For the longest time, rash guards have been a surfer’s best athletic wear since their main task was to prevent rashes and skin irritation from the Chaffin and grazing of one’s skin against the surfboard and other water objects. Today, a rash guard has numerous benefits hence why it’s worn by people as they partake in various water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, and even swimming.
The best rash guards for snorkeling are made of durable and yet comfortable materials, have 50+UPF rating sun protection, fit well, are lightweight, and are easy to care for in terms of cleaning and storage.
If you’ve already taken snorkeling lessons and just waiting for the big day, the following is a collection of the top rash guards for women, men, and kids. Also, find a buying guide to help you make a perfect choice.
Speedo Men’s UV Swim Shirt Long Sleeve Loose Fit
Speedo is one of the top brands when it comes to water sports accessories. It features UV and UPF 50+ protection with Speedo’s Block the Burn technology that keeps you shielded from the sun’s harmful rays all day long, inside water while snorkeling and out of the water
It is also;
- Lightweight and quick-drying with long sleeves for extra coverage.
- A relaxed and loose-fitting design makes for comfortable, breathable movement all day long.
- Quick-drying & lightweight material Durable -100% Polyester.
- Hand Wash Only
However, there are limited colors to choose, not as stretchy and flexible as the shirts that are made out of spandex.
O’Neill Basic Skins Rash Guard -Women, Men & Juniors
Our top choice is O’Neill Basic Skins rash guard. O’Neill is a highly-recognized surf wear and surfboard brand, so you do not have to worry about reputation and quality of the product. The basic skins rash guard comes with options of women, men and youth. Following are the features.
- It has a 50+UPF sun protection that’s recommended by the skin cancer foundation as a safe to use rash vest.
- Comfortable Yet Durable 6oz Polyester/Spandex Construction
- Due to its polyester and spandex construction, it is flexible, comfortable and light in weight, making it perfect for various water sports such as Snorkeling, Surfing, Swimming, Paddle Sports, Boating, and Beach Days
- Besides its stretch fabrication, the rashie has an ergonomic seam placement that allows for a perfect fit which also comes with a full-on closure.
- These shirts also come with a crew neck and long sleeves for added sun protection for your neck and arms.
- It’s fast-drying with a drip-dry mechanism.
- It can be hand washed with cold water.
- Multiple sizes and colors to choose from
- Can be worn alone or under a wetsuit.
- Finally, it is stylish. It’s professional just as it is casual. The logo designs have been perfectly printed on the check and sleeves for extra appeal.
O’Neill Women’s Basic Skins Long Sleeve Rash Guard
The female version comes with durable yet comfortable construction. It comes in multiple sizes and colors and it is available in short and long sleeves.
Overall, this rashie meets most of the requirements anyone would expect from a good rash guard however, you may experience color runs on the shirts that have deep hues.
O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins Short Sleeve Rash Guard
The men’s version is a tight-fitting rash guard with 4-way stretch. The spandex and polyester from which it is made allows for breathability and sweat-wicking. You can be assured of balanced temperatures in both cool and warm waters. A short-sleeve version is also available
O’Neill Youth Basic Skins Long Sleeve Sun Shirt
This is a wonderful choice for kids. This rash guard shirt has a slim fit that’s not too tight but just right for holding onto the skin.
It’s available in long sleeves and a mock collar for maximum coverage when it comes to sun protection.
It also comes in various colors and sizes to ensure they satisfy all your requirements
CharmLeaks Women’s Long Sleeve Rashguard
Charmleaks strives to provide ladies with something stylish and charming in swimwear. This is colorblock striped rash guard top that scores high in the looks department. The design is awesome and it will, without doubt, make you stand out.
It created from an innovative skin friendly fabric, perfect for snorkeling, swimming, surfing, diving, yoga, fitness, beach, waterside party etc.
Here more features that this rashie comes with
- Features quick-drying, breathable, moisture-wicking fabric for all-day comfort
- UPF 50 fabrication protects skin by blocking harmful Ultraviolet UVA and UVB rays
- Banded crew neck swim top with raglan sleeves allows arms for a full range of movement
- Durable stretch swimming shirt boasts excellent shape and color retention
HUGE SPORTS Men’s Splice Rash Guard Long Sleeves
This Huge Sports Men’s Splice has 80% Nylon and 20% Spandex fabric content. This means it offers excellent stretching capabilities hence flexibility as you snorkel. Furthermore, with it’s two- way stretch, the rash vest can stabilize muscle movement using compression to prevent any fatigue or exertion of excess energy.
