One of my favorite products designed for sun protection is the sun shirt or sun hoody. It seems like many companies have their own variation of a sun hoodie which makes it difficult to choose the one that fits the bill. So I picked them all! I chose shirts from some of my favorite outdoor brands such as Marmot, Arcteryx, Patagonia, Stio, and Black Diamond and tested them on the water in the Florida sun.
Testing out the Sun Hoodies
Each sun shirt, from Marmot, Arcteryx, Patagonia, Stio, and Black Diamond had its own unique flavor. Although all the hoodies did an excellent job of sun protection each brand had characteristics that would be useful for different situations.
Marmot Sunrift Hoody
Maybe the most versatile of all of the bunch was the Marmot Sunrift Hoody. The Marmot Sunrift Hoody is a nylon and polyester blend that proves useful in a multitude of situations. This sun shirt weighs in at 7.1 ounces and was the heaviest out of the bunch. This added bulk made this sun shirt useful in cooler conditions. Even though this sun shirt is made entirely of synthetic materials it is very soft and feels a bit like cotton.
It was particularly chilly on the way to the airport and the Marmot Sunrift Hoody took the chill off in the forty-degree temperatures. Although I was primarily concerned with hot conditions many of my days outdoors are cool and sunny. This shirt would be perfect for those sunny cool summer mornings in Colorado that will heat up into warm days.
One feature that was really nice to have was the small pocket on right side. This was a great place to store a small wallet, car keys, or fishing license.
The fit of the Marmot Sunrift Hoody was good. The sleeves were perfect length but not long enough to pull over the backs of the hands. The hood of this shirt was large and just the right size for pulling over a hat. Without a hat the hood would be a bit on the large size.
The little extra weight did make this shirt one of the warmest of the shirts. When temps were in the upper 80’s and the humidity was soaring this shirt was a bit on the warm side. There was a bit of a temptation to roll up the sleeves and take the hood off which was counterproductive when trying to hide from sun. However, in a dryer climate like Colorado even in the hottest temperatures this shirt would fit the bill.
Features of the Marmot Sunrift Hoody taken directly from the Marmot Website
- MSRP $85
- Bluesign® Approved Fabric
- CoolExchange Technology
- Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) 50
- Nylon Cooling Yarns for Comfort
- Quick-Drying and Wicking
- Cuff Security Pocket
- Raglan Sleeve for Increased Range of Motion
- Flatlocked Seams for Added Comfort
- 3 Piece Hood
Arcteryx Phasic Sun Hoody
The Phasic Sun Hoody from Arcteryx is an ultralight shirt with a great fit. I found the Arcteryx Phasic Sun Hoody to have the best fit out of all the sun shirts. At 5’10” and 175 lbs, the medium sized Phasic Sun Hoody fit perfectly. It was evident that this sun shirt would be perfect for my summer floats where a bulky shirt could get into the way when rowing.
The Arcteryx Phasic Sun Hoody is incredibly lightweight weighing a mere 4.1 ounces. This sun shirt is awesome in the heat. The day I tested this shirt it was windless day on the boat. Temperatures were hot and this shirt was the perfect choice as it kept me cool. The light color of this hoody was also nice for reflecting the sunlight. This was especially beneficial when walking the beaches in search of fish on the calm days.
The hood of the Arcteryx Phasic Sun Hoody has the most snug fit. This really came in handy when cruising around the gulf in the boat. This was the only sun shirt that I was able to keep the hood up while going fast. This was definitely useful on the hour long boat ride out to the fishing grounds.
The material used in the construction of the Arcteryx Phasic Sun Hoody is 100% Polyester and feels like synthetic material.
Features of the Arcteryx Phasic Sun Hoody taken directly from the Arcteryx Website
- MSRP $109
- Highly air permeable—allows air and moisture to move through the fabric for speed drying
- Mechanical stretch textile for unrestricted mobility
- Merrow stitch seam construction reduces seam size
- Regular fit ensures optimal ventilation with comfort and mobility
- Gusseted underarms for mobility and comfort
- Phasic™ FL-X with DAO™ – 100% polyester
The Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody
The Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody is a great all around sun hoody. Made from Patagonia’s tried and true Capilene material. Capilene is awesome stuff. It does a great job wicking moisture, is super soft, and does a superb job with odor control.
The Cool Daily Hoody has a great fit. The material is very stretchy and is very comfortable. I could definitely see how this sun shirt could be called “Daily.” I could see myself wearing it each day during the summer. My wife would also consider it a bonus if odor control would work well over the long haul. This odor control feature could make this shirt a candidate for a travel shirt or a great option for backpacking trip.
The hood of the shirt is oversized. It really helps to wear a hat underneath as it makes the hood fits well. In windy conditions I had some trouble keeping the hood on as it caught the wind like a kite! Under normal conditions there was no trouble.
