Reviews You Can Rely On

The 4 Best Sun Protection Shirts of 2022

We tested men's sun protection shirts from Mountain Hardwear, REI, Columbia, Black Diamond, and more to find the best models for all your sunny excursions
Best Sun Protection Shirts of 2022
The hood is helmet-compatible, with a half zip that zips up far enough to hold it in place.
Credit: Nolan Anderson
By Justin Simoni ⋅ Review Editor
Monday November 7, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

We've researched over 60 different sun shirts to find the top 14 for in-depth, hands-on testing in this review. Then, to determine the best, we wore them for months in all kinds of climates and terrain. Protection from the sun is critical during long adventures, so we knew shirts made with added UPF protection had to be a key requirement. Other optimal characteristics we looked for included synthetic materials, ample coverage, and breathability. We tested a range of designs, such as the hooded pullover and the baggy button-down. Whatever activity you may be doing, we've ranked an incredible selection of high-performance shirts for you to choose from.

Most companies produce both women's and men's versions of the same model shirt, but we find they don't always perform the same for both. To address this, our female reviewers conduct in-depth testing on women's sun shirts and compare the results. But don't stop there — we've also tested a variety of the best sunglasses and wide-brimmed sun hats to ensure your noggin is as protected as your torso while adventuring under the sun.

Related: Best Sun Shirts for Women

Editor's Note: We updated our sun shirt review on November 7, 2022 to share more information on our testing metrics.

Top 14 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 14
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $50 List
$49.95 at REI
$42.24 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$45.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$85.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$88.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
79
77
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76
73
Star Rating
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Pros Incredibly comfortably, stretchy fabric, top-notch hood with hidden cinch strap, reinforced thumb loopsOff-trail style, dobbyweave fabric wears well, ideal length, good overall sun protectionGreat value, lightweight, very breathable, looks good off-trail, excellent comfortVery stretchy, comfortable, minimal, versatileHelpful zippers, has a pocket and can pack into it, thoughtful details
Cons Lack of pockets, no front zipperTight in the yoke, expensive, not as breathable as some competitorsOnly UPF 40, doesn't pack as well as others, difficult sleeve-capture tabsLacks thumb loops, under the neck button/zipper, and pocketsProne to wrinkling when packed up, fabric noticeably shows sweat
Bottom Line An excellent hooded sunshirt with a great balance of sun protection, breathability, and featuresComfortable with a great balance of features and functionality, this shirt is great on and off-trailGood-looking and a decent price, this shirt floats around the torso and has a smart selection of featuresA lightweight, stretchy, and simple hooded sun shirt that will fit in with most any activityA well-designed hooded sun shirt made with light and stretchy material and featuring a zippered chest pocket and half-zip front
Rating Categories REI Co-op Sahara Sh... Mountain Hardwear C... Columbia Silver Rid... Black Diamond Alpen... Outdoor Research As...
Comfort and Fit (30%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Sun Protection (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Specs REI Co-op Sahara Sh... Mountain Hardwear C... Columbia Silver Rid... Black Diamond Alpen... Outdoor Research As...
Sun Protection Level (UPF) 50 50 40 50+ 50
Coverage Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, hood
Features Thumb loops, anit-microbial treated fabric Roll-up sleeves, zip pockets Roll-up sleeves, anit-microbial treated fabric Stretchy, under-helmet hood 1/4 zip, zippered chest pocket
Fit Relaxed Regular Regular Technical fit Regular fit
Material 92% polyester, 8% spandex Polyester dobby fabric Omni-Wick Ripstop 100% polyester Polyester Stretch Textured Knit (87% Polyester 13% Elastane) 85% nylon, 15% spandex
Odor Control? Antimicrobial treatment No Antimicrobial treatment Polygiene No
Available SIzes S - XXXL S-XXL S-XXL S - XL S - XXL


