Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Drew Kelly in the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody

Intro

Summer layering can be tricky — clothing is often the most reliable form of sun protection, but full-coverage shirts can also cause us to easily overheat. Lightweight sun hoodies, which are now made by almost every major outdoor apparel company, attempt to remedy this problem by offering both breathability and UPF-rated protection in a single package. Their popularity over the last few years has spurred more specialization within the sun shirt category, giving rise to particular fabrics, cuts, and features aimed at different activity types and climates.

Below, we’ve rounded up several of our favorite sun hoodies for men, with running in mind (and a few more generalist options), and outlined what sets each one apart.

Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody

MSRP: $55
Size Tested: Small
Reviewer Size: 5’8, 150 lbs / 172 cm, 68 kg
Materials: 50-100% recycled polyester
17-45 UPF

Matt Mitchell: After years of being too pigheaded to take sun protection seriously, a heedlessness that would often leave me with the deep red pigmentation of said pig, I resolved to change my ways this summer — skin cancer sounds about as fun as hang-gliding into a volcano. I’m not diligent enough to painstakingly reapply sunscreen mid-activity, so I knew reducing the amount of skin I left exposed to the sun on runs and hikes would be the best way to safeguard against peeling skin. In the past, my go-to layer for summer running had been the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Shirt, for its simplicity and breathability.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Patagonia Men's Capilene Cool Daily Hoody

So, when I saw that it was available in a long-sleeved, hooded version, making the switch felt like a no brainer. I’ve long been a fan of various versions of Patagonia’s “Capilene” polyester fabric, whether used in the context of base layers or performance shirts. Clothing made from Capilene is generally lightweight, moisture wicking, and does a really good job of moderating temperature, regardless of whether or not it’s wet. I’m notorious for under packing on backpacking trips, oftentimes electing to wear a single shirt for the duration (much to the chagrin of my friends), and the properties of Patagonia’s Capilene layers allow me to get away with being pretty spartan without emerging from the backcountry in complete tatters.

In my experience, Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody breathes just as well as their standard shirt, despite offering more extensive coverage. It’s cut in a similarly slack style, just short of baggy, which supports ventilation and upper body mobility well. However, its length is pretty abbreviated compared to other sun shirts I’ve tested, so if you happen to have a long torso, sizing up could be a good idea.

While the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody’s resemblance to the Capilene Cool Daily Shirt was what initially attracted me to it, I think some might find that it constrains the scope of the hoody’s design. Aside from the addition of a loose-fitting hood, the Capilene Cool Daily Hoody maintains Patagonia’s minimal styling; no thumb holes, no pockets, no elastic cuffs, and certainly no graphics. However, the hoody’s lack of physical features discounts the ones endemic to its material, such as “miDori™ bioSoft” for better wicking and “HeiQ® Pure” for odor control, both of which work in tandem with the stretchy polyester to deliver a cool and comfortable sun hoody for just about any setting.

Luke Koppa: I’ve also spent a lot of time in the Capilene Cool Daily Hoody over the past couple of years, and I’d echo much of what was said above. I appreciate that the fit isn’t super baggy, nor the branding or colors wild, which makes this one of my go-to picks if I want to wear a sun-hoody-type layer for activities where I’m not the only one who is seeing my outfit for the day. The fabric feels much more similar to a slick jersey fabric than some of the more mesh-like fabrics (e.g., Simms’ pieces), but I’ve found that to be less of an issue when it comes to sticking to sweaty skin than I expected. And the “Cool” in this hoody’s name has some merit — it does feel cooler on skin than many similar fabrics.

Personally, the Capilene Cool Daily Hoody isn’t my first choice for truly sweltering heat, but it is a really versatile piece that looks good, offers a nice middle-ground fit, and feels comfortable in a very wide range of settings. Plus, it doesn’t start to stink nearly as quickly as many fully synthetic competitors.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Luke Koppa in the Patagonia Men's Capilene Cool Daily Hoody

Outdoor Vitals Men’s Altitude Sun Hoodie

MSRP: $49.97
Size Tested: Medium
Reviewer Size: 5’8, 150 lbs / 172 cm, 68 kg
Materials: 80 GSM 100% polyester
UPF Rating: Inconclusive

Matt Mitchell: I think there’s a fine distinction between a true “sun hoodie” and a long-sleeve performance shirt with a hood, and I think that nuance is rooted squarely in breathability and weight. Heavier, thicker layers may be more durable and more versatile, but for outings above treeline where there are scant places to hide from a screaming sun, I want something gossamer-thin and well ventilated.

