Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Odd seam in middle of neck, tight band at bottom of torso, hip pocket bulges, no thumb holes
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody - Women's
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|Pros||Comfortable cuffs, breathable fabric, hood fits comfortably under a helmet, zippered hip pocket, odor resistant||Incredibly lightweight, very breathable, great coverage, super stretchy||Super lightweight, extremely breathable, easy-to-wear thumbholes, ponytail slot in hood||Very comfortable, good construction, hides dirt well, impressively soft, cute natural colors||Versatile cut, soft, solid coverage, tons of colors, inexpensive|
|Cons||Odd seam in middle of neck, tight band at bottom of torso, hip pocket bulges, no thumb holes||Gets dirty easily, too stretchy to keep heavy items in the pocket||Low relative UPF, limited hand protection, snags easily||Few color choices, small hood, sleeves a bit short||Stinks easily, unimpressive durability, sleeves are short|
|Bottom Line||A breathable hooded model that stays put while you move and doesn't have thumbholes||A really useful sun shirt that's a great choice for just about any sunny activity||A ridiculously breathable, lightweight shirt with uniquely horizontal thumbholes and a handy ponytail exit point in the hood||A great everyday hooded sun shirt that's perfect for anyone who doesn't want thumbholes||An inexpensive but solid option for casual activity|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Alpen...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Outdoor Research Ec...||Patagonia Capilene...||Baleaf UPF 50 Crew...|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Sun Protection (25%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Alpen...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Outdoor Research Ec...||Patagonia Capilene...||Baleaf UPF 50 Crew...|
|Sun Protection Level (UPF)||50+||50+||20 (dark colors)
15 (light colors)
|Coverage||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes||Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, crew neck|
|Features||Zippered pocket||Extra large hood, draw string at waist, hip pocket (zipper)||Ponytail hole in hood, flat-seams, reflective logo||None||Flat shoulder seams|
|Fit||Relaxed fit||Standard fit||Slim fit||Regular fit||Relaxed fit|
|Material||87% polyester 13% elastane||88% polyester 12% elastane||100% recycled polyester||100% polyester (50% recycled)||100% polyester|
|Available Sizes||XS - XL||XS - XL||XXS - XXXL||XXS - XL||S - 2XL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Alpenglow Hoody is a lightweight, breathable sun shirt made of Black Diamond's Wick-It fabric. It boasts a UPF rating of 50+ and features a hood and tighter bottom hem to help hold it in place.
Comfort and Fit
Rather than a feminine cut, the Alpenglow wears like your favorite sweatshirt. A wide cuff around the bottom hem of the torso and on your hands and wrists provides coziness and comfort, while the hood feels much like your well-worn hoody you can never quite get rid of. What this fit may lack in style and class, it makes up for by staying put through just about anything you might do while wearing it. The zippered hip pocket is useful, though sewn in a bit awkwardly, creating a small lump over the hip. It's not noticeable unless you're looking for it, but it's there. The fabric is soft and stretchy while still breathable and pleasant to wear or even sleep in. Active cut flat-stitched seams avoid running directly through your armpits, making the Alpenglow an exceptional choice for activities with extensive arm movements, like climbing or paddling.
Just like most of the tops we tested, the Alpenglow has a high UPF rating of 50+. Combined with a hood that boasts a high neckline in front, this shirt offers excellent protection from the sun. The lack of thumbholes may at first seem a detriment to its protection, but the sleeves are long enough to keep a good chunk of the backs of your hands covered without the nuisance of looping your thumbs through them.
Though the fitted cuffs around the hem and sleeve ends stifle airflow that many other models make use of, the fabric itself combats this warming effect. It's thin and fits in a relaxed way that helps the breeze find its way through to cool your body. It also does a good job wicking moisture away from your skin and drying quickly, further helping you stay cool.
Because of its bottom torso cuff, our reviewers feel the Alpenglow has a similar style to a thin sweatshirt. Though this fit isn't perhaps the most fashionable, it does help it to stay put through inverted activities — we happily wore it doing cartwheels, headstands, and yoga in the park. Because of its style, it's perhaps less versatile across social situations. However, its active fit and features, ability to stay put, and impressive level of breathability and odor resistance make it a great option for just about any active endeavor we can think of.
Fully reinforced flat seams all over this shirt help it to be fairly durable (and comfortable). The fabric has a kind of dimpled appearance when you look very closely, and we did find a few tiny snags in it by the end of our several-month testing period. None of them seemed particularly large or damaging to the overall structural integrity of the shirt, though, and we put it through quite a lot. If you're planning to slide through rough granite crevices, you may run into some issues, but we think you'd be hard-pressed to find a shirt this breathable that can withstand that level of abuse. Black Diamond has also treated the fabric of this sun shirt to be odor resistant. While in some past versions, we found this to be ineffective, our latest tests prove much more promising — we couldn't smell anything untoward, even after running seven miles on rocky trails in the midday sun and letting the shirt dry overnight.
The Alpenglow Hoody has a small zippered hip pocket on the back of the right hip. It's about the right size for a few credit cards and a tube of chapstick. It also has a higher neck front than most others we tested, offering additional protection and staying power to the hood.
This is one of the more expensive sun shirts we reviewed, but if you're after a sun shirt with great protection and staying power, comfortable enough to wear for days in a row, and sleep in every night, this is the one we would choose.
The Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody is a solid option for anyone looking for an active sun shirt with a hood. The underarm detail allows for a comfortable range of motion, and the lightweight material is breathable while wicking moisture away from the skin. If you're impartial about thumb holes but really want that hood and added range of motion from the underarm seam placement, we'd recommend checking this shirt out.
— Maggie Nichols
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