Sun hoodies came into the mainstream about 2 years ago, and many companies have tried their hand. For such a seemingly simple product, it’s clear that quality execution is far from a given. Some provide coverage but limited breathability. Others are breathable but lack quick-drying properties. When the sun is out in force and you need to stay protected and cool while you toil in the mountains, you can’t be caught wearing the wrong sun hoody. After having picked up the wrong ones in the past myself, I’m confident that the Rabbit Running UPF 30 Deflector Hoodie will serve to point others in a better direction.
Rabbit Running UPF 30 Deflector Features:
- 100% polyester with UPF 30+ protection
- Super lightweight & quick drying
- Tailored fit
- Scuba-style hood
- Thumbholes in cuffs
- MSRP: $70.00
The sun hoodie I reach for
Rabbit Running is a smaller running brand that’s been increasing in popularity over the past couple years. Their UPF 30 Deflector running shirt is the product of lots of preceding materials research and testing for lightweight, breathable running wear. And that’s where this all starts, the Deflector is, at its core, a running shirt. Most of the other sun hoodies on the market are designed for other activities – hiking, climbing, and fishing most primarily. As a running company though, Rabbit has honed in on their persistent, primary concern when designing the Deflector: breathability.
Immediately upon picking up the Defector, I was stunned by its weight. It simply doesn’t feel like you’re holding anything at all. When wearing it, it feels similarly – almost nonexistent. Walking along outside, I could feel the air I was pushing out of the way against my chest. It’s downright unusual. That breathability really shines when you’re working hard hiking, climbing, or running – keeping you cool while still shading you from the sun.
The Deflector is made of 100% polyester and uses a very fine thread for its fabric. It’s moderately stretchy and has a regular fit. It’s soft to the touch and refuses to chafe the wearer, no matter whether it’s fresh and dry or dirty and wet. When hiking throughout the North Cascades this Summer, it proved its all-day comfort against the skin – even when wearing a pack with a heavy and constantly shifting load. When it does get wet from rain or sweat, the Deflector dries very quickly. It’s such a quick-drying layer that I’ve taken to wearing it for fly fishing outings.
This sun hoody really has 2 features beyond its incredible fabric – a hood, and thumb holes. I could live without the thumb holes. They’re perfectly comfortable in their fit, but I have a hard time understanding why they’re there at all. It seems to me that thumb holes are used in shirts and jackets just to conserve heat, something which the Deflector successfully avoids. Still, they don’t detract from the sun hoody at all. Rabbit describes the hood as “scuba-style”. In practice, this means that it fits close to the head and constricts slightly around the face.
The hood is comfortable and is responsive when you turn your head, but it is designed for running and doesn’t take helmets into account. While the hood can technically fit over a helmet, it isn’t comfortable to wear it this way. When using a helmet and the Deflector, I opted to wear my helmet over the hood. It’s less ideal, since hood removal requires helmet removal, but I don’t see it as a critical flaw by any means.
How about durability and care? Well, I’ve beat this poor sun hoody hard all Summer long, and it remains looking pretty much the same as when I got it. In spite of climbing up chimneys with it and subjecting it to the constant abrasion of packs, the fabric hasn’t snagged or pilled at all. After a long day out, I wash it according to its instructions – cold wash and low tumble dry (pretty run-of-the-mill). It’s sustained a bit of yellowing around the cuffs after a lot of use, but it’s hardly noticeable, and I’m ready to call it the fault of the washer.
Fit: I’m 5’11” and weigh 168 pounds. I tested a size large, which fit perfectly in all dimensions – loosely snug around the shoulders and arms, and a bit more airy around the midsection. It felt like the natural fit for the garment.
- Amazing wicking and breathability
- Fast drying
- Comfortable fabric
- Limited color selection
- Hood cannot fit over helmet
The Bottom Line: Rabbit Running UPF 30 Deflector Sun Hoody
The Deflector is made for running, and it works quite well for that, but it also happens to be my favorite shirt (let alone sun hoody) for hiking, climbing, and summer mountaineering because of its incredible breathability and all-around comfort.
Buy Now: Available from REI