Montbell Cool Hoodie Review
Cons: Fabric and stitching showed signs of wear early, less sun protection than other choices
Compare to Similar Products
Montbell Cool Hoodie
|Price||$75 List||$50 List|
$49.95 at REI
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Check Price at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
$22.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Simple understated design, extremely breathable||Incredibly comfortably, stretchy fabric, top-notch hood with hidden cinch strap, reinforced thumb loops||Off-trail style, dobbyweave fabric wears well, ideal length, good overall sun protection||Great value, lightweight, very breathable, looks good off-trail, excellent comfort||Inexpensive, bombproof, great coverage and sun protection|
|Cons||Fabric and stitching showed signs of wear early, less sun protection than other choices||Lack of pockets, no front zipper||Tight in the yoke, expensive, not as breathable as some competitors||Only UPF 40, doesn't pack as well as others, difficult sleeve-capture tabs||Durability 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 pockets||An excellent hooded sunshirt with a great balance of sun protection, breathability, and features||Comfortable with a great balance of features and functionality, this shirt is great on and off-trail||Good-looking and a great value, this shirt floats around the torso and has a smart selection of features||A great journeyman sun shirt, packing value that anyone can easily justify|
|Rating Categories||Montbell Cool Hoodie||REI Co-op Sahara Sh...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Columbia Silver Rid...||Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Sun Protection (25%)|
|Specs||Montbell Cool Hoodie||REI Co-op Sahara Sh...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Columbia Silver Rid...||Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody|
|Sun Protection Level (UPF)||Not stated||50||50||40||50+|
|Coverage||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, collar||Long sleeve, collar||Long sleeve, hood|
|Features||1/4 zip, kangaroo pocket||Thumb loops, anit-microbial treated fabric||Roll-up sleeves, zip pockets||Roll-up sleeves, anit-microbial treated fabric||Large hood for added protection|
|Material||100% Polyester||92% polyester, 8% spandex||Polyester dobby fabric||Omni-Wick Ripstop 100% polyester||100% Polyester|
|Odor Control?||No||Antimicrobial treatment||No||Antimicrobial treatment||No|
|Available SIzes||S - XL||S - XXXL||S-XXL||S-XXL||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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
— Justin Simoni
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More