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Outdoor Research Ensenada Sun Hoody

rated 3 of 5 stars
photo: Outdoor Research Ensenada Sun Hoody long sleeve performance top

This comfortable pullover is a great sun protection alternative for anyone who is outside enjoying summertime, whether in the bay or just out to play! The top layer provides good sun protection, paying specific attention to one’s hands and neck. You don’t need a sunburn to get your ‘D-Levels’ up!!!

The Ensenada Sun Hoody shirt is best suited for daytime use, in front-country applications like running, boating, beach use, or day hiking. In addition, this shirt is ideal for people who do not want to rely on chemicals to prevent sun exposure.


  • Sun protection on neck, head, and hands
  • Comfortable against the skin
  • Stylish design


  • Not designed for extreme hot temperatures
  • Clings to skin
  • Retains odor
  • Thumb loops obtrusive
  • Slow dry time

Outdoor Research (OR) has done a fine job designing this function-specific hoody. In a world where it seems like most people are working on their tan, there are indeed folks that are looking to protect their skin for the present and future! I personally look to avoid the use of UV sunscreen, finding it a short-term, sticky mess to rely on. Like many others in the backcountry, I look to keep as clean as possible to delay that inevitable unhygienic feeling.

Stylish lines

Summit of Slide Mountain- Catskills, N.Y.


  • UPF 50+
  • Fabric: 39% Modal, 34% polyester, 23% organic cotton, 4% spandex
  • Weight: 10oz.

Interesting to Note: Modal fabric is a type of rayon, which is a semi-synthetic material made solely of chemically processed Beech wood. Being absorbent and air permeable, it still feels cool, making it an ideal textile for summer wear.


Fit & Comfort

The OR Ensenada Sun Hoody is designed with a trim, athletic cut that provides sufficient coverage when performing typical outdoor movement such as hoisting a sail, rock climbing, or trail running. 

The inner lining of the top is ultra-comfortable and feels pleasant against the skin.


The hood does not feel restrictive, nor do the arms.


I personally feel the material to be a little heavy for hot weather use, however the extra material is ideal for activities like boating and beach use, where the breeze aids ventilation. I also feel this shirt is very clingy, sticking to the wearer’s skin once sweating begins.

Accompanying sweat, comes odor. One of this hoody’s disadvantages happens to be odor retention. Being a factor that becomes prevalent after the active phase of exercise, some products excel more than others. In short, this garment leaves an airy reminder of the day’s activities…


The thumb loop design unfortunately does not stay in a passive position, usually staying exposed in some form. I personally do not use thumb loops frequently, and this nitpick is mainly an aesthetic nuisance.


Adjustability/Ease of Use

For warm weather shirts, I personally feel the less frills, the better. The hood has a simple drawcord, which can be adjusted to be worn under a helmet or for use in less-than-ideal weather. The sleeves have sewn-in thumb loops, which do a sufficient job protecting one’s hands from the sun. Beyond these basic accommodations, this is indeed a very simple pullover shirt.



The Ensenada Sun Hoody’s streamlined design has a few, but essential, features. A small chest pocket is perfect for a key or energy gel packet.


The thumb loops do their job keeping sleeves covering the wearer’s hands, however they do not easily stay folded under the cuff.


The hood is designed well, moving with the wearer’s head, rather than obstructing vision. The hood can be adjusted with a straightforward drawcord.


The details that have been added to this straightforward pullover do a good job of functioning as designed. The zippered chest pocket holds a key, or energy gel packet comfortably. The drawcord to the hood works as designed, however I found it important to add a couple of knots to the ends in order to avoid the drawcord from pulling through the grommets in the wash.


Water Resistance/Breathability/Moisture

This pullover is ideal in warm, dry weather and does not have any kind of DWR (Durable Water Repellant) or any other form of water resistance. That being said, the shirt provides a nice cooling effect when wet from perspiration or precipitation. The shirt breathes well, however in a hot environment it is very noticeable that this heavier material needs a substantial breeze to provide enough breathability in order to remain cool.

Due to the cotton in the fabric, long drying time is very noticeable in this piece of technical gear. The time needed to dry this garment is the primary factor that this is not ideal for backcountry use. Generally, the time window to dry clothes on a backpacking trip is very small. Once the Ensenada got soaked with sweat on a two-day backpacking trip this summer, it remained wet until it made it home and into the washer.



Although not skin tight, this hoody is designed to have enough room to wear a summer base layer underneath. Beyond that base layer, this top was made to be worn standalone. Although the trail-inspired design is catchy, I personally don’t see myself wearing this under another layer during a night on the town. Wearing it as a warm layer at night, I was comfortable wearing it over a typical t-shirt into the mid-50°F range.


The Modal fabric, in conjunction with the cotton, makes this a very comfortable shirt when wet. A product that loses its insulating properties is generally frowned upon in the outdoor world; however, every condition in "the real world" has its exceptions… As someone who generally alway tends to feel warm, the summer months are the single time I don’t mind wearing wet layers, enjoying the cooling effect.


Construction/Durability/Abrasion Resistance

The hoody has shown signs of minimal wear over its several months of testing, with no signs of material pilling. The added Spandex allows a generous amount to stretch to the garment, which in turn has shown no abrasion damage at this point. 

The hoody had as many as a dozen untrimmed threads from the new packaging, which in my opinion is excessive for a top notch company like Outdoor Research. Although this is excess material, having to trim thread from a new product leaves questions regarding future durability and frankly is annoying. 



The OR Ensenada Sun Hoody has been tested in town and country, during the summer of 2016 in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA. Temperatures have ranged from the lower 50°F range in the Catskill Mountains of N.Y., and up to 100°F+  and brutally humid in Baltimore City. 

Out for a humid overnight on the Appalachian Trail



Whether in town or sailing in the bay, the OR Ensenada Sun Hoody is a great option for those looking to keep cool and stylish while staying protected from the sun’s glaring beams!

Many thanks to the people at Outdoor Research for the opportunity to test the Ensenada Sun Hoody for the Trailspace Gear Review Corps!

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Outdoor Research for testing and review)

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