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 a surfboard or bodyboard.
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. 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.
3. 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.
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. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. EZRUN Sun Protection Swim Shirt
The Ezrun swim shirt is an excellent choice to add to your list of summer gear. It’s lightweight, dries quickly, and will keep your back and neck protected from harmful rays, but don’t forget to apply the sunscreen. Made from 100% polyester with 50 SPF sun protection, this shirt has a unique construction: it dries fast and won’t cling to you like most rash guards. This is a great shirt for swimming, surfing, fishing, or hanging out in the sun.
10. INGEAR UPF 50+ Swim Shirt
This shirt is an excellent option to use as a nontraditional rashguard. It’s great for workouts, days outside, or fishing trips. Of course, you can wear it to the beach but it’s a little lighter than the average rash guard. Enjoy a quick-drying shirt that you can wear comfortably all day long when you’re wet or dry. Made from 92% polyester and 8% spandex, this shirt is stretchy and comfortable for a day spent outdoors.
11. NaviSkin Swim Shirt
The Naviskin swim shirt has 50+ UV protection and is perfectly suited for a long day at the beach. A long-sleeved shirt is great for full-body protection during a hot day full of swimming and being in the sun. Minimize your UV exposure with a long-sleeved shirt that is quick to dry and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.
12. Pretchic UPF 50+ Swim Shirt
The Pretchic shirt is loose, comfortable, and dries quickly so you can relax and not feel damp after a swim on a hot day. This rash guard will keep you protected from the sun’s harmful rays and comes in multiple colors. If you’re packing for a summer trip, don’t forget your rash guard, because you’ll love it once you’re under the sun for all hours of the day. Keep cool in the sun and warm in the water with the Pretchic rash guard.
13. Little Donkey Andy Men’s UVF Shirt
This isn’t a traditional rash guard but we’ve decided to include it anyway because it’s multi-functional. It looks like a regular button-up but acts like a swim shirt. Made from 100% nylon, this shirt will keep you protected from the sun’s harmful rays, dries quickly, and looks good for all occasions. Wear this to the beach and dinner.