The Best Climbing Sun Protection of 2021

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When climbing outdoors, tons of new variables are added into the equation – from wet holds to changing weather patterns, to sharp rock, and more. With all these additional factors to potentially hinder your climbing, the overbearing heat of the sun burning into your exposed skin is not a pleasant thing to tack on top of everything. To avoid the pain that is bound to spring up from unprotected skin under the harsh rays of the sun, not to mention skin cancer, it is a smart move to protect your exposed skin when climbing outdoors. This is why we created a list of some of the best climbing sun protection out there, from hats to shirts, to sunscreen.

Before loading up on tons of clothing and sunscreen, abide by the simple rule of avoiding climbing or hiking during midday when the sun is the highest in the sky, by doing this, you can easily avoid the worst of the sun’s rays.

Now, on to our favorites!

After you’re done with this post, check out our other comprehensive climbing gear guides here.

Our Top Favorite
Outdoor Research Men's Echo Hoody, Alloy, Medium
Our Top Runner Up
Outdoor Research Unisex Sombriolet Sun Hat, Shade, Medium
Our Top Value Pick
Hanes by Sport Cool DRI Women's Performance Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Climbing Sun Protection
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee
Prime Eligible?
-
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Outdoor Research Men's Echo Hoody, Alloy, Medium
Climbing Sun Protection
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Outdoor Research Unisex Sombriolet Sun Hat, Shade, Medium
Climbing Sun Protection
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Hanes by Sport Cool DRI Women's Performance Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Climbing Sun Protection
Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our Favorites for the Best Climbing Sun Protection for ClimbingOur Favorites for the Best Climbing Sun Protection for Climbing

A shirt can prove invaluable in the heat of midday sun when on the rock wall, though it may seem tempting to go with a tank-top or even shirtless, the burns you will experience the next day will say otherwise. So, check out a few of these upper body options to keeping burn free.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoody

The best way to prevent burns is to wear clothes that cover your exposed skin, wearing a lightweight, the long-sleeve t-shirt is the best way to practice this. By covering up your shoulders and arms, one of the highest sun exposure spots on the body, you can stop both overheating and damaging sun rays in their tracks. The OR Echo Hoody is essentially a long sleeve shirt with a low-profile hood for optional use; the material is made out of a sweat-wicking polyester, which features a trademarked Airvent design. WithActiveFresh odor control, this hoody will also help you avoid the stench that arises from hours of sweaty climbing. The Echo Hoody is also ultra-light, saving you weight and keeping you cool. There are some complaints about the fold-over mitt cuffs which can be used to keep the hands warm in the cold, or even to protect them from the sun; instead, users tend to prefer if the hoody just had a regular cuff design. Still, as usual, Outdoor Research delivers a high-quality product with solid reviews and satisfied users. Coming in six colors and with the occasional sale, this hoody acts as a solid buy for anyone considering a lightweight long-sleeve option.

What makes the Outdoor Research Echo Hoody unique:

  • The low-profile hood makes wearing helmets and hats a breeze, offering you double protection on the rock wall
  • The ultra-breathable design keeps you nice and cool, even as a hoody design

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • For the lightweight, breathable design which keeps climbing enjoyable, even in hot weather
  • If you want to switch from t-shirts and burnt forearms to an option which protects the arms and offers a decent amount of neck protection

Outdoor Research Men's Echo Hoody, Alloy, Medium
  • Material: AirVent (100% polyester)
  • Fit: trim
  • Center Back Length: 29.5in

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Columbia Kettle Ridge Long-Sleeve Shirt

Long sleeves remain the way to go for climbers who need the extra protection on their arms, and if you are looking specifically for a long sleeve, not a hoody, the Kettle Ridge by Columbia can be a great option. Featuring Omni-Shade UPF 50 and Omni-Wick fabric, this shirt will keep you protected from the rays and free from sweat. For further convenience, antimicrobial treatment helps to keep you smelling odor-free. The shirt does tend to run large according to many users, so be conscious of that when buying. In general, this is a great option and a solid buy at a reasonable price.

