One of the most enjoyable parts about adventuring outdoors in the summer months is reveling in the warm sunshine. But prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in a host of adverse conditions like sunburn, premature skin aging and even skin cancer. Venturing outdoors safely, whether you’re hiking, paddling or camping this summer, means equipping yourself with the right forms of sun protection so you can manage the amount of rays you’re soaking in.

In addition to sunscreen, UPF-rated clothing can protect your skin. Like the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) for sunscreen, clothing’s Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is the rating system used in sun-protective fabric. The rating indicates its effectiveness at blocking both UVA and UVB rays. For example, a shirt with a UPF rating of 30 means the fabric allows 1/30th, or roughly three per cent of UV rays to pass through it, blocking about 97 per cent of UV rays.

Man exercising out on the water in the sun, Darlington Provincial ParkiStock

UPF-rated clothing tends to be denser and thicker to reduce the transmissibility of UV light. Darker coloured clothing also generally prevents more rays from reaching your skin. Sun-protective clothing is commonly made from polyester and nylon, as these materials are more effective at disrupting UV light than looser woven materials like cotton and rayon. If you’re shopping for sun-protective clothing in-store, an easy test to tell a garment’s ability to filter UV rays is to hold it up against the light. The more clearly you can see the light through the garment, the more UV rays that can easily pass through and reach your skin.

Here are a few items you should consider buying this summer to protect yourself from the sun.


Badger Sport Mineral Sunscreen

sunscreen helps save your skinCourtesy of Badger

For consistent protection, sunscreen should be applied liberally throughout the day and reapplied every two hours, or after swimming and sweating. This mineral sunscreen by Badger is reef-safe and water-resistant for 80 minutes. Mineral sunscreen is generally considered safer than chemical sunscreen for both us and the environment, especially for the avoidance of coral bleaching and endangering marine life. This formula features zinc oxide, a safe and active ingredient for protection against UVA and UVB rays, and the unscented formula is a favourite for those with sensitive skin.

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Costa Pescador Sunglasses

sunglasses save your eyesCourtesy of Costa

The polarized lenses on these Pescador sunglasses provide 100 per cent protection against UVA and UVB rays. And with a lightweight frame and Hydrolite grip on the nose piece, these frames will comfortably stay put on your face even during rapid hikes. Made for high output activities, these frames account for sweaty faces, as the Hydrolite grip gets even stickier when wet, ensuring they won’t slide off your face mid-activity or if you’re out on the water. Paired with the C-line retainer, you won’t lose these frames on windy days. For water-based adventures, these sunglasses can be worn with the side shields for added coverage from reflective sun rays.

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Helly Hansen Solen Long Sleeve Layer

long sleeve saves your armsCourtesy of Helly Hansen

A garment with a UPF rating of at least 30 qualifies for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. To maximize protection, pick a garment that offers more coverage, like a long sleeve layer. Though getting your UPF-rated clothing wet will generally decrease its UPF factor, this one by Helly Hansen offers UPF 50+ whether the garment is wet or dry. Because water reflects sunrays and increases your chances of sunburn, this top is perfect for days when you’re on the water paddling, sailing or hiking by the lake. Both the navy and white options give UPF 50+ protection, thanks to the coffee grounds infused into its fabric, which also makes this a sustainable clothing choice.

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Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Pant

protection pantsCourtesy of Mountain Hardwear

Weighing a mere 77.6 grams, this is Mountain Hardwear’s lightest trail pant, making it an effortless choice for overnight backpackers and thru-hikers diligent about packing light. The loose fit encourages airflow to keep you cool, and the elastic waistband and drawstring cord allow you to achieve a comfortable fit. These pants offer UPF 50 protection and also come in a shorts version if that’s more your style.

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The North Face Breeze Brimmer Hat

wide brim hatCourtesy of The North Face

Choose a hat with a wide brim to shade your neck, shoulders, upper back and tops of your ears in addition to your face. This comfy Breeze Brimmer Hat is a great option for hikers. The mesh lining around the crown makes the hat highly breathable, and the elastic sweatband helps keep your head cool by wicking away sweat. Constructed with a UPF 40+ material, this casual hat folds and tucks conveniently into any bag without losing its shape. For a snug fit, use the cinch cord around the crown and prevent yourself from losing the hat on a windy day by using the chin strap and rubber toggle.

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