Gear Review … Sun Hoodie Made of Alpaca Wool?

Maria Weidich
8020 Sun Hoodie alpaca wool Appalachian Gear Company Review GGG Garage Grown Gear

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.

8020 Sun Hoodie alpaca wool Appalachian Gear Company Review GGG Garage Grown Gear



Size: Medium
Weight: 6 ounces
Materials: 80% Alpaca Fiber, 20% Tencel
Fit: Regular Fit, True to Size
Color: Mallard


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.

8020 Sun Hoodie alpaca wool Appalachian Gear Company Review GGG Garage Grown Gear


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.

The Verdict

8020 Sun Hoodie alpaca wool Appalachian Gear Company Review GGG Garage Grown Gear

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.



8020 Sun Hoodie alpaca wool Appalachian Gear Company Review GGG Garage Grown Gear
Appalachian Gear Company



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How is the durability of the fabric? Every merino garment I have turns into swiss cheese pretty quickly.



I used my App Gear Co Sun Hoody on a section of the Bibbulmun Track in Australia, and it was perfect for the job. The temps were in single figures (deg C) in the mornings, and throwing on the hoody took the edge off the cold before I started hiking, yet during the 19–23 degree days, I never felt like I was overheating. The only issue I had was that I got caught in a very light shower at the end of one day and didn’t have a chance to dry the hoody properly overnight, so it did smell a bit like a wet dog (or, more probably, wet Alpaca) after that! But I did discover something interesting as a result, as I switched to my OR sun hoody instead, and found that I got really chilled in the evening once I stopped hiking (something that didn’t happen with the App Gear hoody). The App Gear Co hoody does certainly keeps the ‘stinky hiker’ smell to a minimum, too. Even after a week on trail, it wasn’t too offensive. I’ve also got to mention App Gear Co’s amazing customer service. When I got it, I noticed my hoody had a dropped stitch and a small hole where the hood meets the body of the shirt. After a week on trail, with a pack pulling downwards, this had become a decent-sized hole. After a conversation with the customer support team, my hoody was replaced. So, a great product, AND amazing service. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Phil J

Phil J

Thanks for the article. App Gear Co is a great store. Very high quality materials and construction . I recently bought some sleeping bag liners. App Gear Co are trying to address their successes – ie high customer demand means fast turnover of stock, so I was a bit disappointed at not getting all the product and colors I wanted. They are introducing a pre rider system in due course. No thumb holes – darn . Perhaps App Gear Co could consider a design improvement to meet customer requests – easily done in a small batch production set up compared to a larger mass production set up.



Thank you for the review. I have tried merino wool and then alpaca wool hoodies. Merino is undoubtfully more itchy, but alpaca is itchy as well. I have an All-Alpaca hoodie from Appalachian Gear. Maybe this 8020 is more pleasant for the skin, or I am oversensitive

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