Practicing safe sun
As skin cancer rates rise, so does the number of brands offering sun-protective clothing.
Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show July 31 – Aug. 3. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.
Skin cancer risks are dominating summer headlines, and consumers are responding by covering up to protect themselves. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
The truth is, every garment offers some sort of sun protection factor. Apparel with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating of 15 or higher — either because of its natural performance or due to an added chemical treatment — provides the best defense against harmful rays.
The ratings indicate the fraction of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays that will be exposed to the skin. For example, a rating of UPF 15 means 1/15 of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays will reach the skin; a UPF 50 rating means 1/50 of those rays will hit the skin.
UPF ratings printed on labels must be backed by testing, noted Bill Enman of ExOfficio, which continues to add pieces to its Sol Cool sun-protective collection. Skin cancer, Enman said, has “been a continually growing concern — certainly for the Baby Boomer generation and even Gen X.”
CW-X Endurance Generator Tights
CW-X merges its classic compression with UV protection in its Endurance Generator products. They combine the best aspects of the StabilyX and Pro Support Webs to provide muscle and joint support for athletes, and are made from UV-protective, four-way stretch EXO-Stretch fabric. Items in the line include the 3/4 length Endurance Generator Tights for women (MSRP $150) and the Endurance Generator Shorts for men (MSRP $120).
The North Face Water Dome Hoody
The North Faceshows its Water Dome Hoodies for men and women, which are UPF 50 and go with the board shorts the company is launching for stand-up paddleboarders. Patagonia offers the A-C Hoody made from its A-C Fabric, which offers sun-protection for outdoor adventurers.
Helly Hansen HH Cool Short Sleeve Shirt
Because of the way the Helly Hansen’s Lifa Technology fabric is woven, it has an inherent UPF rating of 30. The fabric appears in products like the HH Cool Short Sleeve Shirt (MSRP $40).
Another UPF protection shirt is the Marisol Sun Shirt from Isis, made from the company’s buttery soft DriRelease fabric, featuring UPF 50 protection. Though known for its hats, Tilley Endurables also specializes in sun-protective clothing. It shows its CNO1 Forever Cool Shirt (MSRP $119), a long-sleeve number with a UPF 30 rating.
Outdoor Research brings its UPF 50 Backcountry Boardshorts (MSRP $65), which are burly, quick-drying and stylish. The shorts are made with a lightweight 100 percent polyester twill fabric with triple-stitch seams. Laser-cut belt loops are low-profile so they can be used without a belt, and the shorts have a zippered thigh pocket and Velcro fly closure.
The Destination Paddle Wear Collection from Kokatat includes the lightweight polyester Paddling Shirt and Paddling Pant. The pants feature two front jean pockets and a horizontal zippered stash pocket on the left thigh for quick access while seated. Each pant hem contains a micro bungee cord for quick adjustment when entering shallow waters. The men’s pant has a zipper fly, a removable nylon webbing belt with a plastic D-ring and traditional belt loops, and is available in a convertible zip-off model. The women’s pant has a yoga-inspired cut with a comfort stretch waist with snap closure.