Reviews You Can Rely On

Montbell Cool Hoodie Review

A lightweight, simple sun hoody with a half zip front and kangaroo pockets
Montbell Cool Hoodie
Photo: Montbell
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $69 List
Pros:  Simple understated design, extremely breathable
Cons:  Fabric and stitching showed signs of wear early, less sun protection than other choices
Manufacturer:   MontBell
By Justin Simoni ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 6
  • Sun Protection - 25% 6
  • Breathability - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

Weighing just 6.6 oz/186 grams for a men's medium, the Montbell Cool Hoodie is a light and simple hooded sun shirt. Featuring a half zip and kangaroo pockets up front, and thumb loops on the sleeves, this hooded layer keeps all other frills to a minimum. If high output activities are what you're looking to do, this could be a good choice for a sun shirt, as it excels in breathability. However, this breathability comes at the price of durability and, to a smaller extent, sun protection.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Montbell Cool Hoodie
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $69 ListCheck Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$59 List$21.79 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
65
77
76
72
69
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Simple understated design, extremely breathableOff-trail style, dobbyweave fabric wears well, ideal length, good overall sun protectionGreat value, lightweight, very breathable, looks good off-trail, excellent comfortVery comfortable, breathable, functionalInexpensive, bombproof, great coverage and sun protection
Cons Fabric and stitching showed signs of wear early, less sun protection than other choicesTight in the yoke, expensive, not as breathable as some competitorsOnly UPF 40, doesn't pack as well as others, difficult sleeve-capture tabsComfort at the cost of durabilityDurability comes at the cost of breathability, heavier than other hooded sunshirts
Bottom Line A lightweight, simple sun hoody with a half zip front and kangaroo pocketsComfortable with a great balance of features and functionality, this shirt is great on and off-trailGood-looking and a great value, this shirt floats around the torso and has a smart selection of featuresHooded sun shirts don't get much more cool, comfortable, or deliver as much sun protection as this oneA great journeyman sun shirt, packing value that anyone can easily justify
Rating Categories Montbell Cool Hoodie Canyon Long Sleeve Columbia Silver Rid... Tropic Comfort II H... Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody
Comfort And Fit (30%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Sun Protection (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability (20%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
Specs Montbell Cool Hoodie Canyon Long Sleeve Columbia Silver Rid... Tropic Comfort II H... Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody
Sun Protection Level (UPF) Not stated 50 40 50+ 50+
Coverage Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, hood
Features 1/4 zip, kangaroo pocket Roll-up sleeves, zip pockets Roll-up sleeves, anit-microbial treated fabric Polygene coating, made from recycled materials Large hood for added protection
Fit Regular fit Regular Regular Relaxed Relaxed
Material 100% Polyester Polyester dobby fabric Omni-Wick Ripstop 100% polyester 3.7-oz 100% recycled polyester jersey 100% Polyester
Odor Control? No No Antimicrobial treatment HeiQ Fresh No
Available SIzes S - XL S-XXL S-XXL S-XL S-3XL

Our Analysis and Test Results

Oftentimes, hooded sun shirts are made with fabric too thick for on-the-go activities, being more geared toward standing around in the sweltering sun. If you perspire a lot when moving, this could lead to sweating a little more than you've anticipated. A sun shirt with thinner fabric may serve you better, and that's really what the Montbell Cool Hoodie brings to the table. We certainly appreciated this on our own trail runs and bike rides in the warm and sunny Colorado weather. And, if you're a fan of kangaroo-style pockets, this hooded sun shirt features them — a style we can't say we see too often.

Performance Comparison


The Montbell Cool Hoodie with its fun kangaroo pockets.
The Montbell Cool Hoodie with its fun kangaroo pockets.
Photo: Shay Castle

Comfort and Fit


The 100% Polyester fabric of the Cool Hoodie is a bit thinner than most of the hooded sun shirts we've tested and reviewed. This will ultimately lead to a cooler, more breathable shirt. The fabric has a sleeker feeling on the exterior and a slightly scratchier one on the interior. Montbell calls this fabric "Wickron Cool"; the interior fabric is optimized for wicking and the exterior for evaporating sweat.

The Cool works well for high intensity activities.
The Cool works well for high intensity activities.
Photo: Justin Simoni

The fit is true to its size on the Cool. We suggest that you size up if you're on the cusp, as the cut is more trim and athletic than loose. Thumb loops at the end of the sleeves are well designed and will easily swallow up the back of your hand underneath them — almost engulfing all your knuckles. A separate pair of sun gloves would hardly be needed.

