Long Sleeve Sun Shirts: The 5 Features You Should Look For

Rayward Apparel

Key Highlights

  • Long sleeve sun shirts are essential for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Look for UPF ratings to ensure maximum sun protection.
  • Choose shirts made from high quality, lightweight, protective fabrics.
  • Find products that offer moisture-wicking and breathability to keep you cool and comfortable in the heat.
  • Find a shirt that not only provides sun protection but also fits your personal style and comfort.


When it comes to spending time outdoors, protecting your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays is crucial. Long sleeve sun shirts are a great option for staying safe and comfortable while enjoying outdoor activities. Along with other types of protective clothing, these are designed with special features that provide excellent sun protection and ensure your comfort in the heat.

Whether you're hiking, fishing, or simply spending a day at the beach, a long sleeve sun shirt is a must-have item in your wardrobe. In this blog, we will discuss the top 5 features you should look for when shopping for a long sleeve sun shirt.

5 Essential Features in Long Sleeve Sun Shirts and Hoodies

Long sleeve sun shirts come in a variety of styles and options, but there are five essential features that you should look for when shopping for one. These features include UPF ratings, protective fabric, moisture-wicking and breathability, durability and care, and style and fit. By considering these features, you can find the perfect long sleeve sun shirt that will keep you protected and comfortable during outdoor activities.

1. UPF Rating: Understanding the Importance of UV Protection

One of the most important features to look for in a long sleeve sun shirt is the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. UPF ratings tell you how effective the fabric is at blocking out UV radiation. The higher the UPF rating, the better the protection. Look for shirts with a UPF rating of 30 or higher, as this offers excellent protection against harmful UV rays.

It's important to note that UPF is different from SPF (Sun Protection Factor), which is commonly used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreen. While SPF is a measure of how long a sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays, UPF measures the amount of UVA and UVB rays blocked by a fabric. Opting for a long sleeve sun shirt with a high UPF rating will ensure that your skin is well-protected from the sun's harmful rays.

2. Material and Comfort: Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Skin

The choice of fabric for your long sleeve sun shirt is crucial for comfort and protection. Look for products made from protective fabrics that are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. These fabrics are designed to block out harmful UV rays and provide excellent sun protection. Popular options include polyester, bamboo, or a combination of both.

In addition to sun protection, consider the breathability and comfort of the fabric. Look for apparel that offer moisture-wicking and breathability to keep you cool and dry, even in hot weather. Lightweight and quick-drying fabrics are ideal for outdoor activities, as they help regulate body temperature and prevent discomfort.

When choosing a long sleeve sun shirt, also consider the fit and feel of the fabric against your skin. Opt for soft and comfortable materials, such as performance woven fabric, that allow for ease of movement and prevent chafing or irritation. By choosing the right fabric for your skin, you can ensure both protection and comfort while enjoying the outdoors in high-quality apparel.

3. Lightweight Breathability and Moisture Wicking: Keeping Cool In the Heat

When spending time outdoors in hot weather, it's important to choose a long sleeve sun shirt that offers breathability and moisture-wicking properties. Breathability allows air to circulate through the fabric, keeping you cool and preventing excessive sweating. Moisture-wicking fabrics pull sweat away from your skin and quickly evaporate it, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Look for shirts made from lightweight and breathable materials such as polyester or bamboo. These fabrics are designed to allow air to flow through, preventing overheating and promoting sweat evaporation. Additionally, apparel with mesh panels or ventilation features in key areas can further enhance breathability.

By choosing a long sleeve sun shirt with breathability and moisture-wicking properties, you can stay comfortable and cool even in hot and humid conditions. This is especially important for outdoor activities such as hiking or sports where you may be exerting yourself and generating more heat.

Feather representing lightweight fabrics

4. Durability and Care: Ensuring Long-lasting Wear and Ease of Maintenance

Durability and care are important factors to consider when choosing a long sleeve sun shirt. Look for shirts that are made from durable materials and have reinforced stitching in high-stress areas. This will ensure that your shirt can withstand regular wear and hold up well over time.

Additionally, consider the care instructions of the shirt. Look for shirts that are machine washable and easy to care for. Some apparel may require special care, such as hand washing or air drying, which may not be practical for everyday use.

By choosing a long sleeve sun shirt that is durable and easy to care for, you can ensure long-lasting wear and minimize the need for frequent replacements. This will save you time and money in the long run, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor activities without worrying about the longevity.

5. Style and Fit: Finding the Perfect Look and Comfortable Fit

While sun protection is the main priority when choosing a long sleeve sun shirt, it's also important to find a style and fit that suits your personal preferences and comfort. Look for UPF apparel that offer a variety of styles, colors, and designs to choose from, so you can find one that matches your personal style.

In terms of fit, look for shirts that offer a comfortable and relaxed fit, allowing for ease of movement. Some shirts, like our collection of bamboo shade hoodie's, may have additional features such as thumbholes or adjustable hoods, which can provide added protection and customization.

When trying on a long sleeve sun shirt, consider the length of the sleeves and the overall length of the garment. Opt for a length that provides adequate coverage and prevents it from riding up during movement.

