Rayward Apparel Launches Its First UPF Performance Clothing Line

Rayward Apparel debuts new collection of sun protective clothing, compromising neither comfort nor performance in the process.

NEW ORLEANS, LA, March 26, 2020. With the launch of its new UV protective clothing line, Rayward Apparel sees a bright future. With a unique fabric utilizing bamboo’s natural properties, the company’s first UPF sun shirts blend comfort, performance and protection.

Founded in 2019, Rayward Apparel began with a simple mission of designing better UPF sun protection clothing. That mission quickly grew beyond apparel, however. “I wanted to start a company bigger than myself—one that could create a positive impact on as many lives as possible, while encouraging and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle,” says Devin Regan, Rayward Apparel’s founder. “Many apparel brands reinforce the ‘active’ component, but too few address health and the hidden dangers of UV exposure.”

A Wakeup Call No One Wants

Devin, a former collegiate track and field athlete at the University of Maryland (’09), spent hours training in the sun. More than a decade after graduating, he still enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle. However, this almost came to a sudden stop after a melanoma diagnosis at age 32. “The diagnosis was a wakeup call, and the quick discovery probably saved my life, but I knew I needed to do something to help prevent others from suffering a worse fate,” explains Devin. “My goal was simple: create the type of apparel I should have been wearing all along—one that protects as well as it performs.”

After thorough design and testing, Rayward Apparel’s debut line of performance sun protection is available for an exclusive pre-sale. The Sun Bound Collection, as its called, is available in three styles—short sleeve, long sleeve or hooded. Inspired by the company’s year-round sun chasing, the Sun Bound Collection is lightweight, ultra soft and, most importantly, protective. Rayward Apparel is finalizing production now and expecting the first batch of orders to ship out this summer.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the hard work and research that went into producing our first line of UPF apparel, but even more proud of the positive impact we hope to make as a business,” says Devin, alluding to Rayward Apparel’s commitment to donating 5% of all company profits to organizations researching and treating skin cancer.

About Rayward Apparel

Rayward Apparel believes staying protected shouldn’t mean staying indoors. Likewise, sun safety shouldn’t mean compromising comfort, style or performance. Focusing exclusively on UPF 50+ sun clothing, Rayward Apparel’s promise is simple: More Adventure. Less Exposure. Learn more at https://www.raywardapparel.com/

UPF Sun Hoodie in Tidal Blue

Best Sun Hat for Gardening and Yardwork

Sunny Flower Garden

Gardening and yardwork are extremely rewarding and healthy activities. To keep them that way, though, make sure you are sun safe and properly protected from UV radiation. To ensure safe gardening and skin protection in the yard, always wear a gardening sun hat with UPF protection. Keep reading to learn about our favorite gardening sun hat for UV protection in the yard: UPF bucket hats.

Bucket Gardening Sun Hats Don’t Sacrifice Function

Bucket-style UPF garden hats meet all the practical needs of working in the yard. The adjustable chin strap keeps your gardening hat in place, even when you’re bending over or working beneath low-hanging branches. Plus, they’re easily folded and packable for compact storage in a back pocket or gardening shed. Another reason our bucket gardening sun hats are the best is because they are machine-washable. This is especially important when they get sweaty or dirty. Or, do what we do and let them collect a little grime to show exactly how hard you’ve been working in the yard!

Lawnmower Cutting the Lawn

Bucket Sun Hats Are More Comfortable for Gardening

When you’re working hard out in the yard, whether it’s planting bulbs, watering the flowers, mowing the lawn or raking leaves, it’s important to be comfortable. You have enough to deal with fighting the bugs and weeds, and uncomfortable clothes would just add insult to injury. With that in mind, our gardening sun hats are designed to be lightweight, moisture-wicking and quick-drying. This means you’ll feel cooler, not hotter, when wearing our gardening bucket hats. Plus, an adjustable drawcord makes it possible to tighten the width for a snug fit around your head. 

