11 Best Sun Hoodies

A guide to the best sun hoodies for men and women for 2022.

July 14, 2022

Whether you are heading out for a thru-hike or are just looking forward to spending time outside, we all know the importance of sun protection. And while sunblock certainly does help, there is nothing quite like physical sun coverage. Sun hoodies are specifically made so you can spend more time in the sun and less time worrying about getting a sunburn.

We tested the best sun hoodies on the market today with a variety of fits, protection levels, and features. Let's first dive into the reviews and then we'll take a look at some things to consider and more.

hikers wearing sun hoodies
Brand & Model Weight Materials UPF Thumb Holes Hoodie Closures Price
Outdoor Research Echo 4 oz 100% Polyester 15 & 20 Yes No $70
Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody II 8.3 oz 100% Polyester 50 Yes 1 Button $60
Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody 7 oz 88% Polyester, 12% Elastane 50 Yes No $60
Montbell Cool Hoodie 6.6 oz 100% Polyester 50 Yes No $75
Black Diamond Alpenglow 8.6 oz 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane 50+ No No $85
Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie 8 oz 100% Polyester 50 No No $30
Kathmandu SUN-Stopper Men's Hooded Long Sleeve Top 7 oz 100% Polyester 50+ Yes No $59
Vapor Apparel Solar Hoodie 5.6 oz 100% Polyester 50+ No No $28
RAB Pulse 4.1 oz 100% Polyester 30+ Yes No $80
Arc'teryx Remige Hoodie 5.6 oz 100% Polyester 50 Yes No $89
Jolly Gear Triple Crown Button-Down Sun Hoodie 8.5 oz 86% Polyester, 14% Spandex 50 Yes Cinch Cord $95

Best Sun Hoodies

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

Outdoor Research Echo

Weight: 4 ounces

Materials: 100% polyester

UPF: 15 (light colors), 20 (dark colors)

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $70

Why we like it: It’s the lightest sun hoodie.

With a textured, incredibly lightweight material, and a slim fit, the Echo Hoodie feels almost weightless. It has a flattering fit and can be worn on and off the trail. It is on the lower end of UPF protection and isn’t particularly durable but at only 4oz, it focuses on incredible breathability for hot environments. It does have an anti-odor treatment, but we found it can get intensely stinky - not usually a problem for day hikes but for extended trips without the ability to wash it so be prepared for some stink.


Patagonia Tropic Comfort II

Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody II

Weight: 8.3 ounces

Materials: 100% polyester

UPF: 50

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: One Button

Price: $60

Why we like it: It’s the most comfortable.

Durable, stretchy, and feature-rich, the Tropic Comfort II takes the cake for a plush sun hoodie that works great for extended wear. While it’s one of the heaviest on the list, no detail has been missed with thumb holes, a button on the hood, and a slightly relaxed fit for better airflow. The HeiQ anti-odor treatment is best in class and fends off odors for several days of non-stop wear.

We should mention that some colorways have a large, screen-printed logo on the back, which, when wearing a pack, can get sweaty on this spot. So, if you are planning to wear this top with a pack, the non-logo versions will be a bit more comfortable. One last thing, Patagonia recalled this product due to the UPF rating being mislabeled. It is rated 50+ but third-party tests showed it was closer to 35.


Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody

Weight: 7 ounces

Materials: 88% polyester, 12% elastane

UPF: 50

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $60

Why we like it: Crater Lake Hoodie has the best hood design.

The Crater Lake Hoodie is super soft and has a great stretch - thanks to its 12% elastane - making it one of the most comfortable options around. While it doesn’t have a button to secure the hood, they designed a small collar in the front that works great to keep it secured to your head despite alpine headwinds, with or without a hat. It falls right in the middle of the pack with a regular fit but excels in breathability. This breathability does come at a cost however and suffers from durability. This is not the best option for bushwacking or climbing.


Montbell Cool Hoodie

Montbell Cool Hoodie

Weight: 6.6 ounces

Materials: 100% Polyester

UPF: 50

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $75

Why we like it: Best for high-output activities.

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.


Black Diamond Alpenglow

Black Diamond Alpenglow

Weight: 8.6 ounces

Materials: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

UPF: 50+

Thumb Holes: No

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $85

Why we like it: Best for moving fast in technical terrain.

With a whopping 13% elastane, this hoodie is by far the stretchiest option on the list and with a trim-fit, it feels great to wear. It does fit more trim than other options so be sure to check out the size chart. The hood doesn’t have a button to secure it and works best with a hat for windy days and is even stretchy enough to wear a helmet under.

Without thumbholes, it is evidently made for activities like climbing where mobility is at the forefront. It has been treated with Polygiene to ward off odors and works exceptionally well and is tied with the Tropic Comfort II for odor resistance.


Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie

Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie

Weight:ounces

Materials: 100% polyester

UPF: 50

Thumb Holes: No

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $30

Why we like it: It’s the most durable sun hoodie.

With more of a focus on fishing rather than hiking, the Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie is an inexpensive option for someone looking for sun protection for activities that aren’t as high output. This is the least breathable hoodie on the list but does make up for it by being the most durable due to the tightest knit of any of the hoodies so you don’t have to worry about snagging it. The fit is very large and boxy and isn’t particularly flattering, so you may want to size down from your normal size.

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Kathmandu SUN-Stopper Men’s Hooded Long Sleeve Top

Kathmandu SUN-Stopper Men's Hooded Long Sleeve Top

Weight:ounces

Materials: 100% polyester

UPF: 50+

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $59

Why we like it: It’s made from sustainable materials.

The SUN-Stopper stands by having very long sleeves and a longer cut through the torso. Compared to the other hoodies it fits great if you want a bit more coverage over past your waist and/or need more length in the arms. While it’s not the lightest option, it feels lighter than other options when worn. Another nice part is that it is 100% recycled material and has a Polygiene treatment to reduce odors.

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Vapor Apparel Solar Hoodie

Vapor Apparel Sun Hoody

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Materials: 100% Polyester

UPF: 50+

Thumb Holes: No

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $28

Why we like it: It has the best value.

As the least expensive option on our list, we were pleasantly surprised with the material and it was reminiscent of many other more expensive options. However, the lower price does come at the cost of all the extra features. There aren’t any thumb holes nor is there anything to secure the hood. This may not be a deal-breaker for everyone but for extended trips or in windy environments it can be annoying.

Also, the sleeves are very slim and may not fit everyone, so consider sizing up. If the material is too tight to your skin the UPF does not work properly.

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RAB Pulse Hoodie

RAB Pulse

Weight: 4.1 ounces

Materials: 100% polyester

UPF: 30+

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $80

Why we like it: It's the most breathable.

At an incredible 4.1oz and a micro-grid texture, the Pulse Hoodie is breathable, and we mean really breathable. The material feels very similar to the OR Echo Hoodie but wards off odor much better, thanks to a Polygiene treatment, and is twice as good at protecting you from the sun. As with both hoodies though neither are very strong in the durability category.

The hood does a decent job despite not having a button, but we find having a hat on firmly secures it on your head.

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Arc’teryx Remige Hoodie

Arc'teryx Remige Hoodie

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Materials: 100% polyester

UPF: 50

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: No

Price: $89

Why we like it: Arc'teryx Remige Hoodie is best for cooler weather.

While most sun hoodies are fantastic for hot weather, we found the Remige to excel in cooler weather. Whether that is shoulder season hikes, spring ski tours, or cool alpine ridges, we find it noticeably warmer than other options. The fit is a bit looser than the classic Arc’teryx fit but does allow some air circulation.

A couple of things that stood out were the cut of the hood, which doesn’t fully cover the sides of your face, and the thumb loops, that work to hold the sleeve in place rather than cover the back of your hand. Nevertheless, the build quality meets the beautiful Arc’teryx standard.


Jolly Gear Triple Crown Button-Down Sun Hoodie

Jolly Gear Triple Crown Button-Down Sun Hoodie

Weight: 8.5 ounces

Materials: 86% Polyester, 14% Spandex

UPF: 50

Thumb Holes: Yes

Hoodie Closures: Cinch cord

Price: $95

Why we like it: Best for long-distance hiking.

Taking the thru-hiking scene by storm, Jolly Gear took the best parts of a sun shirt: collar, cuffs, and button-down, and combined it with a very stretchy material and a hood. The button-down allows you to vent as much as you want, and the cuffs do a great job protecting your hands when you use the thumb holes.

The hood is also unique, using a cinch to secure it and adding a hole in the back to let your hair hang free. There are a few pockets, but we find they are just better for style rather than function. Also, the sizing is a little on the big size. The body is woven rather than knit which reduces stretch but does a much better job keeping bugs from biting through it.

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Considerations

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 at 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.

hikers wearing sun hoodies

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.

sun hoodie

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.

upf
The Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody is super soft and has a great stretch.

SUN PROTECTION/UPF

Sun protection in fabrics is measured by UPF, Ultraviolet Protection Factor. UPF measures the percentage of UV light that reaches your skin. For example, UPF 50 only allows 1/50, meaning it blocks 98% of UV rays, while UPF 30 allows 1/30. Large hoods and thumb holes allow it to cover even more of your body and a loose fit allows the fabric to drape over you rather than it being stretched and potentially opened up to UV transmission.

sun hoodie gif

COMFORT AND FIT

If you are wearing something for extended periods of time in the hot sun it better be comfortable and the right fit will do a better job at protecting you from the sun. In general, sun hoodies will usually fit a little looser than typical sports clothing so you can get great breathability and a stretchy material does a great job at avoiding that constricting feeling when you start to get sweaty.