Reportedly tested on the Uinta Highline Trail by the folks at Outdoor Vitals, the Altitude Hoodie was designed with this sort of specificity in mind. Unlike other sun shirts developed for more casual use, the Altitude is most at home above 10,000 ft.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Outdoor Vitals Men’s Altitude Sun Hoodie

Its ultralight 80 GSM polyester fabric wicks moisture just about as well as Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody, but it’s not quite as thick, and I think it breathes a bit better too. Outdoor Vitals describes the Altitude’s fit as “athletic,” which in practice means it runs slightly small. After sizing up to a men’s Medium, the hoodie felt much more accommodating. A baggier fit prevented the Altitude from clinging to my skin when wet and allowed the hoodie’s synthetic blend to better wipe away sweat before drying quickly.

Similar to Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody, the Outdoor Vitals Altitude Hoodie also adopts a minimalist attitude, which in my opinion aligns with the garment’s intended use. That’s not to say it’s completely without features, though. The Altitude features raglan sleeves that extend to the neckline for improved mobility, flatlock seams to reduce the risk of chafing, and a high collar that still provides sun protection when the hood is down. Details like these are inconspicuous and might be easily passed over, but they’re telling signs of a design team that really knows their stuff. While the Outdoor Vitals Altitude Hoodie is fairly delicate (to quote their website: “This product is built for ultralight performance, & was not built to withstand abrasion.”), it’s my first option for baking-hot summer days in the alpine.

Path Projects Men’s Pyrenees T19 Hooded Long Sleeve Shirt
MSRP: $69
Size Tested: Small
Reviewer Size: 5’8, 150 lbs / 172 cm, 68 kg
Materials: 74% polyester, 19% tencel, 7% Spandex
UPF 50+

Matt Mitchell: Path Project’s Pyrenees T19 Hooded Long Sleeve Shirt offers sun protection, sure, but in my opinion, it’s a top better suited for shoulder seasons. The Bay Area is often beset by a motley collection of migrating microclimates, one of which is all but guaranteed to be unseasonably cold, so I’ve taken to wearing the Pyrenees T19 for its ability to adapt to different temperatures. When frigid early morning fog banks burn off mid-run and I’m left pinned under an oppressive sun, Path Project’s shirt is the layer to have.

Made from a polyester / Tencel (which uses eucalyptus wood pulp) fabric, the Pyrenees T19 feels closer to cotton than it does polyester (despite a modest Tencel content on paper), yet I’d still attribute to it many of the performance characteristics I’ve come to expect from most technical layers.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Path Projects Men’s Pyrenees T19 Hooded Long Sleeve Shirt

The thumb holes on the sleeves and slot by the left wrist for a watch face are nice details, and the shirt’s snorkel hood does a better job staying on my head when it’s windy than most of the other examples I’ve tested. The Pyrenees T19 also breathes well despite being thicker than both Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody and the Outdoor Vitals Altitude Hoodie, and it’s much stretchier than both. However, once saturated with sweat, it does a far worse job of drying. Wetness also has a way of drastically altering the Pyrenees T19’s fit, which starts off as relaxed, but the shirt seems to expand and sag by degrees when damp, so I’d recommend sizing down if you perspire heavily.

While I actually don’t mind a layer that stays wet when I’m running in sultry weather, I do think the limitations of the Pyrenees T19’s fabric blend likely disqualify it from serving as a base layer in colder temps, but if you live somewhere with mild seasons, it’s a great option for year-round running.

Corbeaux Chinook Hoody
MSRP: $129
Size Tested: Medium
Reviewer Size: 5’11”, 165 lbs / 180 cm, 75 kg
Materials: 84% polyester, 16% Spandex
UPF 50

Drew Kelly: Out of Aspen, Colorado, Corbeaux is a company with a great eye for functional pieces that are also quite stylish and trim. Beyond that, they build their products largely with recycled and environmentally conscious materials here in the United States.

