Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie Review

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie is a lightweight breathable hoodie with a UPF of 15 which provides a moderate level of sun protection. It’s intended for use in hot weather during high exertion activities such as hiking and trail running. While it has a hood, it’s best used with a brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s UV radiation. A loose fit layers well over other clothing while thumbholes at the ends of the sleeves provide additional protection for your wrists and the tops of your hands.

Specs at a Glance

  • Fabric: Open Weave Polyester
  • UPF: 15
  • Gender: Men’s, Women’s also available
  • Odor Control Treatment: Yes
  • Thumb Holes: Yes
  • Weight: 4.9 oz in a men’s XL

While I love the feeling of the sun on my skin, I take sun protection pretty seriously and cover up whenever I’m hiking or fishing. I watched my father, who was also a sun-worshipper, suffer through multiple medical procedures late in his life, all related to a lifetime of excessive sun exposure.

The hood wraps around a brimmed hat providing protection for your ears and neck.
The hood wraps around a brimmed hat providing protection for your ears and neck.

While gooping up with sun-tan lotion is one option, my preference is to wear sun-protective clothing and eye protection when I’m outdoors for long periods of time in intense sunshine because it’s simpler and doesn’t need to be reapplied periodically. That means I always wear a hat when I hike or fish, a long sleeve shirt, pants, sun gloves, and sunglasses when appropriate. But, the potential downside of a clothing-based approach to sun protection is it can make you sweat more during intense exercise and stink.

The thing I like about the OR Echo Hoodie is that it’s made with a loose polyester weave that fits great, dries really fast. and keeps the sun off. The hood is very stretchy and large enough to accommodate a brimmed hat, which you need to keep the sun off your forehead, cheeks, and nose, while the hood keeps the sun off your neck and ears. The Echo still lets some UV through but provides enough protection, with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 15, to keep you from getting burned. While a denser weave would increase its UPF, it would be at the cost of breathability and ventilation.

Thumb-loops at the end of the sleeves help protect the back ofyour hands and wrists (shown here with sun gloves)
Thumb-loops at the end of the sleeves help protect the back of your hands and wrists (shown here with sun gloves)

The Echo Hoodie is not a thermal layer like a fleece hoodie and the wind cuts right through it. It really is purpose-built for sun protection especially when it’s warm or hot outdoors.

The Echo has an added anti-odor treatment that is not silver-based. It works surprisingly well, once the garment has dried, which is good if you need to wear it for days at a time.

Recommendation

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie is a super lightweight sun hoodie designed to protect you from intense sunshine. Its fine open mesh weave pulls perspiration away from your skin as you sweat, evaporating it and keeping you cool.  With a UPF rating of 15, the Echo is best used in conjunction with other sun-protective clothing including a brimmed hat, sunglasses, sun gloves, and other lightweight clothing layers. If you’re concerned about your exposure to intense sunlight the Echo Hooie will put your mind at ease while providing the additional protection you need to prevent sunburn.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

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6 comments

  1. The Amazon Essentials Men’s Tech Stretch Long-Sleeve Performance Pullover Hoodie costs about one-third the price of the OR hoodie. I haven’t tried the OR shirt, but the Amazon-brand one works well for all the reasons noted in this article.

    • In my experience. Anazon essential clothing is very poorly made. Amazon does not provide a UPF rating for this hoodie and the customer reviewers, if they can be trusted, appear to wear it in cold weather and report that it falls apart after several uses. I own several OR Echos and they’re in a different league. I too worry about sun exposure after working outdoors as a carpenter for many years.

    • I own the Amazon product. It is much heavier and does not breathe as well.

  2. Do you think this hoodie compares well to an ultra-light 30 UPF polyester button up sun shirt in terms of breathe-ability? Or better? My current button up is wearing out and I’m looking for a new sun shirt. And, not the standard UPF 50 button ups (too thick for hot weather , IMO), but the much lighter and breathe-able UPF 30 ones with mesh pits.

    One thing I have to hand to the button up polyester shirt is how durable it has been considering the weight of the fabric. I wonder if the hoodie showcased here can hold up as well? (4 years of near daily use in late spring and summer. Washed several times per week.) I read some reviews stating it got worn out pretty quick from the backpack rubbing it while hiking.

    • I think it’s really hard to compare these two garments in any meaningful way. I wear UPF 30 nylon shirts all the time and get years out of them with near daily use. I also sweat like hell in them because they’re not designed for to be anywhere as breathable as this hoodie. They also don’t give me any ear or neck sun protection. Yes this hoodie is probably less durable but it’s also a heck of a lot more comfortable. Night and day. You can’t have it both ways.

  3. Thanks for the write-up. I love this hoody. A comment on durability: I’ve had one for about three years, and the material is significantly more durable than it feels. I’ve bushwhacked dozens of miles in mine, and hiked thousands, and haven’t gotten any holes. The stretch helps resist damage, I think. I also use it as a base layer in winter since it absorbs so little water. I’ve used it for sun protection while snorkeling as well. It’s my only base layer anymore.

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