Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody - Women's Review

Price:  $85 List | $79.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable cuffs, breathable fabric, hood fits comfortably under helmet
Cons:  Odd seam in middle of neck, tight band at bottom of torso
Bottom line:  If you want a hooded breathable shirt for hot days without the hassle of thumb holes, this shirt is for you!
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Sun Protection Level:  50
Coverage:  Long sleeve, hood
Features:  hood
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody is a comfortable and breathable shirt that makes it a natural choice for neck coverage in hot weather. Though this shirt has no thumb holes, its sleeves are long and provide comfortable partial hand protection. Clever seam placement in the armpits allows for the comfortable range of motion you'd want for activities like climbing and paddling. Perhaps not the most stylish of all the sun shirts we reviewed, this shirt is a useful choice for an active lifestyle.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Sun Protection Shirts for Women


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Maggie Brandenburg

Last Updated:
Wednesday
April 11, 2018

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Out of all the sun shirts we reviewed, three boasted hoods: the Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious Hoodie, Patagonia Women's Sunshade Hoody, and this one. We found that each of these three shirts was fairly different. Read on to learn how…

Performance Comparison


Tackle life in the sun upside down in the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody!
Tackle life in the sun upside down in the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody!

Comfort & Fit


One of the only shun shirts in this review to NOT have a classically feminine cut, the Alpenglow Hoody instead has a wide cuff around the bottom of the torso. While our reviewers felt this cuff perhaps made the shirt a bit less stylish, they did like how it kept the shirt in place even when they weren't fully upright - like when climbing under a ledge or doing an exuberant handstand. The fabric is soft and provides a lot of comfortable stretch to accommodate all your motions from climbing to paddling to enthusiastically cheering on your team. This shirt also lacks bulky hems, which our reviewers thought made the neck, hood, and cuffs much more comfortable. We gave this shirt an 8 out of 10 for comfort and fit.

The Alpenglow  size XS  on two of our 5'4" gear testers.
The Alpenglow, size XS, on two of our 5'4" gear testers.

Sun Protection


Just like the Butterlicious Hoodie and Patagonia Sunshade, the Alpenglow has a high UPF rating of 50. Combined with a hood, this shirt offers excellent protection from the sun. Lacking the thumb holes that the other two have though, limits protection for your hands, unless you're doing an activity in which you can keep the ample sleeves pulled down onto the base of your hands. We give it an 8 out of 10.

Not only can this breathable hood protect your neck while you're wearing a helmet  the lack of underarm seam makes this shirt great for activities that involve a lot of arm motion - like paddling and climbing!
Not only can this breathable hood protect your neck while you're wearing a helmet, the lack of underarm seam makes this shirt great for activities that involve a lot of arm motion - like paddling and climbing!

Breathability


This shirt is lightweight and has a relaxed fit to facilitate air flow. However, the bottom cuff around the torso we found to stifle that air flow more so than the Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear hooded sun shirts we reviewed. The fabric wicks moisture away relatively quickly, helping to keep you cool even under the hot sun. Overall, we gave it a 7 out of 10.

The bottom cuff of the Alpenglow Hoody keeps the shirt in place during upside down maneuvering  but restricts airflow a bit on a hot day.
The bottom cuff of the Alpenglow Hoody keeps the shirt in place during upside down maneuvering, but restricts airflow a bit on a hot day.

Durability


With strongly reinforced seams and a tight-knit, albeit thin, fabric, our reviewers feel that shirt stands up to usage. It's also treated with a Polygiene odor control treatment, helping to keep the smell down even after several long hot days in the sun back to back. Our only complaint was the model that we received had a bit of seam damage along the bottom cuff. Overall, we scored this shirt a 6 out of 10.

Though it doesn't have thumb holes  the cuffs on this sun shirt can still protect your hands from the sun when you're not hanging off a rock face.
Though it doesn't have thumb holes, the cuffs on this sun shirt can still protect your hands from the sun when you're not hanging off a rock face.

Style


Because of its bottom torso cuff, our reviewers felt this shirt had a similar style to a thin, fitted sweatshirt. It comes in limited light to medium colors and has a large seam in the front and center of the neck. Perhaps not headed to the next fashion runway show, if you like the relaxed look this hoodie provides along with its coverage and lack of thumb holes, we think you'll enjoy this sun shirt from Black Diamond. We give it a 5 out of 10 for style.

See how the Alpenglow compares to the two other hooded shirts in this review on our 5'4" 115lb reviewer: Alpenglow size XS (left)  Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious size S (center)  Patagonia Sunshade size XS (right)
See how the Alpenglow compares to the two other hooded shirts in this review on our 5'4" 115lb reviewer: Alpenglow size XS (left), Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious size S (center), Patagonia Sunshade size XS (right)

Features


Aside from the hood, this shirt has no features. Unlike the other two shirts with hoods that we reviewed (the Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious and Patagonia Sunshade), this model from Black Diamond has no hidden hip pocket or thumb holes.

Maybe not our first choice for a breathable hiking sun shirt  the Alpenglow certainly helped protect our reviewers from the intense equatorial sun in the Galapagos Islands.
Maybe not our first choice for a breathable hiking sun shirt, the Alpenglow certainly helped protect our reviewers from the intense equatorial sun in the Galapagos Islands.

Best Applications


Our reviewers felt this shirt is an obvious choice for climbing (thanks, Black Diamond), but also would be a great choice for hiking, backpacking, paddling, and other active outdoor sports. Though it lacks the thumb holes of the Butterlicious or Patagonia models, we found it to be more breathable than the Butterlicious and better suited to long-armed women than the Patagonia.

Value


This was the most expensive sun shirt we reviewed, retailing around $85. While this might be your dream shirt, there are plenty of other sun shirts in this review that are far less expensive and we feel are just as good.

Conclusion


The Alpenglow Hoody from Black Diamond is a great 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 your skin. If you're impartial about thumb holes but really want that hood, we'd recommend checking this shirt out!

The lack of underarm seam had us feeling paddle-ready in the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody!
The lack of underarm seam had us feeling paddle-ready in the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody!

Maggie Brandenburg


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Most recent review: April 11, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
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