Thumb holes help secure the sleeves to the end of the wrist and help...
Thumb holes help secure the sleeves to the end of the wrist and help cover your hands to the knuckles.
Photo: Justin Simoni

The hood itself is generous in size, and we had no trouble being able to fit a helmet underneath. The half zip on the front makes it easy to open the shirt up for a bit more ventilation. The length is generous, and you'll have no problem with fitting the bottom of the shirt underneath something like a climbing harness or below the hip strap of a hiking pack.

Shirt length is generously long on the Montbell.
Shirt length is generously long on the Montbell.
Photo: Justin Simoni

Sun Protection


Montbell doesn't publish a UPF rating for the Cool Hoodie, but we suspect it's around UPF 40, given that they state that their "Wickron™ COOL" fabric "blocks more than 90% of UV radiation". A UPF rating of 50 (as seen in many other sun shirts) would block 98% of the sun's UV rays. The thinner fabric of the Cool, while being more breathable, could potentially be a little less protective. Still, this is indeed a full-on sun shirt and, for most applications, the protection should be adequate. If you're looking for a sun shirt primarily for maximum sun protection, this shirt may not be the best choice for what you're looking for.

The Kangaroo pocket sure helps protect your hands in either the...
The Kangaroo pocket sure helps protect your hands in either the vertical or horizontal position.
Photo: Shay Castle

Breathability


The Cool Hoodie shines when it comes to breathability. This shirt does well on warmer days or high output activities like trail running but may just be too thin and flyweight for long fishing days or hanging out by the beach. The cut is loose enough to promote air circulation, and the half zip helps with dumping hot air that has built up during a strenuous effort.

This hoody works well for high-intensity activities.
This hoody works well for high-intensity activities.
Photo: Justin Simoni

Versatility


Being so lightweight and simple usually means that a hooded sun shirt is also fairly versatile, and that is the case with this one. Branding is also kept at a minimum, which we appreciate, especially if we're moving right from the trailhead parking lot to an after-hike hamburger stop.

The Montbell is pretty versatile within its wheelhouse, as long as...
The Montbell is pretty versatile within its wheelhouse, as long as it's not for extremely sunny conditions.
Photo: Justin Simoni

The fabric does have a titanium dioxide photo-catalytic anti-odor treatment that'll help neutralize odors. In our tests, we found that it worked pretty well, and we kept the shirt unwashed for many days at a time between wears. Since the fabric is light and the weave promotes wicking and evaporation, rinsing and drying the shirt after activities or at night can help extend the times between a machine wash. We found the dry time to be quicker than most of the sun shirts we've reviewed, coming down mostly to the thinner fabric.

Dry vs. Wet, the Montbell Cool Hoodie will shift hue.
Dry vs. Wet, the Montbell Cool Hoodie will shift hue.
Photo: Justin Simoni

But being a little less durable than other sun shirts we've tested, we can't say the Montbell is going to make it through the harshest of situations unscathed. Thruhikes, trail runs, climbing, and fishing trips all have the potential to be hard on gear.

Packed up, the Montbell takes up about as much space as a Nalgene...
Packed up, the Montbell takes up about as much space as a Nalgene bottle.
Photo: Justin Simoni

Durability


Unfortunately, the downside of using a thin, breathable fabric is overall durability. We've already noticed the fabric itself begin to pill up, seams start to get fuzzy, and loose ends begin to show. If your days include a lot of bushwhacking to secret fishing spots, your relationship with the Cool Hoodie will be short-lived.

The Cool Hoodie started showing wear after just a couple months of...
The Cool Hoodie started showing wear after just a couple months of testing.
Photo: Justin Simoni

Features


The most standout feature of this shirt is its kangaroo pocket. A half-length zipper on the chest can help to dump heat, and well-designed thumb loops are found at the cuffs of the sleeves. The fabric is thinner than most of the other shirts we've tested, and with that, it has less sun protection — we estimate it at being around UPF 40. The fabric also has cooling, and anti-odor treatments applied.

The shirt cut is generous, including the hood.
The shirt cut is generous, including the hood.
Photo: Shay Castle

Value


The Cool Hoodie is less expensive than most of the hooded sun shirts we've tested, save for the absolute budget options. We appreciate the thoughtful features found in the shirt — especially the kangaroo pocket, half zip up front, and perfect thumb loops. For its price, we still would like to see the durability be just a notch better to really protect your investment into the product.

Conclusion


Thin, lightweight, with great features, the Montbell Cool Hoodie is made for those that are seeking a more breathable sun shirt at the expense of sun protection and overall durability. It's a good choice for a sun shirt — especially if you're usually on the move, rather than standing still.

Well not as technical a layer as others we tested, we still very...
Well not as technical a layer as others we tested, we still very much enjoy the Montbell Cool.
Photo: Justin Simoni

Justin Simoni