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Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody - Women's Review

A really useful sun shirt that's a great choice for just about any sunny activity
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $60 List | $41.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Incredibly lightweight, very breathable, great coverage, super stretchy
Cons:  Gets dirty easily, too stretchy to keep heavy items in the pocket
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2020
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 9
  • Sun Protection - 25% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody continues to beat out some stiff competition to be our Editors' Choice Award winner for the second year in a row. This super versatile shirt is just about everything we could want from a sun shirt. It provides great coverage and UPF protection, is super comfortable with a stretchy fit that you're sure to love, and is one of the thinnest, most breathable models we tested. Featuring a zippered pocket and the option to tie the hem tight, the only thing we don't love is how easily the light colors collect dirt. Dirty or not, we found ourselves super comfortable wearing this shirt for a wide variety of sunny activities.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Crater Lake Hoody is a super stretchy, relaxed sun shirt with a feminine cut. It's made of 88% polyester and 12% elastane and features a hood, thumb holes, a hem cinch, and a zippered hip pocket.

Performance Comparison


We've tested the Crater Lake hoody for two years  and though the colors have changed  it's still the same great shirt we love.
We've tested the Crater Lake hoody for two years, and though the colors have changed, it's still the same great shirt we love.

Comfort and Fit


The Crater Lake Hoody has a loose, relaxed fit with a feminine cut. We think it runs a little large, but not overly so. Our 120 pound, 5'4" main tester wore the XS with room to spare. The soft, silky, super stretchy fabric is blissfully comfortable to wear — we LOVE the feel of it against our skin. The amount of stretch it offers not only makes it comfortable, but it also means you can use the thumb holes without the sleeves digging into your hands. Even our long-armed testers think the thumb holes are comfortable to use for everything from biking to paddling.


This shirt is also extremely thin and flexible, adding to how comfortable we find it. It's even easy to sleep in and wear for extra-long travel days. If that's not enough, we're quite impressed that despite the thinness and many light colors, you can't see the colors of a bra showing through — what a relief! We also appreciate the option to tie the bottom hem tight for climbing, yoga, and other inverted activities, while leaving it open and breathable for everyday use.

The Crater Lake is our favorite sun shirt for just about any outdoor activity.
The Crater Lake is our favorite sun shirt for just about any outdoor activity.

Sun Protection


With a UPF of 50+, the Crater Lake has one of the highest-rated protection of the shirts we tested. Not stopping there, this garment is chock full of features to keep you safe from UV rays without needing sunscreen or causing excessive sweating. It has a hood, thumb holes, and an optionally cinched bottom that have all got you covered no matter what you decide to do outside.


While the hood fits under a helmet (or over, since it's so stretchy), it doesn't have a taller neck in front or any way to tighten it, meaning it can come off in the wind or during forward motion — like running or biking.

Long stretchy sleeves protect the backs of your hands and are comfortable enough that even long-armed women (like our main tester) love it.
Long stretchy sleeves protect the backs of your hands and are comfortable enough that even long-armed women (like our main tester) love it.

None of the hooded options we tested have a cinching mechanism on the hood, but most of the other models have taller necks in front to help keep the hood on, no matter what. However, the lack of a taller neck on the Crater Lake also makes this shirt just a little bit more comfortable to wear — though it does leave the front of the neck exposed.

The underarm panels of the Crater Lake - along with its supremely soft and stretchy fabric - make this one of the most comfortable sun shirts we tested.
The underarm panels of the Crater Lake - along with its supremely soft and stretchy fabric - make this one of the most comfortable sun shirts we tested.

Breathability


Another metric in which the Crater Lake excels with flying colors. This shirt is made of ultrathin, super breathable fabric, and the looser fit facilitates airflow throughout. The thin material also helps pull sweat off your skin and it dries quickly in the sun or breeze.


This shirt is one of very few models we tested that didn't leave us too warm on hot afternoons, and wanting to push our sleeves up to cool down. We find this incredibly impressive, as it can be incredibly challenging to wear a long-sleeved shirt on a triple-digit day, no matter what your dermatologist recommends.

Even with the hood up  the Crater Lake is super breathable and easy to wear on a hot day.
Even with the hood up, the Crater Lake is super breathable and easy to wear on a hot day.

Versatility


Like most of the hooded shirts in this review, the Crater Lake Hoody is a specific sort of style. If you're into that kind of thing, we like the loose fit, and feminine cut of this option. We find it less flattering with the hem cinched up, but that may also be a personal preference. That cinch certainly does come in handy when you need to be inverted and still protected — outdoor yoga or high altitude bouldering, anyone? We also appreciate how easy it is to move in this shirt — we even happily slept in it!


This casual shirt runs a bit large, we found, so factor that into how it looks when you wear it. And while we appreciate the hip pocket, it does look rather awkward if you put anything in it because the fabric is so thin and stretchy that it's fairly obvious what you're carrying. In fact, this shirt is so thin that, even though it's not see-through, you can very clearly see the outline (but not the color or pattern) of whatever bra or tank top you're wearing underneath (or not wearing underneath!). The latest colors are a bit less revealing, but the shirt itself is still quite thin.

The Crater Lake gives you the option to tie the bottom hem closed if you're heading out for some climbing or yoga.
The Crater Lake gives you the option to tie the bottom hem closed if you're heading out for some climbing or yoga.

Durability


This shirt is thin. Like super thin. And its superb stretchiness disallows any sort of ripstop feature a garment could be made of. We have some questions about the longevity of fabric so thin, especially on a shirt that we find ourselves wearing for days on end. That being said, we had no issues with the durability of this shirt during our several month testing period; we only have concerns with how many seasons of use we can get out of it.


Most of the seams of the Crater Lake are reinforced, including a super beefy covered seam that holds the hood on. And unlike some of the other hooded options we tested, the fabric of this shirt is a very tight-knit that seems to be more difficult to catch and snag in the wash or out in the world. Actually, our biggest durability issue with this model is how quickly the light colors pick up dirt and dust from every adventure. It always came out in the wash, but we did find ourselves washing this shirt more often, which could potentially shorten its lifespan.

We love this shirt  but the light lavender we tested in a prior year picks up dirt super easily.
We love this shirt, but the light lavender we tested in a prior year picks up dirt super easily.

Features


This hoody is full of useful features. It has a hood and thumbholes as well as a hem cinch and zippered hip pocket. It's also insanely stretchy, to the point that we think this is a major feature of this shirt, and adds a huge range of motion that comes in handy for climbing, biking, and reaching things on the top shelf.

We adore this hoody from Mountain Hardwear.
We adore this hoody from Mountain Hardwear.

Value


The price of this shirt is about in the middle of the pack of our tested shirts. And for what it brings to the table, we think it's a fantastic value. We think you'll be so glad you added this shirt to your life that you might just need it in all the colors it comes in!

This shirt is our favorite model to wear on truly hot days.
This shirt is our favorite model to wear on truly hot days.

Conclusion


A great all-around sun shirt, the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody is easily our Editors' Choice Winner again this year. We love its versatile features, soft and stretchy comfort, and absurdly breathable protection. Our biggest complaint is that it gets dirty easily when worn it for days on end, but that's pretty much par for the course. If you don't want to sacrifice comfort for protection from the rays of the sun, the Crater Lake has got you covered on both accounts.

Where will you take your Crater Lake Hoody?
Where will you take your Crater Lake Hoody?

Maggie Brandenburg