What makes the Columbia Kettle Ridge Long-Sleeve Shirt unique:

  • The fabric is excellent for keeping cool and sweat-free, making it stand out from other regular shirts
  • The loose and comfortable fit ensures it doesn’t stick to your body and absorb sweat like other shirts may do

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • If you want a shirt that fits loosely and comfortably, this option is an excellent investment
  • The versatility of this shirt gives you tons of value for your money, as it can be worn in layers and for a variety of purposes

Besides your arms and shoulders, your face and neck are the next most exposed areas when climbing. Hats are the best tools to keep these areas burn free and cool. We only look at a few options, but there are so many different varieties you can search from!

No products found.


EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen 50

For one of the most premium sunscreens available, EtlaMD has you covered. When trying to stay protected from the sun, sunscreen is almost always essential to covering sports clothing cannot. That’s why you need to make sure the sunscreen you invest in is high quality. EltaMD’s sunscreen is a top choice for its no-drip, water-resistant formula – this is especially important when you are on the wall, and your hands are too busy on holds to rub the sunscreen from your eyes. Additionally, the sunscreen feels light and is oil-free, ensuring that you won’t feel gross after it is applied. This sunscreen stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and does so without any harmful ingredients. The bottom line: it’s not only great for your skin, but it is great for holding its ground in sweaty conditions and remaining effective for long stretches of time. However, with this quality, this sunscreen is more expensive than most other sunscreens.

What makes the EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen 50 unique:

  • The skin-friendly makeup of this product helps it to stand out from many of the cheaper, oily products
  • While oil-free and great for your skin, it also is performance-focused, and one of the best formulas under sport conditions

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • If you have sensitive skin, this is definitely the sunscreen for you
  • It holds and remains effective even under sweaty and wet conditions

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Outdoor Research Swift Cap

One of the more popular hats recommended for climbers, the OR Swift Cap is a top seller for a reason. OR consistently puts out solid outdoor clothing items that many climbers vouch for, so this list will contain many of their top recommended climbing sun protection items. The Swift Cap is built for keeping cool while under the harsh rays of the sun, with mesh sides and a quick-drying, wicking, breathable fabric design. Plus, at UPF 50+, this hat is guaranteed to keep your face free of sunburns. Lightweight and perfect for long hikes and climbs, the Swift Cap earns a top spot on our list.

What makes the Outdoor Research Swift Cap unique:

  • The mesh sides make it stand out for its breathability, yet stylish look and comfortable feel
  • Unlike many other hats, the Swift Cap is very lightweight and breathable

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • The Swift Cap balances the need for a cool, protective, and functional design with the versatility of a hat that looks good enough to be worn in other casual settings
  • The inclusion of breathable mesh sides and a wicking fabric make it perfect for hard climbs

Outdoor Research Unisex Swift Cap, Printed, painted hills/black, 1size
  • Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant, Breathable, Lightweight, Wicking, Quick-Drying, TransAction Headband, Mesh-Lined Crown, UPF 50+
  • Design Features: Dark Fabric Under Brim, External Breathable Mesh Panels, Embroidered OR Logo
  • Functional Details: Dark Fabric Under Brim, External Breathable Mesh Panels, Embroidered OR Logo

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Buff CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Multifunctional Headwear

If hats aren’t really your thing, or maybe you are just looking for something a bit more versatile, Buff’ sCoolNet is an interesting take on headware. It is a stretchy sleeve that can be worn in up to twelve different ways – from a headband to a mask, to a beanie, to a balaclava. The CoolNet is also great for repelling insects, with an Insect Shield® to help avoid insect-borne diseases – which is always a nice addition in headwear. The 100% recycled REPREVE® microfiber is excellent for climbing with its UPF 50+ protection and moisture-wicking design. There is also cooling technology and odor control built-in to theCoolNet, which truly rounds off the list of great features. While quite a bit more expensive than the standard bandana, the product’s strengths make up for the higher price.