Best Overall Hooded Sun Shirt


REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Sun Protection 8.0
  • Breathability 7.0
  • Versatility 8.0
  • Durability 6.0
Sun Protection Level: 50+ | Coverage: Long sleeve, hood, thumb loops
REASONS TO BUY
Incredibly comfortable, stretchy fabric
Best in class hood, with hidden cinch strap
Reinforced thumb loops
REASONS TO AVOID
No pockets
Lack of front zipper

The REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie is a king of comfortable sun shirts, and that's the main reason it has won our top award. However, that only starts to describe what we found so attractive. The thin, light and stretchy fabric also packs a UPF 50+ sun protection rating punch, the excellent hood with cinch strap is one of the best we've ever tested, and reinforced thumb loops keep the sleeves covering your arms and hands up to your knuckles. All this attention to detail proves to us that this hoodie is an expert at keeping you covered up.

A few features you won't find on this hoodie are a front zipper or any pockets. That said, we didn't find these omissions too wanting. The loose fit allows for easy air circulation and more than made up for the lack of a zipper, and we appreciate the lightweight more than we were missing pockets. From thru-hiking to trail building, the Sahara Shade Hoodie will keep you protected while looking and feeling great.

Read more: REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie review

best overall hooded sun shirt
The Sahara Shade's well thought out design, features, and fabric choice make it a great choice for a variety of jobs.
Credit: Tagg Jefferson

Best Overall Button-Up Sun Shirt


Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Sun Protection 8.0
  • Breathability 7.0
  • Versatility 8.0
  • Durability 7.0
Sun Protection Level: 50 | Coverage: Long-sleeve, collar
REASONS TO BUY
Attractive fit, style, and colors
Ideal balance of breathability, durability, and versatility
Lightweight and packable
REASONS TO AVOID
A little pricey
Slimmer fit may not work for everyone

As the sun peaks over the horizon for yet another day of adventure, the Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve is the shirt we love to grab. Whether you're planning to work in the yard, commute on your bike, or run on a beautiful trail and then grab some beers and tacos with friends, this shirt has you covered. It's versatile enough to excel at all these mini-missions while still looking stylish, keeping you cool, and — most importantly — keeping you protected from the sun. Durability is also top-notch, making the Canyon a true all-around winner.

The Canyon pulls off this brilliant equilibrium using a few tactics. It has a looser fit than a regular shirt and employs a tough dobby weave fabric with a UPF 50 rating that's still light enough to be attractive and comfortable. It also has many features you'll find useful: buttons, pockets, and sleeves that can easily roll up and stay in place with the help of discreet tabs. Add your favorite wide-brim hat, and you're ready for wandering all over on your own canyon adventure.

Read more: Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve review

best overall button-up sun shirt
The Canyon is a durable yet still breathable sun shirt that can't help but look good outdoors.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Best Bang for Your Buck


Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 7.0
  • Sun Protection 7.0
  • Breathability 6.0
  • Versatility 6.0
  • Durability 9.0
Sun Protection Level: 50+ | Coverage: Long sleeve, hood
REASONS TO BUY
Exceptional value
Impressively durable
Excellent coverage
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavier than other options
Lacks some accessories you may find useful
No anti-microbial treatment

Proper protection from the sun shouldn't be the last thing you remember to do before setting off on your next adventure, but often, it is. If your budget is already stretched to the breaking point, the Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody has (literally) got you covered. With a price tag that's well below most others, the basics are covered: 50+ UPF-rated fabric, a generous hood to protect your neck and head, and thumb loops to let the extra-long sleeves rest over your hands up to your knuckles. Sure, it's not the most fashionable accessory — the fit is quite relaxed — but knowing that you're avoiding a sunburn while out on the water or on top of a mountain is a great feeling indeed.

There are a few details about the Baleaf we wish were more thoughtful. The hood tends to fly off in a slight breeze, and the fabric is thicker than most any other shirt we've tested, making it a little less breathable. There's no anti-microbial treatment either, so you'll want to wash this shirt regularly, but don't worry: it's made of tough enough material to survive regular washings. When it comes down to value, this one is hard to beat, and we think you'll be pleased.

