When it comes to spring weather, there’s one thing you can count on: unpredictability. Blazing sun can quickly give way to chilly conditions—or worse. Dressing appropriately usually involves a lot of guesswork, and versatile layers are a must when venturing outside (even if you’re just walking to the post office). The new Astroman Sun Hoody from Outdoor Research falls squarely in that category. It’s a lightweight, breathable pullover that makes a great pick for sun protection and everyday shoulder season wear.
What It Is: The Astroman Sun Hoody is a quarter-zip pullover with a chest pocket and unstructured hood, all made from a stretchy, soft nylon-elastane fabric. It’s a new variation on OR’s Astroman Sun Shirt, which is designed to protect rock climbers from the sun. Although the hoody is also aimed at climbers, its flexibility and sun protection (it’s rated at UPF 50+, the highest possible score) should come in handy for any outdoor activity where you’d like a little extra shelter from the elements.
Why We Like It: As both a piece of performance outerwear and a new addition to my weekend wardrobe, the Astroman impressed me. The fabric stretches easily and feels soft and comfortable against the skin—there’s no strange, plasticky texture other synthetic fabrics have. It breathes exceptionally well and I never felt overheated, even when hoofing it up a steep hike. Sunny weather is where this hoodie really shines: Thanks to the added hood, it offers maximum UV protection without stifling you. You can bring the shade and still beat the heat.
The thin fabric doesn’t trap much warmth, so the Astroman has less to offer in chilly conditions. Even so, it certainly won’t hurt as an added layer. When worn over a long-sleeve moisture-wicking shirt, it helped me stay warm when I hit the trail on a brisk morning. In addition, it’s lightweight (just 6 oz) and packs down into the front chest pocket with ease—a definite plus for traveling.
I also liked the Astroman off the trail, especially in the sleek and understated lead colorway. The straightforward, unstructured design lends itself well to casual wear, and the stretch and flexibility in the fabric make it easy to layer over other clothing. It kept me comfortable when a warm afternoon at the dog park stretched past sundown, and didn’t look out of place when paired with jeans and sneakers.
Nitpick: While the Astroman gets high marks for comfort and flexibility, it doesn’t block wind or water, and that definitely limits its usefulness. On a really blustery or rainy day, you’ll want something more substantial.
[$89; outdoorresearch.com]Get it
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