What makes the Buff CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Multifunctional Headwear unique:

  • The CoolNet is the most versatile piece of sun protection on our list
  • The inclusion of so many different properties and features in the seemingly simple design makes this product stand out for its high quality

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • If you are an avid hiker, this headwear can also be invaluable for keeping the rays and bugs off you on the trail, while also proving useful on the walls
  • As mentioned many times before, for the versatility – if you find yourself wishing you had a headband instead of a neckerchief – all it takes is some quick manipulation

BUFF Standard CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Multifunctional Headwear and Face Mask, Hatch Sand, One Size
  • WAYS TO WEAR & USE: Perfect for those buggy days! Protection while hiking, gardening, mowing the lawn, you name it - if it will involve bugs this mask will protect. Can be worn 12 different ways - from cap to balaclava, neck gaiter to hair tie
  • FEATURES: Treated with an odorless insect repellent formula that lasts up to 70 washes. HeiQ cooling technology, Polygiene odor control, and 4-Way, lightweight, seamless, ULTRA STRETCH fabric construction that features UPF 50+ sun protection.
  • FABRIC: 95% recycled REPREVE performance microfiber, 5% Elastane

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Our Runner Ups for the Best Climbing Sun Protection for ClimbingOur Runner Ups for the Best Climbing Sun Protection for Climbing

Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

Like the idea of wearing a hat to keep the sun off your face, but wish you had more coverage? The ORSombriolet Sun Hat is recommended by many as a great hat for hiking and even climbing. All-around, this is a great product with extremely high reviews, so why is it in the Runner Ups category? Simply, it can be an awkward pairing with a helmet. Because outdoor climbing poses many more risks of injury than indoor climbing, you should wear a helmet for most climbs. And a full brim sun hat, while excellent at protecting your face and neck from the sun, may not always work, or look, the best on the walls. Still, despite the hindrance with helmets, the Sombriolet does a great job of keeping breathable and lightweight, while also providing an ample amount of sun protection. It also has a sweat-absorbent headband to keep sweat out of your eyes while your hands are busy.

What makes the Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat unique:

  • The brim helps protect your face and neck better than most other options out there
  • The combination of features helps it to stand out as a high-quality product

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • This hat can be used for more than just climbing – from everyday travel to fishing to hiking, the versatility of it truly makes it a great buy
  • Like with many of their products, OR ensures durability and quality with the Sobriolet Sun Hat

Outdoor Research Unisex Sombriolet Sun Hat, Shade, Medium
  • WATER RESISTANT SUN PROTECTION: A wide shade with a varied foam-stiffened brim width and UPF 50+ rating protects your face and neck from hot, sunny days. A wicking headband keeps sweat and water away from your brow and out of your eyes.
  • COMFORTABLE AND BREATHABLE: The side vents and external breathable panels keep you cool and comfortable while exploring the great outdoors. Featuring a removable, one-hand adjustable drawcord, your favorite hat will stay with you on all adventures.
  • MULTIPLE USES: Whatever you are doing outside, this hat has you covered. This sun hat is perfect for beach days, hiking, camping, fishing, tennis, kayaking and boating, and countless other outdoor activities. Easily packs away for travel!

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Levi’s Men’s 100% Cotton Bandana Headband

Bandanas have been a staple of versatile head and neck sun protection for decades, but the most popular option on Amazon – Levi’s 100% Cotton Bandanas – don’t seem to hold up as well to something like the Buff CoolNet. While less expensive, these bandanas seem plagued by low-quality and cheap manufacturing. As one reviewer stated, it’s as if “they just repackaged them and slapped the Levi name on them” because the bandanas have a huge “MADE IN CHINA” stamped right on. They are also reported as being stiff and course. Honestly, if you want to buy some decent bandanas, you are better off just going to the dollar store and spending a quarter of the money on ones there, or shopping around a bit further for something more high quality.

