interior D-ring

Hand warmer pocket

Quik-draw mag slot in handwarmer pocket
  • Heavy "Super Fly" Sateen lining - The V8 is fully lined with luxurious olive green sateen. It's heavy enough to provide some light insulation and warmth, and very comfortable.
  • Two internal breast pockets - Inside each breast is a 6" x 6" flat pocket with zippered opening. Each pocket is organized on the inside with a pen slot and 5" deep x 3.5" wide slot pocket for iPods, sunglasses, cell phone etc.
  • Waistband Hideout Pocket - Hidden in the waistband behind the left hip is a Hideout pocket for small, flat items like a couple of keys or money. It's 7" long and 1.8" wide. It has a fine zipper closure, and when closed, the zipper is hidden. Only the small metal tab is visible.
  • Lapel Hideout Pocket - Another secret pocket is located under the right lapel. It's 6" long and tapers from 2" at the end to 2.5" at the opening. There's no zipper, and the opening is secured by an overlapping piece of fabric. A small D-ring is sewn inside at the bottom of the pocket, for securing a small hideaway knife sheath or dummy cording a key. The D-ring isn't meant to be frequently accessed, as you have to scrunch up the length of the pocket to expose it.

Sateen lining and internal pockets

Pen slot and internal organizer

Waistband hideout pocket

Lapel hideout pocket

One thing I've really begun to appreciate with just about all of TAD Gear's clothing is the organization offered by 'pockets within pockets'. So much so that I miss those features when I wear 'normal' pants or jackets. I like being able to segregate my keys, cell phone, pager, sunglass case and change instead of putting them together to collect at the bottom of my pockets. Having separate compartments also keeps movement of items within the pockets to a minimum when running around. The V8 offers the same kind of organization in a more subtle manner and I'm sure will be popular with those wanting TAD's features in a non-tactical looking jacket. I'd rate V8 as a light-medium to medium jacket, as far as usage in cool weather. For colder weather, TAD showed the V8 layered over their Scout Hoodie, which needs an outer layer if there's a wind blowing. The V8 is sized more generously than TAD's stealth hoodies, and cut such that the lightweight Scout Hoodie layers underneath without feeling bulky, and looks good when worn as a combination.

The V8 is a great urban-casual jacket with a Classic American look, but with the added bonus of modern features and fabric technology.

Worn over Scout Hoodie

MM Graphic


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