Outdoor Research Chain Reaction Hoodie Review
I’m a sucker for a hoodie. I love them in the sun when they protect my arms and neck from the harsh rays. I love them in the cold when they keep my ears and head warm against the elements. The Outdoor Research Chain Reaction Hoodie is a midweight, synthetic hoodie designed to protect you from the sun during outdoor activities.
I tested the Chain Reaction hoodie on numerous hikes and backpacking trips in a wide variety of temperature conditions this fall, literally from freezing temps to 100 degrees. Because it is so soft and cozy, it also makes a great shirt just for lounging around, and I took plenty of advantage of that, too.
Outdoor Research Chain Reaction Hoodie At-a-Glance
- Fabric: 86% polyester, 14% spandex
- Weight: 9.6 oz
- Sun Protection: UPF 50+
- MSRP: $79
Although this hoodie is designed for climbers, it is appropriate for a wide variety of outdoor activities, particularly hiking. With UPF 50+ sun protection, moisture-wicking, and odor control, it’s a great active layer. Compared to some other sun hoodies, the material on the Chain Reaction hoodie is heavier, making the hoodie more comfortable in cooler temperatures.
Left Pocket with Zipper: The pocket on this hoodie is like half a kangaroo pocket, and it zips. It’s big enough to fit just about any phone, and I can also add my small wallet and keys just fine.
Dolman Sleeves: Dolman Sleeves are looser at the shoulders, meaning a relaxed fit allowing more freedom of motion.
Hood with Drawstring: The well-fitted hood stays up well on its own, but for windy and inclement weather you can cinch it with a drawstring.
While the Chain Reaction hoodie is designed as a climbing shirt, it’s a versatile outdoor layer that is well-suited to hiking. It’s very movable, does a decent job of blocking the wind, yet is fairly breathable. While I did use it on some backpacking trips this fall, it’s a little heavy to make it into my pack most of the time.
Outdoor Research says this shirt is great to “beat the desert heat” but that can be a bit misleading. This is not a sun hoodie. The material is far too heavy for hot weather, especially when you throw physical activity into the mix. I live in the desert, and I would NEVER wear this shirt here in the summertime. I find it more suited to fall or winter in the desert when the air is chilly but the sun is still bright.
Super Comfy: Touch the fabric and you might be surprised it’s synthetic. The Chain Reaction is so soft, it feels more like cotton or bamboo fabric. Although it is an active layer, it is comfortable enough for loungewear.
Long Sleeves: As a long-limbed person, too-short sleeves are a common problem for me. Not so with the Chain Reaction hoodie. The sleeves are plenty long, yet the wrists are tight enough that the sleeves don’t sag down.
Well-Fitting Hood: The hood on the Chain Reaction has a snug fit that keeps it from falling down – an all too common problem with hoodies. Even in windy weather, I rarely had to secure the hood or cinch it down. I think it stays up the best of all the hoodies I have.
No Thumb Loops: Those nice long sleeves could benefit from some thumb loops. I imagine this is because it’s technically a climbing shirt, but I don’t think it would hurt to have. It’s an easy feature to add that is optional to use and would be nice sometimes.
One-sided Pocket: The pocket was roomy and zippered. It easily fits my phone with a bulky case on it and keeps it secure. I just really wish it was a kangaroo pocket, mostly because I like to put my hands in my pocket and I like symmetry.
Overall / Value
I love my Chain Reaction hoodie. It fits well and moves well. It is soft yet durable and breathable. It is suitable for a wide variety of activities, but also for inactivity. The price is competitive with similar products. I plan to enjoy my hoodie for a long while.
A Few Comparison Items
- Material: 95% polyester, 5% elastane
- Sun Protection: n/a
- Weight: 18 oz
- Material: 100% polyester
- Sun Protection: UPF 15
- Weight: 2.3 oz
North Face North Dome – $70
- Material: 64% polyester, 36% nylon
- Sun Protection: UPF 50
- Weight: 8 oz
This product was donated for purpose of review.
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