The days are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger, and I am finding myself once again reaching for my favorite piece of clothing, and it’s not my cutoff jean shorts, but instead my trusty sun hoody. From the high peaks down to the surface of the ocean, this indispensable garment has my back–literally. I love wearing them, and so should you.

The sun hoody and I have a classic relationship. At first we were at odds—I mean what could be so special about a t-shirt with a hood? Never one for gimmicks, I frugally avoided the sun hoody for years while smearing pounds of sunscreen onto myself, sweating gallons under a fleece hoody, and otherwise lamenting the life-giving sun that hurt me so regularly. Eventually, I found myself working in the intense solar oven on Mount Rainier’s glaciers, and after being burnt to a grotesque crisp once too many times, I ventured to give the sun hoody a try. 

“Protected but not smothered, liberated but not exposed.”

Just then a switch was flipped, and I discovered a whole new world of bright, carefree living that was just out of reach for so long. I could spend glorious hours on the glacier, covered from the sun but free to breathe and work hard without getting heatstroke. I could play on the rivers all day and leave the aloe vera in the cupboard. As a person with what could only be described as a very “indoors-oriented” complexion I felt like one of the first Homo sapiens discovering the recipe for fire. 

Rarely were we separated, my sun hoody and I. Long hours in the sun over long days in the field we’d be together, and I likely spent more total hours wearing the hoody than not over the course of the season. It was always there to shield me from the jealous rays of sun, or to block an ephemeral gust of wind. From my forehead to my fingers I was ensconced in this spectacular garment, protected but not smothered, liberated but not exposed, simply comfortable. 

The EMS Epic Active Hoodie. | Credit: Lauren Danilek

My journey to finding the sun hoody brings back fond memories but it’s not just about me; there’s a sun hoody out there for everyone! Different fabric weights, cuts, and colors are just the start. Thumb holes in the sleeves, drawstring hoods, pockets, and even built in neck gaiters and ponytail holes might adorn your new favorite piece of outdoor clothing. Look around and get to know your sun hoody, since who knows, you two might be spending a lot of time together.