From warming you up on the plane to warding off insect attacks, the hoodie can be a useful piece of travel kit. Find out which was judged best in test...
We asked gear manufacturers to submit the technical hoodies that they felt were most suitable for travellers. From the ten we were sent, our editor-at-large, Phoebe Smith, took them out on the road to see which performed best. The ‘Value Buy’ and ‘Best in Test’ are indicated where applicable. Where tops are available in men’s and women’s specific fits, the different names are indicated.
At the budget end, this hoodie suits warmer climates where biting bugs are a pain, thanks to it being impregnated with lifetime-guaranteed repellent. A loose fit makes it look casual but not too sporty, while two external zipped pockets (vented with mesh) and a cord-adjustable hood fit the bill. There is no chinguard at the top of the zip, but at least the seams are flatlocked. At 287g (UK 10) it’s the third-lightest here.
The verdict: A many-featured, well-priced top.
With its patented Pump Liner fabric (moving moisture away), this is warm as soon as you put it on, and the sleeves are tapered to offer a close fit. The hood is not adjustable but is elasticated and covered with a fabric lining. A chinguard at the top of the off-centre zip adds comfort and there are five mesh-lined pockets. Hitting the scales at 350g (UK S), this is the fourth-lightest on test.
The verdict: Comfortable and warm, but a lot of cash for the extra weight and no adjustable hood.
This Rohan design is ‘zipless’, which means a lighter weight (195g UK 10; lightest on test) at a good price. The fabric is also super soft and stretchy, as well as quick-drying and bug repellent. There’s just one (concealed) pocket, which is large enough for a passport, but the hood isn’t adjustable (the men’s top doesn’t even have one). Thumb loops on the sleeves do mean a close fit, however I would have preferred the flatlocked seams to sit closer to the fabric.
The verdict: A good ‘just in case’ option.
Featuring a ‘Tweed look’, this is another hoodie that takes the ‘lifestyle’ route, so it’s versatile for travel yet has a wealth of technical features. It is bulky (505g UK S; heaviest on test) but offers instant warmth courtesy of a fleece-like interior. There are no thumb loops but lined, elasticated cuffs mean a close fit. The two external pockets are zipped and hand-warming, and the hood is cord-adjustable. The zip even has a draught excluder and a chinguard to keep out chills.
The verdict: Worth it if headed for cold climates.
Pay a bit more and you get something warmer but still very light (261g UK 10; second-lightest on test). The fabric is a grid design that traps in warm air but offers excellent breathability. Its two zipped pockets are mesh-vented, plus there’s a small arm pocket. And while the hood is not adjustable, it is stretchy and lined with a soft trim. Flatlocked seams, a chinguard at the top of the zip and thumb loops (for warmth) complete a sporty look.
The verdict: A great price for weight, warmth and versatility – if you don’t mind looking outdoorsy.
Also designed for the cold, the Keb is instantly warming, and has the bonus of flatlocked, flat-to-the-fabric seams for comfort. A draught excluder zip, chinguard and hand-warming side pockets keep the heat in – there’s a zipped chest pocket, too. Cuffs are elasticated to keep you cosy, as is the hood, though it’s not adjustable. Fewer features than on the Mammut top see it weigh less, too (432g UK S; second-heaviest).
The verdict: Comfy and great in the cold, but the lack of an adjustable hood may deter some.
This is usually adjustable courtesy of a drawstring or cord; others may not offer this or simply make the hem elasticated for a closer fit. Consider what you plan to use it for the most – if you’re headed somewhere cold or with biting insects, for instance, then you will probably benefit from a hood that fits tighter to your face.
Always key when travelling, though remember it’s a case of – literally – balancing weight with the features and level of warmth you want. Some that offer fleece lining will naturally be heavier than those that don’t, and while those that don’t have a zip will be lighter, you might miss the ability to undo the front when it gets warmer.
Depending on the end use, this might be fleece or a lightweight, grid-designed synthetic material that allows sweat to be wicked (or moved) away from the body. If you’re headed somewhere cold, then look for warmth; if headed somewhere warmer, you may want to consider a material impregnated with insect repellent that also offers a no-smell guarantee and is quick drying.
Some hoodies hide a few extra features for your cash in the form of extra security pockets or fabric impregnated with insect repellent. Worth thinking about, although bear in mind that additions can sometimes add weight.
Of utmost importance for a travel hoodie. Look at the seams: are they flatlocked and do they sit flush with the fabric? If not, they have the potential to rub against your skin. If the hoodie is zipped closed, look for a soft fabric chinguard and consider thumb loops or tapered sleeves, so you get a closer fit and keep warm air inside.
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