Kuhl Engineered Hoody Review

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Our Kuhl Engineered Hoody Review details a versatile layer from this American outdoor and active clothing brand.  We really hope you find it useful.

Introduction 

Kuhl may not be a name so familiar to U.K. consumers, but they are gaining a much bigger hold on the British market and with good reason.  They are actually an American brand with history and pedigree.  

They were started way back in 1983 as Alfwear. Founder Kevin Boyle introduced a Peruvian style hat onto the market.  This product, known as the Alfhat, soon gained a cult following with skiers and outdoor folk and the brand went from strength to strength.  Now, the Salt Lake City based company produces a broad range of outdoor and lifestyle clothing.

Kuhl had been on our radar for a while and we had seen some of their products in our local climbing shop Outside (Hathersage, Derbyshire).  They looked great quality and nicely designed.  We just hadn’t had chance to use any of them yet.  So, when Kuhl git in touch to ask us to review some items we were really keen to have a try. Paul was the lucky tester for this one.  This is his Kuhl Engineered Hoody Review and his review of Kuhl’s Renegade Pants is here.  We hood you find them useful.

Features

Fabrics

The Engineered Hoody is made from a high wicking and odour resistant 100% polyester which Kuhl call Kuhldry.  A heavier weight 130 gram per square metre (gsm) weight is used in areas where the sun will hit.  This has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30.  In other areas a 120 gsm variant is used.  This has a SPF of 20.  

Design

The design is fairly simple.  There is a five panel hood designed lay flat when not in use.  A hood locker is situated on the inside of the neck.  There are also thumb loops and the Kuhl logo discreetly placed on one sleeve.  Otherwise, that’s it really.  There are no pockets or other distractions.  

The Engineered Hoody is available in 5 colours and I tested the rusted sun option.  This is a type of browny orange colour.

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Helmet Compatible Hood

In Use

I am a massive fan of sun hoody’s.  They are such a practical option to protect the head and arms in bright sunshine.  I use them a lot for climbing and general outdoor activities in sunny weather.  I already have a couple of others in use. So, I came to this review with some knowledge of what I want in a sun hoody.

I have tested the Kuhl Engineered Hoody extensively over the summer.  It has been used a lot for summer climbing in the U.K. and the Alps.  Most recently, it has accompanied me for a Jebel Toubkal trip in Morocco.

Appearance 

The first thing to comment on is appearance.  A sun hoody is essentially a functional item, but obviously it also pays for it to look good.  In the case of the Engineered Hoody, Kuhl have got the styling just right.  The design is simple and yet, because it is made from 2 weights of fabric, even in the same colour there is a slight two tone appearance.  The Rusted Sun colour is also really attractive. It is very much the orangey reddy brown colour the name suggests.

Construction

It is also immediately obvious this is a high quality garment.  The materials and manufacture look really well made and the attention to detail in construction is apparent.  Reading various reviews of Kuhl products an overriding theme is that the quality of their garments is excellent.  This also holds true here. 

Fit  

Next, how about fit?  I ordered a medium size and, for my 38-40” chest it fits perfectly.  I would always want a reasonably relaxed fit for a sun hoody and this one is perfect.  It leaves a bit of room for comfortable airflow and yet is snug enough for active use.  The 100% polyester Kuhldry fabric is very stretchy which allows complete freedom of movement for any activity. So, even if you do go for a tighter fit it will work perfectly.  

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Thumb Loops

Hood

The hood is also great. It doesn’t feature any adjustability, but that isn’t needed anyway due to the shape and stretchiness of the fabric.  It will fit over a helmet and yet it is thin and low profile enough to also fit comfortably under a helmet if preferred.  Similarly, it will happily sit over a cap which is a great combo for many sun hoody situations.  The five panel design of the hood also ensures it will lie discreetly out of the way when not in use.

Other Features

Another feature I love in a sun hoody, and which Kuhl get spot on in the Engineered Hoody, is the thumb loops.  Thumb loops help prevent the sleeves riding up which can be useful.  However, they mainly help on these garments by pulling the hoody down as far as possible which means part of the hands can also be covered.  If you are covering up in sunny weather it pays to cover up as much as possible.  

One final mention on styling goes to the subtle Kuhl logo on one arm.  Discreet and stylish and yet making it immediately clear this is a Kuhl product.  

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Subtle Kuhl Logo

Sun Protection

In terms of sun protection, it is obviously very difficult to verify when a manufacturer says a fabric offers a certain sun protection factor.  Consumers really need to trust that this is as stated.  The amount of protection must also be weighed against comfort.  These types of garments are predominantly going to be used in hot weather and so good breathability and heat transfer is also key.

On the Engineered Hoody two weights of fabric offer two levels of protection and two levels of heat transfer and comfort.  It is a clever design as the higher protection factor material covers the areas most impacted by the sun and the lighter fabric helps vent away excess heat.  Crucially, the lower SPF fabric also has an open weave further allowing venting and air flow.

Moisture Transfer 

The Kuhldry fabric is also designed for effective moisture transfer and also holds true.  After periods wearing a flat panel rucksack (without ventilation channels or a breathable back panel) I would find my back was damp.  This was to be expected.  However, it was noticeable that it wouldn’t take long for the moisture to dry and I was ready to go again.    It all just works really well for the intended use.

Kuhl say their Kuhldry fabric has built in odour resistance.  I couldn’t find any particular information on what made this fabric resistant to odours, but I ca say it seems to work well.  Both on my trip to the Alps earlier in the summer and my recent Morocco trip it was hard to wash garments regularly even though they were used for multiple days.  There was no odour build up I was aware of after several days of use.

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Zoned Fabrics Maximise breathability & Sun Protection

Summary

My Kuhl Engineered Hoody Review details what I would describe as a perfect option for hot weather activity.  It looks great and fits great.  It also has good sun protection levels and keeps the user as cool as can be hoped in hot weather.  

The features have also been very carefully thought out.  There is everything you need and nothing you don’t.  It’s simplicity is one of its key strengths.  The use of two fabric weights and weaves also really helps to keep the user comfortable.  Finally, the colours also offer plenty of choice with the Rusted Sun option tested being, in my opinion at least, a great colour.  

A final mention goes to versatility.  Many people that might want to use this type of product probably participate in a variety of activities.  If so, it helps if you can have a multi-use item and this is certainly that.  Whether you are climbing, hillwalking, fly fishing, spectating a match or just reading on the beach, this hoody has you covered.  Well done to Kuhl on producing such a cool product! Full details on the Kuhl Engineered Hoody (and the rest of their range) can be found on the Kuhl US website here. There is also a UK Kuhl website here.  

As well as our Kuhl Engineered Hoody review, please also check out our review of Kuhl’s Renegade Pants here.