Can UV Go Through Clothes?

UV Shirts Exposure, Sunlight over field

So can UV go through clothes? In most cases – yes. But it’s not necessarily if UV can pass through that you should be asking, but how much UV can pass through.

UV radiation is the leading cause of most skin cancers, so it’s important to protect yourself. However, UV exposure is tricky because it’s not possible to see with the naked eye. Just because visible light is not passing through an object or fabric, that does not necessarily UV light is being stopped. And the opposite is true as well – UV protection shirts might be lightweight and seemingly thin – allowing light to pass through, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they allow UV radiation to pass through as well. A great example of this is sunglasses that block 100% of UV radiation. You can clearly see through them, yet UV radiation cannot pass through at all. 

The video to the right shows what the world looks like through a UV camera, or in UV light instead of visible light. It’s an interesting way to show how seemingly invisible factors impact the amount of UV light that can penetrate something. Around the 1:34 minute mark of the video they show a pair of glasses in both visible light and UV light side by side – a great way to see the imperceptible differences. A similar concept applies to fabrics – just because you can’t see through a fabric does not necessarily mean UV radiation is not passing through.

So how are you supposed to know how much UV radiation is penetrating your clothing? And if you have a UV protection shirt, how much protection is that providing?

UPF Rating for UV Protection

The only way to know the true protective value of a fabric is if it has a UPF value listed. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is a rating very similar to the SPF ratings you’ll see on sunscreen, but is applicable only to fabrics (read our full explanation of UPF and how it differs from SPF). 

To list a UPF rating a product must first be lab tested according to industry standards which will show the exact amount of UV radiation which can penetrate that fabric. A rating of UPF 30 means 1/30th, or about 3.33% of UV light passes through. And UV protection shirts with a rating of UPF 50 means 1/50th, or about 2% of UV light passes through. The standard categories you may see listed are below:

UPF RatingProtection Category% UV Radiation Blocked
UPF 15 – 24Good93.3 – 95.9
UPF 25 – 39Very Good96.0 – 97.4
UPF 40 – 50+Excellent97.5 – 98+

At Rayward Apparel, we believe all sun protective products should have a rating of at least 50+, providing you the highest possible level of protection. To learn more about our full line of UV protection shirts and accessories, visit our online shop.

Hooded UPF 50 Bamboo Blue Shirt Rayward Apparel
Mens SUN BOUND Hooded UPF 50+ Shirt

Fit and Fabric

If a shirt is specifically designed with skin protection in mind, it likely has a UPF rating listed. However, the vast majority of products you’ll find will not have anything rating listed – so how are you supposed to know how much UV light is passing through? While it’s impossible to say an exact amount, there are certain factors you can look for which can help in making a determination. Our companion post summarizes which fabrics block UV rays, but if you look for the features outlined below, you’ll be off to a good start:

  • Materials: Synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester often perform better than bleached cotton shirts. Also many UV protection shirts are made of bamboo viscose, which is shown to be more absorbent than a standard cotton.
  • Construction: The tighter the weave the better.
  • Fit: Loose fitting is generally better than tight fitting as it’s not going to be stretched out
  • Style: The more coverage the better. Choose long sleeves over short sleeves.
  • Color: Generally the darker the better, but it’s not always the case.

The best way to make sure you stay protected is to buy shirts that have been designed to keep you that way – protected. UV radiation can damage your skin even through clothes, so make sure to keep that in mind whenever you are out in the sun.

Top 5 Questions (and Answers) on Sun Protection

Motorboat with Sun Reflecting on the Water

It’s important, we spend a lot of time in it, and yet there’s still a lot of confusion about how to protect ourselves from it. We’re talking about the sun, of course! Our goal below is to highlight the top five questions regarding sun protection, and in doing so, hopefully clarify a few important sun safety tips. One thing that is clear? Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound shirts and sun hoodie are your go-to sun protection apparel! Find out why while learning more about sun protection below:

1) What Causes Sunburn and Skin Damage?

Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrating your skin. UV damage comes from two forms of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are what cause wrinkling, early aging and, most critically, skin cancer. UVB rays damage the surface of the skin and are what cause sunburn and reddening. Too much exposure to either UVA or UVB rays will damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.

2) What Affects My Risk of Sun Damage?

Your risk of sun damage, whether permanent or temporary, depends on a few factors, including the amount of time for which you are exposed. The time, environment and weather also play a role in determining how much exposure is too much. The sun’s rays are most powerful between 10 AM – 4 PM, for example. Also, you’ll burn easier at higher altitudes or closer to the equator. Furthermore, consider your surroundings and any surfaces that could reflect UV rays, such as water, ice, sand and concrete, especially onto your face.

Woman at Beach with Sun Protection

3) What Is the Best UPF Rating?

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) measures the amount of UV radiation that goes through a fabric and reaches the skin. The higher the UPF rating, the better, and the best is UPF 50+. To translate a UPF rating into practical application, a UPF-rated fabric lets a percent of UV rays through equal to one divided by the UPF rating (1 / UPF). For example, a UPF 50+ shirt lets through less than 1/50th, or less than 2%, of UV rays. Additionally, the UPF rating system, unlike the SPF system for sunscreens, measures protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

4) How Do Sun Shirts Block UV Rays?

UPF sun shirts and sun hoodies block UV rays by shielding your skin. This protection can be accomplished a few different ways. Dyeing with darker colors, for instance, will absorb more UV rays, therefore allowing less to reach your skin. Certain fibers, like the blend of viscose from bamboo and cotton used in our sun hoodie, have natural properties and a dense weave that absorbs UV. NOTE: Some companies achieve their UPF ratings through chemical and oil treatments which can be bad for the environment and less durable.

5) What’s the Most Effective Sun Protection?

The most effective sun protection is the one that you wear when you need it. To us, that means the reliable, comfortable and always broad-spectrum UV protection provided by UPF apparel, like our sun hoodie. There are many reasons we like UPF clothing more than just sunscreen for effective sun protection. For starters, with properly worn UPF apparel, you can’t accidentally miss a spot, you don’t have to reapply and it’s easier to remember to put a shirt on! Plus, you’ll save money in the long run and your protection is always broad spectrum.

Men's Sun Bound Hoodie in Blue

If you have additional questions about sun protection, leave us a comment below! To shop our UPF 50+ Sun Bound collection of sun shirts, including a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and sun hoodie, CLICK HERE.

Why We Love Our Bucket Hats (And Why You Should Too)

Rayward Apparel's UV Bucket Hat

Call us biased, but we absolutely love our UPF bucket hat! It’s comfortable, lightweight and looks great, plus it provides UPF 50+ sun protection! Of course, it makes sense for us to love our new bucket sun hat—we designed it, after all. What might be of more interest to you, however, is hearing why YOU should love it too! Keep reading to find out what makes our UPF bucket hats so special.

Like every product from Rayward Apparel, our UPF bucket hats had to first meet our own needs, satisfying our team’s particularly high standards in terms of form, fit and function. You’ll see more on the importance of each of these below, along with evidence for how our UPF bucket hat nails it.

Form: UPF Bucket Hats with Style

We know you’ve seen them; bucket hats with tacky patterns, oversized brims, pointless eyelets and gimmicky features that serve the marketing, not the user. For Rayward Apparel’s UPF bucket hat, we started from scratch, asking what does a sun protection hat need? Well, it needs to be lightweight to keep you comfortable. Check. It needs to be moisture-wicking to keep you dry. Check! It needs to be made of a machine-washable fabric. Check! It needs to be packable so you always have it on hand, it needs a timeless look that won’t suffer the fate of trendy misfires, and it needs to last so you can wear it every day. Check, check, check!

Wear Your UPF Bucket Hat Under a Sunny Sky with Clouds

Fit: Our UPF Bucket Hat Adjusts to You

Let’s be honest, one size never fits all. With that in mind, we knew our UPF bucket hat needed to be adjustable. We love the fact that you have TWO ways to adjust the fit of our UPF bucket hat. The first is with a drawcord on the back that tightens the circumference for a perfect fit around the head. The second is with the adjustable chin strap that can be tightened to keep your bucket hat exactly where it belongs.

