Spring/Summer Gear Guide: Outdoor Research Women’s Ensenada Sun Hoody

Outdoor Research

Dig that Paprika vibe: The author well-attired for gusty sunshine along the Central California coast. Photo: Kim Stravers

Honestly, with my Casperian genetics, I ought to be dressed like a beekeeper every time I go play outside. If I miss a spot with the sunscreen, guaranteed I’ll be shrimp pink within an hour and possibly molting the next day.

However, I also have an overheating problem when I add too many layers. Even the idea of throwing on a long-sleeve just to keep the sun off my shoulders kind of breaks me into a sweat.

While initially skeptical that the Outdoor Research Women’s Ensenada Sun Hoody ($79) would perform as advertised — lightweight, wicking and with sun protection built right into the fabric — after several weeks of road testing in climates both warm (Los Angeles), variable (Big Sur) and literally freezing (Iceland), I’ve decided it may stay in the mix.

The Outdoor Research Women's Ensenada Sun Hoody really would make a great Mexican beach layer.  Photo: Courtesy of Outdoor Research

The Outdoor Research Women's Ensenada Sun Hoody really would make a great Mexican beach layer. Photo: Courtesy of Outdoor Research

In terms of silhouette, it’s slim, making it easy to wear underneath other narrowly cut layers — several of them, in fact, when it’s damn cold — as well as instead of a light jacket when the evening breeze comes up after a summery hike.

Thumb straps, rather than holes sewn into the cuff, are a nice detail — less restrictive — and I was pleasantly surprised by the single, zippered pocket on the bottom right front. It opens toward your back instead of your stomach, which puzzled me until I realized the pocket is designed for actual storage instead of keeping your hands out of the breeze.

While I’m hesitant to say whether the UPF 50+ protection kept my skin any more sheltered from the sun than, say, a thrift-store plaid button-down, I’m down with a little extra peace of mind in that department.

Speaking of resting assured, the product carries Outdoor Research’s Infinite Guarantee, meaning you can try to wear this thing to its limit and the company will replace it. Commence the beating.

More from GrindTV

Trek Dirt Series: Women's mountain bike summer camps are gaining traction

Tips on what it's really like to live the #vanlife

World-class adventure sports are in Chattanooga, TN