Tech & Gear Luggage The 8 Best Rash Guards of 2023 By Ashley M. Biggers Ashley M. Biggers Instagram Twitter Ashley Biggers is a journalist specializing in travel, culture, and art. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 01/09/23 Share Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Some beach or lake vacations call for days lounging on the shore. Other destinations call for adventure. If your next excursion has you paddling, swimming, snorkeling, or surfing, you may need a rash guard. The athletic shirts, originally designed for surfers, are helpful for many water-based sports because they protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent uncomfortable chafing under wetsuits or sandy sports equipment. To find the right rash guard for you, consider the following factors. The ideal material is flexible enough to move with you and has a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. And, while most rash guards are long-sleeved, short-sleeved options exist. The Rundown Best Overall for Men: O'Neill Long Sleeve Rash Guard at Amazon Jump to Review Best Overall for Women: Kanu Surf Keri Long-Sleeve Rashguard at Amazon Jump to Review Best Budget: DRSKIN UV Sun Protection Long Sleeve Top at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Surfing: Quiksilver All Time Long Sleeve Rashguard Swim Shirt at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Snorkeling: Tuga Men's Snorkel Hooded Rashguard at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Paddling: Hurley One & Only Long Sleeve Rashguard at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Babies: UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Baby Boys' Sun & Swim Suit at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Kids: O'Neill Wetsuits Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt at Amazon Jump to Review Table of contents Expand Our Picks What to Look For FAQ Why Trust TripSavvy Best Overall for Men O'Neill Premium Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard 4.6 Amazon View On Amazon View On Zappos View On REI What We Like Great UPF protection Prevents chafing Lightweight Stretchy What We Don't Like Snug fit Opt for the O’Neill Men’s Premium Skins L/S Rash Guard for an all-around, versatile rashie. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends this shirt for its UPF 50+ rating. As buyers would expect from one of the top names in the water sports industry, O’Neill has maximized this shirt’s design for play. The guard’s minimal and well-placed seams won’t chafe when surfing, swimming, or paddling. Meanwhile, the design balances superior protection with a premium four-way stretch for mobility during adventure sports. It remains breathable during maximum exertion, so wearers aren’t likely to overheat even on scorching days at the shore. Note that this performance-fit shirt hugs skin tight—as rash guards should fit under wetsuits—so shoppers looking for a looser-fitting sun shirt should order a size or two larger. Price at time of publication: $52 Sizes: XS to 3XL | Materials: 91 percent nylon, 9 percent spandex | Sustainability: Not listed Best Overall for Women Kanu Surf Keri Long-Sleeve UPF 50+ Rashguard Courtesy of Amazon View On Amazon View On Zappos What We Like Dries quickly Great UPF protection Comes in various colors What We Don't Like Tight fit The Kanu Surf Women’s Keri Rashguard is specifically designed for women. This shirt is quick-drying and stretchy and made from a blend of polyester and spandex. It comes with a UPF 50+ rating, so wearers won’t have to continue to slather sunscreen on their bodies while wearing this protective guard. The long sleeve rashie with a banded crew neck comes in more than a dozen colors and patterns, so there’s likely a style to suit every buyer’s desires. Note that it has a slim fit by design, so size up if necessary. Price at time of publication: $26 Sizes: XS to XL | Materials: 87 percent polyester, 13 percent spandex | Sustainability: Not listed Best Budget DRSKIN UV Sun Protection Long Sleeve Top Courtesy of Amazon View On Amazon What We Like Stretchy Comes in various colors What We Don't Like UPF rating isn't listed Those just learning to surf or getting into paddle sports may not want a pricey rash guard. The DRSKIN UV Protection Long Sleeve Top has an affordable price tag and performance that doesn’t skimp on the must-haves. The polyester/spandex fabric blend provides unrestricted movement and four-season wearability for most locales. The moisture-wicking material also dries quickly in summer and retains heat in the winter. It provides some protection from harmful sun rays, so wearers can rest assured they have good coverage. Price at time of publication: $25 to $37, depending on the color Sizes: M to XL | Materials: 100 percent polyester | Sustainability: Not listed Best for Surfing Quiksilver All Time Long Sleeve Rashguard Swim Shirt UPF 50+ Courtesy of Amazon View On Amazon View On Quiksilver.com What We Like Stretchy UPF 50 rating Won't ride up What We Don't Like Hand-wash only This rashie will serve buyers well in the water and on the shore. This shirt is sustainable and functional and made of recycled polyester and elastane. Its four-way stretch moves with wearers like a second skin, so they won’t feel constrained while catching waves. Long sleeves and side seams allow for a full range of movement. A longer torso and extended hem keep this guard from creeping up while paddling. The close fit also goes nicely under wetsuits for cold-water surfing or as a stand-alone piece in warmer temps. Price at time of publication: $40 Sizes: XS to 3XL | Materials: 86 percent Recycled Polyester, 14 percent Elastane / 46 percent Polyester, 46 percent Recycled Polyester, 8 percent Elastane | Sustainability: Recycled materials The 11 Best Men’s Swim Trunks of 2023 Best for Snorkeling Tuga Men's Snorkel Hooded Rashguard Amazon View On Amazon What We Like Great UPF protection Hooded design Prevents chafing What We Don't Like Hand-wash only Whether you’re snorkeling in Aruba, Cancun, or Kauai, sunburn can quickly ruin an otherwise perfect day of spotting exotic fish and coral. So, for snorkeling rash guards, UPF protection is the top priority. This long sleeve rash guard has it in spades with a 50+ rating that will keep your back and arms protected all day. It goes one step further with a hood that can be pulled up to