Enduring the Summer Heat: The Best UPF Clothing

Luke Cuenco 25.05.22

Enduring the Summer Heat: The Best UPF Clothing

Summer is fast approaching and that means more sunshine. While it’s a nice feeling to be out in the hot summer rays for a while, those with more sensitive skin or who have to deal with direct sunlight for most of the day will probably want to protect their skin from intense summer burns. Heat. The best way to avoid the heat would probably be to go sit in the shade or some other type of hard shelter that completely blocks direct sun exposure, however, if you’re summer hunting in the plains or flats of the United States, you’ll be hard pressed to find good coverage for most of your travels. Sunscreen is also another good option, but is often suboptimal as it can wear off quickly with sweat and for hunters it can leave a distinct odor that could scare animals downwind. Sunscreen is also an expensive consumable over time. This is why UPF or SPF clothing is often the choice of outdoor adventurers, anglers and hunters. UPF garments are specialized garments that block visible light from passing through and burning your skin after long periods of exposure. Most standard clothing, on the other hand, only has a UPF rating of around 5. Today we’re going to be looking at some of the best UPF clothing to beat summer’s rays and keep you going. all summer.

Enduring the Summer Heat: The Best UPF Clothing

Enduring the Summer Heat: The Best UPF Clothing
Photo: REI



1. Outdoor Research Sombriolet


Outdoor Research Sombriolet

It is natural that we start with the head. The Sombriolet sun hat by Outdoor Research. Protect your noggin when on the water or portaging to the next entry point. The UPF 50+ rating shields you from intense sun while strategically placed vents and wicking fabric in the crown keep you cool and dry. Piping along the edge of the brim provides greater wind resistance when a summer storm unexpectedly brews.

Advantages/Full coverage with a breathable, moisture-wicking design – ideal for unpredictable weather days.

The inconvenients/The inner lining sticks out a bit, creating a bit of a fashion faux pas

Conclusion/Will keep your neck, face and shoulders covered with minimal effort

2. Columbia Terminal Tackle Men’s Hoodie


Columbia Men's Terminal Tackle Pullover Hoodie

A popular design favored by hunters and anglers, the Terminal Tackle Hoodie may seem designed for winter, but it’s actually much better suited to the summer heat. The Columbia Men’s Terminal Tackle Hoodie is a fishing shirt for sun protection. The 100% polyester fabric features Omni-WICK™ and Omni-SHADE™ to keep you comfortable every hour in or on the water. The lightweight shirt wicks moisture away from the skin and dries quickly and the UPF 50 protects you from the sun’s harmful rays. Not only is it a long sleeve, but it also has a thin hood to protect your head and neck, even under a sun hat!

Advantages/Full Upper Body Coverage / Affordable

The inconvenients/Doesn’t offer any sort of insulating properties, so not great for cooler summer days if you’re cold (think Oregon in the summer)

Conclusion/A lightweight solution if you don’t want to carry sunscreen or get a tan

3. Aerobora SS Marmot Shirt for Men


Marmot Men's Aerobora SS Shirt

Marmot’s Aerobora SS Shirt for Men is a warm weather travel shirt. Travel to warmer climes and enjoy AirExchange Performance fabric all day. It offers UPF 25 sun protection, as well as great air permeability. Hike, explore the city, or pack a few in your luggage. The buttoned design works well and can be tucked in or left out and looks equally good either way. The stretchy design also makes it ideal for multiple sizes and body types and makes sizing a little easier.

Advantages/Quick-drying and stretchy design for maximum aesthetics

The inconvenients/Lower UPF rating than most other UPF garments

Conclusion/A packable, durable quick-dry button that looks just as good on the trail as it does at a tailgate party

4. Helly Hansen Men’s 11 HH QD Cargo Shorts


Helly Hansen Men's HH QD 11 Cargo Shorts

These shorts are very lightweight, water friendly, fit great according to reviews and also have a good amount of storage space. If you’re not sure what your next trail will bring or you know you’ll need some extra pocket space, these shorts are ideal to get you ready. They carry a UPF rating of 40 and while that’s not the “standard” UPF 50 that most other UPF garments have, your legs are really much less exposed than your upper body, so I think it’s is a decent compromise that also adds a bit more breathability to the shorts.