Function: UPF 50+ UV Protection, First and Foremost

From day one of designing Rayward Apparel’s UPF bucket hat, we knew it had to be UPF 50+. This is the highest possible UV protection rating for fabrics, and we weren’t going to settle for anything less. We also love that our hat maintains its UPF 50+ rating even when wet, so sweat and water won’t prevent you from getting the sun protection you need. Plus, with our UPF bucket hat’s not-too-big, and not-too-small, 360-degree brim, you’re protected on all sides. Lastly, we love that you can (and should) wear this hat all year, and for a wide range of activities. What makes this hat work in the garden, also helps it work for fishing. Likewise, for the reasons it works at the beach, it also works at a sporting event. In short, we love our UPF bucket hat, and we can’t wait for you to fall in love too!

Rayward Apparel’s new UPF bucket hat will be on sale soon! Subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to know when our UPF 50+ sun hats are available.

Bonus: Our UPF apparel is just one part of smart sun safety. Still think you don’t need to protect your face with a UPF hat and broad spectrum sunscreen? Check out this video to see your skin the way the sun sees it:

What Is The Best Sun Protection Clothing?

Paddleboarding on River at Sunset

The most reliable sun protection comes from quality UPF apparel, but what makes for the best sun protection clothing? Not all apparel offers equal protection against damaging UV rays. In fact, some of the clothing labeled and rated for sun protection isn’t ideal for active wear. Shirts with UV protection should be comfortable, stylish, versatile, long-lasting and, above all else, UV protective. Continue below as we dig deeper into what makes for the best sun protection clothing.

Comfortable Sun Protection Clothing

The perfect sun protection clothing needs to be as comfortable as it is protective. You want a shirt so comfortable that you’d wear it even if you weren’t leaving your house. All too often, choosing a shirt with UV protection means sacrificing comfort for the sake of a higher UPF rating. This is how you end up with sun shirts that feel like plastic, aren’t breathable and fit poorly. In reality, comfort and protection should go hand in hand. Fortunately, Rayward Apparel’s blend of viscose from bamboo provides the best of both worlds for an ultra soft buttery feel that still ensures a UV shield rated at UPF 50+.

Bamboo forest

Stylish UPF Apparel Designed for Any Occasion

The best sun protection clothing also needs a stylish design and quality finish. Without style, even your most protective shirts with UV protection would just sit in your dresser. With this in mind, Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound Collection is designed with a modern, athletic fit that looks as good as it feels. Plus, a timeless raglan sleeve and tagless collar round out the design. The result? What we believe to be the best t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and hooded shirt for all day sun protection. Speaking of which…

Versatility Equals Utility

Ideal sun protection clothing fits your needs, rather than the other way around. For some, that means full body cover from the waist up, and therefore a long sleeve hooded shirt is best. For others, a long sleeve shirt paired with a sun protective hat fits the bill. Or maybe you’re gearing up for a strenuous outdoor workout or stepping out into extremely hot weather. In either case, a short sleeve UV shirt and proper sunscreen application could be the most appropriate. Just as with the design, the fabric must also be versatile enough to handle whatever life brings, from a hot day at the beach or a long fishing trip, to a run in the rain or a hike through multiple climate zones. This is where the perfect blend of fabrics, including viscose from bamboo, balances lightweight, quick-drying breathability and broad spectrum UV protection. Ultimately, the best shirts with UV protection need the versatility to meet your lifestyle.

Durable, Long-lasting UV Protection

What good is UV protection if it doesn’t last as long as you need it? The best sun protection clothing is built to last, both in terms of UV protection and general apparel construction. Rayward Apparel’s design team goes to great lengths to find fabric blends that resist pilling. As a result, your shirts look great wash after wash. Plus, our Sun Bound shirts with UV protection are made to stretch and withstand the abuse of a wide range of activities, both wet and dry, hot or cold.