Bucket UPF Gardening Hats Offer More UV Protection

If you’re looking specifically for a hat to wear in the yard, a gardening hat’s UV protection is possibly the most important factor. Fortunately, bucket gardening sun hats are the best for sun protection because of their shapeable 360-degree brim. This makes them far better-suited for yardwork than a baseball hat, which doesn’t protect your neck or ears. The full brim of our best gardening sun hat protects not only your scalp, but also your face, ears and neck. Even with a 360-degree sun brim, remember to pair your hat with broad spectrum sunscreen to shield against indirect UV rays reflecting off of surfaces such as cement, sand and water.

Additionally, Rayward Apparel’s bucket sun hats forgo visible air vents for a lightweight fabric that breathes on its own without the need for eyelets. This is also better than straw hats which often feature a woven pattern through which UV rays can penetrate. This means you don’t need to worry about UV rays damaging your scalp by pouring through unnecessary holes in your gardening hat!

Lastly, our bucket gardening hats are best for sun protection because they are rated UPF 50+, which is the highest possible rating for UV protective fabrics. This means that over 98% of UV rays never reach your head because they are blocked by our gardening hat.

Sunny Garden with Orange Flowers

Rayward Apparel’s Sun Ops UPF bucket hat is the best gardening sun hat because it combines function, comfort and protection. Next time you’re out in the lawn, whether taking a mental break from your computer, growing something delicious to eat, crossing off to-dos or just enjoying the beauty of nature, don’t let a sunburn detract from your outdoor experience. Choose a gardening sun hat that protects as well as it performs, like Rayward Apparel’s UPF bucket hat.

Guess what?!? Gardening sun hats are now available from Rayward Apparel! To experience the joy of gardening with UPF 50+ sun protection, shop our Sun Ops bucket hat now!

Bonus: Looking for a little gardening inspiration? Check out these incredible garden flower beds:

A Brief History of Sunscreen and Sun Protection

Sun Protection in Ancient Egypt

Sun protection has come a long way since ancient times, but the need to protect our skin is nothing new. Travel back in time with us on a quick journey through the interesting history of sunscreen and sun protection. We imagine you’ll return grateful to be on this end of the timeline with access to UPF 50+ clothing and broad-spectrum sunscreens.

Sun Protection in Ancient Times

In ancient Egypt, people used a combination of grains and spices to concoct sunscreens, relying primarily on rice bran, lupine and jasmine. Although people with limited, if any, understanding of the sun’s damaging rays applied these for cosmetic reasons, the Egyptians were actually on to something. In fact, it’s now known that rice bran contains a substance that actually offers limited UV protection!

Jumping ahead and into Greece, people became more aware of sun damage. However, the revealing practices of exercising naked outdoors and lathering oneself in olive-oil demonstrated room for improvement in the areas of sun safety.

We’ll travel into Europe and ahead to the medieval period. At this time, people preferred pale skin as an indicator of wealth, so sun protection took the form of clothing. Since this often meant several layers, we begin to see more effective—albeit less comfortable—sun protection taking shape.

Sun Protection in the 20th Century

Let’s skip way ahead to the early 1900s (hey, we said this would be brief!). This is when scientists begin linking sun exposure, cellular damage and cancer. These findings led to an increased demand for sunblock. The first of which was invented by an Australian chemist named Milton Blake, but with little proven effectiveness. Later, Austrian scientist and climber Franz Greiter developed a cream with some actual UV protection. It was only about SPF 2, but at least it was a start. During WW2, American pharmacist Benjamin Green created a sunblock for soldiers in the South Pacific, which would eventually become Coppertone.

Crowded Beach Needing Sun Protection

Interestingly, the advent of more effective sunscreens coincided with shifting cultural attitudes towards tanning. Where it was once considered best to have pale skin, the idea of tanning started to take hold. In the 1960s, as scientists shed light on causes of skin damage, people began shining lights by buying tanning beds. Worse yet, these were often used in conjunction with tanning lotions, only exasperating UV damage.

