Whether you are going to the beach for the weekend with your family or you plan on hitting the waves hard, a quality rash guard will protect you from the harsh elements that mother nature will inevitably throw at you.
Typically constructed from highly effective synthetic materials, rash guards not only wick away excess moisture that rests on the surface of your skin (which left untreated could cause uncomfortable chafing under your arms) but also provides ample protection from the sun.
While the re-application of sunscreen can be quite laborious (especially if you are by yourself sans spray sunscreen), many of the top rash guards we rounded up below contain some form of sun protection.
So, what’s the deal with UPF?
…and why you should care:
A Quick Look At UPF Protection
Many men reading are likely scratching their heads over the difference between UPF and UVA/UVB rays (don’t worry we were too when we were researching rash guards).
Here’s the quick rundown:
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor.
This designation is specifically geared toward clothing. Like many of the rash guards featured in this article, a UPF rating stated by the manufacturer designates that the clothing was constructed in a way to prohibit the sun’s rays from hitting your skin.
The rating directly correlates to the ratio of ultraviolet rays that will be blocked when the clothing is worn.
A designation of UPF 25 means that 1 out of every 25 rays of the sun will pass through the clothing (i.e. 4%).
Therefore, a rating of UPF 50 means that a rash guard will be able to ward off approximately 98% of the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun.
To put it simply – the higher the UPF rating, the better protection you will get from the sun.
Is Over Heating A Concern?
Surely if this fabric can block out 98% of the sun’s rays, it’s gotta feel like you are wearing a lead vest right?
Well, not exactly.
In fact, just the opposite.
Rash guards are designed for summer use, and therefore are incredibly light and airy.
As you can often see in many reviews of the rash guards we linked to below, many men have exclaimed that these shirts felt unbelievably lightweight.
So even if you sweat so much that it looks like someone just opened up a hose on you after sitting out in the sun for only a few minutes, don’t fret.
The material in these rash guards will pull the moisture from your skin making you feel incredibly cool.
But it gets better…
Nearly all of the rash guards we rounded up don’t leave sweat marks either. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about any embarrassing rings under your arms, chest, or back as those long summer days at the beach wane on.
Trust us, once you put that rash guard on, you will never want to go to the beach without it.
So without further ado:
The 9 Best Rash Guards For Men Reviewed
This loose-fitting rash guard allows you to move and breathe just as naturally as if you were wearing a regular tee shirt. The long sleeves protect your arms from the sun, and the longer cut of the top ensures that the shirt does not ride up with you when you move.
The lightweight and breathable material keeps you cool and dry, whether you are on land, in the gym, or out on the water. The fabric is made from tight-knit polyester, keeping the sun off of your skin and allowing the shirt to dry faster.
This shirt has a regular cut, meaning it has a looser fit throughout the torso. If you want a snug shirt, order a size down.
This rash guard is made from 100% microfiber and provides sun protection for the torso and arms. This fabric is incredibly effective at keeping your skin safe from UV rays, ensuring that your skin stays healthier longer, and you are at less of a risk for developing skin cancers caused by sun exposure.
This long-sleeved t-shirt utilizes water-wicking technology to quickly dry the shirt while you are out of the water, or even after a work-out. Because of this, this particular brand of rash guard is suitable for all sorts of activities both in and out of the water. The shirt is lightweight and exceptionally breathable and fits loose around the chest, arms, and waist to keep you cooler longer.
This rash guard fits like a regular t-shirt, but it has a host of other benefits besides just looking good. This t-shirt is made from 100% polyester, making it nice and lightweight while also being a quick-drying material.
The breathable material is cool to wear and provides protection against the sun. This tee also has a hemmed loop to connect the bottom of the shirt to the top of your board shorts, preventing the shirt from riding up in the water.
As the shirt is a very loose-fitting article, not securing it could cause the hem to fly up. The solid color makes it easy to wear with any kind of board short, and the fit enables you to experience a full range of motion.
These long-sleeved t-shirts come in packs of 2 and are extremely useful for being active outside. Their primary use is as a rash guard, which helps protect against abrasions caused by sand and rocks, or by rubbing against hard surfaces.
However, many people choose to wear these as activewear as they are phenomenal at wicking away moisture during and after a workout. Hanes is a trusted brand when it comes to clothing, and these polyester shirts have that same quality many people have come to love. These shirts are long-sleeved and exhibit a regular cut; they are relatively loose fitting around the chest, and that width continues all the way down to the waist. Perfect for letting you move freely.
This rash guard gives 98.8% UV protection in the sun, which is great for spending long hours outside in the water. It goes on snug but fits fantastically under clothes to keep you protected.
It’s also exceptionally comfortable, utilizing compression technology to stay on where you need it. This rash guard is used in most sports, such as soccer, football, baseball, surfing, or skiing because it is also made from a quick-dry material that helps to wick away moisture. It’s exceptionally durable and lightweight, but it does add another layer to your outfit, so it may cause you to feel warmer. This is not so much the case in cold weather, but it is more prevalent during the summer.
The Kanu Surf rash guard is made from a combination of polyester and spandex, two materials that work so well together when it comes to activewear. The polyester ensures that the material is soft, airy, and fast-drying, while the spandex lets the fabric stretch according to what you need.
The shirt is form-fitting, making it a suitable addition to underneath clothing or a wet suit, and it adds extra insulation for colder weather.
The fabric is lightweight, but it is extremely effective at blocking UV rays while you are outside. This is a fantastic shirt at a great deal, and according to reviewers, it works fantastically.
If you like Kanu, you should check out the board shorts we recently reviewed.
This elastane and nylon shirt is designed to fit your body in such a way that it will not restrict your movement. It’s not a snug shirt and feels very breezy when you wear it, which is ideal for working out to promote airflow.
It offers UV protection in the weave, which will keep you safe while out in the sun, and the quick-dry material helps you stay fresh all throughout your workout.
There is also the addition of spandex which lets the material stretch with your body as you move. It is a slim fit, so if you require more room in the shoulders or chest, you may need to move a size up.
This slim-fitting shirt is great for hiding under a wet suit or other clothing. It is designed to protect you from the elements, such as the cold, and also gives you extraordinary sun protection.
The quick-dry material allows you to feel dry even after being in the water or after a hard workout, making this shirt even more comfortable. The shirt is made from 86% polyester and 14% elastane, which gives it stretch so that it fits around your body snug, but not tight.
The long sleeves are also very snug, keeping them at your wrists without riding up. For being out on the water or just by itself, this shirt is a must-have to protect your torso.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.