Summer is winding down and kids are headed back to school, but that doesn’t mean the warm weather is going anywhere any time soon. And even when temps do cool down the sun’s rays can be just as strong and we all know exposure to the sun’s radiation can cause a myriad of health issues both in the short- and long-term. One of the easiest ways to protect against the sun’s harmful rays is by wearing sun protective clothing, especially hats, with a UPF rating of 50 (which is the highest possible sun protective rating). But what does this rating mean?

Don’t forget your hat!

UPF vs. SPF

Most people are familiar with the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating used to signify the level of protection in sunscreen. And since sunscreen, and in turn SPF, wears off the skin, sunscreen needs to be reapplied, especially when water and sweat are involved. Additionally, SPF often only protects against UVB rays. On the other hand, the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating used to describe sun protective clothing protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Sun protective clothing provides protection all day long and usually lasts for the lifetime of the clothing.

As a bonus, newborns can wear sun protective clothing whereas sunscreen is not recommended for babies under six months. One of the easiest ways to protect your infant from the sun is to pick up a wide-brimmed hat with a UPF rating of 50+, such as the Infant Sunsprout hat from Sunday Afternoons. This hat also provides convenient features, such as a crushable brim, quick-release chinstrap and washable material to make life easier for caregivers.

Choosing a Sun Hat to Fit your Outdoor Adventure

Since the face, ears and neck are three of the most common areas that can develop skin cancer, a high-quality hat is important for all of your outdoor activities. We have broken down what to look for in a hat based on activity so your family can enjoy all your outdoor adventures.

Hiking

To stay protected from the sun’s rays, choose a hat with a wide brim to shield the face, neck and ears. A hat that is breathable, water-resistant and stain-resistant such as the Adventure Hat can see you through almost any warm-weather scenario you may face on the trail. If rain is a possibility, a hat that protects from the sun while also being breathable and waterproof like the Ultra Adventure Storm Hat can keep you comfortable and dry without the need for extra gear. For the kiddos, you’ll also want to look for a hat with kid-friendly features such as the Kids’ Play Hat, which provides a breakaway chinstrap and customizable sizing band that grows with your child.

Pool/Beach

Whether at the pool or the beach, there are few things better than enjoying the water on a hot day. Since fun in the water usually translates to more exposed skin, choosing a hat with an extra wide brim along with a UPF 50+ rating can offer extra protection. Check out the adult Beach Hat  or the Kids’ Shoreline Hat from Sunday Afternoons to add some style to your outdoor water adventure while also staying protected. It’s also important to consider the harmful glare of the sun off of the water’s surface. Choose a hat with a dark underbrim, such as the Latitude Hat, to reduce glare and help protect your eyes from unnecessary sun exposure. This hat has the added features of Sunglass Lock™ to keep sunglasses in place along with a Reverse Split Brim™ so you can pack it small and flat into your beach bag.

Playing at the Park

As kids head back to school, after-school and weekend trip to playgrounds, parks and farmers markets are some great ways to burn off the extra energy. Stay protected with a hat that not only protects against the sun’s rays but also packs away easily so you can bring it with you wherever you go. The Sun Dancer Hat packs flat and even has a ponytail-friendly opening. For children, the Kids’ Fun Bucket Hat has a crushable brim, making it easy to stuff in a backpack or diaper bag. Both of these styles are water-resistant and breathable on top of having a UPF rating of 50+. If a ball cap is more your style, look for an option that is both breathable and lightweight while still carrying the UPF 50+ sun protective rating such as the Impulse Cap.

 Do you have a favorite hat you love to use for your family adventures? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by Stephanie Jacobson

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