In the dog days of summer, your sun hoodie is your best friend. During long days in the alpine, the extra coverage a long-sleeved, hooded, SPF-toting shirt provides can be a life saver, especially for those of us who forget to re-apply sunscreen as often as we shoot. A good sun hoodie takes our memory out of the equation, without being uncomfortable to wear in the heat. But not all sun hoodies are built the same and two of EMS’s options, the Epic Active and Trail Run Ascent Hoodies, make that apparent.

While both of these sun hoodies take on the same basic task, they do it in slightly different ways and are best suited for slightly different people, missions, and preferences. We tested both this spring to nail down the differences.

The EMS Epic Active Hoodie. | Credit: Lauren Danilek

EMS Epic Active Hoodie

Not all sun hoodies are built for extreme heat. The EMS Epic Active Hoodie uses a slightly heavier polyester TechWick and a loose, flowy cut and became our favorite for cooler weather trips where the sun still poses a threat—think backcountry skiing, paddling, hiking above treeline, or mountaineering. It moves moisture extremely well. The hood is spacious enough to accommodate a helmet and the neckline from the hood is cut in a V, exposing more of your neck, making it easy to get the hood on and off and vent heat from down below. And because we know what’s really important, the thumb holes are super comfy, not to mention, a UPF rating of 50+ is serious protection.

The EMS Trail Run Ascent Hoodie.

EMS Trail Run Ascent Hoodie

On the other hand, the EMS Trail Run Ascent Hoodie is sleekly designed for high-output activities like trail running. The material is a far lighter, smoother, and stretchier polyester and spandex which, on the sides of the shirt, is perforated to vent even more heat. The Trail Run Ascent seems to not to hold onto nearly any moisture or sweat, making it ideal for high-intensity adventures like trail runs, or on extremely hot days. Unlike the Epic Active, the Trail Run Ascent fits slightly closer to the body. The hood is also much more snug and the neckline comes as high as your chin, almost like a neck gaitor, something called a “scuba hood” which better protects your neck from the sun. Like the Epic Active, it’s also UPF 50+.

The EMS Epic Active Hoodie. | Credit: Lauren Danilek

What’s the best for you?

If you’re looking for a loose-fitting, versatile sun hoodie to protect you on days above treeline, while hiking, or even during winter adventures, the EMS Epic Active Hoodie is your answer. It’s comfy fit and versatile weight make it the best option for most sunny adventures.

But if you need something that can handle speedy trail runs, crazy heat, or if you just like a slightly different feel from your sun hoody, the EMS Trail Run Ascent Hoodie might be the sun hoodie for you.

Which is your favorite sun hoodie?