To combat the lack of understanding regarding UV exposure and skin health, Franz Greiter (mentioned above) invented the Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, rating system. As his SPF system became widely adopted, sun protection products and their labeling kept evolving. Continued research revealed different types of UV rays. We now know that both UVA and UVB rays cause damage—thus the need for broad-spectrum protection to prevent sun burn, early aging and, most importantly, skin cancer. In the 1980s, Coppertone introduced the first broad spectrum sunscreen. Also, this was around the time when the first water-resistant sunscreens debuted.

Sun Protection Today

More recently, sunscreens are scrutinized for impacting marine life and coral reefs, and rightfully so. As we learn more about the potential impact of certain sunscreen ingredients, especially oxybenzone (and to a lesser degree, octinoxate), it becomes increasingly important to check product labels to ensure that what you are using is not only safe for you, but also for your environment.

Coral Reef Impacted by Sunscreen

Fast forward to today, and despite some remaining myths and misconceptions still surrounding sun protection, we’ve come a long way in our understanding of the causes and effects of UV damage. Fortunately, we no longer have to rely solely on sunscreen for protection, but have the added protection offered through sun protective clothing. Similar to SPF sunscreen ratings, we now have Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ratings for fabrics. Plus, modern textile production and testing has led to new fabric blends that feel, perform and protect better than ever. With this insight comes advancements in protective UPF 50+ clothing—which blocks over 98% of harmful UV rays—allowing you to continually explore new horizons, prepared and protected with clothing that performs.

Shop UPF 50+ Clothing at Rayward Apparel

Sources: he New York Times; JAMA Dermatology; ThoughtCo.com

Sun Protection Still Matters, Even During Self-quarantine

Sunset from Inside with UPF Apparel

As we practice social distancing and self-quarantining in order to “flatten the curve”—hopefully easing the burden of COVID-19 on our health system—there’s a temptation to allow other aspects of our health and well-being to take a backseat. Of course, some of this is necessary, as we must work together to curb the spread of the COVID-19. Concurrently, we can’t forget about sun safety and shouldn’t neglect other parts of our health, including our skin.

Continue reading for Rayward Apparel’s self-quarantine sun protection and skin care tips:

Your Windows Probably Don’t Block UV Rays

Whether you’re working from home, soaking in the sun from your home office window, or wistfully looking out from your porch while dreaming of a return to normalcy and the adventures you’re going to take, odds are you are still being exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Most household windows don’t filter UV rays. This means you still need protection on the area’s most exposed, which are likely your face, neck, back and arms. Of course, we recommend UPF 50+ apparel for its combination of comfort and performance. Additionally, complement this with SPF lotions to protect the areas not covered by our sun protective clothing. Even indoors, UV protection matters!

Dry Air = Dry Skin

Spending additional time indoors likely means that you’re spending more time surrounded by air conditioning. Whether cooling or heating, this usually equates to drier air, and therefore drier skin. Gentle exfoliation will help, and consider using an in-home humidifier. Or, if weather permits, open some windows to prevent drying-out and damaging your skin. Give your skin a break from cosmetics that aren’t health-related and let your skin breathe. Your colleagues on your video call will understand!

More Distance, Less Help with Sun Safety

It’s critical that we all practice social distancing, but the downside of keeping our distance from friends and family could unintentionally result in less accountability. How many times has a family member reminded you to apply sunscreen? Or when you forgot sun protection, they offered some? And who is going to get those hard to reach spots of your back? Even if you’re fortunate enough to still find ways to participate in outdoor activities like kayaking or running, doing so alone (or at a greater distance from others) may mean less help in maintaining proper sun safety. The best defense is the broad-spectrum protection offered by UPF 50+ apparel, complemented by sunscreen applied 30 minutes prior to exposure, and re-applied every two hours. Plus, if you need help remembering, use your mobile phone, Alexa or other smart devices to set reminders!

Kayaking with UPF Apparel

The Best Sun Safety is Constant Sun Protection

The worst sun damage often occurs when we aren’t prepared. Remember the day the fish wouldn’t stop biting? How about the pick-up game of volleyball followed by beachside drinks? Or, perhaps more relevant these days, the home gardening project that took twice as long as you expected? Even with our best intentions, without proper planning, we’re prone to surprise UV damage caused by our desire to be in the sun. The solution? Start each day with a routine that includes preventative sun protection, such as putting on (or packing) your UPF apparel, applying broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion, and setting reminders to keep it up throughout the day.

