Sun hoodies are the Swiss Army Knife of outdoor apparel. They’re extremely useful, multi-purpose, somewhat adaptable and you’d best not leave home without it.
But a sun hoodie made out of alpaca wool?
The 8020 Sun Hoodie made by Appalachian Gear Company not only provides warmth and insulation in the cold, as one would expect; but its lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking properties help keep you cool in hot weather, too.
I own a lot of lightweight, hooded sun shirts, but nothing stacks up to the quality and performance of the 8020 Sun Hoodie. From function to fit to feel, Appalachian Gear Company delivers a solid product for any climate, season or adventure. Read on to learn more.
Weight: 6 ounces
Materials: 80% Alpaca Fiber, 20% Tencel
Fit: Regular Fit, True to Size
What I Loved
Not Itchy - Right out of the box, the shirt’s softness surprised me. Under a microscope, alpaca fibers are visibly flatter and smoother than its merino counterpart — and don’t require any chemical treatments to achieve its super soft feel.
The 8020 Blend - Appalachian Gear Company does offer a 100% “All-paca” fleece hoodie. As the name implies, the 8020 Sun Hoodie is crafted using 80% all-natural alpaca fiber. The remaining 20% of the fiber used in the sun shirt is tencel, an eco-friendly, semi-synthetic fiber sourced from eucalyptus trees. The 8020 blend feels weightless on the body and lends itself to any activity in any season.
Made in America - Appalachian Gear Company turns to Peru to source its alpaca fiber. Peru is home to over half of the world’s alpaca population, and leading producer of alpaca fiber. Otherwise, the entire garment is designed, cut, sewn, finished and shipped in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, a state overflowing with rich textile history.
Earthy Colors - The dark teal-blue color is dreamy, and the same goes for all the colors Appalachian Gear Company offers; Cranberry, Cobalt, Malachite, Aegean to name a few. According to the brand, their colors are a combination of several yarn colors, which gives off a heathered appearance, and one that can look different in sunlight and shade. Keep in mind, all color runs come in limited batches, so snag your favorite or you could be too late!
What I Didn’t Love
No Thumb Holes - I think every long sleeve garment should have them, what can I say?
Washing Woes - For those who like a garment you can wear day-in and day-out without washing, this hoodie is for you! Even if you’re active and sweating in it, alpaca doesn’t support bacterial growth, nor retain odors.
When it is time to give it a wash, after 8-10 wears, Appalachian Gear Company shares a laundry list (pun intended) of garment care instructions on their website. Turn it inside out, wash on gentle cycle, don’t wash in large loads or with heavy fabrics, air dry at first, then after 3-5 washes it’s safe to tumble dry on low.
As an animal fiber made from protein, it’s susceptible to moth damage and must be stored like any wool garment. In addition, high pH detergents can degrade the protein fibers, so be advised to not use those. The care instructions are a little dizzying, but as a rule of thumb, less is more when it comes to caring for your sun shirt.
Without a doubt, join the herd and give the 8020 Sun Hoodie a whirl. The alpaca blend is a sustainable, functional, soft, breathable, adventure-worthy base layer; one that’s useful for any activity in any season. Just read the laundering instructions carefully.