Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody - Women's Review
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|Pros||Incredibly lightweight, very breathable, great coverage, super stretchy||Super lightweight, extremely breathable, easy-to-wear thumbholes, ponytail slot in hood||Flex fabric/vent in armpit, attractive cut and style, good for diverse activities||Very comfortable, good construction, hides dirt well, impressively soft, cute natural colors||Versatile cut, soft, solid coverage, tons of colors, inexpensive|
|Cons||Gets dirty easily, too stretchy to keep heavy items in the pocket||Low relative UPF, limited hand protection, snags easily||Wrinkles relatively easily, sleeve tab extremely high||Few color choices, small hood, sleeves a bit short||Stinks easily, unimpressive durability, sleeves are short|
|Bottom Line||A really useful sun shirt that's a great choice for just about any sunny activity||A ridiculously breathable, lightweight shirt with uniquely horizontal thumbholes and a handy ponytail exit point in the hood||Comfortable and stylish, this sun shirt is great for both indoor and outdoor use||A great everyday hooded sun shirt that's perfect for anyone who doesn't want thumbholes||An inexpensive but solid option for casual activity|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear C...||Outdoor Research Ec...||REI Co-op Sahara Lo...||Patagonia Capilene...||Baleaf UPF 50 Crew...|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Sun Protection (25%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear C...||Outdoor Research Ec...||REI Co-op Sahara Lo...||Patagonia Capilene...||Baleaf UPF 50 Crew...|
|Sun Protection Level (UPF)||50+||20 (dark colors)
15 (light colors)
|Coverage||Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes||Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes||Long sleeve, collar||Long sleeve, hood||Long sleeve, crew neck|
|Features||Extra large hood, draw string at waist, hip pocket (zipper)||Ponytail hole in hood, flat-seams, reflective logo||Chest pockets (snap), tab sleeves, back vent, vented underarm, sunglasses loop, seams removed from arm pit||None||Flat shoulder seams|
|Fit||Standard fit||Slim fit||Classic fit||Regular fit||Relaxed fit|
|Material||88% polyester 12% elastane||100% recycled polyester||95% nylon 5% spandex||100% polyester (50% recycled)||100% polyester|
|Available Sizes||XS - XL||XXS - XXXL||XS - XL||XXS - XL||S - 2XL|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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