Read more: Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody review

sun shirt - best bang for your buck
Many of the hooded sun shirts we've tested showed a ton of mobility - perfect for gymnastic activities like rock climbing, as well as enough durability to survive a good day out with friends at the crag.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Best On The Water


Coolibar Andros Fishing Hoodie


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 6.0
  • Sun Protection 10.0
  • Breathability 5.0
  • Versatility 4.0
  • Durability 9.0
Sun Protection Level: 50+ | Coverage: Long sleeve, hood, thumb loops, gaiter, mask
REASONS TO BUY
Uncompromising sun coverage and protection
Unique built-in gaiter/face mask
Tough yet comfortable fabric
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the best shirt beyond the boardwalk

If a well-loved Coolibar Andros Fishing Hoodie could speak, it would tell you tall tales of all-day sunny summer days outside. Uncompromisingly designed to the last thread to help you sans sunburn, no other sun shirt we've reviewed has so many features to help you keep covered, starting with the soft, four-way stretch 50+ UPF rated fabric. Like many other shirts in this review, it also sports a hoodie to cover your head but continues with a built-in gaiter/face mask to cover your head up almost completely. The extra-long sleeves end with enough cloth to cover your entire hand past your knuckle, helped out by a small loop for your middle finger. The extra-long center back length complements everything we've listed, keeping your lower back always covered while you bend down or reach up.

The Andros Fishing Hoodie isn't without its quirks. Being so focused on sun coverage and protection, it won't be the most versatile shirt in your closet. If you venture farther than outside the marina, prepare to look and feel like a fish out of water. The soft and stretchy fabric will also take a beating while in an unforecasted Nor'easter but won't breathe well if you're going for the local FKT hill climb. Stick to the simple, sunny pleasures of life, and this shirt will do you right.

Read more: Coolibar Andros Fishing Hoodie review

sun shirt - the coolibar offers excellent sun coverage
The Coolibar offers excellent sun coverage
Credit: Justin Simoni

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
79
REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie
rei co-op sahara shade hoodie sun shirt review
$50
Editors' Choice Award
77
Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve
mountain hardwear canyon long sleeve sun shirt review
$65
Editors' Choice Award
76
Columbia Silver Ridge Lite
columbia silver ridge lite sun shirt review
$60
76
Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody
black diamond alpenglow hoody sun shirt review
$95
73
Outdoor Research Astroman Sun Hoodie
outdoor research astroman sun hoodie sun shirt review
$89
70
Outdoor Research Astroman Long Sleeve
outdoor research astroman long sleeve sun shirt review
$95
69
Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody
baleaf upf 50 hoody sun shirt review
$23
Best Buy Award
69
KUHL Engineered Hoody
kuhl engineered hoody sun shirt
$79
68
Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody
patagonia capilene cool daily hoody sun shirt review
$59
68
Coolibar Andros Fishing Hoodie
coolibar andros fishing hoodie sun shirt review
$79
Top Pick Award
67
VOORMI River Run Hoody
voormi river run hoody sun shirt review
$129
65
Columbia PFG Super Tamiami
columbia pfg super tamiami sun shirt review
$65
65
Montbell Cool Hoodie
montbell cool hoodie sun shirt review
$75
64
Helly Hansen Lifa Active Solen Hoodie
helly hansen lifa active solen hoodie sun shirt
$75

sun shirt - testing high activity performance of our hooded sun shirt field.
Testing high activity performance of our hooded sun shirt field.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

Why You Should Trust Us


Our testing process began with extensive research on the hundreds of sun shirts currently available on the market. We then hand-picked the strongest candidates and purchased them at full retail cost. From there, we spent weeks wearing these shirts for every imaginable activity. We ran, hiked, biked, climbed, scrambled, wandered, slacklined, and napped — all under the eyes of the glorious sun. We even took our sun shirt picks on job sites and lumberyards to see how well they worked while we worked. We noted each shirt's strengths and weaknesses in different scenarios and, with that data, came up with some great advice to help you pick the best product for your needs and budget.

