Gear
Gear Guy
Q:

Does the sun protection in clothing deteriorate with washing?

Does the sun protection in clothing deteriorate with washing? I referring to Columbia Sportswear's sun-shielding gear. Is there any information on how long it remains effective? Regina Boise, Idaho

A: The short answer, my friend, is that yes, the sun-proofing in clothing does deteriorate over time.

Silver Ridge Shirt


The long answer, though: That shouldn't matter. By that I mean companies such as Columbia and Sun Precautions test their sun-protective clothing through repeated washings and exposure to sunny conditions. In the case of something such as Columbia's Silver Ridge Shirt ($40; www.columbiasportswear.com), it's put through the equivalent of 40 machine washings and 100 days of sun exposure. Columbia's fabric itself is sun-resistant—some other makers either weave in sun-proofing fabrics (which reflect UV rays) or coat their fabric with UV-resistant chemicals. Nothing wrong with that, it's just a different way to do things.

Even with sun-resistant clothing, it's still prudent to use a sunscreen if sun exposure is a real issue for you. Most sunscreens with an SPF rating of 15 to 20 are fine for all but the most sun-sensitive—anything more than that is really gilding the lily. I've had good success with many sunscreens, but like Aloe Gator Super Waterproof Sunblock Lotion SPF 15 ($4.95 for three ounces; www.aloegatorsuncare.com).

Keep cool!

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Lead Photo: courtesy, Columbia Sportswear
More Gear