I was fully aware that when I hit Arizona in spring, I would need sun protection like a sun hoodie. It’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen to areas like the back of the neck. So why not the Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Merino Hoodie? After all, the last time I ran through a desert landscape in the USA, I was also wearing a longsleeve. Only hoods weren’t a thing back in 2013, but in my research it almost sounded like something you’d definitely need these days. So I gave the Cool-Lite Sphere Merino Hoodie a chance.

Technical data & features

  • Materials: 60% TENCEL™, 40% merino wool
  • FeaturesCool-Lite™ – A lightweight and breathable fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin
  • Fitted hood
  • Raglan sleeves at the front for freedom of movement
  • Offset shoulder seams prevent chafing
  • Thumbholes ensure the sleeves fit perfectly and keep hands warm
  • Seam pocket on the right side
  • Extended back for more coverage

Taken from the Icebreaker product page.

Test scope

I walked about 400-500 km in the hoodie as a base layer in fall and winter, mostly quite unspectacular: 10 km to work and 10 km back with a full backpack. I also wore it on the Selketalstieg and a Hexenstieg hike. I also used it on an excursion on the Heidschnuckenweg.

What I like about the Cool-Lite Sphere sunhoodie

Die Daumenlöcher am Sun Hoodie
  • Thumb holes
  • Feel
  • Merino properties

I really like thumbholes and recently criticized the FarPointe Alpha Cruiser for not having any. Apart from that, I like the way it feels against the skin. I don’t find merino scratchy or uncomfortable against the skin. I always sweat very quickly, even at low temperatures, which is why I like to use the top as a base layer with a hood, especially in the transitional period and in winter. Because once I had worked up a sweat, it still kept me warm, despite the low merino content.

What I don’t like about the Cool-Lite Sphere sunhoodie

  • Low durability
  • no UPF rating
  • low merino content
  • high price

Even before the tour for which I bought it, holes developed in the hoodie. Several in the area of my belt and one where I wear my watch. This is of course also my fault, but I was worried that it would be able to withstand a 2-month tour with daily use. I also find it a shame that there is no indication of sun protection. Of course, anything is better than being torso-free, but it would have been nice to have precise information.

I think the merino content is very low. There are other manufacturers, some of which have a higher merino content for less money. Just to name two that I would like to try: Smartwool Merino Active Hoodie (56% merino, 44% polyester) or Wūru Men’s Nuyarn® Merino Lightweight Hoodie (85% merino). This also leads me to think that the RRP of €150 is pretty hefty, especially when the $50 REI Sun Hoodie I wore still looks like new after 1400 km.


I really like the Cool-Lite Sphere Hoodie from Icebreaker. I find it comfortable to wear and I also like the cut. It is rather large, which is why I can still wear it in L with my current ~95 kg. Whether you have to print the Icebreaker logo so prominently on the chest is certainly a matter of taste. I don’t care. However, I wouldn’t buy the top for a longer tour, but rather for jogging or shorter hikes without luggage as well as everyday wear. However, there are many alternatives that are less than €150. Next time, I will probably try an alpaca wool top. But it would be cheaper to just keep wearing the indestructible synthetic fiber shirt.


I bought the featured products myself. This article was not sponsored by anyone, and although I try to be as objective as possible, this is only my subjective opinion of the products presented.

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