Are you a venturesome explorer? Do you love water sports? Do you love spending your time on the beach? If yes then you must be knowing about various things people use to protect themselves from harmful UV rays of the sun such as sunscreens, personal flotation devices, rash guards, etc. You must be aware of their importance in outdoor activities. So we are here to tell you about the purpose and importance of rash guards in your day to day outdoor activities. A Comprehensive Guide:- What is Rash Guard.
As the name suggests, a rash guard is athletic wear that protects the wearer from rashes caused by abrasion, or by sunburn from extended exposure to the sun. It was invented by Aussie surfer bros in the 1970s. It is also known as rash vest or rashie. It is made up of synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester and spandex. It is usually worn by the surfers while riding the waves or hanging out on the shore. It can be worn while surfing in warm weather to prevent chafing on and off the waxed surface of the surfboard as these surfboards wax holds sands from the beach that can run against a surfer while paddling. They are sometimes worn under the wetsuit to prevent chafing.
Purpose of wearing Rashguards
Rash guards are worn for water activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, walking along the beaches in hot and humid weather, etc. They provide safety from the blazing sun and cool waves. It is generally worn by surfers for water activity. Some of the important purposes of wearing rash guard include —
- Rash guards are designed to protect surfers from the abrasions caused by sand and waxy residue on the surfboards.
- They provide protection from the harmful rays of the sun. They are in fact the best alternative for sunscreen as sunscreens are not always enough to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
- Rash guards serve as a defence against foreign sea particles. They are also used for training in various grappling sports and mixed martial arts. Athletes wear rash guards to protect themselves from mat burns and cuts. Also worn with the purpose of practising good hygiene. It provides protection against jellyfish stings and also prevents irritation caused by the rapid impact of surface water as well as the waves.
- Provides compression effect on the muscles which helps to prevent muscle sprain.
- Wearing a long-sleeved rash guard helps provide an extra layer of warmth which is generally required while surfing in cold water. You can wear it under a wetsuit which will provide you protection from the cold water. Thermal rash guards are made of thicker fabrics and are used for aqua aerobics and other water sports.
Often called surf shirts, these shirts are more or less the same thing but the difference is of the fitting. They are loose-fitting and are casually worn. They are more comfortable for children. They are new to the consumer market but are growing in popularity. Swim shirt tends to be more like regular clothing. They create more drag and water flow during surf sessions but are comfortable for the boardwalk.
The primary purpose of a swim shirt is to provide an alternative to sunscreen and save your skin from the ultraviolet rays which cause skin cancer. However, when the two are used together, they provide excellent results. But since sunscreens are not suitable for everyone because of the chemicals used in them especially children skin can be sensitive to sunscreen. So swim shirts are the best option for children as they are loose and easily slipped on. Even though the name suggests that it is designed for water activities but people use it for other activities such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts, and for regular wear as well.
Impact of using the rash guard on the environment
Rash guards are no doubt designed for water activities but we should make sure we do not harm the environment. Rash guards are made from synthetic fibres because they are easy to dry, non-shrinkable, stretchable and resistant to abrasion. The combination of products used in making rash guards vary depending upon the company and designer. However, studies claim that synthetic fibres are not good for the environment.
These synthetic fibres are chemically treated to make it heat resistant. These chemicals are very toxic and dangerous for humans as well as aquatic animals. When the chemical coating of these rash guards wears off, the chemicals get released into the water bodies which can become a cause of death of aquatic species.
So what can we do? Should we stop using them?
No, instead we should switch over to the eco-friendly rash guards available in the market. The surfing industry has now come up with UPF label rash guards which are safer than the chemically treated rash guards as they are made from thicker fibres. Eco consumers recommend these UPF label rash guards as they have tighter weaves and darker colours. These alternatives are being sold in the market are taking more effort to reduce carbon footprint than plastic pollution. Moreover, we can minimize its harm but hand washing the rash guards rather than washing them in domestic washing machines.
Top 4 rash guards —
No doubt you have plenty of options available to choose but if you are still confused about which rash guards to purchase and from where to purchase we have listed a few rash guards which are easily available on Amazon. So some of the top listed rash guards include —
1. O’ Neill Men’s Thermo X Long Sleeve Insulative Top –
- Generally, people purchase rash guards depending on the purpose but this rash guard is a top choice for every outdoor activity. The material is a 220g mix of nylon and spandex and is soft, stretchable and quick drying. As it is long-sleeved it provides protection to the entire arm.
2. Swim Zip Little Boys’ Short sleeve Zipper Rash Guard –
- This rash guard is designed for kids especially for boys but can be worn by baby girls as well. It has a full front zipper which makes slipping in and out easier.
3. Scubapro Women’s Ever Flex Jacket –
- This brand has beaten many established brands. The rash guards of this brand are made of neprone with fleecy interior and have thermal protection of 1.5 mm. It provides warmth and comfort and are thus a good choice for water activity in cold waters. It has an extra stretching capacity and thus does not cause hinder in the movement of arms.
- Valcom Women’s Simply Solid Body Suit – It is designed like a long-sleeved swimsuit and gives a smart look to surfers. It is made of 78%nylon and 22% elastane.
4. Quicksilver Men’s Always There Rash Guard –
- It is a long-sleeved rash guard made of stretch blend materials polyester and elastane that provides loads of flexibility for whatever activity you are in. The combination of these two fibres makes this rash guard moisture wicking because of which the sweat get quickly transferred from inside to outside.
All these rash guards have a UPF of 50 plus which blocks almost 98% of the harmful UV rays and is best designed to protect your body from exposure to the sun and other particles of the sea.