The fabric is also breathable and sweat-wicking to balance the temperatures as well as release excess moisture and heat from the body. This only makes it more suitable for most athletic water sports like kayaking, surfing, swimming, and of course, snorkeling.
It has a 50+ UPF sun protection that can prevent sunburns from appearing on your chest, neck, and arms for the long-sleeved vest. It is also available in short sleeves for those who may be interested. What’s more, the rashie has a unique appearance thanks to its asymmetric design that has irregular and repeated patterns in 3D versions.
Besides being fast-drying, the stitching done on the vest is also exemplary. The threads are stitched thinners to maintain its strength and elasticity, the stitches are also wider with more precise lines to add to its stylish look.
- Stylish – it’s designed with 3D irregular and repeated patterns.
- Versatile – can be used for a variety of water sports.
- Strong and elastic thanks to the nylon-spandex material used to make it.
- 50+ UPF sun protection.
- Breathable fabric with sweat-wicking.
Body Glove Women’s Smoothies In Motion Solid Short Sleeve Rashguard
This is yet another top pick from Body Glove. As of this review, it is Amazon’s best seller. It is made up of 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex with a pull-on closure design.
- UPF 50+ ultraviolent protection factor
- Short sleeves
- Flatlock seams
- Hand Wash
Kanu Surf Women’s Keri Long-Sleeve Rash Guard
Kanu Surf, a surf and swim lifestyle brand, is well known for great fit, function and colors along with high quality functional water apparel for the whole family. Kanu also offers matching styles for kids so that the whole family can hit the beach scene as a team.
- Upf 50+ rating on rash guards and swim shirts to block the sun’s harmful rays
- Comfortable fit allowing full range of motion
- Matching board shorts available for a great set
- Machine Wash
- High quality and durable quick dry fabric (87% Polyester, 13% Spandex )
- Long raglan seam-sleeve rashguard featuring banded crew neckline and contrast logo screenprint
Aqua Design Rashguard for Women
The Aqua Design Women’s Loose Fit Rash Guard Shirt is specifically designed to offer optimal performance in and around the water.
While surfers will find this water shirt highly functional, it has been created to have a more relaxed fit than a traditional surfer “compression-fit” rash guard.
The short sleeve design is perfect for hot weather and is ideal for both active and casual water activities including snorkeling waterskiing, swimming, wind, surfing, jet, wake, boarding, water, sailing, boating, cruise, beach, or waterparks
It is made from 100% AquaPoly Microfiber fabric that is breathable, moisture wicking and rated UPF 50+ for maximum sun protection. For added comfort, flatlock stitching, which also makes the seams more durable, has been used
Easy to care and carry around. Wash by hand or machine with cold water and hang dry; the construction material is soft, quick-drying, and perfect for travel. No fabric softener is necessary
Comes in multiple sizes; x-small through curvy plus-sized to fit every woman with a figure-flattering option; Four-way stretch material adds comfort for unrestricted movement
Features vivid water colors that make you look beautiful. Available in 5 distinctive water-inspired colors, the attractive and unique swirling pattern rash top smooths, blends and conceals curves in a form-flattering, comfort-fit design
Protection from harmful UVA and UVB sun rays even on cloudy days as well as painful jellyfish stings; Added protection for your neck thanks to a crew/mock collar that extends the sun protection to your neck.
If you’re looking for a hooded rashie, our two best choices include
- O’Neill Men’s Premium Skins O’zone UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt With Hood
- Quiksilver Men’s Angler Hooded Ls Long Sleeve Rashguard Surf Shirt
What does a Rash Guard do- Is it Necessary for Snorkeling?
A rash guard, also known as rash vest or rashie, is an athletic shirt made of stretchable material ( spandex and nylon or polyester). As its name says, it is a protective clothing meant guard you from rashes caused by abrasion, or by sunburn from extended exposure to the sun.
These garments can be worn by themselves, or under a wetsuit. In addition to keeping you free of rashes, they also have other benefits, including;
- SPF protection – most rash guards will offer the same sun protection as sunscreen would. Providing a cover against harmful UV rays from the sun as you’re out enjoying the waters.
- Sting/bite protection – the material used to make the rash guards provide favorable protection from stings by corals, rocks, and jellyfish.
- Added protection layer – while snorkeling, you will encounter various sea creatures. If you wouldn’t want to feel them moving past your skin, then the rashguard is all you need.
