The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody - Women's Review

If you want a hooded breathable shirt for hot days without the hassle of thumb holes, this shirt is for you!
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Price:  $85 List | $54.97 at Backcountry
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
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2019
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Comfort & Fit - 30% 7
  • Sun Protection - 25% 7
  • Breathability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Style - 15% 5

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.

If you want to stick without thumb holes but want a little more versatility, the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody lacks thumb holes but has cuffs that can be flipped over your hands instead.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond 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.

2019 Updates
The Alpenglow Hoody has been updated in 2019 with a slight increase in UPF value from 50 to 50+. Black Diamond has also added a zippered hip pocket to this shirt, but the overall design and material remain the same. This review reflects the earlier version of this shirt, with no hip pocket.

Performance Comparison


Tackle life in the sun upside down!
Tackle life in the sun upside down!

Comfort & Fit


One of the only shun shirts in this review to NOT have a feminine cut, the Alpenglow Hoody instead has a wide cuff around the bottom of the torso. While we feel this cuff perhaps makes the shirt a bit less stylish, we do like how it keeps the shirt in place even when we aren't fully upright - like when climbing under a ledge or doing an exuberant cartwheel. The fabric is soft and provides a lot of comfortable stretch to accommodate all your motions from climbing to paddling to cheering on your team. This shirt also lacks bulky hems, which our reviewers thought make the neck, hood, and cuffs much more comfortable.

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

Sun Protection


Just like most the tops we tested, 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.

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 stifles the air flow more so than the Outdoor Research Echo 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.

The bottom cuff of this Hoody keeps the shirt in place during upside-down maneuvering but restricts airflow a bit on a hot day.
The bottom cuff of this 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 this shirt stands up to lots of usage. It's also treated with a Polygiene odor control treatment, though in our experience it doesn't seem to make a big difference when sweating a lot. Additionally, the model that we tested has a bit of seam damage along the bottom cuff. While we had no major issues during testing, the looser knit of the fabric does make us worry a bit about snags. But unlike the OR Echo and Prana Eileen, this shirt did not actually pick up any snags during regular wear and laundering, which is good.

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 feel this shirt has 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, just like the OR Echo. 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.

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, the 2018 version of this shirt has no features. The 2019 version adds a zippered hip pocket, much like the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake and Patagonia Sunshade. Like the OR Echo, the Alpenglow has no thumb holes or back of hand sun protection.

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 feel this shirt is an obvious choice for climbing (thanks, Black Diamond), but also is a great choice for hiking, backpacking, paddling, and other active outdoor sports. Though it lacks the thumb holes of the Mountain Hardwear at Patagonia tops, we found it to be more breathable than the Patagonia and better suited to long-armed women and wearing the sleeves pushed up.

Value


This is among the most expensive sun shirts we reviewed, retailing for $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 good 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 and added range of motion from the underarm seam placement, we'd recommend checking this shirt out!

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


Maggie Brandenburg