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Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody - Women's Review

A breathable hooded model that stays put while you move and doesn't have thumbholes
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Price:  $85 List | $85.00 at REI
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, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 14
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7
  • Sun Protection - 25% 7
  • Breathability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody is a comfortable and breathable shirt that is 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 still a useful choice for an active lifestyle.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

The Latest Updates
The Alpenglow Hoody has been updated recently to offer 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 and Fit


One of the only sun 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 everything in place even when not 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 motions from climbing to paddling to cheering on your team. This shirt also lacks bulky hems, which makes 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 of 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. The lack of thumb holes limits protection for the hands unless you're able to just keep the ample sleeves pulled down.

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 airflow. However, the bottom cuff around the torso stifles the airflow more so than some of the open-bottom designed sun shirts we reviewed. The fabric is decently thin, though, and wicks moisture away relatively quickly, helping to keep you cool even under the blazing sun.

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

Versatility


Because of its bottom torso cuff, our reviewers feel this shirt has a similar style to a thin, fitted sweatshirt. Though this fit isn't perhaps the most fashionable, it does help it to stay put through inverted activities (fancy some climbing or park yoga?). With seams removed from the armpits, it's also a better choice for the added arm motions that are required during things like paddling, climbing, and even hiking. 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 hoody provides along with its coverage and lack of thumb holes, we think you'll enjoy the Alpenglow a lot.

The Alpenglow compared to some of the other hooded options in our review: Alpenglow size XS (left)  Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious size S (center  from a past test cycle)  Patagonia Sunshade size XS (right)
The Alpenglow compared to some of the other hooded options in our review: Alpenglow size XS (left), Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious size S (center, from a past test cycle), Patagonia Sunshade size XS (right)

Durability


With strongly reinforced seams and a tight-knit, albeit thin, fabric, our reviewers feel that this shirt stands up to lots of abuse. 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 had 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 several of the other thin, lightweight options we tested, this shirt did not actually pick up any snags during our intensive testing and laundering, which is a good sign.

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.

Features


Aside from the hood, the 2018 version of this shirt has no features besides a hood. The 2019 version adds a zippered hip pocket, like so many competitors' models have. The Alpenglow also has no thumbholes or specific 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.

Value


This is one of the more expensive sun shirts we reviewed. 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, just as good. But if you like the look, we think you'll appreciate this top's solid performance.

Conclusion


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!

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