protect the back of your neck and ears without reef-harming sunscreen. A women’s version of this hooded rash guard is also available. Price at time of publication: $95 Sizes: XS to 4XL | Materials: 80 percent nylon, 20 percent spandex | Sustainability: Recycled materials Best for Paddling Hurley Men's Standard One & Only Long Sleeve Sun Protection Rashguard Amazon View On Amazon View On Dick's What We Like Stretchy Great UPF protection Machine-washable What We Don't Like Limited color options Freedom of movement is a priority for paddle sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The Hurley One and Only Surf Shirt delivers dynamic movement via four-way stretch and a more relaxed fit than other performance-fit rashies. It will also help wearers stay protected from the sun’s harmful rays with a UPF 50+ rating. Add a big hat, and wearers will be ready for all-day paddle adventures via river, lake, or ocean. Price at time of publication: $48 for small Sizes: S to XXL | Materials: 88 percent nylon, 12 percent spandex | Sustainability: Recycled materials We Tested 20 Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboards and These Are the Best Best for Babies UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Baby Boys' Sun & Swim Suit Amazon View On Amazon What We Like Great UPF protection Prevents chafing Machine-washable What We Don't Like Air dry only Parents won’t want anything damaging their babies’ tender skin, and this all-over suit from UV Skins protects little ones from neck to ankle. With a UPF 50+ rating, it should block 98 percent of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Unlike most skin-tight rash guards, this one’s made for lots of movement. Raglan-cut sleeves give tots free range of motion in the arms, while flatlock seams provide ultimate comfort and chafe-free wear. It also features a full front zipper, so getting your baby in and out of this suit won’t turn into a wrestling match. Even though your baby may outgrow this suit in a season, its chlorine- and saltwater-resistant fabric will make this durable suit a solid hand-me-down. Although the boys’ version is linked here, UV Skins also makes this suit for girls with colors some parents might find more fitting. Matching bucket hats are available as well. Price at time of publication: $45 Sizes: 3 to 6 months to 3T | Materials: Not listed | Sustainability: Not listed Best for Kids O'Neill Wetsuits Youth Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt Courtesy of Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart What We Like Great UPF protection Looser fit Comes in various colors What We Don't Like Sizes run small This kid-friendly version of an adult classic comes from O'Neill—a leader in water sportswear. The multi-functional rashie is suitable for surfing, swimming, paddle sports, and days at the beach. Parents will likely find peace of mind in this shirt's UPF 50+ rating and its recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation. With minimal seams for maximum rash protection and a close-but-not-tight fit, it allows kids to move and play without feeling constricted. It's also available in more than a dozen colors, so parents will surely find a version their youngster will enjoy. Price at time of publication: $30 Sizes: 4 to 16 | Materials: Not listed | Sustainability: Not listed The Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens of 2023, Tested and Reviewed What to Look for in a Rash Guard Material You’ll want material in your rash guard that gives you plenty of movement and flexibility—the larger the range of motion, the better. Spandex and polyester will be your best friends for a great day on the board and keep an eye out for flatlock stitching for added comfort. UPF Protection In recent years, fabric technology has come a long way in rash guards, and many have sun protection built right in. Look for rash guards that have UPF protection to ensure that you're keeping your skin protected from the sun's harmful rays. Sleeve Length Traditionally, rash guards have long sleeves to guard against the sun and chafing that comes along with a day of movement during water sports. Some rash guards are short sleeve, though, and offer a greater range of motion. Determine which style is most comfortable for you and how much sun protection you want. Frequently Asked Questions Is wearing a rash guard as effective as wearing sunscreen? A rash guard can actually be more effective than wearing sunscreen if the rash guard has UPF protection. Unlike sunscreen, which you need to reapply regularly, a rash guard will remain effective for the entirety of the time you spend outside. Rash guards will continue to block UV rays when you're sweating on land or wading in the water. A bonus is you don't need to buy rash guards again and again, as you do with sunscreen. Remember to put sunscreen on regions not covered by the rash guard, though. Do rash guards provide significant warmth? People tend to wear wetsuits on top of swimsuits to keep warm in cold ocean waters. While rash guards similarly provide skin coverage, they are not designed to trap body heat. You may feel warmer wearing a rash guard versus wearing a swim top alone or going without a shirt, but there will not be a significant difference in comfort. Why are rash guards useful? Everyone can benefit from the increased sun protection that a rash guard provides. But you should consider purchasing a rash guard if you're surfing. They can prevent your skin from chafing against your waxed or sandy board, which can lead to rawness and rashes. What should I wear under a rash guard? Most women wear a bathing suit top below a rash guard for comfort, especially since they can be thin or sheer. Men may opt not to wear anything underneath a rash guard since they can be tight and simply pair it with swimming trunks. Why Trust TripSavvy Journalist Ashley M. Biggers is a water lover at heart. Her paddling, snorkeling, surfing, and swimming adventures have taken her worldwide, including to Australia, Hawaii, and Southern France. She’s had many rash-guard success stories—and a few misadventures along the way. The Best Tandem Kayaks for a Smooth Ride Article Sources TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy. Skin Cancer Foundation. "Sun-Protective Clothing." Accessed Jan 4, 2023. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 8 below.