Wednesday, July 28, 2010

T.F.M. Sun Protection Gear Review

If there is something I've never been able to do it's catch a tan.  I burn bright red any time I am in the sun for extended periods of time without proper covering or sunscreen.  Add to that having several friends with skin cancer scares and it's been a real wake up call for religious sunscreen use while finding clothing that is both comfortable and protects from the sun without fail while on the water.

With most of us entering into the hottest weeks of summer I thought it might be insightful to pass along a list of the items that I have found to work best for keeping myself sun burn free.

My assembled "armor" for sun protection is a head to toe approach with UV shirts, wide brim hats, sunglasses, sun gloves, face covers, and of course sun screen.

I started wearing the Bug Slinger Vapor Shirts last summer and have found them to be excellent to wear on long days on the beach, underneath my PFD while in the kayak, and even to toss on for an afternoon in the pool.  The fabric is extremely sheer, moisture wicking, and lightweight.  Bug Slinger is currently offering two different Vapor shirts with the Sea King Vapor and Ace Vapor which retail for $40 a piece.
When the large square box arrived from Peter Grimm with a couple hats from their "Resort" line I knew I had finally found the ultimate in wide brim hats.  Ranging in price from $12 to $30 these reasonably priced hats take up some serious real estate on your head but are extremely lightweight and comfortable with a soft elastic band around the inside head space.  If these hats look to large for your noggin then check out the kid sized Grom model which is still a good sized hat and should fit most adults as well.  

I've been smitten (and been working on a review all their own) with a pair of Costa Zane with the 580 lens that I was sent this past spring to demo.  The optical quality of the glass 580 lenses is unmatched by anything I've ever worn.  No lie.  Simply put these offer excellent sun protection as well as eye protection when casting a fly.

I've been using various Buff's for the last four summers and now have a folded stack of them in the gear bag so it's near impossible to leave the house without one.  Part of my routine as I ready for a day on the water is to put a Buff around my neck so it's there when I need it.  Though wearing them you end up looking a little bit "gangsta" there really is nothing better to have to keep the sun off your face and neck.

These tattered and torn Simms Sungloves have seen use on trout water, salt marshes, and warmwater ponds and are still working years after I bought them.  Couple them with a long sleeve or vapor shirt and you're only leaving the ends of your digits exposed.  These are designed to leave you with full use of your fingers and the palm area is open as well so you end up forgetting that you even have them on your hands.  Priced at $15 and when you've got them all covered in fish stench toss them in the washing machine and they're clean for the next trip.

Finally, don't forget the sunscreen.  Sunscreens have come a long way from being an oily mess.  I've been keen on Bull Frog Sunblock for some time but there are a lot of choices out there.  

This round up isn't the end all be all but certainly a good start.  I'm wondering what you use to stay burn free while spending long periods of time in the sun?


Anonymous said...

I have been wearing Columbias long sleeve shirts ,button ups on hot days .Not the fishing shirts ,they have way to many pockets ,just your plain out long sleeve ,with the vented back they have stain gaurd and you can get them in 30 spf ,i fell in the other day and the shirt was dry in less then a half hour ,and it was over cast at the time .I fished with the shirt on in 90 degree weather and I was cool all day ,as cool as you can be in that kind of weather .I have found keeping the sun off my skin to be better it keeps you cooler ,I also love buffs ,except they get a bit stinky after a long day in them so you have to have more then one .

Nick Sliwkanich said...

I use Banada Boat sport, 30SPF sun block and find that it works well, and it pretty resistant to getting rinsed off while dipping hands and legs in the water.

Don't forget about your legs! I don't wear shorts anymore for wet wading (got a nasty sunburn on the back of my legs one time.) I have a pair of Patagonia quick dry pants that are great. There is some elasticity to them, and they have a few pockets. Have another cheapo pair from MEC that have survived 5 years now with no end in sight. Rather plain looking, but they're just fishing garb.


StridArt said...

Great reviews..thanks. The hats are sweet. I definalty have to pick up one of the bugslinger t-s.