When normal routines are broken, as almost everyone’s are right now, it’s easy to replace healthy routines—like going outside, exercising and eating well—with less beneficial habits. Of course, with the stresses of the times, we’re not expecting skin care to be your #1 priority. Still, with a bit of attention and planning, you can maintain healthy sun safety habits, indoors or outside, and have one less thing to worry about.

From our team to yours, stay safe. We’re all in this together, and we’re just as eager as you to get back outside. For now, develop your sun safety routine, call your friends and family, and plan future adventures!

Are UPF Shirts Worth It?

Although this is a fairly vague question, it’s one we get asked often. If you are considering buying a quality UPF shirt with sun protection and asking if it’s worth it, our answer is always a resounding ‘YES’. Exposure to UV radiation is harmful to your skin and can lead to cancer, you should always do your best to stay protected.

However, our reasons why depend largely on what you are looking to get out of your UPF shirt. For example, whether you are buying it to stay safe from harmful UV rays, save money, or possibly both.

Health Benefits and Value

Doctor showing health benefits of sun protection

Alternative: Standard shirts

The primary function of a shirt for sun protection is to do exactly that – protect you from the sun. The reason UPF shirts exist at all is because the average cotton shirt has very little protective qualities. While it depends on a variety of factors, a standard shirt may have an average UPF rating of anywhere from 1-5. Although UPF is a little different from SPF, this is like protecting yourself with sunscreen having an SPF of anywhere from 1-5. That is certainly not a sunscreen you would use to protect yourself, therefore a shirt with that value is not something you should wear when outdoors. 

All Rayward Apparel products are UPF 50+. This provides ‘Excellent’ UV protection, allowing less than 1/50th of the sun’s harmful rays to penetrate the shirt. In summary, if you are often outdoors and want to prioritize your health a quality shirt for sun protection is certainly worth it. 

Alternative: Sunscreen

On the other hand, lets say your alternative is to simply stay shirtless and use sunscreen. From a skin protection standpoint, if you are using an SPF 50 sunscreen you are receiving the same protection as a UPF 50 shirt (make sure the sunscreen is always ‘broad-spectrum). However, to stay completely protected you need to make sure you re-apply your sunscreen at least every two hours. This time frame is even shorter when swimming or exercising. Sunscreen naturally fades and washes off, so reapplication is critical to maintain the proper level of protection. 

Alternatively, a shirt with sun protection is always going to be broad-spectrum, never needs re-application, and the UPF value won’t wash out. The downside is obviously that you need to wear a shirt, especially if it’s an extremely hot beach day. Luckily, while most sun shirts are extremely protective, they can also be lightweight and breathable allowing you to stay comfortable even on the hottest of days.

Cost Benefits and Value

UPF Shirts with Sun Protection Equal Cost Savings

From a cost perspective, a shirt for sun protection might appear to be more expensive up front, but you need to consider the long term benefits. 

Let’s say for example you play tennis, volleyball, or some other outdoor sport every Saturday. Let’s also say you are outside for a total of four hours each time. The recommended amount of sunscreen to cover your entire body is 1 ounce, and even the cheapest sunscreen can cost $1 – $2 per ounce. Assuming you are sweating, you will likely have to apply three total times to maintain a proper level of protection throughout the four hours. This would equate to using around $5 worth of sunscreen every Saturday.

Instead, A UPF protective shirt may cost you a total of $50 up front, but it will keep you covered for years to come. That means after about 10 times wearing a shirt with sun protection, or 2-3 months of only wearing it once a week, it will recoup its cost and then start saving you money on sunscreen moving forward. Keep in mind you will still need a minimal amount of sunscreen to protect any exposed areas. This will not only save you money, but a ton of trips to the convenience store as well. 

What Are the Best Hats for Sun Protection?

