View Full Version : UPF clothing, bogus?

07-11-2007, 07:02 AM
I was watching the news the other day and they had on one of those product investigation stories about sun-protective clothing. They made it sound as though any clothes that you could see sunlight through somehow had no sun protective qualities, and that only garments with the "UPF 50+" were of any value in sun protection. When I go out, summer or winter, I'm wearing long pants and sleeves 99% of the time, usually my rail riders weatherpants with an old thrift store columbia sportswear nylon shirt, and maybe a synthetic t-shirt underneath. On the head, I usually wear a standard ball cap, and sometimes tuck my bandanna underneath to protect my ears/neck from the sun. I try and wear as little sunscreen as possible, mostly because I have always hated having any sort of lotion on my skin, especially when I'm hiking and sweating. It seems only in the last few years has this UPF junk come into the limelight, and before that no one really ever worried about it, and most people seemed to get by fine with whatever fabric was covering their skin. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so intense sun usually isn't a huge problem, but I would be interested to hear if anyone has ever gotten sunburned under their clothing, and/or if anyone has found any documentation to prove this UPF rating wrong?

07-11-2007, 03:16 PM
yes I have gotten burned through UPF clothing. I burn easily so it isn't a surprise to me and it wat pretty close the the same as my neck that had UPF 45 on it.....

07-12-2007, 10:28 AM
Here is what this website has to say about SPF clothing.


Sun-protective clothing offers another way to protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Sun-protective fabrics differ from typical summer fabrics in several ways: they typically have a tighter weave or knit and are usually darker in color. Sun-protective clothes have a label listing the garment's Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) value, that is, the level of protection the garment provides from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. The higher the UPF, the higher the protection from the sun's UV rays.

The UPF rating indicates how much of the sun's UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric. For example, a fabric with a UPF rating of 20 only allows 1/20th of the sun's UV radiation to pass through it. This means that this fabric will reduce your skin's UV radiation exposure by 20 times where it's protected by the fabric.

Everything above UPF 50 may be labeled UPF 50+; however, these garments may not offer substantially more protection than those with a UPF of 50. Also, a garment shouldn't be labeled "sun-protective" or "UV-protective" if its UPF is less than 15. Sun-protective clothing may lose its effectiveness if it's too tight or stretched out, damp or wet, and if it has been washed or worn repeatedly.

07-12-2007, 11:35 AM
I burn very easily and have never had a problem with any non-SPF clothing. I can't figure out why I need spendy SPF clothes when my t-shirt and overalls leave my skin a pearly white no matter how long I stay in the sun. Is there something I'm missing? Everything exposed gets sunscreen but if I have regular clothes on I don't worry. SPF clothes seems to be a marketing ploy to me.

07-12-2007, 04:34 PM
well, all the UPF rating means is the fabric has been tested, most regular clothes are just as good you just don't have the label to say it. pure marketing.

I do remember a test a few years ago of the UPF of Tshirts--basic white 3-pack types and the heavy pocket-T versions from three or four companies. I remember all the pocket-T versions got a rating of 30 or higher and the basic 3-pack type ranged from almost nothing to 20something. The white ones also lost most of their protection when wet while the pocket T's didn't.