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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
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  ⋅  Oct 7, 2019
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 9
  • Comfort & Fit - 30% 9
  • Sun Protection - 25% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Style - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody beat out some stiff competition to be our Editors' Choice Award winner. 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

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award   
Price $60 List$59.95 at REI$44.73 at REI
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$59.99 at Amazon
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Pros Incredibly lightweight, very breathable, great coverage, super stretchyFlex fabric/vent in armpit, attractive cut and style, good for diverse activitiesSuper lightweight, built in hand covers, extremely breathable, ponytail hole in hoodSoft, comfortable fit, stretchy, ripstop material, classy design for versatile useComfortable cuffs, breathable fabric, hood fits comfortably under helmet
Cons Gets dirty easily, too stretchy to keep heavy items in the pocketWrinkles relatively easily, sleeve tab extremely highSnags easily, very low UPF, hand covers could be designed betterLarge fit; tricky to size, dark colorsOdd seam in middle of neck, tight band at bottom of torso
Bottom Line A really useful sun shirt that's a great choice for just about any sunny activity.Comfortable and stylish, this sun shirt is great for both in and outdoor use.A super breathable shirt with handy functions that keeps you both warm AND cool.From spending the day hiking to meeting friends for dinner, this soft shirt from Columbia is sure to keep you protected and stylish!If you want a hooded breathable shirt for hot days without the hassle of thumb holes, this shirt is for you!
Rating Categories Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Echo Hoody Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve Alpenglow Hoody
Comfort & Fit (30%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
Sun Protection (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
Breathability (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
7
Style (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
5
Totals (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs Crater Lake Long... Co-op Sahara... Echo Hoody Silver Ridge Lite... Alpenglow Hoody
Sun Protection Level 50+ 35 15 40 50
Coverage Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood, hand cuffs Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood
Features Extra large hood, draw string at waist, hip pocket (zipper) Chest pockets (snap), tab sleeves, back vent, vented underarm, sunglasses loop Fold-over mitt cuffs, ponytail hole in hood Chest pockets (velcro), back panel, tab sleeves, hip pocket (zipper) Hood

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountain Hardwear 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



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.

Comfort & 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 117 pound, 5'4" main tester wore the XS with room to spare. The soft, silky, stretchy fabric is super comfortable to wear. We LOVE the feel of the Crater Lake against our skin. It's super stretchy. Like a ridiculously stretchy. This not only makes it comfortable, but it also means you can actually use the thumb holes without the sleeves digging into your hands. Even our long-armed testers think the thumb holes are comfortable to use - even while biking and 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 this thinness and many light colors of this shirt, we couldn't see the colors of our bras 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 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.

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 chalked 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 wind or during forward motion - like running or biking. While no option we tested has a cinching mechanism on the hood, all of the other hooded models have taller necks in front to help keep hoods on no matter what. However, the lack of this taller neck we think also makes this shirt just a little bit more comfortable to wear - though it does leave the fronts of our necks exposed.

The long  stretchy sleeves provide good protection for the backs of your hands.
The long, stretchy sleeves provide good protection for the backs of your hands.

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 through the shirt. This thin material also helps pull sweat off your skin and dries quickly in the sun or breeze.


This shirt is one of very few models we tested that doesn'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.

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, only concerns with how many seasons of use we could 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 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 we have or things we touch. It always seems to come out in the wash, but it does make us wash this shirt more often, which could potentially shorten its lifespan.

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

Style


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. And it's not required to wear it one way or the other, so whatever works for you!


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've got. In fact, this shirt is so thin that 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!).

An interesting pattern adorns the back of this top.
An interesting pattern adorns the back of this top.

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.

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.

Value


The price of this shirt is about in the middle of the pack we tested. 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 Editor's Choice award-winner this year. We love its versatile features, soft and stretchy comfort, and absurdly breathable protection. Our biggest complaint is that it gets dirty when we wear it for days on end. 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