The sleeve were a bit on the long side which is a bonus. The sleeves could easily be pulled over the backs of my hands. Some of my worst sunburns when out on the water have been on the backs of my hands. I believe when fly fishing my hands are some of the most exposed areas of skin and anything that can cover them is a bonus.
Features of the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody taken directly from the Patagonia Website
- MSRP $55
- 100% recycled polyester jersey (heathers and cross-dyes have 50% recycled content). Fair Trade Certified™ sewn
- Set-in sleeves for enhanced movement and fit
- Deep hood provides additional coverage from the sun; lightweight stretch fabric moves with you
- Stretch fabric provides enhanced comfort during activities both in and out of water
- miDori™ bioSoft for added wicking and softness
- Minimal stitching and seams to help reduce chafing
- 50+ UPF sun protection; Fair Trade Certified™ sewn
- 179 g (6.3 oz)
The Stio Hylas Hooded Pullover
The Stio Hylas Hooded Pullover is a solid sun shirt with some fantastic well thought out features. The construction of this shirt is a nylon and elastane blend. I do like the addition of the elastane as it’s 4 way stretch is ideal for activities on and off the water.
My favorite feature of the Stio Hylas Hooded Pullover are the thumb holes. These thumb holes allow the sleeves to fully cover the backs of the hands. Again, I find this area of skin particularly vulnerable to sun damage.
The overall fit and feel of the hood were both pretty good. This shirt definitely fits well throughout the shoulder and arms. It is a bit large through the torso but that really was not an issue. The hood is a bit oversized. This was not much of an issue except for moving between locations when the wind would blow the hood back.
I found the Stio Hylas Hooded Pullover to be a bit on the warm side. However, I am not sure that this a true fair assessment. The color of the Hylas Pullover is a navy peony which seemed to hold onto the sun’s energy. I spent the entire day in the Florida sun on a cloudless day and the Helion UPF 50+ fabric did a fantastic job providing a shield against the Sun’s rays.
Features of the Stio Divide Hooded Pullover taken directly from the Stio Website
- MSRP $85
- Helion™, 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane, 155 g/m2
- 50+ UPF rating for excellent sun protection
- Fixed, relaxed fit hood with self finish
- Thumbholes for secure coverage
- Flatlock seams maximize comfort and streamline design
- Heat transfer interior labels for next to skin comfort
- Heat transfer of Stio® and Pinecone logos
- Regular Fit: Our medium cut, roomier than Trim but designed with athletic performance and comfort in mind
- Weight: 7 oz.
The Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody
The final shirt of my review was the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody. This sun hoody definitely had the “it” factor going. I caught more fish in this shirt than I did all the other shirts combined.
As far as real attributes are concerned the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody was a solid performer. The material used in the construction of the shirt was a woven patterned fabric that did a great job breathing. This material also used that Polygene odor eliminator treatment that helps it smell fresh days on end. The material was somewhere in the middle of the road as far as softness is concerned.
The fit of the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody was pretty good. I had no issues with fit and it was very comfortable. The sleeves were average but not long enough to comfortably pull over the backs of the hands.
The hood of the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody is quite large. I would say it could easily fit over a bike helmet. This did make this feature a bit overkill when even wearing it with a hat. I definitely could not keep this hood on when the boat was moving.
Feature of the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody taken directly from Black Diamond Website
- MSRP $85
- 50-UPF sun protection
- Underarm gussets for added range of motion
- Under-the-helmet hood
- Polygiene odor control treatment
- Fit: Regular
- Size: S-XL
Thoughts on the Sun Hoody Comparison
On the market today, there is a great assortment of sun hoodies that are offered to consumers. It is a clear indication that effort is being put into sun protection as it seems that all of the major outdoor apparel companies out there have their own version with their own spin on the shirts.
The choice in sun hoody really comes down to personal preference on what is needed in a sunshirt. Personally, I spend a considerable amount of time on the rivers and lakes in Colorado as a fly fishing guide, river rat, and outdoor enthusiast. It is super bright and the light intensity is high. It really took me wearing multiple shirts to figure out what preferences I would have for a sun shirt.
Comfort would probably be my number one factor along with a high UPF rating. Soft shirts really made it easy to slip on the shirt for the day and keep it on when temps were on the rise. The other feature that was helpful is having a good fitting hood. When the hood did not fit well or kept falling off I had a tendency to keep it down. This defeated the purpose of even having one.
For me all of these hoodies got the job done. Marmot, Arcteryx, Patagonia, Stio, and Black Diamond all produce quality outdoor products. However if I was leaning toward one of these sun hoodies only for fly fishing and general outdoor use, I would lean toward the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody as it was incredibly soft, very lightweight, the sleeves allowed for some hand coverage, and it was the least expensive out of the group.