Gear Review: NRS Men’s H2Core Silkweight Hoodie


Better than sunscreen…

When Cristi and I landed in Savannah, GA last fall it was hot. Really hot. Late September temperatures were hovering in the upper nineties. Water temperatures were in the 80s. The sun was relentless.

I spent a few days out on the water early in our stay and did my best to cover up with the clothes that I had in the Casita. My Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight top kept the sunburn away, but it wasn’t the perfect tool for the job for a couple reasons.

First, both my Capilene long sleeve tops are fairly dark, so they were hot. Worse, something about the cut and fabric gave me instant saltwater chafe. Not fun.

I needed something better for the summer guide season. Something cooler that wouldn’t rub me raw. I would be nice if it had a hood for serious sun protection.

My friend Danny from NRS came to the rescue with a care package of kayaking goodies. There, in the box, was the NRS H2Core Silkweight Hoodie. Just what the doctor ordered.

We’re through the winter now and coming into the hot season. I’ve had a chance to put the H2Core Silkweight Hoodie through the paces. Here’s my take.

Like an awning you can wear.

The Silkweight Hoodie is sewn from a 5.4 oz. 92% polyester / 8% spandex blend. The fabric is about twice as heavy as my Capilene tops. It’s massively stretchy and feels cool against your skin.

Polyester is hydrophobic material that dries quickly. Spandex is nylon, which is hydrophilic and slow to dry. The high spandex content in H2Core Silkweight fabric makes it slower to dry than comparable polyester fabrics with a lower nylon content.

This is a feature. Not a bug.

Sun protection clothing should keep you cool. Slower drying fabrics cool your skin through evaporation. H2Core Silkweight is a heavy enough fabric, with enough spandex, that it holds water next-to-skin where it can evaporate slowly. Get it wet and it will keep you cool.

I wouldn’t want to wear this material as a base layer in a cold weather layering system because of the slower drying time. It would give you a chill. For sun protection, that’s just what you want.

The hood has a bit of lycra trim that helps keep it in place.

It’s not just the fabric that makes the Hoodie a winner. It has a simple feature set that ticks all the boxes for sun protection.

Of course, it has a hood. With the hood up your neck, ears and dome are shaded. Wear it over a ball cap and the sun stays off your beak. The hood opening has a bit of lycra trim that keeps it close to your face. This tight fit helps protect the underside of your neck from reflected sun. A little sunscreen on your face and you’re good to go.

As I mentioned earlier, the sleeves are cut so there are no seams under the arms. There is a broad panel that runs from the bottom of your ribs all the way down the sleeve of the top. This has got to be a big part what keeps the chafe away.

The Hoodie is sewn with flat-lock seams which reduces bulk and chafing. This is standard for quality base layers and other garments intended to be worn next-to-skin.

Thumb holes allow the sleeves to double as minimalist sun gloves.

Cuffs have a couple thumb loops that help hold the sleeves in place for better protection. With your thumbs in the loops that  back of your hands are covered down to your fingers. It’s not a problem to paddle with your hands tucked away like this. Much less of a bother than greasy sunscreen hands.

That’s really it for features aside from a little bit of reflective trim. No pockets, no drawcords. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

Summer is Coming
I’m going to be wearing this thing a lot this summer. It’s going to be hot. And salty. And a guy from the Deep North needs as much sun protection as he can get. I’m not sure how long our time at the beach will last, but I look forward to paddling a bunch more while we’re here. When I head out, the H2Core Hoodie is the first thing I’ll grab.

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