By finding a long sleeve sun shirt that not only offers sun protection but also matches your style and provides a comfortable fit, you can feel confident and enjoy your outdoor activities to the fullest.

Choosing the Right Sun Shirt for Different Activities

Long sleeve sun shirts are versatile and can be worn for various outdoor activities. The choice of sun shirt and fabric type depends on the specific activity and the conditions you will be facing. In this section, we will discuss the best sun shirt options for fishing and boating, sports and athletic training, and relaxing on the beach. Whether you're casting a line, hitting the court, or soaking up the sun, there's a sun shirt that's perfect for your activity.

Fishing and Boating

Tuna in the sea

When it comes to long days of fishing and boating, long sleeve sun protection shirts are essential for protection against the sun's harmful rays. Here are some features to consider when choosing a sun shirt for fishing and boating:

  • Salt water resistance: Look for UPF clothing that are designed to withstand exposure to salt water, as this can cause damage to some fabrics.
  • Durability: Fishing and boating activities can be rough on clothing, so opt for a shirt that is made from durable materials.
  • UPF rating: Choose a sun shirt with a high UPF rating to ensure maximum protection from the sun's UV rays.
  • Breathability: Fishing and boating can be hot and sweaty, so look for shirts with moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics.

You can find a sun shirt that is perfect for fishing and boating, providing both protection and comfort. And don't forget your UPF accessories as well, like a quality bucket hat to keep your head, face, and neck covered.

Sports and Athletic Training

For sports and athletic training, a long sleeve sun shirt that offers mobility, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties is essential. Here are some features to look for when choosing a sun shirt for sports and athletic training:

  • Mobility: Opt for apparel with stretchy fabrics that allow for a full range of motion.
  • Breathability: Look for shirts with mesh panels or ventilation features to ensure proper airflow and prevent overheating.
  • Moisture-wicking: Choose UPF apparel that are made from moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable during intense workouts.
  • Lightweight: Sports and athletic training often involve high levels of activity, so choose a lightweight t-shirt that won't weigh you down.

Relaxing on the Beach

Beach with palm tree

When it comes to relaxing on the beach, sun protection, comfort, and style are key. Here are some features to look for when choosing a sun shirt for beach activities:

  • UPF protection: Opt for a sun shirt with a high UPF rating to ensure maximum protection from the sun's harmful rays.
  • Comfort: Choose a shirt made from soft and lightweight materials that allow for easy movement and all-day comfort.
  • Style: Look for shirts with attractive designs and colors that reflect your personal style. A hooded sun shirt is also a great option, to allow you to cover you neck and head with a hood whenever it's convenient.
  • Breathability: Beach activities often involve exposure to hot and humid conditions, so choose a shirt with breathability and moisture-wicking properties.


When it comes to selecting a long sleeve sun shirt, prioritizing features like UPF rating, fabric comfort, breathability, durability, and style is key for optimal protection and performance. Whether you're fishing, engaging in sports, or lounging on the beach, choosing the right sun shirt tailored to your activities is essential. Understanding the distinction between UPF and SPF, maintaining your sun shirt, and ensuring proper fit are crucial factors to consider. Remember, your choice of sun shirt plays a significant role in safeguarding your skin from harmful UV rays. Stay informed and protected while enjoying the outdoors with the perfect long sleeve sun shirt that meets all your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between UPF Apparel and SPF?

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) measures the UV protection provided by fabrics, while SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measures the UV protection provided by sunscreen. UPF ratings indicate how much UV radiation is blocked by a fabric, while SPF ratings indicate how long a sunscreen will protect against UVB rays.

How Often Should I Replace My Sun Shirt?

The lifespan of a sun shirt depends on various factors such as fabric quality, care, and frequency of use. However, it is generally recommended to replace your sun shirt every 1-2 years or when you notice signs of wear and tear, such as fading, stretching, or loss of UPF rating.

Can I Rely Solely on My Long Sleeve Sun Protection Shirt for UV Protection?

While sun shirts provide excellent protection against UV rays, it is still important to take additional measures to protect your skin. This includes wearing sunglasses, a hat, and applying sunscreen to exposed areas. Sun shirts should be used in conjunction with other protective measures for maximum sun protection.

How Do I Choose the Right Size and Fit?

When choosing a sun shirt, refer to the brand's size chart and measurements to determine the best fit for you. Consider the apparel's intended use and whether you prefer a more relaxed or fitted style. It's also a good idea to read reviews from other customers to get an idea of the shirt's fit.

Is It Better to Choose a Lighter or Darker Color for More Protection?

The color of a fabric does not significantly affect its UV protection. UPF ratings are determined by the fabric's construction and treatment rather than the color. However, it's worth noting that darker colors may absorb more heat from the sun, so consider the climate and your personal comfort when choosing a color.

How to Test the Effectiveness of a Sun Shirt’s UV Protection?

To test the effectiveness of a sun shirt's UV protection, you can use a UV light meter or UV detection cards. These tools measure the amount of UV radiation that passes through the fabric. However, it's important to note that UPF ratings provide a reliable indication of a shirt's UV protection level.