Last updated on August 11, 2018
We all agree that irritated skin is annoying. And it is very common among water sport enthusiasts. It may come from continuous chafing with your surf board, or from being exposed to the sun whole day while kayaking.
This is where rash guards kick in. They are specially designed to prevent these problems. They serve as a protective layer between you and the surface you are sliding on, for example surf board that has sand and wax residue on it. They block the harmful UV rays from reaching your skin and creating awful sunburns. Also, they can be an insulation layer, either underneath a wetsuit, or by themselves to keep you a little bit warmer.
Best rashies should do all these things while being comfortable to wear and a perfect fit for your activity. This is why it’s important to know what to look for in terms of features. So, what is the best rash guard for you? Check out our rash guard reviews to find out.
Let’s get started.
How To Choose A Rash Guard – Buying Guide
Choosing the right rash guard depends on your personal preferences and the intended use. This buying guide is designed to help you choose the best rash guard for your activity. No matter if you want to go surfing, swimming, kayaking or just lay around on the beach, rash guards can help you. Take a closer look.
What Exactly Is A Rash Guard?
A rash guard is a special piece of clothing that protects people who engage in water sports from rashes, sun and even cold environment to some extent. They are made from different materials and in different styles to best match the situation they are going to be used in.
First of all, the main purpose of a rash guard is to protect against rashes. These occur when a surfer is sliding on and off the board, and is in contact with sand and wax residue on the board. Because of chafing, annoying rashes occur on your skin. Rash guards are lightweight but function as a protective layer between you and the board.
Many rash guards are made to have a strong Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). This is incredibly useful because no matter your activity you are exposed to the harmful UV rays for long periods of time.
Even though it is not their main purpose, a rash guard can keep you warm. If the weather is too warm for a full wetsuit, a rash guard gives you an extra layer which helps you retain some of your body heat making you feel more comfortable.
Types of Rashies
Rash guards come in different styles. A standard rash guard comes with long sleeves, short sleeves or as a vest. The type you should choose depends mainly on the climate. If the temperature is lower and you often go in and out of water, then a rash guard with long sleeves is better for you.
On the other hand, a rash guard with short sleeves is much more comfortable to wear if it’s hotter outside. This type is also very good when used under a wetsuit to give you extra insulation and protection. The same thing applies for vests. They are also great for warm weather and under a wetsuit. An additional plus is that they allow greater shoulder and arm movements.
There are also full-body rash guards available. The full body type is made from the same materials as the other rash guards, but it is designed as a wetsuit. This way it provides extra protection for your pelvic area and legs. It is used in a number of ocean sports, alone or worn under a wetsuit. However, the full-body suit sometimes restricts your movements.
In addition to the rash guards already mentioned, there is a special type of clothing that is not your typical rash guard but it’s very similar. These are swim shirts. They have a loose fit, and their main purpose is sun protection. They come with high UPF and are becoming more popular because they are more comfortable to wear than traditional rash guards.
How Do I Size One?
A rash guard can be loose or tight. If you plan on doing an activity that includes a lot of movement like swimming or surfing, it is better that you buy a rash guard that fits tight. This has to do with the fact that a tight fit has less resistance and minimizes chafing and rubbing.
If you plan on using a rash guard mainly as sun protection then you should choose a loose fit. You will certainly feel more comfortable, just be sure that the rash guard you choose has a strong UPF. In case you’re doing your shopping online, many sellers offer size charts which help you pick out the right fit.
The materials used for rash guards play the most significant role. The main ones used are spandex, polyester, nylon and neoprene. The combination of these materials should be light and gentle on your skin, so you don’t feel you’re wearing anything. Rash guards should be breathable and able to dry off fast. This is one of the features that allows them to prevent rashes.
Also, the material used should have UPF protection, to prevent your skin from burning while exposed to the sun for a long time. The seams on your shirt are important too. It’s good if they are flat, to additionally minimize chafing during movement.
Rash guards are very effective in what they promise to do. The design and choice of material guarantee that your skin won’t be irritated from continuous abrasion with the surf board. Best rashies also have seams you can’t feel on your skin. Also, they are pretty efficient in blocking the sun. Rash guards with UPF of over 50 allow almost no UVA and UVB rays to get to your skin.
Q: How tight should rash guards be?
A: This is a common question. The answer is that this depends on what the rashie is going to be used for. A tight fit is best for surfing, swimming or diving. The skin-fit ensures that the rash guard moves with your body and there is no excess fabric getting in the way. On the other hand, if the main purpose of your rash guard is sun protection, then it’s better to choose a loose fit, because you get the same UV protection with increased comfort.
Q: Who wears rash guards?
A: Rash guards are most often worn by surfers who want to prevent chafing when sliding on and off the surf board. But of course, they aren’t the only ones. Rash guards are very versatile pieces of clothing that can also protect you from the sun and keep you warm. For this reason they are very popular among other water sport enthusiasts too. They can be worn on their own, or under a wetsuit. Also, rash guards are sometimes used by athletes outside the water too, for example running, biking or Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Q: Do rash guards protect against sun?
A: As we already mentioned, this is a very important feature. You should always look for a rash guard that will protect you from the sun. The material is usually specially treated to give you UPF protection. Best rashies have UPF of 50+. You should always use it in combination with a sunscreen, so you can give yourself the best possible protection.
Q: Can I wear rash guard while swimming?
A: Yes, of course. A rash guard will keep you warm, and protect you from the sun and things floating around in the water. However, if you intend to use it for swimming purposes only, pay attention to the fit. A tight fit might be best for swimmers. This is because you don’t want loose cloth floating around and impacting your movement and speed.
Globo Surf Overview
To wrap things up, investing in a good rash guard can really make a big difference. If you were unsure what the best rash guard for you was, you now have enough information on what to look for. Take a pick from our rash guard reviews list and give it a go, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Have you tried a rash guard for swimming that made it onto our list? How comfortable and efficient was it? Let us now in the comment section below.
Globo Surf Rash Guard Review