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Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's Review

A ridiculously breathable, lightweight shirt with uniquely horizontal thumbholes and a handy ponytail exit point in the hood
Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's
Credit: Outdoor Research
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $69 List | $44.82 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super lightweight, extremely breathable, easy-to-wear thumbholes, ponytail slot in hood
Cons:  Low relative UPF, limited hand protection, snags easily
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 28, 2022
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 17
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 8.0
  • Sun Protection - 25% 8.0
  • Breathability - 20% 9.0
  • Versatility - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie is an impressively lightweight and breathable sun shirt. It is one of the few that remained pleasant even under a hot sun without pushing the sleeves up, making it ideal for high output activities. This is doubly important as it has the lowest UPF value of any model we tested at just 20 for dark colors and 15 for light. Despite this, we love the super handy features like the ponytail hole in the hood and the well-designed thumbholes. With a slim, athletic fit and several color options, the Echo remains our go-to for a ton of outdoor activities, from hiking and running to gardening and walking the dog.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super lightweight, extremely breathable, easy-to-wear thumbholes, ponytail slot in hoodIncredibly lightweight, very breathable, great coverage, super stretchyFlex fabric/vent in armpit, attractive cut and style, good for diverse activitiesVery comfortable, good construction, hides dirt well, impressively soft, cute natural colorsVersatile cut, soft, solid coverage, tons of colors, inexpensive
Cons Low relative UPF, limited hand protection, snags easilyGets dirty easily, too stretchy to keep heavy items in the pocketWrinkles relatively easily, sleeve tab extremely highFew color choices, small hood, sleeves a bit shortStinks easily, unimpressive durability, sleeves are short
Bottom Line A ridiculously breathable, lightweight shirt with uniquely horizontal thumbholes and a handy ponytail exit point in the hoodA really useful sun shirt that's a great choice for just about any sunny activityComfortable and stylish, this sun shirt is great for both indoor and outdoor useA great everyday hooded sun shirt that's perfect for anyone who doesn't want thumbholesAn inexpensive but solid option for casual activity
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Ec... Mountain Hardwear C... REI Co-op Sahara Lo... Patagonia Capilene... Baleaf UPF 50 Crew...
Comfort and Fit (30%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Sun Protection (25%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
Breathability (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Outdoor Research Ec... Mountain Hardwear C... REI Co-op Sahara Lo... Patagonia Capilene... Baleaf UPF 50 Crew...
Sun Protection Level (UPF) 20 (dark colors)
15 (light colors)
50+ 35 50+ 50+
Coverage Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, crew neck
Features Ponytail hole in hood, flat-seams, reflective logo Extra large hood, draw string at waist, hip pocket (zipper) Chest pockets (snap), tab sleeves, back vent, vented underarm, sunglasses loop, seams removed from arm pit None Flat shoulder seams
Fit Slim fit Standard fit Classic fit Regular fit Relaxed fit
Material 100% recycled polyester 88% polyester 12% elastane 95% nylon 5% spandex 100% polyester (50% recycled) 100% polyester
Odor Control? Yes No No Yes No
Available Sizes XXS - XXXL XS - XL XS - XL XXS - XL S - 2XL

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Echo Hoodie is a 100% recycled polyester sun shirt with anti-odor properties. It features horizontally-aligned thumbholes and a slot in the hood for a ponytail to stick through. The UPF is low, but it's lightweight and breathable enough to ensure you'll leave it on even on the hottest days.

Performance Comparison


Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - another year, another version of the or echo!
Another year, another version of the OR Echo!
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort and Fit


The Echo has a slim, straight athletic fit and is made of soft, breathable, 100% recycled polyester. Our main tester, who has self-described "monkey arms," found the sleeves to be plenty long enough to use the thumbholes. Uniquely, the Echo has a hole in the back of the hood, positioned for a slightly lower-than-middle ponytail. This feature works pretty well and helps keep the hood up even while running or biking, but we think it also looks pretty goofy. Still, it's a nice feature, and if you don't like the look, it's easy to just ignore.


For the last few years, one of the defining features of the women's version of the Echo has been its fold-over cuffs to cover the hands. This latest iteration removes those controversial cuffs entirely, instead opting for the thumbholes that the men's version has had for years. While most thumbholes on other models tend to run vertically, these run horizontally. The fabric in front of your thumb is a thin strip, and the hole is nice and big, making this one of the most comfortable thumbholes to use among the many we've tested.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - the or echo now has horizontally aligned thumbholes - different from...
The OR Echo now has horizontally aligned thumbholes - different from just about every other sun shirt we tested.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Sun Protection


With a UPF of 20 for dark colors and just 15 for light colors, the Echo has the lowest protective rating of any sun shirt we tested. That said, while several other models we tested also have hoods to protect your neck and ears, the Echo is the only one with a ponytail holder in the hood. This makes it much easier to have your hair up and still be able to wear the hood, adding sun protection to the neck and ears. A taller section in front of the hood also helps protect the throat.