Hiking mountains on a sunny day

Broad Spectrum UV Protection

Ultimately, the best sun protection clothing needs to effectively protect you from the sun’s damaging UV rays, both UVA and UVB. This means dependable broad spectrum protection when and where you need it most. Unlike typical lightweight clothing, UPF 50+ apparel blocks over 98% of the harmful UV radiation that would otherwise cause sunburns, or worse. To find the best sun protection clothing, look for product labels that indicate a UPF rating of 50+, the fabric equivalent of SPF 50, and the highest possible UV protection.


Shirts with UV protection that meet the criteria outlined above, like Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound shirts, are your best option for high performance sun protective clothing. Not only do our Sun Bound UPF shirts look great, fit comfortably and hold up to the demands of an active lifestyle, they meet the highest standards of UPF protection, rated at UPF 50+. To learn more and shop our Sun Bound UPF 50+ shirts, CLICK HERE.

Rayward Apparel’s SUN BOUND Collection

SUN BOUND Collection UPF 50 Apparel

We recently launched our first product line of sun protective bamboo shirts – the SUN BOUND Collection. But what makes this line of sun shirts so unique?

While we only recently officially launched the SUN BOUND collection, it’s been months in the making. Creating a high performing shirt that also achieves a high UV Protection rating (UPF) requires a very specific fiber blend. It must be lightweight and breathable to handle the heat, but also protective enough to protect against harmful UV rays. After prototyping dozens of shirts and fiber blends from suppliers around the world, we’re proudly releasing the SUN BOUND Collection. The collection includes three styles of shirts, available in both men’s and women’s sizes: Short sleeve, long sleeve, and hooded.

Performance AND Protection

The SUN BOUND collection is more than just a high quality UPF 50 shirt, but it’s built to perform. These shirts are built for athletes, but comfortable and stylish enough for the casual wearer. Our unique blend of cotton, viscose from bamboo, and lycra create a lightweight and moisture wicking shirt any athlete would love, while providing a UPF protection rating any mom would approve of. While there may be other UPF 50 shirts out there that provide sufficient sun protection, there are very few that would be suitable for training. The SUN BOUND collection accomplishes both.

Comfort

You don’t have to be an athlete to fall in love with this collection. Not only is it one of the softest shirts you’ll ever wear, but we’ve designed every element of the shirt to make it as comfortable as possible. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Tailored athletic fit to ensure it’s not too loose and not to tight
  • Raglan sleeves for better movement with thumb loops stitched inside of the long sleeves to keep your arms protected regardless of your activity
  • Single layered fabric hood to provide substantial sun protection without overheating
  • Tag-free collar

Quality

These shirts are made to last. While lightweight and breathable, our blend of fibers is durable and strong enough to withstand the toughest conditions. In addition to developing an extremely durable fabric, we reinforce all our seams to prevent any tears or splitting.  Also, you can rest assured with our hassle-free returns & exchanges policy – If you are not entirely satisfied with your order we offer a free exchange or refund for the full cost of your returned items.

Mission

A portion of all purchases of the SUN BOUND collection (and all other products we sell now or in the future) will be donated to charities with a vision similar to ours to help treat and prevent skin cancer. For more details on the foundations we support and our charitable donations, click here.

We are finalizing the production of our shirts now, and expect all pre-sale orders to ship out upon completion. If you’d like to guarantee your shirt in a specific color and size, please order now and we will notify you as soon as we have it ready. As a thanks for your support and patience we are providing a 25% discount and free shipping for anyone who places a pre-sale order, just enter “PRESALE25” at checkout – the coupon code will be valid through May. To see the various styles, colors and sizes available, click here.

How Harmful Are UV Rays?

How Harmful Are UV Rays? Sun Over Hills

Our skin’s number one enemy is UV (ultraviolet) radiation, but just how bad is it? Like most things, there are a lot of misconceptions about sun protection and it really depends on length of exposure, but it’s proven to cause cancer and definitely something you should be protecting yourself from. Thankfully, most UV shirts for men and women do exactly that – keep you protected.

How & When Are People Exposed to UV Radiation?

