Lifetime Fitness

The Lightest Hoodies to Protect Yourself From Harmful Sun Rays in 2020

By integrating SPF protection and wicking materials, these hoodies block the heat and also remove moisture when climbing, fishing or hiking. 

Earlier this month, before the Creek Fire smothered the Sierra Nevada with smoke and forced Yosemite to close, I headed to the park’s eastern border to climb a 600-foot route that SuperTopo says is in “one of the most sublime settings in Tuolumne.”

Our climb, the Third Pillar of Dana, juts out over a 5000-foot drop-off that extends out toward Mono Lake and the Mono Basin. Since our route faced east, we knew that as soon as the sun crept up over the horizon, we’d be in the sun for the rest of the day. Climbing at 11,000 feet under direct sunlight is exhausting, which is why I packed a sun hoody. Not only would the hoody provide SPF protection, but the long sleeves would also protect my arms from the abrasive granite cracks, and the hood would cover my neck from abrasive fibers when flaking the rope over my shoulders.

Sun hoodies are standard fare for climbers, rafters, anglers, sailors — people who spend all day outside. My favorite sun hoodies for visits to Yosemite, for lazy days by the river, long cruiser rides, and endless rock climbs include the VOORMI River Run Hoodie, Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody II, Anetik Low Pro Tech Hoody and Outdoor Research Astroman Hoody.

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Though autumn started on September 22, signaling cooler temperatures, I wear hoodies all year. I like how they provide a lightweight sun barrier, wick moisture away and are smooth against the skin. Below are my top four hoodies for summer, autumn, or anytime.

Anetik Low Pro Tech Hoody, $70

Anna Pompermayer

Made with PrimoLite mesh with integrated SPF 30+ protection, the Low Pro Tech keeps you cool on hot days. During scorching summer days, I’d pour cold water over this hoody and put it on before climbing to fend off heat exhaustion. I also appreciated the phone-sized zippered pocket that was well-positioned on the lower right side.

VOORMI River Run Hoody, $129

Courtesy of VOORMI
Courtesy of VOORMI

When I need something more than a simple t-shirt to block the sun, I reach for the River Run Hoody for the hottest days. Constructed with ultralight precision blended wool, with a fabric weight of 100 g/m2 and weight of 186 grams, the River Run is one of the lightest merino layers on the market. I like the relaxed fit, integrated thumb loops and full-size hood. I also appreciate how the naturally antimicrobial merino wool keeps it from retaining body odor.

Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody II, $59

Courtesy of Patagonia
Courtesy of Patagonia

Made with 100 percent recycled polyester, the Tropic Comfort Hoody II wicks moisture, offers SPF 50+ sun protection, and has an antimicrobial, odor-blocking surface called HeiQ. Thumbholes at the wrists protect the back of the hands, while the generously sized hood protects the head, neck, and ears. This top is a favorite for my climbing partner Tom Herbert, who continued to climb in Yosemite this summer during both the hottest and smokiest days. This hoodie is both Blue Sign and Fair Trade certified.

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Outdoor Research Astroman Hoody, $89

Courtesy of Outdoor Research
Courtesy of Outdoor Research

Named after the long and difficult free-climb that put Yosemite at the center of the climbing universe in the 1970s — Astroman — this hoody is for all-day use. Constructed with the same materials found in the Astroman shirt, a collaboration design by Hans Florine who’s climbed the Nose on El Capitan 110 times, the Astroman Hoody is made for long days under the sun. The lightweight (169 grams) Astroman Hoody is constructed with 85 percent nylon and 15 percent spandex, offers SPF 50+ protection, and has a low-profile zippered chest pocket.

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