Patagonia's Men's Sun Shade Technical Hoody has been a personal favorite among the hooded rash guards for a while (the women's version is also very popular). I find them to be among the softest, best-fitting, best-styled of the UV shirts designed for outdoors enthusiasts. In a sea of abysmally large, flashy logos and prints, Patagonia stays true to tone, which earns points in my book.
For surfing, though, I've found no better hooded rash guard than Patagonia's> RØ Hoody. It fits snuggly for optimal performance, and even in cracking, Fijian surf, the hood seemed to hold firmly. I use mine on especially long outings in the summer, and as much as possible when I'm in the tropics. The zippered pocket in the back is an excellent touch for keeping sunscreen, wax, or perhaps even a small pouch or flask (of water).
I've been fishing, surfing, and occasionally swimming in these shirts for years, and as a small disclaimer, I may be somewhat partial, but they're too comfortable and low-profile to ignore for this guide.
Patagonia's site has mostly positive reviews, but Patagonia's fans are generally a loyal legion whose reviews are probably best taken with a grain of salt. One reviewer did mention that the stitching on his shirt came apart right away, but I'm inclined to think that might stack up to an odd defect, because I can't say how many Patagonia rash guards and sun shirts I've owned, and through fishing, hiking, camping, and all the rest, I still haven't so much as loosened a stitch on any of them.
Backpacker magazine> also had nothing but good things to say, and the same goes for the folks at Blister Gear Review. While we acknowledge that Patagonia tends to sit on its own high pedestal within the eco-conscious realm of the outdoors industry, the dependable quality of the company's clothes makes it pretty hard to come up with a reason why they shouldn't.
The only thing I'd recommend is that you not order it in black if you're in particularly warm water or weather, or especially prone to getting overheated. And, if you like a more relaxed fit, check out the Long-Sleeved Sun Hoody, which is a little more casual and a lot more comfortable out of the water, and the new Tropic Comfort II, which is a little bulkier, but more of a hybrid-style that's great for fishing and maybe a casual dinner out, too, depending on where you are.
Pros: Soft, comfortable, effective, and technical for anglers, button to cover face with hood, a handy and corrosion-free chest zipper
Cons: A little bulky, and not as cooling as Columbia's Solar Shade, no drawstring at bottom to keep shirt from riding up (but there is a loop to tie to the drawstring on your board shorts)
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