A key piece of clothing you may not realize is necessary for your summer adventure is the rash guard. It will protect your chest, arms, neck, and stomach from the sand and sun. It prevents a rash from growing on your skin which is caused by rough scratching from sand and the rubbing from the surfboard or bodyboard, also known as chafing.
The rash guard also protects against sunburn which can easily get out of hand while you’re lying on your stomach and forgetting about how exposed your back is. While surfing and swimming in the ocean is ideal, it’s better to be protected from the elements. When you wipe out, sand will go everywhere and you might hit the bottom of the ocean — causing a burn on your back. A rash guard will help with all of this so you can relax and still have fun in the ocean.
The main components of an excellent rash guard are flexibility in material, the right size and length. A thick neoprene rash guard might work for some but others may want a lighter, more flexible material that fits more like a shirt. Having it be too loose, however, won’t guard you against any sand so be sure to make it a tight fit. The length is important too because you don’t want it riding up and exposing your stomach when you’re on the board because then sand will irritate your skin.
So grab your gear for the beach or lake and check out the best rash guards for staying protected on all of your summer adventures.
1. O’Neill Men’s 50+ UPF Rash Guard
O’Neill is an excellent surf and ocean-based brand and their rash guard is made from polyester and spandex, providing a snug fit and flexibility through the arms. It’s more of a long-sleeved shirt than a wet suit which is ideal for hot summer days in the water. For winter temperatures, a wet suit is definitely the way to go. But for summer waves, O’Neill’s Basic Skin rash guard is really a second skin — meant to let you glide easily into that next wave and let your skin breathe at the same time. It will dry quickly when you’re done and be ready to go after a rinse for your next bout with the waves.
2. Kanu Surf Platinum
Kanu Surf’s rash guard has 50 UV protection so you don’t have to worry about applying as much sunscreen as usual. It is long-sleeved and made from a polyester-spandex mix which makes it equally stretchy and form-fitting. It handles the elements well and won’t rip or fall apart after use. It dries quickly and can be used for any summer outdoor activity. Reviewers say sizes run small and although you want a tight fit, make sure it fits correctly and stretches through the shoulders.
3. Quiksilver Performance Rash Guard
Another great surf brand, Quiksilver has a rash guard you’ll want to check out. This rash guard will keep you warm under your wet suit or as a stand-alone shirt out in the water on a chilly summer morning. The material is snug and moves with you as you paddle for the waves or body surf. It’ll stay on your skin and not ride up, which is a big perk compared to other rash guards. Most rash guards are cheap, loose-fitting spandex shirts, but the Quiksilver brand has created a top-notch guard against the sun and the elements.
4. Speedo Men’s UV Swim Shirt
This short-sleeved swim t-shirt is a great choice for those looking for something a little looser. Speedo has made a well-fitted short-sleeved rash guard that comes in extended sizes and holds up well after use. It’s 100% polyester, hand dry only and is not as fitted as the other rash guards on this list. So if you’re cruising for something less snug, this is an excellent option for you. Speedo makes great swim products and this rash guard is just as good as their swimsuits.
5. Nike Men’s UPF 40+
This swim shirt from Nike is looser than a rash guard but still an option for your summer adventures. Best for days playing football at the beach or by the pool, this shirt will protect you from the sun as well as keep you cool. It’s too loose to be a good surfing or bodyboarding shirt and will ride up to expose your back or stomach while you’re out there. It dries quickly and is a great shirt for a day outdoors in the sun.
6. Billabong Unity Performance Fit Long Sleeve Rashguard
Billabong’s rash guard is a fitted long-sleeved shirt with 50+ UPF protection that will get you through a long, hot summer day full of activity. Better than a swim shirt, this fitted rash guard will protect you from the sun and the abrasive sand if you wipe out on a wave or get caught up in the sand while body surfing. Also great for a day at the pool for swimming because it’s so fitted and will dry quickly, allowing you to wear it all day and not become wet and uncomfortable. A great choice for those looking for a tighter fit for a day at the beach.
7. Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody
This unique swim shirt can be used for a day on the water or as a cool fitting shirt on the trails. With 50+ UPF protection, Patagonia has made a shirt made from 100% recycled materials. It’s a loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt, super durable and offers ample protection from the elements out on the water or on a long run in the desert. A versatile shirt, it will come in handy all summer long.
8. Hurley Men’s Long-Sleeved Pro Rashguard
This Hurley rash guard is a well fitted, long-sleeved shirt that will perform well in the summer heat. A blend of 92% polyester and 8% spandex makes it stretchy, flexible and durable. Handwash only for this stylish shirt. Wear it out to the beach, outside playing sports or for a swim at the pool. Hurley is another great surf brand that won’t let you down when the waves get gnarly.
9. TSLA Men’s UPF 50 Rashguard
This rash guard has a lot of stretch and will keep you protected from the elements during a long day in the sun. With 50 UPF protection, you’ll be able to enjoy the summer days for longer. It comes in a dozen colors to choose from and will stay tight on your body during surf sessions, long swims, or while body surfing.
10. Patagonia Men’s RO Long Sleeved Top
This swim rash guard is similar to the hoody on this list but with a tighter fit. Best for surfing and swimming in the ocean, this long-sleeved shirt will keep you protected from the sun and sand. With 85% recycled polyester and 15% spandex, four-way stretch through the seams, and 50+ UPF protection, this is a great option for your summer in the sun.