Long sleeve paddling shirt?

I need a long sleeve paddling shirt for hot weather. Suggestions? Cotton? Just kiddin’. Actually, I have considered just a plain long sleeve cotton T-shirt. What are the advantages of some of the modern wicking materials

i use a hooded long sleeve rash guard.
LOVE it…not worried about wicking in warm weather (i am wet anyways)…just really need sun protection on my arms and neck…

from the shop at: 2imagine.net

My fav
is actually a cheap long sleeve polyester T shirt from Target, their C9 brand (made by Champion). I have a bunch of them in long and short sleeve. They work as well as the expensive stuff and are quite comfortable.

You might have a harder time finding a selection of them in store now as opposed to summer, but they should be available online.

Carhartt makes a
Hi visibility Long sleeve shirt (Cabelas sells) - polyester wicking and odor resistant. Not cheap but I bought one in neon lime (Working Mans Store only sells mens clothing, so I got a small) I also bought a bunch of nice but cheap wicking shirts that I already have some of and were reduced for clearance. We receive many comments on our neon orange and yellow/lime shirts we wear which are very bright for safety.

The white paddling.net shirts work

– Last Updated: Dec-17-08 11:08 AM EST –

fine. I the cotton and wicking in long sleeve. The wicking is more comfortable in hot weather.

I always wear long sleeves when paddling.

Sometimes a wear a long sleeve button up shirt, I think it's GSX brand from Gander Mountain that is loose fitting and quick drying.

I aslo sometimes just wear old button up dress shirts, whether they be cotton or synthetic or a mix of the two. One benefit of collared button up shirts it that the collar can be flipped up to help keep the sun off of the back of your neck.

If UPF is important to you
choose a polyester shirt. As I understand it, wet cotton has very little resistance to UV rays.

That said, I have several shirts that I like:

  1. An old thin polyester long-sleeved crew from New Balance in white. Amazingly cool on hot, miserable days.

  2. Kokatat Destination shirts (old models). Have a nice cape-vent, but are not as cool as the New Balance.

  3. Columbia Fishing shirt (Bone Flats maybe?). Pretty airy and thin, with too many pockets even for me. Mine is in a cool mist green color which seems to elicit an inordinately large number of compliments from females.


LL Bean, TropicWear Shirt
I wore one of these every weekend while paddling last year. It worked pretty well.

Bass Pro Shops have good ones
at reasonable prices.

Entanglement is the real issue.
Any kind of long, baggy or heavy clothing is going to hinder a rescue.

For WW, a knit shirt that fits snugly should not be a problem. Won’t be as cool as a baggy one though IMO.

For flatwater, I do not think a baggy shirt is an issue. And thin polyester shirts are not heavy even when wet.


For the really hot months in the south

– Last Updated: Dec-17-08 1:28 PM EST –

the lycra rash guards sold at the local surf shops are really comfortable and quite cool. Good UV protection too.

More expensive, but less prone to chaffing from seams, are the Hydrosilk shirts from NRS. A little heavier than the surfing rash guards but still very good in summer. I have several.


Fishing shirt?
you might want to look at a fishing shirt. In polyester they have the UV filtering you are after. They also have back ventilation, nice big pockets, and sometimes loops for attaching stuff. They can be pricy but Sierra Trading post always seems to have some on sale.


Cabelas Guidewear
Very comfortable and goes on sale from time to time.

Otherwise, you should be able to find wicking shirts on sale at the usual suspects: campmor, Sierra Trading Post, etc.

The advantage is comfort. To me, wet cotton is just uncomfortable. It clings and it chaffes in places that rub. Dry cotton is a delight, but when it gets wet it can be unpleasant even in the summer. If you’re not at risk of hypothermia, it’s a personal preference thing. I am much more comfortable in Eddie Bauer Tek-wear or UnderArmor wicking shirts (all bought on sale - never pay full price for this stuff). Even the UA stuff I have was under $10/shirt. The Eddie Bauer’s were more like $4/shirt. That’s a low price to pay for comfort.

  • Big D

Silk Weight Capilene
buy one size larger than needed…

wet it down and Paddle your heart out…as it dries, rewet it…

Champion wicking shirts
ditto, they’re cheap, dry quickly and come in a variety of styles and bright colors; the white or yellow are great for hot weather and visibility.

two I like
The surfer rash guard shirt already mentioned is great, but pretty form fitting. If your chest has slipped towards your waistline with advancing years, this is not the most flattering look. And the Columbia fishing shirt is very nice. It runs quite large- I buy one size smaller than my normal size and it is still quite roomy.

RailRiders “Adventure” shirt

– Last Updated: Dec-17-08 3:27 PM EST –

The new fabrics dry much more quickly than cotton does, a big advantage especially on camping trips where you need to wash and air-dry.

My suggestion is to buy a woven, quick-drying shirt such as the RailRiders "Adventure" shirt, or similar product. This shirt has thin mesh strips down the sides and on the undersides of the sleeves, a loose fit, a neck front that buttons down partway for adjustable ventilation, and sleeves that can be rolled up and secured. It feels good on a bright sunny hot day and dries incredibly fast. The one thing I would change is to make it with a collar that is much higher but can be rolled in various ways to protect the back of the neck way up high or fastened down for less UV protection but more fresh air. I have an old Outdoor Technology button-down shirt with such a collar.

Make sure the fabric has a peached/fuzzy surface next to your skin. The Adventure Shirt and an ExOfficio button-down shirt I own both have a peached fabric which feels drier than anything else. The Outdoor Technology shirt, whose collar I prefer, has a "hotter" feel because it does not have the peach fuzz. For this reason, although I sometimes wear Lycra shirts, I don't like them nearly as much as these shirts. With bright sun blasting down in dry air, the Lycra can feel like it's burning the skin because the Lycra conducts so much heat, plus it fits tightly (unlike the above shirts). You NEED AIRSPACE to keep your skin from feeling too hot.

I’ve found exactly the opposite
On a bright and hot day, Lycra shirts feel like they’re burning the skin. There is no air space between them and the skin due to snug (intended) fit, and the fabric itself conducts heat mercilessly.

This was something I noticed when Lycra bike jerseys became the norm; they are freaking hot despite being ultrathin. And that was back east at sea level, let alone at high altitudes/high UV.

A lighter color will help by absorbing less heat, but it provides less UV protection. I found that non-smooth fabrics are a lot more comfortable for hot weather. Which is not to say that I don’t like Lycra. It packs small and dries quickly.

Patagonia or PaddleMe


Wear the long sleeves of both all the time, and they work great both in and out of the water.

Easy had wash/dry and UV
The fancier synthetics are easier maintenance if you want to just rinse it in the sink and hang it up. We bring mostly all synthetics to our summer rental in Maine and I don’t need to get a slot at the washing machine until a week and a half out. The stuff washes OK for our purposes, and we don’t need a lot of sun and wind for much of it to dry out.

Also, extra UV protection and synthetics tend to go together - you don’t see much cotton where they’ve brought up the UV protection to a very high level.