After visting the Triple Aught Design (TAD) store in San Francisco last month, I was given the new women's Valkyrie Hoodie LT to test out. TAD, long popular with men, is slowly moving into women's performance wear and so far looks to be doing a good job.
The Valkyrie Hoodie is the women's version of TAD's popular Ranger hooded fleece. The fit is nicely tailored and streamlined to eliminate any excess bulk, meaning TAD was conscientious enough not to just copy and shrink their men's line.
Made from DWR treated Polartec Wind Pro fabric, this jacket offers up plenty of wind protection and will even keep you dry during some light rain. The hooded fleece is thick with loads of pockets, making it heavier than most and not the most breathable fleece for high intensity activities. The fleece becomes even less breathable when it gets a bit wet but discrete pit holes help with ventilation.
With six pockets, you can carry basically everything you need for the day without bringing a backpack. You can put your keys in the left forearm pocket, snacks, camera, phone or MP3 player in the chest or upper arm pockets that are equipped with media ports. The back hunters pocket is large enough to carry a water bottle or even an extra layer.
The hood fits snuggly around your head with the brim and sides extending over your face for extra weather protection. The base of the hood zips up right under your chin, helping to keep your neck warm and blocked from the wind.
The Valkyrie Hoodie runs pretty true to size. The medium fits me well through the body with enough room to wear a lighter layer underneath. Thumbholes assist in keeping the arms down around your wrists as the sleeves aren't naturally long. You could easily throw a hardshell on over this hooded fleece but you might find yourself feeling a bit bulky.
One nice feature of all TAD gear is that is is logo-less, save for a small removable velcro patch on the hem. I was able to wear my Valkyrie Hoodie during a night out on the strip in Las Vegas without looking too "outdoorsy" during my climbing trip to Red Rock.
Bottom Line: The Valkyrie Hoodie offers a nice alternative to the usual light and fast, super bright, performance apparel. Though you may not climb a mountain in this hooded fleece, the Valkyrie is great for stroll on a windy cold beach, Spring hikes, or even as stylish outerwear for touring around San Francisco in the middle of summer.
The Triple Aught Design Valkyrie Hoodie LT retails for $215 and can be purchased online or from one of the TAD stores.