by TAD HQ 2019-09-02
Since its launch back in March 2019, the Ronin XT Jacket has become our most popular item of the year. This is, of course, with good reason. The jacket boasts an impressive amount of features and benefits for a great value.
It’s tough as nails. Has just the right amount of pocketing. Equally fieldable and streetable. 100% made in the USA. Truly a jacket for the modern adventurer joining the ranks of other TAD legends such as the Stealth Hoodie LT and Ranger Hoodie LT.
However, as with any consumer product that markets to packing a heavy punch, does the Ronin XT Jacket actually live up to the hype and performance claims? Our own team set out to field the Ronin in a number of different adventures to put it to the test. Here are those field reports:
It’s not everyday you get to explore the underworld of the concrete jungle that makes up most major metropolitan cities. Tunnels, sewers, aqueducts, and lost architecture are just a few wonders that lay beneath our city streets. Access is usually hidden and sometimes illegal to obtain. While we don’t condone illegal activity, if you can find a way to explore your urban environments, safely and legally, we highly recommended it.
Our test of the Ronin in this environment had our team moving on foot from a heavily trafficked parking lot to a public park and ultimately to an access shaft that lead to a series of tunnels running under the park. The Ronin blended well with the crowds of the urbanesque park area. Paired with Recon ST Pant and a Parallax Messenger Bag, it provided style without overt attention. Access to the shaft required some crawling on heavy duty grates and climbing rebar ladders. The Ronin acted as elemental protection again these abrasion heavy surfaces. Once in the tunnels, running water and slick concrete provided new challenges for navigation. The Ronin kept our team dry and free of scrapes and scratches as they explored the man made mazes under the park. Upon exiting the tunnels, back into the bustling park streets above, the team simply brushed off some grime and grit, joining the public commute back the offices in time for those afternoon sales meetings. Aside from smiles, there was no evidence of the adventure that was just had. The Ronin did its job and didn’t skip a beat as an everyday style with hidden characteristics of being a field jacket.
Virtually every type of climbing requires a large amount of mobility and range of motion. It also requires some scale of toughness from the gear being used, as the environments tend to be hard on gear. Ice climbing is no exception to this. In fact, it asks the same demands for mobility with the addition of harsh conditions such as being cold and wet. A perfect opportunity to test out the Ronin’s four way stretch Tweave Durastretch.
So the team set off again. This time to the canyons of the Colorado backcountry to tackle multiple pitches of frozen waterfalls. Layered with the Ronin XT Jacket was our Javelin Anorak and Alchemy Half-Zip. This combo makes a great option for the demands of ice climbing. The Alchemy acted as the base layer, pulling moisture off body while maintaining core temperatures. The Javelin acted as active insulation via the Polartec Alpha and Power Grid technologies within it. The Ronin completed the ensemble by acting as the outer shell blocking those freezing cold drips of water and ice shrapnel as the axes did their work. The Tweave Durastretch technology in the Ronin allows for extreme stretch without compromise to abrasion. This feature allowed the actions of swinging axes, hauling rope, and placing gear unrestricted and hassle free. While not specifically designed as an ice climbing jacket, the Ronin XT Jacket held up and didn’t hinder performance at all. Surviving an extreme use case from the designed intent is another positive mark for the Ronin’s overall performance.
With functional streetability and extreme mobility put to the test, there was one last main feature of the Ronin to trial. It’s overall durability. The team had previously tested in mild climates with urban exploration and frigid climates with ice climbing. So, it was time to test it in extremely humid temps only offered by spelunking in Arizona.
The team met up with customer’s for the in-field adventure Waypoint : Peppersauce and spent two days exploring miles of subterranean mazes. This time the Ronin was simply paired with a Traverse Tech T due to the high humidity found in the caves. The Traverse Tech T made an optimal base layer, pulling moisture off body and drying quickly. The team crawled, scraped, and wedged through countless corridors and tight openings taking extra care to make sure the Ronin was taking extreme, yet realistic, abrasion abuse. The Tweave Durastretch showed no signs a ripping, shredding, or tearing throughout the adventure. The only sign the jacket even saw action was the clay and dirt caked on from all the attempts to break it in a natural way. Again, the Ronin XT Jacket was pitted against conditions it wasn’t inherently designed for, and again the Ronin held up.
This isn’t to say the Ronin XT Jacket is indestructible or even equivalent in durability to our Doomsday Cloth. If you take a sharp straight edge (knife or barbed wire equivalent) to the Ronin, you are going to slice it open, no problem. However, for realistic everyday use and elevated adventure use cases, the Ronin XT Jacket surpasses expectations.
As mentioned before, it is truly a jacket for the modern day adventurer. Traveling to work or exploring uncharted regions, the Ronin XT Jacket carries the torch as becoming the new legend in the Triple Aught Design lineup.