Whether you are new to fishing or a seasoned veteran, it is very important to protect yourself from the elements. Learning how to stay safe in the sun and about the different sun protection options is important to ensure you can stay on the water as long as possible.
Why Do I Need to Protect Myself From the Sun?
Many years ago, the awareness around the need for sun protection was not near as prevalent. As any full time guide will tell you, that has changed. The increased awareness of skin cancer is very real, often resulting from long days on the water. To help combat that, AFTCO makes a wide range of sun protection gear for the whole family.
Sun protection has become increasingly important to the outdoors community. But what is the best item to protect you from the sun? Unfortunately, it is not just one item. Whether you go with sunscreen or sun protection clothing, there are extra steps to ensure you are fully protected. Sunscreen comes in multiple SPF ratings, and that's a great start. UPF clothing will add additional levels of protection. When looking at the best sun protection clothing, you want a UPF rating of at least 30 and most importantly be sure to you cover all body parts that you want to protect. That includes facemasks, hats, shirts, and even pants.
What is UPF Sun Protection?
You may say that you are all good wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen sun protection factor (SPF) is different than clothing ratings, however. Clothing rating is the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). SPF is still protective of your body, but it is only rated to protect from the UVB rays from the sun. UPF rating measures both UVB and UVA protection. SPF in sunscreen also loses protection requiring constant reapplication, which can be a hassle, where UPF is integrated into the fabric leading it to be constantly protecting if it covers the skin. UPF is great sun protection because a UPF rating of 50 will protect 98% of the sun’s rays. Remember, that it is UVA AND UVB Rays.
For more information on what the CDC recommends for sun protection visit https://www.cdc.gov
What is the Best Sun Protection from the Sun?
Different companies make levels of sun protection clothing. AFTCO has a plethora of Sun Protection clothing options to choose from and here are examples of basic sun protection, breathable sun protection clothing, and extreme breathable sun protective clothing with GeoCool.
Sun Protection Options:
The AFTCO Samurai is considered our basic level sun protection. This shirt is by no means ill prepared for your day on the lake or ocean. This shirt still has a UPF rating of 50. Although these shirts are still moisture wicking and quick dying, the polyester does not make these shirts as breathable as some others that AFTCO makes.
The Breathable sun protective clothing such as our Yurei Airo Mesh Shirt is a great example of a shirt that provides UPF 40 rating but is more breathable than the basic Samurai. This is a result of the AIRo MESH material providing the shirt mesh like properties. When lifted to the light, the shirt seems slightly see through, yet the fabric itself is woven in a way to provide sun protection. This is key in the summer when the heat may deter you from wanting to put on a long long sleeve shirt. This shirt will allow the slightest breeze to blow threw it so you wont overheat. That makes the Yurei shirt the next level in sun protection.
The best sun protection shirt from AFTCO is the Barracuda Geo Cool sun shirt. The largest difference in this top tier sun protection shirt is that it is infused with our GeoCool technology. This technology has the ability to take heat and sweat and convert it into a cool feeling leaving you a lot more comfortable. Shirts in this category always have some treatment that will keep the individual more comfortable fishing long days. Barracuda also provides venting along the entire side giving you the breathability factor as well.
Button Up Fishing Shirts: There is one other category of sun protection fishing clothing out there, and it is wovens, or button up fishing shirts. These tops are not only effective in the sun, but offer a clean more suitable look for every day wear. These tops are more of a preference piece versus having any real advantage over the other clothing. Check out specific tops like the AFTCO Rangle
All these options come in a crew as well as a hooded version giving you the choice to be able to cover up both your torso, and neck. The Yurei and Barracuda come with an integrated facemask as well allowing you to cover up your face for maximum protection. These are added features you may want to consider when choosing sun protection clothing for the added protection.
5 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Sun
1. The CDC website recommends that if you plan to use sunscreen, to combine it with other sun safety options. This is important because of the degrading nature of sunscreen over time. A combination of sunscreen and sun protection clothing is the best option. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
2. Use at least UPF 30 for sun protection clothing. UPF 50 will provide maximum protection. Always try to protect yourself as much as possible.
3. Wear a baseball cap at the least, a better option being a wide brim sun hat.
4. Don't forget your hands! If you protect your whole body except your hands, they will get the grunt of sun damage. Sun gloves provide amazing protection for the tops of your hands, a usually overlooked and neglected spot on your body.
5. Don't forget your eyes either! The eyes are a widely overlooked area that can get sunburned or worse, can be a cause of cataracts. A good pair of polarized sunglasses is heavily recommended to protect the skin around your eyes as well as your eyeballs.