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Best Sun Protection Shirt of 2024

Gabe Richards

Written by Gabe Richards

Gabe has tackled peaks throughout BC and Alaska, amassing over 15 years of mountaineering and backcountry experience.

This post was last updated on April 23, 2024.

Best Sun Protection Shirt of 2024

There's nothing worse than going on a day hike, or worse a multi-day backpacking trip, and getting a nice, red sunburn to start the whole thing off. That's why we think a good sun protection shirt is a chronically underused piece of gear.

We've trekked through tropical jungles, volcano craters without an ounce of shade, and done multi-day backpacking trips along sunny beaches. We have a good idea of what sun protection shirts will actually keep you protected from the sun.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.4 /10
Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
8
Sun Protection
10

The Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody is our top pick because, according to numerous user reviews, it offers outstanding sun protection and is highly praised for its lightweight yet durable fabric, perfect for those out in the wild.

Runner Up #1

8.2 /10
Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
7
Sun Protection
10

The Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody has won over users with its unbeatable combination of top-notch sun protection and sweat-wicking technology, all while offering a comfortable fit and durable longevity, a rarity in the sun shirts market.

Runner Up #2

8.0 /10
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
7
Sun Protection
9

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody landed our runner-up spot due to its high praises from users for being ultralight and breathable, while still providing top-notch sun protection, making it the ideal companion for those weekend hikes, climbs, or camping escapades.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Breathability

Especially on long trails or challenging climbs, a shirt that features moisture-wicking properties and ventilation is essential to keep you dry and comfortable.

Fabric Quality

A high-quality, durable material that can withstand rough outdoor conditions, resist snagging on branches or rocks, and effectively block harmful UV rays is paramount in a men's sun protection shirt.

Comfort and Fit

Whether you're hiking, climbing, or setting up camp, you need a shirt that fits well without restricting your movements, and feels good against your skin even after hours of wearing.

Protection Factor

To ensure optimal sun protection, opt for a shirt with a proven high UPF rating; a UPF of 30 and above blocks out at least 97% of the sun's harmful rays.

8.4 /10

Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody

$120.00
The Best Sun Protection Shirt

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody is the best Sun Protection Shirt on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
8
Sun Protection
10

Reasons to Buy

  • High UPF rating
  • Excellent breathability
  • Stylish and practical design
  • Great coverage

Reasons to Avoid

  • Higher price tag
  • Fit may not suit everyone

The Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody is a top-notch sun protection shirt that stands out in a crowd. Don't be fooled by its simple design; this hoody offers excellent protection from the sun's harsh rays.

Crafted from Black Diamond's UPF 50+ fabric, this hoody prevents sunburn and skin damage. From hiking trails to fishing docks, the Alpenglow Pro Hoody has got you covered. Even on the hottest days, this hoody is a dependable companion.

Comfort is a vital factor that users have praised about this sun protection shirt. The material is lightweight and airy - perfect for those sweltering summer days. Plus, the under-the-helmet hood design and climbing-specific underarm gussets give the shirt added comfort features.

The hoody also boasts a blend of style and function. It's currently available in neutral tones, making it effortlessly versatile. Some users loved the fit, highlighting that it's not too snug, yet not too loose, hitting that sweet spot of fitment to cater for a spectrum of body types.

Surprisingly, many users pointed out its efficiency in blocking harmful rays without causing overheating, a rare combination in sun protection shirts. Hence, the Alpenglow Pro Hoody comes highly recommended for those intense, hot sunny days.

Not to ignore the elephant in the room - the price. Reviews have pointed out that while the Alpenglow Pro Hoody may not be the cheapest sun-protection shirt on the market, the quality and durability justify the cost. Many users agreed that it's a worthwhile investment for long-term outdoor devotees.

Some users did mention a few drawbacks. While the hoody is marketed as a sun protection shirt, it doesn't provide much warmth in colder weather or after sunset. Also, a few users noted some minor pilling after several months of use, but they mentioned this didn't affect the overall functionality of the hoody.

Customer testimonials underscore the Black Diamond Alpenglow Pro Hoody's performance as a leading sun protection shirt. Its combination of UPF protection, comfort, style, and durability positions it high on the must-have list for any outdoor enthusiast.

8.2 /10

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody

$65.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody is a great choice if you're looking for a sun protection shirt to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
7
Sun Protection
10

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent UV protection
  • Comfortable fit
  • High breathability
  • Extensive coverage design
  • Durable material

Reasons to Avoid

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Limited color options
  • Only available in men's sizes

The Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody pulls no punches when it comes to sun protection. This high performing sun shirt combines durability with superior sun protection, making it a top pick for those long hours outdoors.

Customers rave about the UPF 50 fabric, which boasts an impressive ability to safeguard against harmful UV rays. This shirt is not just functional but also extremely comfortable, with material that's soft to the touch and breathable in even the warmest conditions.

The standout feature of the Crater Lake Hoody is its versatility. Ideal for a variety of outdoor activities, customers love it equally for hiking, boating, or simply relaxing in the sun. It's not confined to the great outdoors, though! The sleek, minimal design means it transitions seamlessly from trail to town, with many customers sporting it in casual, everyday settings.