The Sun and UV Damage

Women Tanning UV Exposure

The main source of UV radiation is the sun, which we are exposed to at different levels throughout the day. UV radiation from sun exposure does not penetrate past the skin, but can be extremely damaging and cause cancers which then permeate through the body. Look for products with a high SPF or UPF rating to determine the amount of UV protection a sunscreen or fabric provides.

The sun emits three types of UV radiation, but only two of them even reach our skin:

  • UVA: long wave ultraviolet waves. These do not cause sunburn, but are shown to damage the DNA of skin cells overtime and can lead to skin cancers overtime. Only broad spectrum sunscreens protect you from UVA rays in addition to UVB rays, but UV shirts for men and women with a high UPF rating always protect you from both.
  • UVB: short wave ultraviolet waves. These have more energy than UVA rays and damage the outer surface of your skin directly and are the reason you get a sunburn. Also, UVB rays are thought to be the leading cause of most skin cancers such as melanoma, basal and squamous cell skin cancer. 
  • UVC: The highest energy waves the sun emits, but these never reach our skin thanks to the interaction with our atmosphere. However, this is sometimes emitted through various man-made objects.

Tanning Beds and UV Exposure

The next most common exposure to UV is through tanning beds. While the amount of exposure depends on the duration and the specific lamp used, exposing yourself to unnecessary UV radiation should be avoided.

Other

  • Black-light lamps
  • Mercury-vapor lamps (but these generally only have dangerous UV rays when broken)

UV Studies and Statistics Related

Skin Cancer and UV Exposure in the United States

Building representing US Skin Cancer Facts
  • 9,500 people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer every day
  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer every hour
  • 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with UV exposure from the sun
  • The annual cost of treating skin cancer in the US is $8.1 Billion
  • 3.3 million people in the United States need skin cancer treatment annually

Link Between UV Exposure and Cancer in Men & Women

Certain cancer research organizations study and post the findings of the different causes of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and National Toxicology Program (NTP) are a couple of them. Below are a few of the many UV related causes that the IARC and NTP have linked to cancer:

  • Solar Radiation
  • Use of UV-emitting tanning devices and exposure to sunlamps/sunbeds
  • Broad-Spectrum UV radiation (including UVA, UVB, and UVC)

Summary of UV Exposure for Men & Women

UV exposure is not something you should take lightly. You should always keep your skin protected with either sunscreen or proper sun protective apparel if you are spending time outdoors.

You should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist immediately if you are concerned about your UV exposure and worried you might have developed skin cancer or have any concerning spots. The included video has a quick summary for things to look for if you are worried at all. Here at Rayward Apparel we are passionate about skin protection, but we are not skin cancer professionals and cannot give medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, it’s always best to consult with a doctor.

Protection with UV Shirts for Men & Women

We are committed to helping the battle against skin cancer. We make UV shirts for men and women, all of which have the highest possible UV protection rating, UPF 50+. Also, Rayward Apparel donates 5% of all company profits to our non-profit allies in the fight against skin cancer.

Source: American Cancer Society

What Time Should You Avoid The Sun?

Palm Tree and Sunny Beach

A big part of sun safety and UV protection is planning. This includes planning based on the weather, the UV Index, your activity and the time of day. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, planning with the right protection, such as UPF clothing with UV protection. With good planning, however, you don’t ever have to avoid the sun. You do, however, need to be careful about when you’re most exposed. Continue below for guidance on when to limit your sun exposure, and how to defend yourself with UPF clothing.

The Weather and UV Exposure

The first thing to consider when planning to be sun safe is the weather. Keep in mind, of course, that looks can be deceiving, and weather can quickly change. For example, even cloudy days pose a risk for UV damage as UV rays penetrate through clouds. Also, cold weather, and even a snow day, can still create a high risk of sun damage. UV rays are persistent throughout all four seasons, so sun safety can’t take a holiday in the winter. Whatsmore, if you’ve ever been hiking, fishing or spent the day at the beach, you probably know that the weather one minute could be completely different in an hour. So the best weather planning is to plan for any weather with UPF clothing that works well in any condition, such as a long sleeve sun shirt.