Advantages/Includes belt loops and cargo pockets

The inconvenients/Nothing

Conclusion/A great pair of longer shorts for a great day on the boat or on the trail – Durable and equipped for backpacking or backpacking

5. Huk Icon X Hoodie


Huk Icon X Hoodie

Huk gear is kind of the new kid on the block, but they’ve pretty much knocked it out of the park every time they’ve had a ride. An angler’s favorite brand, Huk Gear apparel has a standard UPF rating of 50+ and is made from cooling yarns to keep you dry, cool and burn-free. Lightweight clothing is one of my favorites to take with me on summer desert trips because it’s packable and doesn’t take up much space unlike other types of clothing. The only downside is that these types of shirts or hoodies often lack durability and will start to wear out faster if washed with standard clothes.

Advantages/Excellent sun protection and lightweight to boot.

The inconvenients/Not the most durable and that means a lot when each shirt is around $40

Conclusion/Perfect if you know you will be exposed to the sun most of the day

6. Kuhl Airspeed Long Sleeve Shirt


Kuhl Airspeed Long Sleeve Shirt

Editor’s Choice

Rusty works very hard on his ranch and is often out in the sun all day. It is for this reason that his favorite SPF/UPF shirt is the Kuhl Airspeed shirt. The Airspeed shirt offers unparalleled durability, a UPF rating of 30+, and excellent cooling characteristics for the short 3 months when wool isn’t best suited to its snowy region of the United States. Designed to perform in the hottest temperatures, the AIRSPEED Men’s Long Sleeve Jersey combines multiple advanced fabrics into one breathable, high performance jersey. Strategically placed knit panels provide ventilation and stretch, while KÜHL’s five-panel articulated sleeves provide greater freedom of movement.

Advantages/Excellent cooling features, long sleeves and plenty of pockets

The inconvenients/UPF rating below standard but still good!

Conclusion/A great durable shirt for blue collar workers who aren’t looking to get fried in the sun.

Is UPF clothing worth it?

I think so. UPF clothing, while expensive, can protect you from some of the harshest sun exposure. UPF 50 fabric, which is somewhat standard in the industry, blocks nearly 98% of the sun’s rays and only lets in 2% of UV rays, meaning you’ll get significantly less sun exposure compared to ordinary clothes that on average only offer a UPF 5+ rating, which means that only 20% of the sun’s rays are blocked, leaving your skin still relatively exposed. While not a problem for short days on the beach when you’re looking to tan, a day hike can leave you baked and burned and will inevitably increase your risk of UV burns.

Does the UPF wash clothes?

Depending on the durability of your clothes, the composition of the fabric may be compromised after just a few washes. In other words, as the threads get thinner, the shirt lets in more UV light. So while the UPF doesn’t necessarily “fade out”, the UV protection rating will eventually drop over time. You’ll want to refresh your UPF wardrobe from time to time to ensure you’re getting the best protection.

How can I make sure my UPF garments don’t wear out prematurely?

UPF garments can be washed with your other garments using regular detergent. Sun protective clothing can be put in the dryer on low to medium heat. I would recommend washing your UPF clothes only with similar items to avoid excessive wear (in particular, avoid jeans and other heavy abrasive clothes). Washing in cold water and drying at low or medium heat is optimal for maintaining the UPF properties of your UPF garments.

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Luke Cuenco

Luke is currently a full-time writer for TheFirearmBlog.com, OvertDefense.com, AllOutdoor.com and, of course, OutdoorHub.com. Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally interested in all things the great outdoors. Luke is also a certified private pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot license in hopes of becoming a commercial pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include all things aviation, aerospace, and military technology, as well as American Conservancy endeavors. Instagram: @ballisticaviation YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BallisticAviation thefirearmblog.com/blog/author/luke-c/overtdefense.com/author/luke-c/alloutdoor.com/author/lukec/

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