Folks particularly praise the comfortable, hooded design which provides additional neck protection from the sun. Plus, the added thumb holes are such a neat touch - they stop the sleeves from riding up, ensuring your arms are also thoroughly shielded from the sun. Overall, it’s quite clear that Mountain Hardwear intimately understands the needs of their outdoorsy clientele.

Despite its popularity, the Crater Lake Hoody isn’t without some critique. A common gripe among customers is the perceived lack of size options, with a few buyers mentioning the fit being either too snug or too loose. It would be fair to recommend checking the brand's size guide thoroughly before making your purchase.

8.0 /10

Outdoor Research Echo Hoody

$75.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody is a great choice if you're looking for a sun protection shirt to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
7
Sun Protection
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent sun protection
  • Breathable fabric
  • Durable material
  • Good coverage
  • Fits well
  • Great value for money

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can get a bit warm on hot days
  • May be a bit snug for some body types

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody's sun protection is second to none. Packing a punch with its UPF 15 rating, it promises to prevent the sun's harmful rays from getting anywhere near your skin, so you'll be able to enjoy all your outdoor adventures without worrying about sunburn.

While some sun protection shirts can become uncomfortably hot, the Echo Hoody stands out with its lightweight, breathable fabric. It's got the versatility to keep you cool in warmer weather, while you're hiking up those steep trails, and will provide a bit of warmth when the temperature drops in the evening.

Don't let rain spoil your fun either. This hoody is quick-drying, which is a useful attribute for dealing with sudden downpours or working up a sweat. The Polygiene® odor control technology also helps keep things fresh, so you'll feel comfortable and clean, even after intensive outdoor activity.

You might be thinking that, with all these features, the Echo Hoody would be difficult to pack, but the reality is, it folds up neatly into its own stash pocket, making it the perfect companion for reducing luggage space while maximising versatility on your adventures.

Let's not forget the handy little features like the thumb loops, made to keep the sleeves comfortably in place, and the tapered hood for added sun or wind protection. These small additions really make it obvious that Outdoor Research pays great attention to detail.

According to a multitude of customer reviews online, the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody scores highly in terms of comfort and performance under the sun. Users rave about the breathability and protection it offers. Some even attest to it retaining its shape and functionality after several washes. However, a few customers would appreciate more color options, and there have been a handful of mentions about the sizing being slightly off, with some finding it too long in the body. Therefore, potential buyers - particularly those who are shorter - might need to consider sizing down for a better fit.

Hiking in the Outdoor Research Echo hoodie.
Hiking in the Outdoor Research Echo hoodie.
The hood.
The hood.
The convenient thumb loops.
The convenient thumb loops.
8.0 /10

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoody

$49.95
Best Budget Sun Protection Shirt

Based on our research and testing, we think the REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoody is a great pick if you're looking for a sun protection shirt that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoody Sun Protection Shirt
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Fit
7
Sun Protection
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Impressive UV protection
  • Durable Material
  • Flexible ventilation
  • Hooded design for full coverage
  • Travel-friendly

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly baggy fit
  • Less color options
  • Missing flashlight loop
  • Lack of sealed seams

No need to break the bank for balanced sun protection. REI Co-op's Sahara Shade Hoody proves just that. It stands out as a great option in our budget lineup, demonstrating impressive sun protection qualities without making your wallet cry.

Don't be fooled by the Sahara Shade Hoody's simplistic design. This slim-fit hoody is designed with feather-light fabric, making it a breeze to wear even on hotter adventures. It offers an excellent balance of comfort and sun protection, making your outdoor trips a lot more enjoyable and stress-free.

When it comes to durability, this hoody definitely deserves a pat on the back. Despite sitting in the budget-friendly range, it rivals even some of its pricier counterparts. It's sturdy enough to handle repeated usages over extended periods, with no significant wear and tear noticed by the majority of users. Practical as it is value-friendly, this hoody is a definitive crowd-pleaser.

Regarding sun protection, the Sahara Shade Hoody checks all the boxes. It has a commendable UPF 50+ rating, which according to REI's website blocks out 98% of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays. This impressive sun-blocking ability has been highly appreciated by users, especially by those who often spend hours under the sun.

Feedback from the crowd is overwhelmingly positive. Users applaud Sahara Shade Hoody's cool wearing feel, which keeps them cool even in high heat situations. The breathable, quick-drying fabric also aids in this regard, reducing the chance of getting drenched in sweat. Several customers have also mentioned appreciating the thumbholes in the sleeves and the built-in face mask for extra sun protection.

Some criticisms, however, have been raised about its lack of pockets, with a few users indicating that they'd appreciate a small pocket for storing essentials like keys, cards, and small snacks. There are also a minor number of users who commented on the fabric's tendency to stick to the skin when they sweat excessively, but this doesn't seem to be a widespread issue.

Most agree that the Sahara Shade Hoody is a fairly true-to-size garment, but if you're typically one to layer up, you might want to size up according to a few reviewers. They also praised the hood's snug fit, which adds more protection while being comfortable enough to wear for extended periods.

Overall, the feedback from users about the REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoody is largely positive, with the product's lightweight, breathability, and attractive price point frequently praised by consumers. Despite minor criticisms, it remains a solid pick for those seeking robust sun protection on a budget.

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