Outdoor Research Astroman Sun Hoodie Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Helpful zippers, has a pocket and can pack into it, thoughtful details
Cons: Prone to wrinkling when packed up, fabric noticeably shows sweat
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Outdoor Research Astroman Sun Hoodie
|Price||$66.71 at Backcountry|
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$22.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Helpful zippers, has a pocket and can pack into it, thoughtful details||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||Prone to wrinkling when packed up, fabric noticeably shows sweat||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 well-designed hooded sun shirt made with light and stretchy material and featuring a zippered chest pocket and half-zip front||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||Outdoor Research As...||REI Co-op Sahara Sh...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Columbia Silver Rid...||Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Sun Protection (25%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research As...||REI Co-op Sahara Sh...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Columbia Silver Rid...||Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody|
|Sun Protection Level (UPF)||50||50||50||40||50+|
|Coverage||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, collar||Long sleeve, collar||Long sleeve, hood|
|Features||1/4 zip, zippered chest 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||85% nylon, 15% spandex||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 - XXL||S - XXXL||S-XXL||S-XXL||S-3XL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Astroman features many of the accouterments we expect to find in high-quality offerings: a half-zip opening, a zippered chest pocket designed to pack the shirt up when not in use, a comfy and over-the-helmet-compatible hood, thumb loops, and a high UPF 50 stretchy fabric that has one of the fastest dry times of any of the shirts we've tested. We found two small downsides. First, the thin and stretchy fabric we love so much wrinkles easily when not worn and stuffed for storage. Second, when you sweat through the shirt, the fabric will show it off noticeably, changing its hue quite dramatically. Still, this is a solid addition to OR's Astroman lineup.
Comfort and Fit
Comfort is king for the Astroman. The fabric material is stretchy, and it's one of the few shirts we've tested that uses an actual spandex mix (84% nylon, 16% spandex, Bluesign approved) to attain this. The material is also quite thin, and this combination means that the shirt won't normally get in your way of moving around, be it to reach that just out-of-the-way handhold while climbing or bending down to tie your shoes — something OR calls "Movement-Mirroring Stretch."
Comfort goes beyond the fabric. We found the flat stitching to be unnoticeable through the entire shirt, and both the half zipper in the front and the small chest pocket are gusseted at the ends to help keep away from hair and skin. The half zip is also paired with an additional flap of fabric so that the zipper will never touch your chest.
The fit on the Astroman is more athletic than not, but still true to size. Our main reviewer is on the larger size of medium but felt right at home with a medium for this shirt. The length is generous, and will fit underneath a climbing harness, and shouldn't bunch up so much as to reveal your lower back when wearing a hiking pack. The sleeve length is just as generous. Without stretching, the sleeves came all the way to the knuckles (or past) of most of the testers that gave it a try.
The hood itself is also of liberal size but doesn't have the threat of blowing off in high winds, as the front zip, when zipped up, will come up to just under your chin. This keeps everything snug when you need it and allows you to relax the fit when you don't. OR states that this hoodie is under-the-helmet compatible only, but we had zero problems fitting the hood over our own climbing and bike helmets.
The UPF 50 rating of the Astroman should block out 98% of the sun's harmful UV rays. But the shirt still needs to cover your body to do its job. The hood works well, sealing much of the face from the bottom of the chin all around. Thumb loops are present but are fairly minimal and will keep the long sleeves a little above your knuckles. The length is generous, so your lower back will likely be covered in most all situations. We believe that the stylishness of this hoodie will make you want to wear it more often than not, which goes a long way into keeping you protected.
Thin, fast-drying, and wicking — the fabric of the Astroman is again in the spotlight to keep you comfortable. In our tests, this shirt dried out faster than most every other sun shirt we've tested. Evaporation of sweat from your body causes a cooling sensation, and the Astroman's approach is to get in the way of this natural process as little as possible.
As noted, the fit is more on the trim, athletic side of things, so air isn't going to move around inside as much as more generous cuts. If your personal preference is to have a baggier fit, this may not be the perfect selection for you — or you could try sizing up. The half zip on the chest goes a long way in helping modulate body temperature, with the small price of less sun protection on your chest when the zipper is down.
This shirt has a lot going for it and is a natural fit for most outdoor activities, be it climbing a big wall like its namesake route in Yosemite, thru-hiking, or just grabbing an aprés activity adult beverage. Be aware: there's no listed anti-odor treatment in the fabric, but since the shirt dries so quickly, it's easy enough to give it a quick rinse and wring-out during the hike out from your climb or after you've set up camp and changed into your puffy.
As a travel shirt, it's undeniable that having a single pocket makes a shirt just that much more utilitarian. A payment method, the hotel key, and/or the ticket for the next high-speed train out of Tokyo can be easily within reach and not forgotten. The good durability and breathability of this shirt make it easy to keep it on all day and night, and having a hood is a simple way to gain a little bit of privacy on a crowded flight.
Only two pain points come up when talking about versatility for the Astroman. If you're an enthusiastic sweater (as our main tester is), be ready to advertise this fact to the world at large. When saturated with sweat, the fabric shifts hue more than any other shirt we've tested, so be ready for major sweat marks in the usual areas.
And although the front chest pocket is designed to pack into when not in use, doing so may wrinkle the shirt (throwing the shirt in a stuff sack will do the same). Usually, most of these wrinkles will work themselves flat after a half hour or so of wearing the shirt, so just plan ahead before heading out for a breakfast date. Curiously, no other shirt we've tested shows this problem. We theorize that it's because the fabric itself is so thin — it does almost have the look of origami paper.
In our tests wearing the Astroman in various outdoor adventures, we found no problems with rips in the fabric or failing seams. This is really exemplary, given just how tough our main tester is on gear. Make sure to read the manufacturer's washing instructions, and never put this shirt in the dryer, as the heat from a dryer will, in time, ruin the spandex found in the fabric.
The Astroman is plus ultra with features. First, there's the helmet-compatible hood. The half zip front helps to expel heat when unzipped or maximize sun protection when zipped up. The chest pocket is useful for stashing essentials — and because it's a double-sided zipper, it can also be used to stuff and store the shirt itself. The thumb loops are minimal but adequate, and the sleeve cuffs end with stretchy trim to keep them taught against your skin. Somewhat surprisingly, you won't find an odor or cooling treatment in the fabric.
All the positive attributes we've discussed come at a cost during checkout. The Astroman is one of the more expensive choices out there, but we think that the unique fabric and thoughtful details really make it a standout.
We're gushing, but the thin, stretchy, and protective UPF 50 rated fabric really does make this shirt unique. The OR Astroman Sun Hoodie does a great job packing so many well-designed sun-protecting features into a single piece of clothing that also, in our opinion, looks really handsome on the wearer. We applaud the useful chest pocket, half zip, and well-shaped hood. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, you'll find yourself covered in this shirt on your next multipitch, multi-day, or multifunction adventure.
— Justin Simoni
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