7 Best Sun Hoodies

We tested the best sun hoodies on the market for 2023 and this is how they performed.

Updated on May 1st, 2023
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We tested the best sun hoodies on the market today according to price, weight, comfort, fit, and sun protection. Read on to see how they performed, which is best for you, and get some valuable buying advice.

Best Sun Hoodies

The best sun hoodies are:

The product comparison table below is sortable. Click the arrow in the heading cell to sort the models by preferred spec.

MODEL WEIGHT

UPF
RATING

MATERIAL

FIT

PRICE

SCORE

1. BLACK DIAMOND Alpenglow 8.6 oz 50+ Polyester, Elastane Regular $95 9/10
2. MOUNTAIN HARDWARE Crater Lake™ Hoody 7 oz 50 Polyester, Elastane Standard $65 8/10
3. VAPOR APPAREL Solar Hoodie 5.6 oz 50+ Polyester Regular $35 8/10
4. OUTDOOR RESEARCH Echo 4 oz 15, 20 Polyester Trim $75 8/10
5. COLUMBIA PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie 8 oz 50 Polyester Relaxed $45 8/10
6. KATHMANDU SUN-Stopper Men's Hooded Long-Sleeve Top 7 oz 50+ Polyester Relaxed $55 8/10
7. MONTBELL Cool Hoodie 6.6 oz 50 Polyester Loose $89 8/10

Best Overall Sun Hoodie

BLACK DIAMOND Alpenglow

Black Diamond Alpenglow
Pros

✅ Comfy

✅ Great sun protection

✅ Durable

✅ Breathable

Cons

❌ Expensive

❌ Heavier

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 8.6 oz
  • UPF Rating: 50+
  • Material: Polyester, Elastane
  • Fit: Regular Fit
  • Woven or Knit: Knit
  • Thumb Holes: No
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

With a whopping 13% elastane, the Black Diamond Alpenglow is by far the stretchiest option on the list making it ultra-comfortable and with a trim fit, it feels great to wear.

The hood doesn’t have a button to secure it, and we found it works best with a hat for windy days. The hood is even stretchy enough to wear a helmet under, which is great for climbers.

Without thumbholes, it is made for activities where mobility is at the forefront. With a 50+ UPF rating, this is one of the best SPF shirts we tested. It scored high on breathability for us too. It has been treated with Polygiene to ward off odors and works exceptionally well.

The drawbacks for us are the price, $95, and the weight, 8.6 ounces, both the highest in our review. However, the Black Diamond Alpenglow is worth getting spendy for. It’s our best overall hooded sun shirt.


Most Comfortable Sun Hoodie

MOUNTAIN HARDWARE Crater Lake™ Hoody

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody
Pros

✅ Super comfy

✅ Breathable

✅ Good sun protection

Cons

❌ Not durable

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 7 oz
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Material: Polyester, Elastane
  • Fit: Standard Fit
  • Woven or Knit: Knit
  • Thumb Holes: Yes
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

The Crater Lake Hoodie is super soft and has a great stretch - thanks to its 12% elastane - making it one of the most comfortable hooded SPF shirts around.

While it doesn’t have a button to secure the hood, we like the design of the small collar in the front to keep it secured to your head, with or without a hat.

We found it to fall right in the middle of the pack with a regular fit and comfort, but it excels in breathability. This breathability does come at a cost and is less durable than other options.

We wouldn’t recommend this long sleeve sun shirt for bushwacking or climbing. With a UPF of 50, Crater Lake offers good sun protection too. If you’re looking for a comfy hooded sun shirt, the Mountain Hardware Crater Lake is our top pick.


Best Budget Sun Hoodie

VAPOR APPAREL Solar Hoodie

Price: $35

Vapor Apparel Solar Hoodie
Pros

✅ Best budget option

✅ Lightweight

✅ Great sun protection

Cons

❌ Less comfortable

❌ Low breathability

❌ Less durable

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 5.6 oz
  • UPF Rating: 50+
  • Material: Polyester
  • Fit: Regular Fit
  • Woven or Knit: Knit
  • Thumb Holes: No
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

The Vapor Apparel Solar Hoodie is the least expensive option on our list and our pick for the best budget sun hoodie. We were pleasantly surprised with the material, reminiscent of more expensive options.

