What are the benefits of wearing sun protection clothing when fishing?

Fishing is a beloved hobby for many outdoors enthusiasts. However, prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can pose serious risks of sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer. This emphasizes the importance of wearing appropriate sun protection clothing while fishing.

The Rising Danger of Skin Cancer from UV Rays

With skin cancer rates in the United States rising over the past few decades, it’s clear that sun safety precautions are more vital than ever. Shockingly, One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and over two people die from skin cancer every hour in the U.S. Refer to the chart below to grasp the 2023 cancer rates in the U.S.:

Data Source: American Academy of Dermatology Association

Studies show that approximately 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are linked to UV radiation exposure from the sun. These statistics underscore the critical importance of effective sun protection during extended outdoor fishing activities.

How Sun Protection Clothing Safeguards Your Skin 

Unlike sporadic sunscreen applications, specialized sun-protective clothing provides a continuous barrier against UV rays throughout the day. The key benefit is significantly decreasing your risk of developing skin cancer from sun exposure during fishing trips. Full-coverage fishing shirts with hoods, fishing pants, buffs, fingerless gloves, and wide-brimmed hats are ideal for shielding as much skin as possible.

In addition to skin cancer prevention, sun protection clothes help prevent painful sunburns that can cut fishing trips short and ruin your weekend. Choosing lightweight, breathable fabrics will ensure you stay cool, dry, and comfortable during extended wear throughout the day. Compared to bare skin, sun-protective clothing can reduce UV exposure by about 97.5%, providing peace of mind that your skin is safe.

Understanding UPF Ratings for Maximum Protection

When selecting sun-protective fishing wear, look for clothing that provides both UVA and UVB protection. UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) indicates how much UV radiation is blocked by fabrics. While SPF refers to sunscreen effectiveness, UPF rates how well clothing shields skin from ultraviolet light. 

A high UPF rating of 50+ blocks over 98% of UV rays and offers excellent sun protection. When shopping for fishing shirts, hats, buffs, and gloves, always opt for a UPF rating of 50 or higher. This ensures you get the most complete sun protection benefit from your fishing apparel.

Choosing the Right Sun Protective Fishing Clothes

To get the full advantages of sun protection fishing gear, the clothing must properly cover and shield vulnerable skin. The right combination involves these key factors:

1. Fabrics

Some fabrics are inherently more protective against UV rays. Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester or nylon blends which offer both cooling comfort and sun protection. Avoid cotton which stays wet and lacks UV-blocking abilities. Synthetics like polyester provide up to SPF 15 protection even without special UV-blocking treatments.

2. Loose, Full Coverage  

The more skin your clothes cover, the better. Look for loose long-sleeve shirts, pants, buffs for your neck, and wide-brimmed hats to protect the face and ears. Tight, minimal covering clothes don’t provide adequate sun barriers. Loose lightweight shirts and pants allow better airflow too.

3. Arm and Leg Coverage

It’s crucial to protect vulnerable arm and leg skin from sun exposure. Choose long-sleeved shirts, pants, leggings, or gaiters that provide full coverage for your arms and legs, with sleeves extending down to the wrists when your arms are fully extended. Pant legs that go past the knee are ideal.

4. High Necklines and Hoods

Avoid low necklines when selecting shirts. High collars, mock necks, and hoods offer improved coverage and sun protection for the delicate neck skin susceptible to sun damage. 

5. Color

Darker colors provide more UV protection than lighter ones. Go for neutral earth tones rather than bright colors which offer less guard against sunlight. 

6. Construction  

Closely woven, dense fabrics block more UV rays. Ensure sewing reinforces seams and zippers don’t gap open. Features such as flap chest pockets and chin straps on hats enhance coverage.

7. UPF Ratings

Opt for fishing clothes with UPF ratings of 50+ for excellent sun protection. This number indicates how much UV radiation is blocked from reaching your skin. High ratings give you peace of mind your fishing apparel is guarding you from the sun.

