Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie Review
Cons: Large fit, breathability, style
Our Analysis and Test Results
The PFG Terminal Tackle, a solidly affordable sun layer, provides great head and face coverage due to its massive hood. However, there's no way to cinch the hood, so if the wind crops up or you're riding a bike, expect it to fly off. Ordering a size down for this layer is smart as well.
Comfort and Fit
The Terminal Tackle is fairly comfortable to wear, without any pinch points or major annoyances. This can be chalked up to just how relaxed the fit is — it's simply big. At 5'11" and 185lbs, our head tester seemed to float within a size large.
The seams are not as minimal as in other hooded sun shirts we've tested — the side stitches stick out about 3 millimeters from the fabric itself, while the rest of the stitching rests flush with the fabric. Oddly enough, it's back length, at 27.7" is shorter than many of the other shirts we tested.
The hood is no doubt functional, providing coverage to the face as much as the head if pulled up fully. There's no option to cinch the hood like some of the other products we've tested using a button around the neck, so expect the hood to come off during breezy conditions or high-flying adventures. The sleeves are long and stretch a bit at the wrist when needed, a nice benefit to have if you also prefer UPF gloves over sunscreen, or just don't want to worry about re-applying.
Generally, the PFG feels as if it's resting on the shoulders, as opposed to being properly fit throughout. This became very evident when used while surfing. When dry, it tends to move freely around the body, not heavy enough to restrict movement at all, but the shirt is quite heavy when soaking wet or filled with perspiration.
The PFG Terminal Tackle does as it should in terms of general sun protection. Built with the company's 50+ UPF Omni-Shade 100% polyester, this shirt is designed for mid to extreme sun exposure and will repel both UVA (more prevalent, causes photoaging) and UVB (surface level, sunburn-causing) rays.
The generous hood all but swallows the head and adds protection to the forehead, face, and nose. The longer sleeves help cover the wrists and tops of the hands. As noted, the back seam length is shorter than some of the other hooded sun shirts we've tested by about 1/2" - 1" for a comparitvely sized shirt. This may impact sun coverage on the lower back if you find yourself bending down a lot, or if you are wearing something that would cause the shirt to ride up your back, such as a large backpack.
The PFG doesn't dry as quickly as others in practical testing, and it seems as if the garment's "poncho" design is compensating for the fabric's inability to let warm air escape. Still, in a controlled dry test, which entailed 30 minutes of outside drying after a dip in a washing machine, it performed equally with all others. Sun shirt shoppers should know, however, that this piece isn't intended to cool during aerobic activities. It's not specifically a performance fabric in that regard.
To test odor protection, an aspect of breathability, each shirt in the test was subjected to five minutes above a campfire. The Terminal Tackle didn't fare well, clearly holding on to a thick coating of campfire funk well after being removed.
Those things aside, in cool breezes, the shirt feels nice, even airy. But when things turn humid, it feels somewhat suffocating and sticky until it dries again. Breathability is going to be a natural advantage to most products in this test, given their overall purpose, but some will be better at it than others, and, overall, the button-down samples in this test have more opportunity for air to pass through.
The Terminal Tackle is best suited for its namesake: fishing. The "PFG" stands for Performance Fishing Gear, after all. The large hood keeps the sun rays at bay during the hottest parts of the day, removes the need for a neck gaiter or other such fabric cover, and is most comfortable in the constant breezes of the open ocean. Few sports demand as much time in open, exposed sun without being consistently aerobic as fly fishing, surf-casting, or other forms of the sport.
This hoody could also be a decent alternative for rock climbers given its helmet-compatible hood, below-harness hem, and adequate stretch. For hot workdays such as gardening or landscaping where the lack of style is less of a deal-breaker, the Terminal Tackle could be a righteous ally in keeping you protected from the sun. While Columbia is targeting anglers with this product, it shouldn't be limited to one activity when sold as an effective alternative to sunscreen, and buyers today should expect multiple uses for their investment.
Simple sun shirt hoodies made with a thick fabric often rate high for durability, and this is the case for the PFG Terminal Tackle as well. By nature, there is no chance of a button falling off, a sleeve strap tearing, or getting a hole in the vent mesh — because it doesn't have any of those features. The 100% polyester showed zero signs of any significant use at all, even after multiple hand and machine washes, being stuffed in packs, working outside in dirty conditions, and in general, being put through the rigors of every-day use. The stretch capacity of the polyester remained intact, even around the sleeves where the stitching is evident. Stretch is accomplished by the weave of the fabric, and not by the addition of a more elastic thread, like spandex. The shirt also cleaned easily, resisting stains and debris build-up.
The Terminal smartly lacks in external features — the minimalistic design should be noted as a feature itself. However, the large hood, long-sleeves, and flowy design are what contribute to its effectiveness, and as such, it doesn't need sleeve straps, high-button collars, back vents, or hidden pockets. That said, this shirt could benefit significantly from hood and hem drawcords, and even thumb-loops. Such features would immediately put it into a higher technical category.
We've reviewed other products that are just as minimal, and just as durable, but the Terminal Tackle does utilize a thinner material, and offers just a smidge more style. These things may add up to you wanting to wear it more often, which is always a bonus.
For its best application, this men's sun shirt is a pretty good value. It's durable and does its job: protects you from the sun. If you're looking for an all-around hiker or multi-use sun-shirt, the lack of features suggests the value isn't there, even at the average price. We can't give it huge props for value as we've tested other products that are just a little less expensive that perform just as good overall.
The Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie is a non-technical, limited use top for long periods of sun exposure. In terms of blocking sun rays, it performs just as promised. It doesn't wick sweat as well as others tested, is difficult to size correctly, and its massive sleeve brand turns everyone into a Columbia fishing ambassador. But if all you're looking for is a sun-protecting piece of gear at a fair price, this works well.
— Justin Simoni & Craig Rowe