Sun-smart Sailing Gear

Protect yourself from the sun with the right gear for a summer sail.

August 17, 2016
sun gear
A long day in the sun can fry your skin and zap your energy — and if there’s a bit of a breeze, you might not even feel it happening. Block harmful UV rays with everything in your arsenal: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen (with a minimum SPF of 30!) and clothing made of UPF-rated fabrics. Try everything on before departing for your trip; the most effective gear is the stuff that’s comfortable enough for you to actually wear. Brian Sager

The Essentials:

Hats: Pack the most protective hat you can find that has an adjustable chin strap to keep it from blowing off your head. Alternatively, you can clip any hat to your collar with a cap retainer ($4,

Shirts: Look for moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabrics with antimicrobial properties that cut down on odors. Some now even have cooling properties that activate when you sweat. Long sleeves protect your arms and, unlike sunscreen, won’t rub off.

Shorts: Bring rugged shorts with UV protection and ample pockets. Quick-dry varieties that can also be worn as swim trunks make it easier to pack light. It’s especially helpful if at least one of the pockets has a zipper so your cash doesn’t fall out when you swim to the bar on the beach.


Shoes: Nonmarking soles will keep you from scuffing up the boat’s decks. Mesh and other breathable fabrics allow shoes to drain water and dry quickly. Sneaker styles are comfortable and secure, while traditional boat shoes transition easily to night wear ashore.

Our Picks

1. Columbia Coolhead Zero Booney
Neck flap for extra protection

2. ExOfficio Sol Cool Tee
Cools as it wicks sweat


3. Patagonia Baggies 7″
Doubles as a bathing suit

4. Musto x Clarks
Dynamic Pro Shoe
Quick-drying and grippy

5. Helly Hansen Logo Visor
Lightweight sun protection


6. Gill Reflex Sunglasses
Floating frame, polarized lens

7. Gill UV Tec Zip Neck Polo
UPF 50+ sun protection, can be used as a base layer

8. Gill UV Tec Shorts
Plenty of pockets for storage


9. Zhik ZK Boatshoe
Light, perforated neoprene


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