Essential Sun Protective Fishing Apparel

Utilizing a combination of various sun-protective garments is essential for safeguarding all exposed skin areas during fishing. Here are some of the most essential items:

1. Sun Protective Fishing Shirts

Long-sleeved fishing shirts with UPF 50+ made of polyester or nylon blends are ideal for preventing sun damage on the upper body, arms, and chest while allowing airflow to stay cool. Opt for flap pockets, roll-up sleeves with tabs, and hoods for adjustable protection. Look for adjustable drawstrings and high-neck collars too.

2. Fishing Pants

Lightweight pants in khaki or other dark neutral colors provide excellent leg coverage from the sun when fishing from a boat or wading. They are cool, dry quickly if wet, and offer UPF 50+ protection. Choose pants with a comfortable loose fit and zippered legs that convert to shorts when needed.

3. Buffs

Wearing a buff around your neck blocks UV exposure which is often missed. Buffs protect delicate neck skin prone to sun damage and cover the neck area missed by hats. A snug lightweight neck gaiter can also work well.

4. Hats    

Waterproof wide-brimmed hats guard the scalp, face, ears, and neck from the sun. Flap or wrap-around-styled hats boost neck protection. Dark under-brim colors reduce glare. Chin straps prevent losing hats in the wind. Go for UPF 50+ bucket-style hats with a minimum 4-inch brim and neck flap. 

5. Gloves

Fingerless gloves allow flexibility while protecting vulnerable hands against sun damage. Opt for lightweight, breathable gloves with UPF 50+ protection. Look for gloves with a long cuff to shield wrist skin and snug elastic to stay put.

6. Face Masks

Buffs pulled up over the nose or sun-protective face masks shield the often exposed nose and cheeks from reflected UV rays off the water. 

7. Arm Sleeves

Lightweight UV protective arm sleeves are ideal for blocking exposure on arms not covered by shirt sleeves. They protect themselves while fishing in a T-shirt.

Innovations in Sun Protective Fishing Wear  

Exciting advances like the Adapt Collection Phase Change Fishing Shirt use temperature-regulating technology to keep your upper body cool when fishing in the heat. Combining sun protection with cooling comfort takes fishing wear to the next level.

Equipped with a complete set of sun-protective fishing apparel, you can confidently shield yourself from harmful UV exposure during your fishing expeditions. Ensure no exposed areas are left unprotected.

Additional Tips for Sun Safety When Fishing

While sun-protective clothing forms the first line of defense, also apply broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen exposed areas like the face. Protect your eyes with polarized sunglasses. Seek shade whenever possible. Avoid the most intense midday sun. Stay hydrated.

With sun protection fishing apparel and smart sun safety habits, you can enjoy your favorite fishing spots for years to come without worrying about sun damage.


The dangers from the sun make wearing good sun protection very important when fishing. Protecting yourself from the sun is the best way to make sure you can enjoy fishing for years without getting skin cancer or damage. Make sure to wear sun protection shirts, pants, buffs, and gloves rated UPF 50+. You’ll be glad you did!

FAQs About Sun Protective Fishing Clothing

1. How frequently should I replace my sun-protective fishing clothing?

High-quality sun-protective fishing wear typically lasts through several seasons with proper care. Inspect clothes regularly for thinning fabric and re-apply UV protective spray if needed. When threads become loose or sheer, seams fray, or tears develop, it’s time to replace them.

2. Is it suitable to wear sun-protective fishing clothing in both freshwater and saltwater environments?

The best sun protection shirts, pants, hats, and gloves work equally well in freshwater and saltwater. Focus on quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics that won’t stay soaked after saltwater splashes or rain. Tough construction stands up to rough saltwater. 

3. Is sun-protective clothing needed on cloudy or rainy days while fishing?** 

Yes! Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays get through clouds and can harm your skin. It is crucial to wear sun protection clothing whenever you spend extended periods on the water, regardless of the weather. Don’t let clouds fool you into thinking you’re safe.

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