Weather, Rainbow and Rain Forecast

The Ultraviolet Index and Sun Safety

The National Weather Service (NSS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) together created an Ultraviolet Index. This UV index is used to measure the day’s forecasted levels of ultraviolet rays. This index goes from 0-11+ and should be checked prior to any prolonged outdoor activity, especially if you can’t avoid exposing your skin. 0-2 means low risks, but sun protection is still recommended. A UV Index rating of 3-7 indicates moderate to high risk, which demands carefully avoiding prolonged sun exposure, using sunscreen and covering up with UPF clothing as much as possible. Anything from 8+ represents a very high to extreme risk, and you should absolutely wear UPF 50+ sun protective clothing. Plus, all areas not covered by UPF clothing should be generously covered in broad spectrum sunscreen.

Activity-based Sun Safety

The next critical factor in planning ahead to ensure sun safety is in considering your expected activity. For instance, beach volleyball demands that you’re out in the sun, and you may not be able to wear a wide-brimmed sun protective hat. As a result, you need to plan ahead and use the shade when possible, and apply plenty of sunscreen to your face, head and neck. Also, make sure you apply your sunscreen 30 minutes in advance of being out in the sun. 

Time of Day and Sun Safety

One of the biggest factors in planning for sun exposure depends on the time of day. In most parts of the world, the sun is highest–and therefore the strongest–between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. A great tip for determining your sun risk is to look at your shadow. If your shadow is taller than you, then your risk is lower (but sun safety is still critical). On the other hand, if your shadow is shorter than you, then your risk is highest as the sun is more directly overhead. In these cases, you’re closer to midday and should seek shade or stay indoors. Unless, of course, you planned ahead with UPF clothing, like our Sun Bound collection, which is rated to block over 98% of UV rays.

Planning with UPF Clothing

Lastly, plan ahead with UPF 50+ sun protective clothing, like Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound collection, and you don’t ever need to avoid the sun. Instead, you just need to be sun smart and prepared for anything. Rayward Apparel, we know the world revolves around the sun, but your life shouldn’t. Enjoy More Adventure, Less Exposure—no matter the weather, UV index, or time day—when you safely protect yourself with our lightweight UPF apparel.

Bucket Hat or Baseball Cap for Sun Protection?

UPF Bucket Hat in Black

We are often asked whether bucket hats or baseball hats offer better UV protection from the sun. While both offer sun protection, we recommend a UPF bucket instead of a baseball cap for a few reasons. Continue below as we compare the advantages of bucket hats and baseball hats. We’ll look specifically at style, comfort, convenience and UV protection. By the end, we’re confident you’ll agree that the UV protection of sun protection bucket hats just can’t be beat!

Runway Face-off: Sun Protection Bucket Hats vs Baseball Hats

Much of style is subjective, but we’ll highlight a few key differences and let you draw your own conclusion. Bucket hats feature a 360-degree brim, which turned upside down gives them a bucket shape, hence the name. Baseball hats, meanwhile, feature a single visor extending out in one direction. Both come in fitted or adjustable varieties, with bucket hats usually accomplishing this with a more discrete rear drawcord. Both types of hats actually come in a number of sub-styles and materials. When buying a hat for sun protection, look for styles that feature as few holes and mesh as possible. This is because every hole creates a way for UV rays to reach your head.

Rest assured that neither hat type is likely to ever go out of style. If either is trending, however, it’s bucket hats making a resurgence as part of the athleisure and outdoorsy fashion movements.

Which Is More Comfortable, a Bucket Hat or Baseball Cap?

The individual comfort of a bucket hat or baseball hat depends largely upon the specific fabric. Baseball hats typically feature a stiff visor, which might be less comfortable against your head. This would be especially uncomfortable when pressed against another surface, such as a car headrest or beach blanket. As far as fit, both style hats come in fitted and adjustable varieties, as mentioned above. Ultimately, the main comfort differences will be determined by the material used. At Rayward Apparel, we only use lightweight, outdoor-friendly fabrics to keep you cool even on the hottest of days. As a result, you know you’ll be comfortable in our sun protection bucket hat.