However, the lower price does sacrifice any extra features. There aren’t any thumb holes nor is there anything to secure the hood. This may be a deal-breaker on extended trips or in windy environments where it can be annoying.

We found the sleeves to be very slim and may not fit everyone, so consider sizing up. If the material is too tight to your skin, the 50+ UPF does not work properly. At 5.6 ounces, this is the second-lightest sun hoodie we tested.


Best Ultralight Sun Hoodie

OUTDOOR RESEARCH Echo

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie
Pros

✅ Ultralight

✅ Breathable

Cons

❌ Least UPF protection

❌ Not durable

❌ Higher cost

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 4 oz
  • UPF Rating: 15, 20
  • Material: Polyester
  • Fit: Trim Fit
  • Woven or Knit: Both
  • Thumb Holes: Yes
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

If you need an ultralight sun hoodie, the Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie is the lightest on our list and our top ultralight pick. At 4 ounces, this is a full 1.5 ounces lighter than the nearest competition.

With a textured, incredibly lightweight material, we love that the Echo Hoodie feels almost weightless. We think the slim fit is nice enough to be worn off the trail too. The lightweight, woven design makes this one of the most breathable sun shirts on our list, great for hot environments.

A downside to the weight and breathability is we noticed the thin fabric is less durable than other options on our list. At $75, it’s slightly higher than the average price too.

Our biggest gripe is that it offers the lowest UPF protection on our list. It does have an anti-odor treatment, but we found it can get intensely stinky on extended trips without the ability to wash.


Most Durable Sun Hoodie

COLUMBIA PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie

Price: $45

Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie
Pros

✅ Durable

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Good sun protection

Cons

❌ Low breathability

❌ Heavier

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 8 oz
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Material: Polyester
  • Fit: "Relaxed Fit"
  • Woven or Knit: Knit
  • Thumb Holes: No
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

With more of a focus on fishing rather than hiking, we recommend the Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie is an inexpensive option for someone looking for sun protection for activities that aren’t as high output.

We found this to be the least breathable hoodie on our list. However, It makes up for it by being the most durable due to the tightest knit of any of the hoodies we looked at.

We found the fit to be large and boxy and not particularly flattering, so you may want to size down from your normal size. It is the second heaviest option we tested, but if you want a durable hoodie, the Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie is our top pick.


The Other Noteworthy Models

KATHMANDU SUN-Stopper Men’s Hooded Long-Sleeve Top

Kathmandu SUN-Stopper Men’s Hooded Long Sleeve Top
Pros

✅ Great sun protection

✅ Sustainable

Cons

❌ Average in all other categories

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 7 oz
  • UPF Rating: 50+
  • Material: Polyester
  • Fit: Relaxed Fit
  • Woven or Knit: Knit
  • Thumb Holes: Yes
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

The Kathmandu SUN-Stopper stands out for its great sun protection. Like other top UV shirts on our list, it has a 50+ UPF rating. It also has extra protection thanks to very long sleeves, and a longer cut through the torso.

We like that it’s made from 100% recycled material and has a Polygiene treatment to reduce odors. For weight, price, comfort, durability, and breathability, this sun shirt is in the middle of the pack compared to the other models we tested.

One of our testers did note that while not the lightest option, it feels lighter than other options when worn.


MONTBELL Cool Hoodie

Montbell Cool Hoodie
Pros

✅ Breathable

✅ Best for high-output activities

Cons

❌ Expensive

❌ Not durable

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 6.6 oz
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Material: Polyester
  • Fit: Loose Fit
  • Woven or Knit: Knit
  • Thumb Holes: Yes
  • Hoodie Drawstring: No

Montbell created a unique fabric for this hoodie with a textured, looser knit on the internal side and a standard knit on the outside. This creates remarkable breathability, but we found it did suffer in the durability department.

For day hikes or running, however, it was awesome, and the chest zip was great for dumping even more heat on those never-ending exposed ascents. We found the hoodie was almost too light and thin to realistically use the kangaroo pocket, but it is nice to hold something small like a bar or to cover your hands.