Our testing of sun shirts is divided across five different metrics:
  • Comfort and Fit (30% of total score weighting)
  • Sun Protection (25% weighting)
  • Breathability (20% weighting)
  • Versatility (15% weighting)
  • Durability (10% weighting)

Justin Simoni is a Boulder, CO-based athlete, adventurer, and backpacking guide. He specializes in ultra long distance, self-powered, and self-supported challenges in the mountains of the American West. Simoni has put these shirts to their limits while wandering all along the Front Range of Colorado on long bike rides, trail runs, outdoor workdays, and at the crag. He has been working closely with outdoor gear for over a decade, bringing his experience and expertise to the table.

We want YOU to read about sun shirts!
We want YOU to read about sun shirts!
The River Run works well in sunny, high altitude, cooler settings...
The River Run works well in sunny, high altitude, cooler settings. It has similar qualities to a light thermal layer and is comfy enough to sleep in.
Many of the hooded sun shirts we&#039;ve tested showed a ton of mobility...
Many of the hooded sun shirts we've tested showed a ton of mobility, perfect for gymnastic activities like rock climbing. Most were also durable enough to survive a good day out with friends at the crag.

Analysis and Test Results


The primary job for all these seemingly simple shirts is to protect the wearer from excess exposure to the sun, be durable enough to make it through life's adventures, and offer enough breathability that it's realistic to wear in the hottest of situations. Versatility is also of importance — if one shirt can fulfill multiple roles, it's one less piece of gear that you need to pack, which delights pack-weight-conscious folks. This is also important when you're trying to pack a suitcase with everything you'll need for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We made sure to use each of the shirts in this review as thoroughly as our testing period would allow — read on to learn about what we discovered.


Value


We believe value to be of great importance and something we pay mind to when testing. Ultimately, we want to make sure you're investing in your gear wisely. But since it's a subjective factor, it doesn't factor into our performance evaluations of each shirt. With some gear, the more you pay, the more you get — but that's not always true for sun shirts. Sometimes you're just paying for features that aren't really necessary. So, which shirts showed great value?

The Baleaf UPF 50 is sold at a hard-to-beat price and bestows upon you a durable shirt that will last for many of your future adventures. While it doesn't quite compete with the more technical and feature-rich options from the big brand names, it's still a solid choice, especially if you're shopping on a budget.

sun shirt - the baleaf has a simple, generously-sized hood that more than covers...
The Baleaf has a simple, generously-sized hood that more than covers most of the head and neck.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite and REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie cost more but also offer better overall quality and performance. The Silver Ridge is a traditional button-up, and the Sahara Shade excels at almost all our metrics except absolute durability. The Mountain Hardwear Canyon is just a bit more expensive but also provides some of the best performance in our lineup.

sun shirt - utilizing thinner fabric than other sun shirts, with a semi-relaxed...
Utilizing thinner fabric than other sun shirts, with a semi-relaxed cut, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite helps keep you cool without looking too blousy.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Comfort and Fit


Probably the most critical facet of any sun shirt is how it feels when it's on. After all, UPF protection won't mean much if the article of clothing it covers doesn't feel good to wear. The shirts we selected for our test largely all did well in this category.


Our top-scoring hoodie, the REI Sahara Shade, is an absolute winner here. With soft, thin, and stretchy fabric and a loose-but-not-too-loose fit, this shirt feels good on the skin and lets air circulate. There are no tight spots, and the hood is highly versatile size-wise with an excellent cinch strap.

sun shirt - the cinch strap on the sahara is of the best features of the shirt.
The cinch strap on the Sahara is of the best features of the shirt.
Credit: Justin Simoni