Shirts with thumbholes offer additional protection for your hands from harsh UV rays. This version of the Echo comes with thumbholes, making it easier than before to keep your wrists and part of your hands protected while active. Because the thumbholes are horizontal rather than vertical and located very close to the end of the sleeve, they're slightly less protective when you're stretching to reach that next rocky handhold or garden tool. This effect is fairly minimal, though, as the sleeves are long enough to prevent it from happening on all but the longest arms and farthest reaches.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - the echo's hood is close-fitting without being tight, with a taller...
The Echo's hood is close-fitting without being tight, with a taller neck on the front for added sun protection.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Breathability


The Echo is one of the thinnest, lightest shirts we tested. This makes it great for traveling, as it can easily be stuffed into a tight corner of your suitcase or backpack. It's also highly breathable and thin without being see-through. This shirt could easily keep us warm enough through an early morning chilly workout and cool enough while gardening in the hot sun. Truly, this is one of the only shirts we tested that we could comfortably wear to sweat in the hot sun without feeling the need to push the sleeves up and expose our arms to harmful UV rays.


As one of our favorite shirts for running and being active, we were excited to read that the Echo has anti-odor properties. Being able to wear a shirt for several days and through multiple workouts is a huge plus in our book. Worn for everyday activities, the Echo does a decent job of fending off odors, though it can't quite combat the serious sweat we worked up on long runs. But this shirt performs admirably in a wide variety of conditions and activities and easily became one of our favorites to put on for just about anything from bike rides to errands.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - regularly placed seams in the armpits lay flat on this super thin...
Regularly placed seams in the armpits lay flat on this super thin fabric.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Versatility


If you're into the hooded look, we think you'll like the Echo. It's a relaxed but fitted shirt with a slim straight cut that works best on straight-bodied people. Though this latest version has less of a feminine cut to the torso than previous versions, it fits nearly the same. Its breathability also makes it a solid choice for the hottest days and sweatiest activities.


That being said, if you're concerned about fashion, sticking your ponytail through the hole in the hood could draw some smirks. But it's certainly a functional and helpful feature, and the Echo comes in several colors that we think are both attractive and good for hiding the minor dirt you may acquire from wearing this shirt every day all summer.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - the echo continues to be one of our favorite sun shirts to wear on...
The Echo continues to be one of our favorite sun shirts to wear on truly hot days.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


This is the metric where the Echo is the least impressive. Made of thin 100% polyester, it's breathable but snags easily. The material appears as a fairly loose weave, which undoubtedly helps with its comfort, stretch, and breathability, but also catches on things easily. Several previous versions of this shirt developed small snags in the fabric simply from regular washing and wearing. This particular model didn't, but it's made of the same material woven in the same way, so we're not entirely convinced it won't develop the same snags later down the line.


On the bright side, the Echo comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects (at the time of this writing), which is always a nice touch. It has flat, wide seams that add both durability and comfort, and the fabric is woven with ripstop squares to help stop punctures from becoming even worse.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - the super thin fabric of the or echo is lightweight and comfortable...
The super thin fabric of the OR Echo is lightweight and comfortable, but not overly smooth and we've had issues in the past with this shirt snagging a little too easily.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


The Echo is unique among models we tested in two aspects: the ponytail hole in the hood and the horizontal thumbholes (rather than vertical). However, it lacks any hidden pockets or ties.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - though perhaps not the most fashionable of hoods, the ponytail hole...
Though perhaps not the most fashionable of hoods, the ponytail hole helps it stay in place even when you're on the run.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


With a retail value in about the middle of the pack, this protective and versatile garment isn't about to break the bank OR save you a bunch. That said, we think that the versatility, breathability, and coverage make it a great value and well worth a few extra dollars.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie is a great sun shirt, combining many features we enjoy into a solid and versatile athletic shirt. Though its low UPF rating and unimpressive durability aren't wow factors, we like the comfortably horizontal thumbholes and useful ponytail holder as well as what we think are excellent color choices. With a soft, comfy fit that we loved both in the cool mornings and hot afternoons, this is a lightweight shirt we recommend, especially for high output activities.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie - Women's sun shirt - through years of updates and upgrades, the or echo remains one of...
Through years of updates and upgrades, the OR Echo remains one of our go-to sun shirts for when we need reliable protection on the hottest summer days.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Nichols
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