Their Chinook Hoody is my most versatile sun shirt. I often wear it around town or to work, but with its subtle warmth, I also frequently don it for ski touring and running in the alpine. And while it’s not the most breathable sun shirt I have, I find it works quite well for slightly colder temperatures or windier days. The unique and precise cut of the Chinook Hoody also complements the versatility I’ve mentioned. In terms of functionality, a slim fitting longer hem prevents it from riding up when wearing a pack or snow pants with a belt, but also provides a certain mountain town work / play aesthetic. Like the hem length, the sleeves are built long but tight at the cuffs, which keeps them in place whether rolled up or not, and provide for plenty of range of motion. Finally, the buff-like high neck of the hood helps keep my face warm when the wind picks up. Definitely consider this piece if you’re looking for a durable, versatile, and subtly flattering sun shirt that’s appropriate for slightly colder settings as well.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Corbeaux Chinook Hoody
Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Drew Kelly in the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody (Photo by Ashton Eckerstorfer)

Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
MSRP: $69
Size Tested: Medium
Reviewer Size: 5’11”, 165 lbs / 180 cm, 75 kg
Materials: 100% polyester
UPF 15-20

Drew Kelly: Often, sun shirts are forced to decide between compromising either breathability or durability, and Outdoor Research’s Echo Hoody leans much more toward breathability. As such, it is my preferred shirt for any activity I’m doing under a warm sun. It’s a shirt so light and sheer I hardly feel it, and it has never felt bogged down by sweat. With that near weightless sensation comes a lower UPF rating, and I imagine the Echo Hoody likely won’t be as durable as some of the thicker models I own.

Despite that, I still wear mine all the time. Being less protective and often too light for cooler windy conditions, I typically reach for the Echo Hoody when going rafting, running, or climbing below treeline.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody

Also appealing about the Echo Hoody is Outdoor Research’s excellent warranty program. It’s slightly more affordable in price when compared to models from competing companies, and the 100% recycled materials Outdoor Research uses to manufacture it is an added plus.

The North Face Wander Sun Hoodie
MSRP: $50
Size Tested: Medium
Reviewer Size: 5’11”, 165 lbs / 180 cm, 75 kg
Materials: 54% polyester, 46% polyester double knit with “FlashDry™”
UPF 40+

Drew Kelly: What drew me to the Wander Sun Hoodie was its price. Sometimes I look at what’s basically a hooded t-shirt and can’t bring myself to pay upwards of $70. So I gave this option from The North Face a try.

The lower price reveals itself in the hoodie’s lack of breathability in comparison to many of the other options on this list, as well as a cut that feels a little boxy and small. A counterpoint to those downsides, though, is that the Wander Sun Hoodie has, by far, been my most durable sun shirt to date.

Over the trail runs and ski tours I’ve worn this shirt, I’ve found it best suited for days with a dramatic temperature gradient due to wind or weather or elevation gain / loss. In those settings, less breathability isn’t necessarily a deterrent when choosing a shirt to wear, and the Wander Sun Hoodie’s thicker knit fabric shielded me better against lower temperatures and unpredictable weather.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
The North Face Wander Sun Hoodie
Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Ridge Merino Solstice Lightweight Pullover Hoodie

Ridge Merino Solstice Lightweight Pullover Hoodie
MSRP: $79.95
Size Tested: Medium
Reviewer Size: 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg
Materials: 87% merino wool / 13% nylon (145 g/m2)
UPF 30

Luke Koppa: I’ve used Ridge Merino’s lightweight wool hoodie for a few years now and am a massive fan for a few reasons. While it wouldn’t be my top pick for running (more on that below), it is one of my few go-to options for year-round ski touring, shoulder-season mountain biking, and all sorts of hiking and camping trips.

In terms of fit, I’d say the Solstice falls somewhere around the middle of the spectrum — it’s not very slim nor super long, but it’s also not super baggy or short. This works really well for me, and I also find the fit quite flattering, which means I break it out even when fabric performance is not a priority.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Ridge Merino Solstice Lightweight Pullover Hoodie

When it is, the Solstice stands out due to its breathability and odor resistance. Like most wool-centric pieces, the Solstice will absorb a good bit of sweat / moisture, so even though I don’t typically feel like it’s wet, it does tend to sag / droop a bit when I’m really working up a sweat. That’s why I’m more inclined to use something less absorbent, like the synthetic Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody, for running, but the Solstice outperforms that piece when it comes to breathability, warmth, and long-term odor resistance, which makes it ideal for ski touring and camping, where I often encounter a huge range of temperatures and very rarely have the opportunity to give my baselayers a half-decent wash. Whether on its own or under many other layers in cold temps, the Solstice is pretty much the only “sun hoody” I use in temps ranging from frigid to sweltering.