The VOORMI River Run Hoody won us over from first blush with its wool/polyester blended fabric, but we weren't bowled over by the rest of its performance — especially the durability of the fabric itself. Given how expensive the shirt is — by far the most expensive shirt in our lineup — it would be a shame to ruin such a stylish piece of gear just by getting lost on a trail and having to find a "shortcut" through some brush. We'd only suggest the River Run as a casual lifestyle piece or for high-altitude adventures where having a little bit of extra warmth from wool is ideal.

sun shirt - the river run&#039;s hood is generous enough in size to cover your entire...
The River Run's hood is generous enough in size to cover your entire head even with a helmet on.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

We were more impressed by both the Canyon and the Silver Ridge Lite — two button-up shirts that feature an updated cut of a classic idea. Generally, this means that the cut is a little more fitted than the almost smock-like options that usually flood the market. Both these felt great while wearing them, which just made us want to wear them for everything.

sun shirt - roll up the sleeves, and unbutton a few buttons to enhance the...
Roll up the sleeves, and unbutton a few buttons to enhance the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite's breathability.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

The Outdoor Research Astroman button-up also rates high for comfort and fit, no doubt due to the very stretchy nylon/spandex blend of its fabric. This shirt works really well where mobility is tantamount. Gymnastic climbing moves at the crag are a place where this shirt excels. You can now also find this same stretchy fabric used in the Astroman Sun Hoodie.

sun shirt - the excellent stretch of the astroman made it a top pick of ours on...
The excellent stretch of the Astroman made it a top pick of ours on climbing days.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

When it comes to hooded sun shirts, it's really hard to beat the extremely stretchy and accomodating Alpenglow Hoody when it comes to comfort. The aforementioned Astroman Sun Hoodie does come close, though.

sun shirt - the stretchy hoody on the alpenglow is comfortable and well-designed.
The stretchy hoody on the Alpenglow is comfortable and well-designed.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

Sun Protection


UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor, is a rating system specific to apparel's ability to block ultraviolet radiation. The rating runs from zero to 50, and each number indicates a percentage of the sun's rays allowed through. Thus: UPF 25 = 1/25th, or 4%, of the sun's radiation can pass through the fabric. It's one important factor, but it's certainly not the only one.


Fabric type is another key to sun protection. Synthetics perform the best, while more natural garments, like something made out of bleached cotton, have a natural UPF rating of around 5. Polyester has been rated as the top option, with a few shirts in our lineup using nylon and one shirt using wool. We're noticing a recent trend where companies are releasing more shirts that utilize stretchy fabrics, care of blending a spandex or elastane type of material into the polyester/nylon. Even with this blend, UPF ratings of 50 or higher are generally maintained, but be aware that the stretchy, elastic blend will need to be more closely cared for.

The cut and fit of a sun shirt also play a big role in making sure you're protected. Many of the button-up shirts we've tested feature generous sleeve and seam lengths, as well as collars that can be popped up. The hooded sun shirts very obviously feature a hood to keep your head covered, and most have thumb loops to keep the sleeves over your hands.

Beyond a doubt, the Coolibar Andros Fishing Hoodie is the most sun-protective shirt we've had the pleasure to review. Sporting not only a hood but an integrated neck gaiter/face mask and exceptionally long sleeves that cover up and over your knuckles, this is an impressive shirt. If maximum sun protection is your main concern, look at this sun shirt very seriously.

sun shirt - if you need to cover up as much as possible, this is the shirt for...
If you need to cover up as much as possible, this is the shirt for you.
Credit: Justin Simoni

For button-ups, check out the Silver Ridge Lite, which rates high in this metric. The fabric is tough but just slightly more breathable than some of the other button-ups we've tested. If you're hanging around casually in the sun for hours on end, it's the shirt you want — as long as you pair it with a floppy hat. It's not a great shirt for active users, as it will probably cause you to overheat. It was designed for all-day fishing missions, where the sun reflects off the water, and you may be thigh deep in a freezing creek.

sun shirt - light, simple, and straightforward, the columbia silver ridge lite...
Light, simple, and straightforward, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is a comfortable, breathable, and versatile sun shirt.
Credit: Justin Simoni

For more active pursuits, consider the button-up Canyon, which boasts a high 50 UPF rating, but features a thinner, more breathable fabric and most of the bells and whistles you'll need and want.

sun shirt - the canyon is our favorite all-around sun shirt.
The Canyon is our favorite all-around sun shirt.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Breathability


A shirt won't be much fun to wear in the sun if it feels like you're wearing a wet blanket 30 minutes into your hike. And, on top of that, some fabrics become less protective when wet. Thankfully, polyester, which almost all of the shirts in this review are made from, isn't one of them.


