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.
TO VIEW FULL SIZE IMAGES: USERNAME and PASSWORD are both "mm"
TAD Gear Merino Stealth Coat (discontinued)
3/7/08 - Triple Aught Design's (TAD Gear) new 'Green Label" (natural fibers) Stealth Coat is patterned similarly to their Ranger Fleece Hoodie and Stealth Hoodie soft shells shown above, but with a twist. Instead of being constructed out of synthetic fleece or the latest soft shell material, it's made out of 500 gram New Zealand Merino Melton wool. Similar in weight to the familiar Navy Pea Coat, TAD intended the Stealth Coat to be a modern take on the classic car coat or hunting jacket.
New Zealand Merino Melton - TAD Gear is introducing more styles and garments this year in merino wool because of the many benefits of this natural material. Wool is naturally fire resistant, breathable, durable, used in both hot and cold climates, odour and static resistant, and will keep you warm even when wet. Melton wool is a classic fabric typically used for winter jackets, coats and blankets. It's thick and tightly woven, with a heavily brushed nap with no warp and weft (weave) visible, like felt. The 500 gram 19 micron Merino Melton is very dense, and currently available only in TAD's D.F. (Dark Field) Grey. The Stealth Coat is actually a medium-dark grey, whereas the D.F. Ranger Hoodie is pretty much black. As I've mentioned in previous reviews of wool garments, I have very sensiitve skin and fall in the small percentage of people that can find even Merino wool scratchy. However, this is not the case with the Stealth Coat - I don't find it itchy or irritating on my bare skin at all, which is a relief as it's a nice coat. A micron count for the individual wool fiber thickness is typically required to be under 19.5 micron for it to be itch free. TAD's is 19, which puts it in the middle of the industry classification for 'fine' Merino of 18.6-19.5.
- Usually I deal with sizing at the end, but wanted to make sure people
see this before ordering. Somehow, the run of Stealth Coats ended
up with the wrong tags, and are labeled one size down. The Stealth
Coat is cut generously for wear over thick winter layers, and I'd
say it's about one and a half sizes larger than marked, if used as
a stand-alone jacket with thin layers underneath. I'm usually a size
'Medium', as are my Ranger and Stealth Hoodies. The coat I'm wearing
here is labeled 'Small'. Even so, it's still roomier than the Ranger
Hoodie. One of the reasons for the more generous cut is that the Melton
wool has practically no stretch to it. This is noticeable in the wrist
cuffs, as they're cut long enough to cover the hands when the thumbholes
are used, but not elastic enough to be retained at the wrist. I'd
have preferred velcro adjustment tabs to keep them at my wrists, but
found that the issue was easily solved by folding the cuffs back once.
So, make sure you order one size smaller than you normally do, at
least. More about sizing further down.
At first glance, the Stealth Coat is easily dismissed as a clone of the Ranger Hoodie, made in wool instead of fleece. However, closer examination of the details reveals that it also shares elements with the Stealth Hoodie, and even so, not quite exaclty. So, it's actually a blend of both jackets with some features unique to itself.
The summary of features on the Stealth Coat is as follows:
Compared to the fleece Ranger Hoodie, the Stealth Coat definitely has a more 'urban' than 'outdoors/military' look to it, because of the way the Melton wool drapes. It tends to have straighter lines, for a smarter look. The Stealth Coat is a slightly heavier jacket, but a little less warm than the Ranger as it has less loft due to the denser material. However, due the the breathability of the wool fibers themselves, you're less likely to get stuffy when you sweat than with a synthetic fleece top (synthetic fibers do not soak up moisture - they wick it away. Wool fibers actually absorb moisture).
Now, the care label on the Stealth Coat says 'dry clean
only'. I usually shy away from high-maintenance clothing. If it's
meant to be worn outdoors, sweated in and expected to get dirty, 'dry
clean' only doesn't work for me. I decided to be the guinea pig and
see what would happen if I machine washed and dried the Stealth Coat.
Now, wool is notorious for shrinking when exposed to the combination
of wet, heat and agitation. I decided not to try the warm/cold wash
cycle, but to just use the cold cycle, mainly to get it soaking wet.
I also chose the 'gentle/delicate' cycle. Note that I have a front
loading machine, not a top loader/agitator. I would not recommend
using an agitation washing machine for this. After the cycle, I checked
it out, saw no visible damage or change, and threw it in the dryer
with a fabric softener sheet on 'medium' heat. I let it go for about
20 mins, and checked on it again. It didn't seem to shrink at all,
and still looked fine. I cranked it to the 'high heat/cotton' setting
and let it run for another 20 mins. When it was dry, I took it out
and checked it over. The result - I'd estimate about 5% shrinkage
with no bunching or damage to the fabric or components. I put it on
and it doesn't fit as baggy anymore, and fit me better than before.
The sleeves and wrist cuffs are a bit snugger and maybe 0.5"
shorter than they were. Note that all the photos above were taken
before I washed and dried the coat. I don't think you'd notice the
difference in photos, but I can feel it in the fit.
So, if you're looking for something along the lines of the Ranger Hoodie, but prefer TAD's 'Green Label' line of natural fibers, the Stealth Coat offers an option. With its urban cut and colour, and the 'classier' look and drape of Merino Melton Wool, you'll get a coat that doesn't look out of place downtown, but also has the typical TAD technical features and extras that make it a practical piece in the outdoors. Just make sure you understand the sizing before you order.
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