Baseball Hat Exposes Ears to the Sun

A Matter of Convenience: Sun Protection Hats

We would never describe baseball hats as “inconvenient,” but there are certain conveniences afforded specifically to lightweight UV bucket hats. For instance, the soft and shapeable brim of a bucket hat is easier to wash and pack. With baseball hats, you have to worry about protecting the shape of your visor. Additionally, bucket hats are typically made with breathable, moisture-wicking materials. This is opposed to the plastics and foams sometimes used in ball caps. Lastly, any bucket hat worth its weight (light as it may be) will also feature an adjustable neck strap to keep your hat securely in place. Consider how inconvenient it would be for your sun protection to blow away because it wasn’t properly secured. If this sounds far-fetched, just watch this video below:

The Main Event: Which Offers Better Sun Protection?

If the other categories are close (and subject to personal preference), this is where our undisputed sun protection champion emerges. In terms of sun protection, a bucket hat is far better than a baseball hat. Since bucket hats feature a 360-degree brim, the wider of which the better, bucket hats offer protection for all sides of your head. Most critically, this includes UV protection for your ears, which are probably the biggest vulnerability exposed by only wearing baseball caps.

Wearing either a sun protection bucket hat or a baseball cap is better than wearing no hat. However, based on its especially strong performance in the categories of comfort and, most importantly, UV protection, the UPF bucket hat is our winner for best sun protection hat. If for some reason a bucket hat isn’t for you, or circumstances find you without one, at least wear a baseball hat. If that be the case, just make sure you pair your baseball hat with our UPF 50+ hooded shirt to protect your ears and neck. Alternatively, you could lather on a bunch of sunscreen, but sunscreen has its own downsides and will probably cost you more money in the long run.

Rayward Apparel will soon launch its first sun protection hat, and it should come as no surprise that UV protection was our highest priority. With that in mind, we created the best sun protection bucket hat which, like everything else we design, doesn’t compromise style, comfort or performance to achieve the best in UV protection.

To be the first to know when our UPF 50+ hat is available for purchase, sign up for our email newsletter today!

Does UPF Wash Out Of Clothing?

Will UPF wash out? Washing Machines.

So you’ve gone ahead and bought some UPF 50+ clothing, but what happens when it goes through the wash? Will any of that sun protection value be ‘washed out’ or will it keep protecting you at the same level? 

Depends On How The UPF Value Was Initially Achieved

The two most popular ways different apparel companies achieve a UPF rating are through 1) Properly constructing and designing a shirt with sun protection in mind and 2) Using a chemical on the clothing or threads with a chemical to boost it’s UPF rating. At Rayward Apparel we always recommend the first, the chemical free option, as it is not something that can ever ‘wash out’.

Design

The fabric design and composition plays a big part in the UPF rating. Some of these factors include the shirt weight, fabric blend, color, fit, and more. But ultimately, you want to make sure you are buying a product that has achieved it’s UPF value through these means, versus using chemical coatings to achieve it’s rating. If designed correctly, UPF 50+ clothing will always maintain that value and will not wash out of the product.

Chemicals

Gas Mask, Chemicals Impacting UPF

There are a variety of different chemical and oil infusions that can help boost a fiber’s UPF value. At Rayward Apparel, we generally disagree with this strategy as we think it opens a whole new set of potential issues:

  • Bad for the environment
  • Depending on the chemical, it’s possible it washes out of the fibers
  • Introduces more possibility for allergic reactions depending on the individual wearing it

Product Quality

As mentioned above, a lot of factors go into the design of a sun protective shirt to ensure it keeps you protected from harmful UV rays. Some of these factors include the shirt weight, fabric composition, color, fit, and more. But at the end of the day, the quality of the shirt plays a big part in maintaining its UPF rating – especially if it’s being worn and washed often. 

