Gear Review: Backcountry Tahoe Sun Hoodie

I’ve always scoffed at long sleeves in the summer. Yet time and time again, I forget to reapply sunblock and emerge from the mountains with a gnarly sunburn. The Backcountry Tahoe Sun Hoodie is designed specifically for warm weather activities. Built-in UPF and a lightweight, moisture-wicking material make this shirt perfect for long days in the desert or high-altitude mountains.

Backcountry Tahoe Sun Hoodie Specs

Yes, I know I need a new day-hiking pack

MSRP: $69.95
Materials: 78% nylon, 14% spandex, 8% polyester
Sizes: XXS – XXL
Style: Slim Fit / Hooded
UPF Rating: 30+

Circumstances of Review

There’s no better place to test this shirt than the July San Diego desert. I wore this hoodie on the “Five Peaks Challenge” – a badass local hike I hadn’t been motivated to do until staying local became the new thing. When I first put this shirt on before the sun came up, I was instantly impressed at how cool the sleeves felt. I was grateful for these long sleeves when I first started hiking in the nippy early morning, curbing those first mile goose bumps. This breezy morning reprieve did not last long, by 7 am the sun was shining and my sweat was flowing.

As the hours and elevation gain wore on, I was increasingly impressed with how well the shirt managed my profuse sweating. The temperature was pushing 90, yet the material was not sticking to my arms, armpits, or back. When I stopped for breaks I could feel how completely soaked the shirt was, yet it was still breathable. I finished the 7-hour hike without needing to strip to my sports bra once, which I can honestly say I was not expecting. A new appreciation for long sleeves wormed it’s way into my heart on the Five Peaks Challenge.

The final peak. Shortly after, a California burrito was devoured

Next, I tried this shirt out on a sunny run. It did not last long on my body. I told myself to keep it on for at least 30 mins, and by 15 I had already turned it into a cape. I couldn’t get over the feeling of an extra layer on while I was trying to move quickly, even though my temperature felt about the same whether it was on or off. I might wear this shirt for a long, slow-paced trail run. But, for a fast-paced road run I will continue to pass on the long sleeves.

Perks of a cape include shoulder protection and sweat rag in the San Diego sun

Because of how well the shirt performed on a long day hike, I decided to take it with me as my one shirt for a four-day High Sierra backpacking trip. I was extremely pleased at how well it managed sweat, kept me cool, and blocked the sun. However, in the future I might consider a darker-colored sun shirt. By the time I reached my car, the sweat and dirt stains against the light blue were pretty gnarly.

This may or may not have been the first time I’ve escaped the Sierra without crispy arms

Sun Protection

This shirt is my new summertime favorite. Whenever I have a long day in the sun planned, it’s in my bag. As far as runs or shorter hikes go, I still opt for short sleeves or tank tops even with high temperatures. I can happily say I am now officially two months sunburn-free. My skin has been ever-so-grateful for this new sun hoodie.

Someone get this girl a Nunn tablet

I am a big fan of the way this shirt fits. The slightly loose hang makes it super breathable. Even on the sweatiest sunny days, I never felt the material clinging to my back. There’s also thumbholes which keep the sleeves in place, and also protect my hands from the sun. I can’t remember a time I have ever remembered to sunscreen just my hands. I personally don’t use the hood, but the extra material there keeps my neck from getting burned.

Comparable Items

Columbia Tidal Deflector Zero Hooded Shirt

MSRP: $64.99

Materials: 88% polyester, 12% elastane, Omni-Freeze Zero, Omni-Wick

Style: Regular / Hooded

UPF Rating: 50

Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel Shirt

MSRP: $84.95
Materials: 100% polyester
Style: Regular / Button-Up
UPF Rating: 50+

REI Co-op Sahara Button-Up Long-Sleeve Shirt

MSRP: $59.95
Materials: 95% nylon/5% spandex
Style: Regular / Button-Up
UPF Rating: 35

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