Woman wearing purple bucket hat

Hats play a critical role in sun protection, but not all hats are equally UV protective. Therefore, when determining the best hat for sun protection, several factors must be considered. These include style, convenience, comfort and, most importantly, UV protection. Continue below as we outline the best hats for sun protection, comparing baseball hats, straw beach hats and sun bucket hats!

Baseball Hats for Sun Protection

Style: Not likely to ever go out of fashion, baseball hats are a decent option for sun protection. Baseball sun hats come in many different styles and fabrics, including mesh, wool and cotton. One negative in the style department is that most baseball hats don’t feature a neck strap. This leaves little to prevent them from being blown away at high speeds, such as when riding on a boat.

Convenience: Baseball hats are the most commonly owned of these three hat styles. Given that, there’s an argument to be made that the hat you already have is the most convenient. Love the one you’re with, right? They are relatively compact and lightweight, and some are even packable. Depending on the exact fabric, you may even be able to wash them in the washing machine or dishwasher.

Comfort: Most baseball hats are adjustable to create a snug fit for nearly any size head. Or, if you prefer a cleaner look, you could wear a custom-fitted baseball hat! In addition to fit, the fabric has a lot to do with the level of comfort. Stick with something lightweight (and UPF rated) for breathable comfort.

UV Protection: Of the three hat styles we’re looking at today, baseball hats provide the least protection from the sun. The visor is only on one side, which exposes the opposite side of your head, and they leave your ears entirely exposed. Of course, baseball hats can be flipped around if you need to use the bill or visor to shade a different part of your head. For example, a baseball hat worn backwards might offer some additional protection for your neck.

In Summary… While far better than nothing, baseball hats lack the protection offered by sun bucket hats, as you’ll see below. We’ll note, however, that you can overcome a baseball hat’s shortcomings by pairing it with a hooded shirt. Our top choice for this combo? Rayward Apparel’s UPF 50+ Sun Bound hoodie.

Baseball hat at the park

Straw Beach Hats for UV Protection

Style: Whether you like the classic style with a wide brim and natural straw, or something more modern with synthetic fibers and bright colors, there’s a woven-style sun hat for you! It’s also easy to make a straw sun hat more personal with a unique ribbon.

Convenience: On average, woven and straw beach hats are the largest, and arguably least convenient of these sun hat types. Where they excel, however, is in versatility. A woven sun hat won’t look out of place going from the beach to the coffee shop, or from dinner out to a ball game.

Comfort: Depending on their material and brim size, straw beach hats can be the heaviest of the bunch. They are, however, undeniably comfortable. Besides, nothing says “I’m on vacation” quite like a straw hat paired with a tropical drink.

UV Protection: With what is typically the widest of brims, straw hats do an excellent job of shading your face, ears and head from the sun. Be wary, however, of straw hats with a loose weave or any material that features areas through which UV rays could penetrate.

In Summary… While sometimes lacking in convenience and comfort, straw hats make up for these shortcomings with excellent UV protection. If a straw beach hat fits your fashion, then consider this a good option for UV protection. However, before you settle on a straw hat, consider how they compare to sun bucket hats.

Women wearing straw beach hats

Sun Bucket Hats for Sun Protection

Style: The perfect combination of style and substance, sun bucket hats are back and here to stay. Long gone are the days when bucket hats were reserved for fishing and outdoorsmen. Thanks in part to the rise of athleisure, sun bucket hats are now just as appropriate on the street as they are on the boat. Plus, practical features like adjustable neck straps keep your sun bucket hats where they belong!

Convenience: Bucket hats are the most convenient of all sun protection hats. Not only are they lightweight, but they are also easily packable without any concerns of damaging a stiff visor (like on a baseball hat) or of taking up too much space (like with a straw hat). Plus, they’re usually machine-washable, and a built-in chin strap conveniently allows hanging your bucket hat around your neck.

Comfort: With a lightweight, breathable fabric and a soft, shapeable brim, sun bucket hats offer incredible comfort for a variety of weather conditions and a range of activities. Plus, an adjustable drawcord allows you to loosen or tighten the circumference for a comfortable, snug fit around your head.

