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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 | $47.93 at REI
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 23, 2019
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • 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 beats our previous winner, the Butterlicious (also from Mountain Hardwear) this year to become our new 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.

Looking for a super comfortable and versatile shirt but not sure you love the look of the Crater Lake Hoody? Check out the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody that we also love, with a more flattering cut and bold colors.


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. As much as we love the feel of the Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious fabric, we love the Crater Lake even more. 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. However, we're quite impressed that despite this thinness and even in light colors, 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 cinch 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 air flow 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 only two 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. The only other shirt we tested that gives us this kind of breathability on those sweltering afternoons is the OR Echo Hoody.

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 the Prana Eileen and OR Echo, 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 thing 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 lines of whatever bra or tank top you're wearing underneath (or not wearing underneath!). If that bothers you, consider a slightly thicker hoody like the Patagonia Sunshade.

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 thumb holes 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.

Best Applications


This is a great all-around sun shirt. We love the protective features it has and how versatile it is. As one of only a couple models we tested that we actually found comfortable to wear in the hot hot sun, we think this is an excellent choice for just about any activity you can dream up. Whether it's spending a relaxing afternoon reading in the backyard or bikepacking across several states, we think the Crater Lake is a great option that will keep you safe from the sun.

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

Value


At $60, this shirt is in the middle of the pack we tested. And for what it brings to the table, we think it's an excellent 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!

Conclusion


A great all-around sun shirt, the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody easily snags our Editor's Choice award 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