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10 UPF 50+ Sun Protection Clothing Items From $15

10 UPF 50+ Sun Protection Clothing Items From $15

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UPF clothing is to 2024 what tanning oil was to the ’90s. Gone are the days when people were willing to risk their lives for a bronzy glow (which you can get from a spray bottle). Now, it’s all about SPF 100 and clothes that protect your skin from the sun.

Sun-protective clothing with built-in UPF works in tandem with your daily sunscreen to keep you properly shielded from harmful UV radiation. UPF stands for “ultraviolet protection factor,” which translates to the amount of ultraviolet radiation that hits your skin through the fabric. A UPF 50 fabric lets through 2 percent of UV rays, blocking 98 percent, while UPF 15 (which blocks 70 percent of sunlight) is the minimum a garment can have to be considered “sun-protective.” Keep in mind that the Skin Cancer Foundation requires a UPF of at least 30 to grant its official seal of recommendation.

The Skin Cancer Foundation states that certain items of clothing can block up to 98 percent or more sunlight based on their color, construction, and fabric content (for instance, tightly woven synthetics like nylon and polyester have a higher UPF rating than most natural fabrics). Dark colors and looser-fitting clothing are also better blockers since “tight clothing can stretch and reduce the level of protection offered.”

From hoodies to swim pants to a top-rated unisex bucket hat, here are 10 sun-protective clothing essentials to keep you covered when you’re hiking, cycling, paddling, and spending time outside this summer at Amazon from $15.

Columbia Women’s PFG Solar Stream Elite Hoodie


Forget what you know about hoodies. This one is ultra-light and so breathable, providing broad-spectrum UPF 50 protection while still letting the breeze flow through to your skin. The hood helps keep the sun off your head when you need it, and the sleeves even have thumb holes for extra hand protection. The hoodie comes in gray, bright coral, and sky blue. 

Attraco Swim Tights


Called swim tights, swim leggings, or rashguards for your legs, these stretchy bottoms are made of swimsuit material that dries quickly and protects your knees from getting sunburned when you’re out paddle boarding or when you inevitably fall asleep in your lounger. They provide a great alternative to wearing traditional swimsuit bottoms while kayaking, snorkeling, or riding water rides at a theme park.

One reviewer said they wore them while scuba diving to keep from getting scratched by sharp rocks and coral. “I did end up getting a tiny hole in these… but I stitched it up without any problems,” they wrote. “They did not run or tear further despite going on five dives that day.”

Prana Baja Bound Long-sleeve Rash Guard


Rash guards are so much cooler than a t-shirt or swimsuit cover-up when you’re at the beach on a hot day, and prAna is skilled at making them look stylish. Choose from pretty floral prints, cropped shapes, and other trendy iterations. Our favorite is this colorblock top made of recycled materials and offering a UPF rating of 50+.

Santiny Women’s Hiking Cargo Shorts


These highly popular, lightweight trail shorts offer UPF 50 protection and are also quick drying, breathable, and water-resistant so you stay cool, comfortable, and dry whether you’re on the golf course, a hike, or city exploring. They have a comfy elastic waistband and a plethora of pockets to keep your essentials close and safe, and the 5-inch inseam is the perfect length — giving you coverage but allowing you freedom of movement.

Baleaf Short-sleeve UPF Beach Coverup


Slip this loose and flowy hooded dress over your swimsuit for additional sun protection at the beach or pool this summer. It’s made of a material that blocks 98 percent of UV rays and wicks sweat away from the body. It has two hidden pockets, and it’s also quick-drying so you can throw it on right after a swim.

Free Fly Shade Hoodie


Free Fly is a brand dedicated to sun-protective clothing, and one Amazon reviewer called this “the best sun shirt I’ve found.” This UPF 50+ hoodie is made of 68 percent bamboo viscose, a more sustainable alternative to petroleum-made synthetics that acts as a natural sun shield. It’s also super light and soft against the skin.

Coolibar Trek Hybrid Shorts


Another brand fully in the business of sun protection, Aussie-founded Coolibar’s core goal is to share tried-and-tested Australian UV-blocking techniques with Americans. The all-purpose Trek Hybrid Shorts, approved by The Skin Cancer Foundation for their UPF value, hide how technical they are behind a smart facade. Though they look polished enough for the country club, they can endure a sweaty hike or saltwater paddle.

REI Trailmade Button-down Shirt


This breathable button-down is your average hiking shirt with a modern twist. You’ll want to wear it straight from the trail to a hip brewery for celebratory post-summit beers. That kind of versatility is exactly what you want in your travel attire, too. Made of a stretchy and durable blend of nylon and spandex, the shirt keeps you cool (and looking cool) while providing UPF 50 sun protection.

prAna Stretch Zion Slim Pants II


These hiking trousers with an anti-wrinkle, UPF 50 recycled nylon called ReZion are an upgrade to the original fan-favorite Zion material. Reviewers report wearing them for not just hiking but also travel, yoga, climbing, and work. One REI reviewer called them “the perfect adventure and travel pants. Comfortable enough to be in on a long flight and tough enough to tackle the local crag.”

Shinchic Unisex UPF50+ Bucket Hat


Hats are non-negotiable for any outdoor activity on a sunny day, but not all hats are created equal when it comes to actual UPF. Mesh-back trucker caps and loosely woven sun hats don’t cut it, but this $15 bucket hat sure does. Available in a range of colors including lots of neutrals and a very pretty caramel-ish terracotta, the hat has amassed about 1,000 perfect ratings on Amazon. Besides sun protection, its best feature is that it folds up into itself (without wrinkling), taking up not much more than six flat inches in your luggage.

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