At $89, this is the second most expensive long sleeve sun shirt we tested.


Key Factors To Consider When Choosing

Price

Sun hoodies can be as little as $35 and as much as $100. Generally speaking, the higher-priced hoodies excel in durability, are comfortable, and have well-designed features.

We recommend spending a bit more on a sun hoodie, especially if you plan to put it through abuse and abrasion

Sun hoodie that provides the greatest value:

Affordable sun hoodie:

Premium sun hoodie (most expensive):

Weight

Sun hoodies range from about 4 oz to 8 oz and the warmer it is, the lighter you should go. Lighter sun hoodies will do a better job of letting heat escape.

However, if you are going to be doing something that will be abrasive, like climbing or bushwacking, you may want to bump up the weight for the sake of durability.

The Lightest sun hoodie:

Comfort & Fit

You’ll be wearing a sun hoodie all day, so make sure it’s comfortable while hiking, running, or climbing. Sun hoodies will usually fit a little looser than typical sports clothing. This is to give great breathability and extra UPF protection.

For fit, check that the torso is long enough for you to bend over and not expose your back. Longer sleeves keep your hands covered.

The hood should be larger than most hoodies to allow airflow keeping your head comfortable. Make sure the hood can stay securely over your head in the wind.

The most comfortable sun hoodie:

Sun Protection

Almost all sun hoodies are made from polyester. It does the best job at naturally filtering UV rays, has the highest UPF rating for the weight, wicks the best, and dries the quickest.

UPF measures the percentage of UV light that reaches your skin. UPF 50 only allows 1/50, meaning it blocks 98% of UV rays, while UPF 30 allows 1/30. UV shirts with large hoods and thumb holes cover even more of your body.

We recommend a loose fit to allow the fabric to drape over you rather than being stretched and potentially opened up to UV transmission.

The sun hoodie with the best sun protection:


Other Things to Consider

Materials

Almost all sun hoodies are made from polyester. It does the best job at naturally filtering UV rays, has the highest UPF rating for the weight, wicks the best, and dries the quickest.

There are a few other materials that some companies use, such as merino, which is typically blended with nylon for durability. They come at a premium price but are exceptionally soft and naturally regulate odor and temperature. However, they typically have a much shorter lifespan and won’t usually have the same level of UPF.

Breathability

Breathability is essential in a sun hoodie, or it will become a giant sweatbox. Most are knit rather than woven, allowing small gaps for air to blow through, with the looser knit having better breathability.

This does come at the cost of lower durability, so keep that in mind. A properly fitting sun hoodie will also be sized on the more relaxed side of the spectrum, allowing air to circulate and aid in breathability.

breathability

The Montbell Cool Hoodie excels in breathability but lacks durability.

Odor Control

Synthetic materials aren’t naturally odor resistant, so most manufacturers will treat the fabric to offer some odor resistance. Some of these treatments work great, while others quickly wear off and can leave you very stinky. Some of the better treatments are Polygiene, HeiQ, and impregnating the fabric with silver.

Durability

Fabric knit and weight are the two main components of durability. The looser or more textured the knit, the better breathability, and comfort next to the skin, but the higher likelihood that it can snag or pill. While the heavier the material will be stronger and more resistant to abrasion.

durability

The Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie is the most durable sun hoodie on this list.

Thumb Loops

Thumb loops do a great job of protecting you from the sun by covering the back of your hand. Not all hoodies have them, but if you are in an area with exceptional UV or out for extended periods of time, they are a nice feature to have.

thumb holes

Vapor Apparel Solar Hoodie's thumb loops/holes give extra protection for the back of the hand from the sun.

Versatility

The more versatile a sun hoodie, the less need you have to pack other clothing. For backpacking, look for a sun hoodie that is comfortable to hike in as well as around camp in the evenings. If you’re into multiple sports, a versatile sun hoodie should work for hiking, trail running, and climbing.

Justin Sprecher photo

About Justin Sprecher

Justin is a thru-hiker and writer with a passion for wild backcountry. He's thru-hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail, LASHed the Great Divide Trail and Arizona Trail, and clocked up 1,000s of miles on long-distance trails around the world.

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