UV Protection: Sun bucket hats with UPF 50+ rated fabrics, like the ones available from Rayward Apparel, offer the best sun protection. The adjustable 360-degree brim protects from all angles, and the fabric dries quickly if submerged in water. Worn properly, you’ll protect not only your scalp, but also your ears, neck and face.

In Summary… It should come as no surprise that bucket sun hats, which excel in every category, are also our top choice for UV protection. Lightweight, comfortable, versatile and packable, plus with 360-degrees of sun protection, the best hats for sun protection are sun bucket hats. If you’re going to rely on one hat for sun protection, make it a UPF 50+ sun bucket hat.

Golfing with Sun Bucket Hat

Wearing any of the hats above is better than not wearing a hat at all, but our clear favorite is sun bucket hats. Their combination of style, convenience, comfort and UV protection make them safest and the best choice for sun protection. Of course, with any sun hat, check for a UPF 50+ rating to ensure you are adequately protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Just remember, always pair your hat with broad spectrum sunscreen.

Sun bucket hats are available now at Rayward Apparel, so shop our Sun Ops UPF 50+ bucket hats today!

For additional tips on how to stay safe in the sun, check out this short video from Cone Health:

Why You Need a Sun Hat

Woman wearing sun hat at the beach

If you have a head, then you need a sun hat. Need more convincing? Continue below as we outline but a few of the many reasons why a sun blocking hat is a must-have any time of year, especially in the summer. Whether it’s helping keep you cool, protecting your face or shielding your ears and neck, don’t even think about starting your next adventure without a sun blocking hat.

Sun Blocking Hats Keep You Cool, Literally

Sun hats actually help you stay cool in hot weather. Think of your sun hat as cool, refreshing shade that you wear! By blocking the sun’s radiation, which would heat your entire body, a sun blocking hat helps your body stay cool. The best options feature lightweight fabrics to allow for airflow, and quick-drying materials to keep your head dry and cool. 

Protect Your Eyes (and Eyelids) with a Sun Hat

Wearing a sun blocking hat helps protect your eyes and eyelids from UV damage. With a nice wide brim (the larger the better), you’ll significantly reduce the amount of direct UV exposure on your eyes. This helps prevent eye damage, as well as decreases your risk of skin cancer around your eyes. We still recommend wearing UV sunglasses, however, to protect against indirect UV rays. For example, those that might reflect off of the water, snow, sand or cement.

Man with bucket hat and camera

Sun Blocking Hats Prevent Wrinkles & Age Spots

Unless your goal is to get wrinkles early, you should wear a sun blocking hat. Used in conjunction with broad spectrum sunscreen, sun hats prevent skin damage and decrease early signs of aging, such as wrinkles. Delay those crow’s feet and keep your skin looking youthful with a wide-brimmed sun hat.

Sun Hats Protect Your Face

Sun blocking hats with a bill or brim help protect vulnerable parts of your face, like your forehead, nose, lips and cheeks. While sunglasses are great for protecting your eyes, they practically paint a bullseye on your nose. Counter that with a sun blocking hat featuring a bill long enough to cast shade on your mouth and nose. Of course, as the sun sinks lower, your hat’s brim offers less protection, so make sure you also wear broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen.

Wide-brimmed Sun Hats Protect Your Ears & Neck

It’s likely that your ears and neck receive more direct UV exposure than any other part of your body. For the most protection, don’t settle for a hat that leaves your neck and ears exposed. Instead, choose a wide-brimmed sun blocking hat that offers 360 degrees of protection. Just remember, the wider the brim, the more UV protection your ears and neck receive.

Even when wearing a sun blocking hat, you still need to wear broad spectrum sunscreen. Sun hats are great at preventing direct UV rays from above. However, they cannot block 100% of the sun’s radiation because UV rays also bounce and reflect off nearby surfaces. Therefore, while a wider brim offers more protection, it cannot entirely protect your face. Make sure you follow all our recommendations to prevent skin cancer, including wearing a sun hat, UPF 50+ apparel and broad spectrum sunscreen.

Guess what? Sun blocking hats are now available from Rayward Apparel, so shop the Sun Ops UPF 50+ Bucket Hat now!

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