What Makes the Best Hiking Sun Hoodie?

What Makes the Best Hiking Sun Hoodie?

Sun exposure, while advantageous in moderation for synthesizing vitamin D, can have adverse effects on the skin. Extended exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from sunlight heightens the risk of skin damage.

Protective clothing plays a crucial role in shielding us from these harmful rays. Among various types of protective apparel, hoodies with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) offer a practical solution. These hoodies are crafted with fabrics featuring a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF), effectively minimizing UV light penetration and providing enhanced protection against sun-induced factors.

RELATED: What Is UPF and Why Does It Matter?

If you love the great outdoors, like hiking, make sure you gear up well by wearing the best hiking sun hoodie for protection against the sun's harmful rays. Doing so ensures a more enjoyable experience.

What are sun hoodies?

What Makes the Best Hiking Sun Hoodie?

Sun hoodies are a kind of sun protection clothing. These hoodies come equipped with a hood that serves to shield your ears, neck, and the crown of your head from the sun. They come in a range of colors, fabrics, and styles offered by numerous outdoor brands. Typically, they are lightweight, breathable, and exhibit quick-drying properties.

Why do we need to wear a sun hoodie?

Avoiding a sunburn (or, even worse, the risk of skin cancer) during a hike or an outdoor adventure is a top priority. Wearing a long-sleeved attire is the most effective way to safeguard yourself from the sun. With less skin exposed, there's a reduced need to carry excessive sunscreen, known for its heaviness, greasy feel on the skin, and the risk of leaving you susceptible to burns if washed away by sweat. Sun protection becomes particularly crucial on trails lacking ample shade or at higher elevations.

Furthermore, hoodies offer a loose fit, aiding in maintaining coolness on sweltering days. Engineered with a quick-drying fabric, they prove invaluable during intense sweating. Some shirts are equipped with various features, ranging from thumb holes to raglan sleeves, designed to enhance comfort on the trail.

RELATED: What To Wear on a Summer Hike To Beat the Heat

What do we need to look for when getting a sun hoodie?

While we know that wearing sun-protective clothing is important in the great outdoors, we can't wear just any kind of long-sleeved clothing or hoodie. We need the best sun hoodies for hiking to make our experience more enjoyable and memorable. Here are some factors to consider when buying the best hiking sun hoodie:

UPF Rating

Protective hoodies with a UPF rating, are meticulously designed garments that shield your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays through mechanisms like UV radiation absorption, reflection, tightly woven fabrics, and specific dyes enhancing UV protection.

A key differentiator is the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating system, absent in regular clothing but present in UV-protective garments. The UPF rating, such as 50, indicates the hoodie's effectiveness. Higher ratings mean superior protection, blocking over 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Not all hoodies provide this level of safety – only those labeled "UV protective" do. These hoodies play a crucial role in preventing sunburn during prolonged sun exposure, offering continuous protection without frequent reapplication, setting them apart from traditional sunscreen applications.


Sun protection hoodies are crafted for wear in warm environments, prompting the search for options that contribute to keeping you cool. Incorporating breathable fabrics facilitates airflow, significantly enhancing the comfort of desert hiking.

The degree of a hoodie's breathability is contingent on the fabric's knit: a looser weave permits more airflow. However, a tighter weave offers greater Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) protection, so the most breathable clothing often involves a compromise on sun protection.

Selecting the ideal shirt for your journey hinges on factors, such as the expected amount of shade along your route and whether you plan to complement your shirt with additional sun protection, such as an umbrella.

Quick-Drying Properties

The majority of hoodies utilize quick-drying materials such as polyester, which proves invaluable during hikes involving perspiration. This feature is especially beneficial for desert excursions characterized by significant temperature fluctuations.

With quick-dry fabric, you can avoid trekking in a damp shirt during cool evening temperatures. Additionally, this attribute is advantageous during brief rain showers, eliminating the need for clammy rain gear when confident that the sun will reappear—your shirt can dry in a matter of minutes after the rain subsides.

RELATED: Why Recycled Polyester Is a More Sustainable Choice

Comfort: Raglan Sleeves and Flatlock Seams

What Makes the Best Hiking Sun Hoodie?

While not exclusive to sun hoodies, it's crucial to assess the comfort of your shirt beneath your backpack before settling on a particular style.

Full sun coverage also implies protection from potential chafing areas where your pack might rub against your arms and shoulders. The hood provides an elevated neckline, reducing the risk of pack straps rubbing on your neck. Comfort levels can vary among sun hoodies, particularly concerning skin irritation or chafing.

Prioritize checking garment seams, with flatlock seams being preferable for reduced rubbing. Some economical sun hoodies may lack this feature. Flatlock seams are identifiable as the stitching is flush with the fabric rather than protruding.

Additionally, pay attention to seam placement. Those on the shoulders may cause rubbing under pack straps. Many sun hoodies address this with raglan sleeves, featuring seams further down the arms, often specified in online garment descriptions.


Certain top-notch sun hoodies boast an exceptionally lightweight design, featuring thin fabric that provides exceptional breathability. However, this advantage can come with a significant drawback—durability. For instance, most breathable hoodies exhibit multiple pulled threads in the fabric and easily catches on even the slightest bushwhack. Thicker hoodies, on the other hand, tend to be more robust but come at the expense of some breathability.

While darker-colored sun hoodies are an option, many hikers prefer lighter-colored shirts to aid in staying cool during their expeditions.


Thumb holes add a comfortable and cozy touch, assisting in keeping your sleeves extended enough to cover a portion of your hands. They become unnecessary if you use sun gloves, and some may find them uncomfortable when using trekking poles.

Zippered Collar and Pockets

Many hoodies come with a high collar, effectively shielding your neck from the sun but potentially impeding airflow management. However, certain sun hoodies have zippers.

Most sun hoodies nowadays contain pockets where you can store some of your tiny valuables in your adventure.

Bask in the Sun in Your Perfect Sun Hoodie

Adding a protective sun hoodie to your wardrobe lets you prioritize skin care while enjoying the outdoors.

A sun-protective hoodie is a vital addition, shielding against sunburn, reducing the risk of skin cancer, and ensuring daily sun safety with UV-resistant fabric. This versatile garment also doubles as a stylish and comfortable travel companion suitable for all ages and occasions.

Investing in a UV protective hoodie is an investment in personal health, so gear up for your next outdoor adventure in any of Baleaf's awesome sun hoodies with UPF crafted from breathable and quick-drying fabrics.

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