  • Torso: The torso should be long enough that if you bend over you aren’t exposing your back. Everything will tend to ride up a bit with a pack on too so a bit of extra length will usually be helpful, about 4 inches past your waist is a good length.
  • Sleeve Length: Longer is better. Having too short or too tight of sleeves will be very frustrating as they will bunch up, feel constricting, and not adequately cover your hand. If you raise your hand over your head, it should still reach to at least your wrist, if not longer.
  • Hoodie Fit: One of the biggest perks of a sun hoodie is the hood, so make sure it fits correctly. They will usually fit much larger than normal hoods to allow airflow to circulate and keep your head from getting too hot. To avoid them from blowing off some will have a button or cinch to keep it a bit more secure, however, wearing a hat with them will usually allow for the best fit.

sun hoodie bottom cord

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 proper 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.

kathmandu sun-stopper
The Kathmandu Sun-Stopper Hoodie has a Polygiene Treatment to reduce odors.

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 in this list.

THUMB LOOPS

Thumb loops do a great job at 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.

What is a Sun Hoodie?

Sun hoodies are lightweight, stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking hoodies that are rated for UPF sun protection. In contrast to sunscreen, the sun protection of a sun hoodie doesn’t wear off. Typically, they will feel similar to lightweight base layers but will be a much looser fit to allow air to circulate within it, helping you cool down. If you are looking for the utmost sun protection from a garment, sun hoodies can’t be beaten.

sun hoodies

Sun Hoodies vs. Sun Shirts vs. Hiking Shirts

These 3 distinct categories certainly all have some crossover but there are a few things that differentiate them.

crater lake hoodie

Sun hoodies are purpose-built for sun protection. UPF sun protection, hoods, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying materials work great if your number one goal is sun protection.

hiker wearing a sun hoodie

Sun shirts look a bit more casual, they typically have chest pockets, are buttoned-down, and have a collar. Some even border business casual. The collar keeps the sun off your lower neck but usually, people will opt for a wide-brim hat to ramp up the sun protection. They don’t usually dry as quickly or stretch as well as they are woven rather than knit, but do a better job at bug protection.

hiker wearing a sun hoodie

Hiking shirts are basically everything else that is aimed at outdoor activities. Most hiking shirts won’t be focused on sun protection or have a UPF rating. Instead, they are just focused on being something comfortable to wear while hiking and are a great choice if you are looking for a t-shirt or long sleeve that you can wear just about anywhere.

hiker using a sun hoodie

FAQs

Do sun hoodies work?

Sun hoodies work great. Instead of worrying about sunscreen wearing off and needing to reapply several times throughout the day, sun hoodies offer a permanent solution to sun protection. Additionally, they work great at wicking away sweat and drying quickly.

hikers wearing sun hoodies

How to wear a sun hoodie?

To wear a sun hoodie, a great part of having it is the practicality of using it in a layering system. Since they are so great at wicking away moisture and drying quickly, they are exceptional base layers. While you would normally wear something under a traditional hoodie, sun hoodies work best when worn next to the skin.

hiker wearing a sun hoodie

Sun hoodie vs. Button-down hiking shirt

A sun hoodie will always outperform a button-down shirt if you are looking for the best sun protection possible. Hiking shirts will usually be woven rather than knit which means they typically aren’t as breathable and will take longer to dry however they can work a bit better against bugs.

sun hoodie

Do sun hoodies and ball caps provide as much sun blockage as a full brim hat?

A sun hoodie with a ball cap provides a lot more sun blockage than a full brim hat. With the hood up your entire neck and ears are covered and the ball cap will shade your face. On those early morning hikes, the sun can still be low but exceptionally strong, a full brim hat won’t always provide adequate coverage.

hiker posing while wearing a sun hoodie

What kind of hat is to be paired with a sun hoodie?

A ball cap is the best option to pair with a sun hoodie. Some people use visors but if the hood isn’t up, you can easily burn your scalp. Full brim hats won’t usually allow the hood to fit properly which leaves your neck and ears susceptible to sunburn.

📸 Some photos in this post were taken by Dana Felthauser (@danafelthauser)

Austin Hager photo

About Austin Hager

Austin Hager is a B.C. based thru-hiker, mountain explorer and advocate for mental health awareness. You can find him hiking, climbing or snowboarding throughout the mountains of Western Canada. He is currently working to become a Registered Nurse.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

Affiliate disclosure: We aim to provide honest information to our readers. We do not do sponsored or paid posts. In exchange for referring sales, we may receive a small commission through affiliate links. This post may contain affiliate links. This comes at no extra cost to you.
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