Most of the shirts in our test dried equally well when left to the sun after a soaking. We were amazed to see the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody go from soaking wet after a dip in the local creek to completely dry after a quick bike ride down the hill and back into town. This is thanks to the light and thin fabric. A fabric's breathability also helps it resist odor by letting air pass through, and specialized treatments, such as the Polygiene permanent odor control used on the Capilene performed well in our campfire smoke test.

sun shirt - the patagonia capilene cool daily hoody is lightweight and...
The Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody is lightweight and quick-drying.
Credit: Justin Simoni

The Kuhl Engineered Hoody is a great pick for more active pursuits. It employs panels of looser knit fabric in strategic locations (arms and from the neck upward), allowing air to pass through more easily, keeping you cooler. Do note that the UPF ratings: UPF 20+ to UPF 25+, blocking around 96% of the sun's UV rays are lower than most other shirts in our review.

sun shirt - the kuhl engineered hoody is made up of different fabric panels each...
The Kuhl Engineered Hoody is made up of different fabric panels each with unique breathability characteristics.
Credit: Justin Simoni

If you're not looking for such specificity, the Montbell Cool Hoodie scores well here too. It features a dual-sided fabric that's thinner than other shirts in our reviews; just be aware that durability may suffer slightly. We're noticing that more hooded sun shirts are coming out with half zips to help dump hot air quickly, and this is one of them.

sun shirt - a half zipper on the chest is a welcome addition
A half zipper on the chest is a welcome addition
Credit: Shay Castle

The Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody lacks such a half zip, but we've found that the simply incredible stretchiness of the fabric helps with keeping things comfortable. There's no part of the shirt that will feel restrictive on your body, even when you're moving. The Alpenglow's fabric also does a great job of being both sun protectant and breathable, which is a hard balance to achieve properly.

sun shirt - impossibly stretchy.
Impossibly stretchy.
Credit: Shay Castle

Taken as a whole, most all the shirts we've tested did a little above average in breathability, except two outliers: the Columbia PFG Terminal Deflector Zero Hoodie and PFG Super Tamiami, which fared much worse. It's no wonder, as both of these shirts are made to do some serious fishing in, and they both promote sun protection and durability at the cost of breathability. You won't be running the 800-meter sprint in one of these, though that's not what they're designed for. The lower breathability scores may not matter as much in more sedentary applications.

Versatility



Can you wear the same shirt to the crag and the dinner table? Can you go to work in the morning, then go fishing in the evening without having to change your top? Can you backpack for six days and then check out the town for a day without having to pack two shirts? Can you go traveling cross country, make the regional board meeting, then take a trail run? That's what we're talking about when we talk about versatility. This doesn't weigh in as much as other metrics we use; it's too personal of an opinion. But it's still an important facet to consider. People who perspire easily may not find any of these shirts too versatile and will always opt for a specific shirt for high-octane activities.