As your clothing starts to age it naturally becomes a little worn down. So you may not be ‘washing out’ the sun protection rating of your UPF 50+ clothing, but it’s possible the rating drops as  the shirt ages. This is especially true with a low quality shirt.  Depending on the durability of your clothing the fabric composition may be compromised after only a couple washes. In other words, as the threads thin out it allows more UV light to pass through. So while the UPF does not necessarily wash out, if you have a low quality shirt the UPF protection rating will start to drop over time. Higher quality shirts and more durable construction are designed to withstand the harshest environments and maintain a UPF rating for the life of the shirt – as is the case with all Rayward Apparel products. 

Simple Recommendations to keep your UPF 50+ clothing lasting as long as possible:

Clothes Line with UPF 50+ Clothing
  • Don’t wring out your sun protection clothing, this can permanently stretch the fibers which can lower the UPF rating.
  • Do not bleach. Even you are bleaching a white shirt and won’t cause any discoloration, it’s possible it damages the fibers. Bleach is great, however it’s a fairly harsh chemical on clothing. It’s best to keep your UV protective shirts intact. 
  • Wash your clothing in cold water. Warm and hot water is more likely to shrink your fabric which could in turn shorten the lifespan of the UPF clothing.

To learn more about our apparel and to view our current line of UPF 50+ clothing, check out our shop!

What Does UPF 50 Mean?

Sailboat on sunny day

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor – it’s the standard used to measure the amount of UV protection a fabric provides. The higher the UPF factor the better. UPF 50 is the highest possible rating for sun protective clothing, but what does it really mean?

Blocks 98% of all UV rays

The number 50 represents the factor to which the clothing protects the skin. When something is labeled as UPF 50 clothing, that means it provides excellent protection against harmful UV rays. For instance, a UPF 50 product allows only 1/50th of the harmful rays to penetrate the fabric. 

Sunscreen vs UPF 50

The sun emits two types of damaging UV rays – long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). It’s important to protect your skin from both. One of the key differences between UPF and SPF is that all sun protective fabrics (UPF) protect your skin from both types of radiation. Sunscreen (SPF) on the other hand only shows it’s effectiveness in protecting your skin from UVB rays. Always make sure your buying “broad-spectrum” sunscreen which protects you from both. 

We often get asked if sun protective clothing is a better option than sunscreen. Our answer – yes and no. You can’t really have one without the other. UPF 50 clothing does not ever require re-application is an excellent way to ensure you are protected from the sun, but it only protects the covered areas of your skin. In addition, even with the best apparel it’s important you also have a high quality sunscreen. Clothing can only cover so much, you still need to protect your face, neck, and other areas that are exposed to the sun.

‘Excellent’ Protection According to Standard Testing

All fabrics that list a UPF value must be tested according to the ASTM standards. The test measures UV penetration of a fabric and determines its exact UPF value, but sometimes this value is not always listed. Along with a UPF rating, the test results show the official Protection Category the fabric falls into. UPF 50 clothing falls into the ‘Excellent’ protection category – the best possible category. Fabrics with a UPF rating of 25 – 39 have ‘Very Good’ protection, and fabrics with a UPF rating of 15 – 25 have ‘Good’ protection. Anything less than UPF 15 is not considered a protective fabric. In summary, if you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure you are protected.

How Do I Know The UPF Value Of My Clothing?

All fabrics have some UPF rating, but it’s close to impossible to determine without proper testing. If a product has been tested and is designed for sun protection look for it’s UPF rating. First, just look on the tag and see if it’s listed there. If not, you might be able to find it through a quick google search. If it’s not listed anywhere on the product or in the product details, it’s likely never been tested. With any Rayward Apparel, you can have the piece of mind knowing ALL of our products achieve a UPF rating of 50 or more. 

Side by side, UPF 50 clothing may look and feel the same as all of the other options, but don’t be fooled. A common misconception is that any t-shirt will keep you properly protected from the sun – which is far from the truth. The average t-shirt has a UPF value of 1-4, providing minimal protection from UV rays. UPF clothing really does work and a ‘must-have’ for anyone that loves the outdoors. In the short video below to the right, a dermatologist from the Mayo Clinic provides some more insight:

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