On top of that, and like all of Ridge Merino’s products (I’m also a huge fan of their winter baselayers and underwear), the Solstice comes in at a very competitive price by today’s standards for high-quality merino apparel. While its stated 30 UPF rating is on the lower side, all I can personally attest to is that I’ve never been noticeably sunburned in it, and I’ve continued to happily use it year-round for several seasons. One suggestion: tie the hood drawcords into knots at the end to avoid them getting sucked inside the hood during washing.

Simms BugStopper Hoody
MSRP: $84.95
Size Tested: Medium
Reviewer Size: 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg
Materials: 100% polyester w/ Insect Shield treatment
UPF 30

Luke Koppa: In a similar vein as the Ridge Merino Solstice Hoody, the Simms BugStopper Hoody wouldn’t be my top pick for highly active / movement-heavy activities like running, but it is a piece I have come to absolutely treasure throughout most of the summer, where I’m often experiencing a mix of hot temps, lots of sun, and even more blood-sucking insects.

The BugStopper Hoody’s fabric is notably heavier than the Ridge Merino Solstice and a bit heavier than the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody, but it does breathe and wick moisture surprisingly well, allowing it to still feel comfortable in very warm (and even humid) climates.

Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022, BLISTER
Simms BugStopper Hoody

I recently used it as my only layer on a rafting / camping trip that included two full days in the sun and a full night in the company of approximately a billion hungry mosquitos, and I was blown away by how well it handled both. No, it’s not the most airy hoody, but especially with the option to get it wet to cool down when needed, I had no qualms about wearing it all day in ~90°F temperatures. And it also kept my upper body bug-bite free without the need to spray any of it with bug repellant, which was a huge plus. I’ve now washed it several times over the past two years and the Insect Shield treatment does not seem to have lost any of its effectiveness, which is super impressive to me.

The very baggy fit of the BugStopper Hoody means that I don’t love it for higher-speed activities, nor for casual use (personal preference), but I reach for it every time I know I’ll be spending extended periods of time at the mercy of biting insects (and have regretted not bringing it on many fishing, hiking, and camping outings that resulted in lots of itchiness). And if I’ll be doing that and be exposed to the sun, this hoody makes even more sense. If you want decent breathability, solid sun protection, a roomy fit, and a piece that lets you spray less DEET on your clothes and skin, this piece is awesome.

8 comments on “Men’s Sun Hoody Roundup — 2022”

  1. Path Projects is most comfortable, but you are right, does not dry that well. Simms is main choice during national bug month in the mountains, which is July. Mountain Hardware makes great sun hoodies, light and breathable.

  2. Capilene cool is great. However, it is no longer SPF certified at all. Patagonia issued a recall last year and said it might be 20 SPF, at best. I had to change over due to the skin issues. 41 years old and a full life time outside. Now I use Arcteryx cormac and a new Stio 50 SPF hoody, both are great for mtb and ski touring, and not as breathable as capilene cool.

  3. Anetik makes my fav sun hoodies. SPF 30 and very breathable/light. Wear it in Hawaii and shine hiking in the alpine.

    I’m a bit surprised with talk of spf etc in the intro that the cap layer has no official spf rating.

    • Hey Rick!

      Thanks for the suggestion. We’re planning another sun hoodie roundup for later this year and I’ll make sure to include a model from Voormi — This post reflects what we’ve been using and enjoying as of late.

  4. Nice review for summer outdoor fun. My ‘go to’ Sun hoodies for spring and summer ski mountaineer/touring are OR Echo and Stio Hylas hoodies. They are super light and come in light colors. After years of using Patagonia sun hoodies, I prefermthe lighter fabric from OR/Stio.

    Staying on topic with light colors, why is it so hard to find light-weight spring/summer touring pants (Schoeller or equivalent) in light colors. Black, gray, or dark green colors are brutally hot on summer glaciers. My choices are either a women’s pant, or purchase light and colorful pants from Italy.

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