The Canyon scored highest in this category, thanks to its unique dobby polyester, which looks and feels great, especially in the neutral, sleek color option we tested. The Silver Ridge Lite also looks good, feels good, and has just enough features to make it useful on and off the trail, without looking too weighed down with accessories no one needs.

sun shirt - roll up the sleeves and unbutton a few front buttons to transform...
Roll up the sleeves and unbutton a few front buttons to transform the Mountain Hardwear Canyon into a perfect after work trail running top.
Credit: Justin Simoni

The Astroman Sun Hoodie may have been designed for long days of multi-pitch climbing first, but a shirt that's good for climbing usually works admirably for most any all-day outdoor adventure, as well as looking good back at the campsite/brewpub/Sprinter party swapping stories. With a quick rinse, then left to dry out while taking a nap, you could reasonably take this shirt on a cross-country backpack trip and still feel pretty comfortable on the flight back home.

sun shirt - the astroman sun hoodie fits tighter than other selections, but is...
The Astroman Sun Hoodie fits tighter than other selections, but is still overall a loose fit compared to other athletic shirts. The mid zip on the front helps with dumping out excess heat when on the go
Credit: Shay Castle

Patagonia's Capilene Cool Daily Hoody is also worth mentioning here. It simply looks great, in our opinion, and we wouldn't feel strange wearing it off-trail to casual events or just when hanging out around the house all day. The REI Sahara Shade Hoodie carefully balances great sun protection, style, features, breathability, and value, making it work really well in so many different applications. It's hard to doubt that this shirt is nothing but a wise investment in the goal of avoiding a sunburn.

sun shirt - for such a well thought-out shirt, we found the price of the sahara...
For such a well thought-out shirt, we found the price of the Sahara a great value.
Credit: Justin Simoni

A sleeper shirt in this category, the Helly Hansen Lifa Active Solen Hoodie looks great, and its baked-in, unique anti-odor and cooling technology can help you go from trail to table without anyone getting a whiff of you and losing their appetite for Hors d'oeuvres.

sun shirt - the helly hansen solen hoodie features a two-layered fabric to...
The Helly Hansen Solen Hoodie features a two-layered fabric to promote wicking of sweat and an anti-microbial treatment baked in.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Durability


Fabric integrity matters in a sun shirt because worn and loose material exposes the skin to a greater risk of UV radiation. Thankfully, testing revealed most of our shirts could hold up to what was thrown at them with no problems.


The Baleaf UPF 50+ Hoody is a knockout in regards to durability. It's what the cockroaches will be wearing after the apocalypse. Durability and sun protection often go hand in hand when the material used is thick, and that's the case with the Baleaf.

sun shirt - the baleaf hoody has a generously sized hood, and the long sleeves...
The Baleaf Hoody has a generously sized hood, and the long sleeves can be rolled up for better breathability while still allowing plenty of mobility.
Credit: Justin Simoni

If you're looking for a button-up that has similar durability, the Columbia PFG Super Tamiami shares many of the same characteristics to the Baleaf, durability being one of them. Utilizing a burly, thicker, and less breathable fabric than some other options, it's firmly in the "traditional" camp of shirts we've tested.

sun shirt - pockets galore! the super tamiami has five pockets and a velcro tab...
Pockets galore! The Super Tamiami has five pockets and a velcro tab to keep your fly rod.
Credit: Nolan Anderson

For an extremely feature-rich hooded sun shirt with exceptional durability, the Coolibar Andros Fishing Hoodie is something to look closely at. The tough fabric is made to last through long seasons of choppy seas. The fabric is a little thicker than other shirts we've tested, which helps with its sun protection qualities, and almost every panel of fabric is stitched with reinforcing flatlock seams.

sun shirt - the coolibar andros is made of a thicker, more durable fabric than...
The Coolibar Andros is made of a thicker, more durable fabric than other shirts in our review and fared well in our extreme durability lab tests.
Credit: Justin Simoni

The Astroman Sun Hoodie also scores well with us in durability — it's made to survive abrasive surfaces like the cliff face of your current climbing project and the prickly pear-choked hike into the crag.

Conclusion


What's wonderful about sun shirts? There's a wide variety to choose from, so you can find the perfect piece of wearable gear for your favorite sunny weather activities, from blousy button-ups to super comfy sun hoodies and everything in between. We hope our rigorous selection process and months of testing help lead you to your perfect new layer.

sun shirt - so many sun layers ready to go out and play!
So many sun layers ready to go out and play!
Credit: Justin Simoni

Justin Simoni


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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

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