In our quest for outdoor adventures and sun-soaked activities, it's crucial to prioritize sun protection. While most of us are familiar with sunscreen, there's another line of defense that often goes unnoticed: sun protective clothing. Specifically designed to shield our skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, sun protective clothing has become increasingly popular among outdoor enthusiasts. In this article, we'll delve into the importance of sun protective clothing, how it works in conjunction with sunscreen, and explore the offerings of Outdoor Research, a renowned brand in this field.
The Need for Sun Protective Clothing: Exposure to UV radiation can lead to a range of skin problems, including sunburn, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Sun protective clothing acts as a physical barrier between our skin and the sun's harmful rays, providing superior protection compared to regular clothing. Its primary goal is to block both UVA and UVB radiation, minimizing the amount of UV radiation that reaches the skin.
Understanding UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor): UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is the rating system used to measure the effectiveness of sun protective clothing. Similar to SPF (Sun Protection Factor) for sunscreens, UPF indicates the fabric's ability to block UV radiation. The higher the UPF rating, the greater the protection provided.
Different Levels of UPF: Sun protective clothing is available in a range of UPF ratings, each offering varying levels of protection. Here are the general classifications:
UPF 15-24: Good Protection These garments provide basic protection against UV radiation, blocking approximately 93.3% to 95.9% of UV rays. While they offer some defense, they are best suited for activities with minimal sun exposure or as an additional layer of protection alongside sunscreen.
UPF 25-39: Very Good Protection With improved protection, clothing in this range blocks around 96.0% to 97.4% of UV rays. This level of UPF is suitable for moderate sun exposure during outdoor activities.
UPF 40-50+: Excellent Protection The highest level of sun protection clothing, garments in this range block at least 97.5% of UV radiation. They provide exceptional defense against harmful rays and are highly recommended for extended periods in intense sun conditions.
Sun Protective Clothing vs. Standard Cotton T-Shirt: While a standard cotton t-shirt provides some barrier against the sun, it is far less effective than purpose-built sun protective clothing. Regular clothing materials, such as cotton, may have a UPF rating of around 5, which means they allow 1/5th of UV radiation to pass through. In contrast, sun protective clothing is designed with tightly woven fabrics, special coatings, and innovative technologies to maximize UV blockage. They offer superior coverage and ensure better protection for your skin.
Outdoor Research: Is a brand we carry here at the store which is known for its high-quality sun protective clothing. They offer a diverse range of products designed to keep outdoor enthusiasts safe and comfortable under the sun. Here are a few notable lines from their collection:
Astroman: The Astroman line features UPF 50+ shirts and hoodies, built with lightweight, breathable fabrics. These shirts and pants range from the quick drying and breathable Astro short to the full coverage Astroman sun hoodie which features a front half-zip to allow even more breathability (Pictured Above).
Activeice: The Activeice line incorporates innovative cooling technology to keep you comfortable and protected during high-intensity activities. Its UPF 50+ rating, combined with moisture-wicking properties, ensures optimal performance in hot conditions.
Echo Clothing: Designed for ultimate breathability, the Echo Clothing line offers UPF 15-50+ rated shirts, shorts, and accessories. These lightweight and quick-drying garments are perfect for warm weather adventures, providing reliable sun protection without sacrificing comfort.
In addition to clothing lines, Outdoor Research also offers sun hats such as the Helios, designed with UPF 50+ fabric, and headwear options like the Swift Runner and Swift Cap, which combine sun protection and ventilation for active adventures.
Investing in sun protective clothing is an effective way to safeguard your skin from harmful UV radiation. When combined with sunscreen, these garments create a powerful defense against sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. Outdoor Research stands out as a brand committed to providing a wide range of sun protective clothing options that look as cool as you'll feel. Prioritize your sun safety and enjoy your outdoor pursuits with confidence and style.