My new favorite summer hiking shirt, the Tropic Comfort…
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $20
My new favorite summer hiking shirt, the Tropic Comfort Hoody II blocks the sun, dries fast, and packs small. Great for any activity where the sun is your enemy.
- UPF 50+
- High UPF means lower breathability
Fit & Comfort
The Tropic Comfort Hoody II (TCH from here on) is extremely comfortable. The fine polyester knit is soft and feels great. The fit is very relaxed, so it will not fit like Patagonia's baselayers — size down for a close-to-skin fit. The hood is also generous, but not huge or billowy, and fits over a ball cap for full sun protection. The thumb loops are lined and do not chafe even under trekking pole straps.
Even though the general fit is generous, I didn't have trouble layering under a down jacket. In colder weather in which I may wear a slim fit fleece as my second layer, the excess fabric may cause issues.
UPF is not just a marketing buzz word. I came away from 23 days in the Sierra only burned in places the TCH didn't cover! I even had a ridiculous tan line on my hands from the first knuckle up on every finger because I didn't apply sunscreen. I am not a huge fan of using sunscreen all over my body — it's inconvenient to apply constantly and I'm too lazy to vet every sunscreen for toxic chemicals.
The button at the neck helps to cover more of the neck, but I added my own second snap to completely cover my face in high sun and wind.
Breathability & Moisture
UPF in fabrics is typically a function of the tightness of the knit or weave. The TCH has 50+ UPF, so I feel like the breathability is less than other fabrics in Patagonia's line. I never felt extremely overheated, but there were moments when the breeze died down in high sun where I felt pretty warm.
Rolling up the sleeves and putting down the hood for a little while helped. The Patagonia Sunshade Technical Hoody is lighter weight, but only has 25UPF and I didn't like the feel of the fabric. The fabric dries quickly and wicks well even when soaked in sweat. I never felt uncomfortable under the back panel of my pack.
The fabric is light, but has held up well. After 23 days on the trail in the Sierra this summer, the TCH only shows light signs of wear from pack shoulder and hip belt straps. The lining fabric at the cuffs and thumb loops did tend to come unstitched. Luckily I bring needle and thread and was able to restitch and reinforce the lining. Also, the button at the neck came off, but I was able to reattach it easily.
I hiked in the TCH for 22 days in Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks and the Inyo and Sierra National Forests this summer. Temperatures ranged from the mid-30s to almost 100 degrees.
*Disclosure: I work in retail sales at Patagonia's Ventura, CA store. I do my best to provide unbiased, first-hand reviews of every brand's products.