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The Best Sun-Protective Clothing for Summer 2021

SmarterTravel

Summer is all about having fun in the sun. Hiking, hitting the beach, and wandering around a new city are some of life’s greatest pleasures. But while soaking up fresh air and sunshine can be good for your health (Vitamin D! Exercise!), soaking in too much sunshine can also be bad for your health. (It’s estimated that more than 8,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.)

So get outside this summer, but be safe. The easiest way to do it—without having to spend all of your time reapplying sunscreen—is with sun-protective clothes. You’ll be stylish and, best of all, safe. Nobody ever looks good in lobster red, anyway.

Note: I’ll be mentioning the term “UPF” quite a bit in this story, so you should know that it’s different than the SPF rating you see on sunscreens. The UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is a rating system used for clothing, to indicate how effectively it blocks UV radiation. The UPF scale only goes up to 50+ (but for comparison, a UPF rating of 25 means that the fabric only allows 4 percent of the UV radiation through). 

Eddie Bauer Departure Easy Tank Dress

Eddie Bauer

Sun-protective clothing doesn’t have to look like beachwear, as Eddie Bauer’s Departure Easy Tank Dress proves. This easy-going dress is made from a moisture-wicking, stretch fabric and offers UPF 50+ protection. My favorite part is the simple tie detail at the waist, giving the dress a bit of structure.

Coolibar

Amazon

Being in or on the water (like at the beach or a pool) can cause you to sunburn faster because water reflects the sunlight. So, it’s best to wear something a little more protective than a swimsuit in the water. Coolibar, the first company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation for sun-protective clothing, has some good swimwear options, all of which are UPF 50+. The swim tights and leggings, with styles available for men and women, help give you full coverage. And for kids, there’s plenty of gear to choose from as well.

Tasc Performance’s MOSOtech Shirts

Get your SPF protection the natural way with Tasc Performances’s MOSOtech fabrics. This organic cotton/bamboo viscose/lyrca blend is naturally UPF 50+, which means you can stay out in the sun longer. And, its moisture-wicking, anti-odor, and breathability means you can get away with re-wearing these pieces.

I love the Recess Quarter Zip for women because the fabric is super lightweight, so I can wear it even on hot days to protect my arms and hands (it has thumbholes at the sleeves so you can pull them over your hands).

For men, the Carrollton Fitness T-Shirt is incredibly comfortable with a well-constructed fit. Wear it to play sports or for a casual day out.

HexSkin Exuma Sunglasses

HexSkin

Heading out on the water this summer? Pack HexSkin’s Exuma Sunglasses and you won’t have to be too concerned if your glasses accidentally go for a swim—these polarized sunglasses float thanks to their lightweight wooden frame. When they’re on your face, they’ll offer excellent UV Protection.

Craghoppers Clara II Pants 

Craghoppers

Insect Shield® Clara II Pants will not only protect you from the harsh sun but also from bug bites. These pants offer UFP 40+ sun protection as well as 5 pockets and an additional hidden zipper pocket, and they still looked better than most tactical pants. Craghopper offers a range of similarly protective options in both women’s and men’s sizes.

UV Skinz Hats

Amazon

The top of your head is a tough area to protect from the sun since you can’t exactly slather sunscreen all over your hair. That’s why a hat with UPF protection is your best bet. The hats from UV Skinz all feature UPF 50+ protection and are available for men, women, and kids. A standout choice is the Swim Visor, which is designed to be worn in the water, with chlorine and salt water resistance and a quick-drying fabric.

Water Socks

Amazon

Don’t forget about your feet! You can protect sensitive soles from hot sand and rocks (and pool deck germs) with water socks, so if you’re going to wear them, make sure they have sun protection as well. The unisex sox from Avid Fitness have UPF 50+.

Coolibar Aricia Sun Shirt

Amazon

Protect yourself from the sun with the Coolibar Aricia Sun Shirt. Although this button-down is long sleeved, it’s lightweight and features built-in vents to keep air circulating and keep you cool. The moisture-wicking fabric has UPF 50+ protection built right in and is stain resistant, designed to handle whatever summer can throw at it.

Caroline Morse loves combining fashion, beauty, and travel. Follow her adventures around the world on Instagram TravelWithCaroline and on Twitter @CarolineMorse1.

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

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