Finally, they are available in various types including long and short-sleeved shirts, the full body wears stretching to the bottom of the leg up to the head, tight-fitting and loose-fitting plus other different varieties.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Guard Rash
It’s vital to know what exactly you are looking for when you walk up to a store ready to purchase a rashguard. Since you want to own one that offers the maximum benefits, here some ideas on what to look for when shopping. you have read it numerous times from the beginning of this article.
This is the most important feature. You need a rashguard that can offer at least 50+UPF protection to cover you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It is essential to note that not all rash guards will give you this option while others offer up to 200+ UPF, so have a keen look at this feature.
The Construction Materials/Fabric
The fabric used – the ideal materials are spandex, nylon, and polyester. Lycra and elastane can also be used. Well, depending on your needs this segment should be rather easy for you since they offer a variety of benefits such as stretch, breathability, and warmth. Here are the most common materials described.
Lycra – it’s breathable, quick-drying, and has the optimal stretch compared to the others.
Neoprene – is an excellent insulator for your body, especially in less tropical conditions. It’s also stretchable, hence very flexible.
Polyester – they offer maximum breathability and sweat-wicking. They are quite durable too. However, they lack in stretching, hence very stiff and inflexible, unless combined with lycra.
Nylon-Spandex – this one offers great stretch, quick-drying, breathability, and a tight fit. Nylon on its own is not as durable as polyester
Most brands categorize rash guards as a loose fit or a tight fit. Loose fits are ideal for casual water activities like snorkeling while tight fits are ideal for active water activities. Some people also prefer tight to loose. It is entirely your choice to pick what is makes you feel good.
Different rash vests will have different stitching techniques. From a flatlock to a six-panel, they all offer the best locking mechanism to ensure ultimate protection and ease of use.
Length of Sleeves
You may have noticed that some have short while others have long sleeves, and others are simply tanks. Each style has its own purpose.
Short sleeves – great for hot days when you’re not looking to add any more heat to your arms.
Long sleeves – an excellent choice for kids’ clothing, they cover the arms completely hence great insulation and sun protection. Also favorable for cooler temperatures.
Tanks – going sleeveless is perfect for extremely hot days like the summer. It offers the widest range of flexibility and movement.
With rash shirts, you can opt for a short or pants. They can be used to replace swimsuits and still offer equal protection as the rashies. Most will have a compressed look, snug fit, SPF protection, and flexibility.
As we wind up, let’s have a look at three of the most frequently asked queries.
Should Rash Guards be Tight?
Many would recommend a tight rash vest as it minimizes the possibility of rubbing your skin any further while snorkeling. With excess fabric from a loose-fitting rash guard, you might get irritated from the constant movement of the suit plus it’s an additional weight to carry as it adds resistance in the water.
However, if you’re not looking to adjust your speed and maneuver, then something loose isn’t a bad choice as it will allow your body to adequately fit. Besides, either choice will fully function to its capabilities.
Do Rash Guards Keep you Warm in the Water?
No, the aim of a rash guard isn’t to keep you warm or insulated but rather to protect you from the harmful sunshine UV rays that could hit you directly or get reflected from the water’s surface. That is why a Rashie is commonly worn in tropical conditions to allow you to abstain from having to apply sunscreen.
Do Rash Guards Protect You from Jellyfish Stings?
Yes, but it depends on how thick your rash guard is. Thick-skinned rash guards can protect you from the sharp spikes from corals, rocks, and stings from jellyfish.
Rash Guard vs Swim Shirt: Which to Wear?
Swim shirts are new water garments, that have grown in popularity recently. These are loose-fitting shirts that most people treat as casual wear. They are specifically designed to provide a replacement for sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s UV radiation and possible skin cancer.
According to some swim shirt manufacturers, most of these shirts carry a UPF rating of 50+, which is thought to obstruct over 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. Rash guards are tight-fitting and they come in a variety. Which is better compared to rash guard will depend on your preference. Most snorkelers will however opt for rash guards.
Are Rash Guards Wet Suits?
Rash guards are not wet suits. Wet suits are thick and they’re meant to stabilize body temperature by keeping you warm. Hence, they are not used in tropical conditions as a replacement for using your daily sunscreen lotion or cream. However, as mentioned above, they can be worn under wetsuits.
Can I Snorkel with a Rash Guard in a Pool?
Yes, you can swim with a rash in a pool. These shirts are meant to be used in water. They are light, safe, and hygienic compared to heavy cotton tees that may carry with them harmful bacteria and dirt into the pool
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