Long Sleeve Sun Protection?

I hate using sun screen…so messy. So I was wondering if anyone has used a long sleeve shirt for sun protection. I’m looking for something for summer paddling, so it needs to be lightweight and breathable so I don’t overheat. Can anyone recommend a good long sleeve paddling shirt, that also provides SPF protection?

Columbia Sportswear makes a line of clothes that I think are mostly meant for fishing but that work out nicely for paddling. They’re a comfortable lightweight nylon, are supposed to provide even better sun protection than, for example, cotton, and have some useful features. I have a couple of the long-sleeve shirts–not sure what they call this style–but they’re basically just like any button-down type shirt, but made more for fishing: the long sleeves end in button cuffs, but have an additional button and loop to hold them in place if you roll them up, the pockets have velcro closures, and the back is vented for superior cooling. I think Columbia calls these sun-protection clothes UPF (ultraviolet protection factor?).

They’re available at the usual online venues: REI, Bass Pro Shops, and some others. They ARE overpriced, so look for sales, which I did. Also, LL Bean sells a comparable shirt in its own brand. And recently I saw somewhere a similar shirt that claims to be insect repellent, too–I’m not so sure about that.

Anyway, I love these Columbia shirts for paddling. Pop one on over a tankini top, add a pair of nylon pants or shorts, and you’re ready for all-day paddling with the occasional stop for “swim call.”

Keep paddling!


La sportif

– Last Updated: Apr-27-04 10:52 PM EST –

used to sell supplex long sleeve shirts that I paddle in all the time. Just google supplex shirt and you'll find ones fron other manufacturers. 30 SPF. If I am not wearing the dry top or drysuit I am wearing this. It looks like a dress shirt, including button down collar. (no, I do not button it). I can walk off the boat and by the time I get to an very informal restaurant I am dry. It's tough as nails and lightweight; dries in about 5 to 10 minutes and offers fantastic sun protection. Not for the body conscious crowd. It is also designed for fishing. Supplex does not get clammy next to skin, fiber diameter about 9 times as fine as conventional nylon. I wore one out after about 10 years. Both of my five year old ones are going strong after paddling, hiking desert travel etc etc. Worth the extra bucks for comfort function and durability.

On the Columbias. That’s all I wear. 30+ SPF. The nylon shirts I believe are the Bahama line. Usually in the $30 -$35 range. You can’t beat the nylon pants either for sun protection and they make an awesome nylon boonie hat to keep the old brain pan from frying. If that’s not your style check out the Livin’ Large straw hat. Got a cool bonefish hatband on it.

columbia alike
k-mart sells a columbia style fishing shirt for 21 bucks, same material,same features and cut,just no pricey label

Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops has Supplex fishing shirts under their own “World Wide Sportsman” brand that are very comfortable, reasonably priced at $35 and have an UPF of 40. They also have a vented back and sides that really keep you cool. I’m in Central Florida, heat is an issue :slight_smile:


If this link doesn’t work for you, just go to http://www.basspro-shops.com and click on Apparel/Fishing and Sports Clothing.

I got a really nice shirt at REI
It is very light and comfortable. I got a relatively cheap and very light set of pants at the same place. Feel like spending some bucks? Check out Filson’s Feathercloth shirts - All cotton, very tighly woven fabric which is still as light as a handkerchief (I haven’t sprung for one of these yet!). I sweat a lot and find that nylon and other synthetics I’ve tried are not at all comfortable compared to cotton or cotton blends in really hot weather, but I haven’t tried them all, and others may think synthetics are fine.

Fashion Conscious?
Well if you’re ww/surf paddler, you’ll be outfitted in one of those tight, light color synthetic stretch tops. Oooh… so sleek and sexy. :wink:

If you’re out touring (and don’t care that you’re middle age, fashion-clueless), heck, one of the coolmax long sleeve fishing shirts (with big chest pockets) should do fine. These are often on sale in one of the REI/SierraTradingPost/Campmor/Cabela net stores.


ExOfficio makes a line of…
really nice flyfishing shirts (and pants)that have vents all over them and give UPF 30. The only drawback is that they’re 60-80 bucks. Sometimes they’re available at a good price at Sierra Trading Post or Campmor.


too much sun
there is specific dealer on solar protection from a company in Washington. interesting article on the effects of constant sunlight


REI just had there spring sale there darker shirt was rated at 50 with the lighter ones are at 30 just like the Columbia.

if your in the constant sunlight with the rays from above and reflecting off of the water cover up

Any light weight …
Polypropelene shirt will work.

We use them as base layers in the winter.

Get a light colored one, such as white, so it won’t absorb the sun like a dark color.

They are nice and breathable so you won’t sweat in them like nylon.

I had my white one on last week when I was doing a training paddle in the hot weather.



Sun Precautions
I have a pullover shirt from this company and love it. Well ventilated and comfortable. I just wish they weren’t so darned expensive. Railriders has similar shirts (have on of them too) but not of the same quality.


Avoiding being a lobster
I’m on the water most of the year and always look to avoid becoming a lobster. Rather not deal with health conditions down the road, so finding good sun protection was a must. Two routes that help a lot; sunwear by Mysterioso & Destination Paddling Shirts by Kokatat. Obviously top either of these with a broad brimmed hat & sunscreen on exposed skin.

See you on the water,



Columbia is the ticket for real sun
protection. I use them for offshore, inshore, flats, yak fishing. In Florida, the sun really works! Supplex is quick drying-get wet for extra cooling and let dry. Replaced the sleeve buttons with velcro so cast net wouldn’t foul. Also wear the long pants if I’m using my SOT. In the SINK, Aftco Waterman shorts are the answer. Both these products hold up well to lots of use and laundering.Ocean Potion is our choice for sunscreen. Holds up well in saltwater. Finally, converted from a long billed ball cap to a Tilley. Fingerless Mangrove gloves complete the picture. Dermatologists bills get very expensive as you age!

It’s a rare cotton shirt
that offers an spf of more than 4 when wet.

Sun precautions seems wildly ($$$)
overpriced. Looking for the article but they seem like the are profiteering on panic. Could you give me directions to the article?

BTW Older guides I met in Israel are true believers on sun protection.

Speaking of hats…
Columbia also makes a nice sun-protection hat–the crown is constructed of part supplex nylon, part mesh, so it breathes. Great for warm-weather paddling here in Florida.

By the way, if you do live in Florida, Beall’s stores sell Columbia clothing at a healthy discount. I think they even have an online presence.

Keep paddling!

NRS Rash Guard
Has kept me from getting burned and feels very comfortable. I’m thinking of getting another this summer, maybe try Mysterioso or DaKine and look like a surfer dude for variety.


I don’t see supplex
Being used by Columbia any more. It is a nice solution. Gets a tight weave giving inherent sun protection; wears like iron. Rather than using top notch performance fabrics, Columbia gives acceptable (maybe) fabrics hype names. Supplex really feels different from non-microfiber nylon, and does not get anywhere near as stinky as polypro does on me.

I grew up on the coast of SC and worked
and played in the sun and still do. I have a synthetic sun shirt but back then , I wore a loose fitting white cotton dress shirt.Since they can be had for far less than $50 , I guess they just won’t do now.