The Best Sun-Protective Clothing for Festivals and Outdoor Activities
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Heading out for a day of watching live music in the sun? You’re going to want to wear the right gear.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, about “one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.” While that statistic’s slightly alarming to hear, there are a few precautions you can take if you’re planning to spend your day outdoors.
In addition to staying out of direct sunlight in the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. window, the AAD also recommends applying broad-spectrum SPF sunblock that’s rated 30 and above for the most protection. But beyond water-resistant sunscreen, the AAD explains there’s another item that you can use to prevent damage to your skin: sun-protective clothing, including clothing and accessories that come with those three important letters, UPF (a.k.a., an ultraviolet protection factor).
So what exactly should you wear? Look for “a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible,” the AAD’s website notes. “For more effective sun protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label.”
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Ready to upgrade your festival attire? Here’s what you should know.
Sun-Protective Clothing Buying Guide
A couple of the biggest factors you need to consider when choosing a piece of sun-protective clothing are comfort, and, you guessed it, seeing if it has an UPF rating.
Comfort: Along with preventing an uncomfortable burn, sun-protective clothing should also be comfortable to wear during the day, no matter the activity. We chose lightweight products that we’d want to wear for hours at an outdoor show, made to help keep you cool even in warm weather.
UPF Rating: Not all sun-protective clothing comes with a UPF rating, but it’s a good feature to consider, especially if you want a greater amount of sun protection. Outdoor retailer REI gives a helpful table outlining UPF ratings. In short, you may find anywhere from a 15 UPF rating up to 40 UPF on clothing labels. The higher rating, the more protection from harmful UV light the clothing has. However, the Skin Cancer Foundation suggests 30 and above.
What is the Best Sun-Protective Clothing?
This guide covers a wide range of thebest sun-protective clothing, some of which includes UPF-rated apparel and accessories. Here are some of the coolest hats, shades, shirts, pants and other items that are worth wearing on a sunny (and, of course, cloudy) day.
1. Vuori Meta Jogger
One of the coolest things about today’s new activewear is how none of it really screams “workout” at you. In fact, more brands have released casual, comfortable apparel that work well beyond a gym setting. These cozy Vuori pants are lightweight enough to wear to a festival or outdoors during the heat, but their biggest selling points are that they guard your legs with UPF and come with a slight stretch for added comfort and mobility. They’re the kind of must-have pants you want for a day of sprinting back and forth from stage to stage to see your favorite acts.
Buy Vuori Meta Jogger Pants $98
2. Garrett Leight Harding Sun Sunglasses
It’s easy to forget, but your sunglasses aren’t just a stylish, essential festival accessory — they’re designed to help protect your eyesight. You’ll be hard-pressed to find more stylish, protective shades than these from L.A.-based sunglasses maker Garrett Leight. They feature slightly oversized frames, which give you some extra coverage, along with anti-reflecting lenses. They’re available in three different styles, including matte black, matte caramel, above, or the trendy, clear champagne.
Buy Garrett Leight Harding Sunglasses $360
3. REI Co-op Sahara Solid Shirt
Short-sleeve button-ups like this one from REI give you that bit of versatility you need on a hot, bright day. You can keep it fully buttoned or layer it with a tank underneath. We like this one because it features a UPF 30 rating, and while it shields your shoulders from getting burned, it also wicks away sweat so you don’t have to worry about overheating. Plus, two chest snap pockets let you store car keys or your cards.
Buy REI Co-op Sahara Solid Shirt $49.95
4. Patagonia Baggies Brimmer Sun Hat
Protect your face and neck from getting sunburned with a breathable bucket hat like this one from Patagonia. It’s equipped with a 50 UPF rating, comes in two sizes — small/medium and large/extra large — and it’s constructed with recycled nylon and a mesh liner, so it’ll stay comfortable through a full day’s lineup, even if you’re sweating. And even if you end up crowdsurfing, you won’t lose track of it thanks to the built-in strap.
Buy Patagonia Baggies Brimmer Sun Hat $49
5. Target Long-Sleeved UPF Shirt
If you just want a lightweight, breathable long-sleeved shirt, try this budget-friendly polyester crewneck top. It has a high UPF rating of 50, which will help cut down your arms’ sun exposure, along with giving you some coverage once the temps drop at the end of the day. It’s available in six different sizes and two colors that you want when you’re spending time in the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation‘s recommendations, “dark or bright colors keep UV rays from reaching your skin by absorbing them rather than allowing them to penetrate.”
Buy Target Long-Sleeved UPF Shirt $18
6. Columbia Global Adventure Packable Hat
Have upcoming travel plans? Columbia’s Packable Hat is an accessory worth throwing in your luggage. This sun hat’s ready to block UV light thanks to its wide brim and a UPF 30 rating, which is in line with the Skin Cancer Foundation’s UPF recommendations. REI says it’s ideal for hiking, but it’s versatile enough to wear to a show, to the beach or camping.