What makes Levi’s Men’s 100% Cotton Bandana Headband unique:

  • Due to the lower-quality manufacturing, they are quite thin, yet still stiff
  • They are expensive relative to the many other bandanas on the market but don’t stand out in quality when compared to them

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • If you want a cheap way to protect your head and neck when climbing and hiking, bandanas are a good option in general
  • The variety of colors offers some customizability of your bandanas and the overall look which other products lack

Levi's Men's 100% Cotton Multi-purpose Bandana Gift Sets – Headband, Wrap, Protective Coverage, Black/Red/Navy, Pack 3
  • ASSORTED COLORS: This Levi’s bandana is a boxed set of 3 pieces. From the timeless Red, White and Blue, to additional designs in Turquoise, Camo, and more! Our packs give you various options that make it easy for you to mix it up or share with friends.
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL: The only limit in styling these unisex bandanas is your creativity. From a face mask, to wrapping it around your wrist, to using it as a headband to style your hair, our Levi’s bandanas are as versatile as they are functional.
  • AUTHENTIC LEVI'S STYLE: Since 1873, Levis has been a pioneer in crafting pure American heritage products. From its iconic jeans, to jackets, and now accessories, the Levi's brand is an iconic flagship of the American fashion industry

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Our Value Picks for the Best Climbing Sun Protection for ClimbingOur Value Picks for the Best Climbing Sun Protection for Climbing

Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee

Performance-focused clothing can quickly get expensive, and with all the wear and tear that comes with outdoor sports such as climbing, it can be wise to invest in something that won’t break the bank – but will also hold its value for a long time. Hanes is well known for its low priced, comfortable clothing, and the Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee is no different. This shirt checks all the boxes of what you would want from a long sleeve sun shirt on the walls: fabric with Cool DRI technology to keep you from overheating; odor protection; a UPF rating of 50+; a loose, but not baggy fit; and a low price! Some buyers have complained about weak stitching, but most customers didn’t mind too much; the fit also runs a bit large.

What makes the Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee unique:

  • The low price sets this shirt apart from the $20-30+ performance t-shirts on the market, so you don’t have to choose between price and getting overheated
  • While the durability may not match that of some of the more expensive shirts, many of the features of the fabric and the design are similar to more premium shirts

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • If you don’t mind the occasional fraying of stitching, this shirt has many of the strengths of a fantastic piece of sun protection
  • For the low price and high-value Hanes is known for

Hanes by Sport Cool DRI Women's Performance Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
  • Cool DRI technology dries fabric faster for maximum comfort.
  • Comfort Flat seams help reduce chafing.
  • Feminine fit.

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Banana Boat Sports Sunscreen Lotion

Sunscreen is vital to keeping burn-free while on the walls and under the direct rays from the sun, but some of the more luxury-type products may be hard on the budget. However, you do not need to spend $30 on sunscreen to get quality protection from the sun. Banana Boat’s Ultra Sport Sunscreen is made with a lightweight, breathable formula with great endurance at up to 80 minutes. At SPF 50, you can be sure this sunscreen will do its job. Finally, it does its job at a fraction of the price compared to most of the competition, saving you the money you could invest in other areas of your climbing!

What makes the Banana Boat Sports Sunscreen Lotion unique:

  • The relatively extreme low price of this sunscreen makes it stand out among the other sun protection options
  • Its wide availability makes keeping stocked up on it no problem

Why you should choose this sun protection:

  • Sunscreen’s versatility makes it a great option for covering areas which other sun protection clothing can’t
  • Sunscreen is ultra-portable, and the aforementioned availability makes having some around always a possibility

On Sale
Banana Boat Sport Ultra, Reef Friendly, Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50, 8oz.
  • SUPERIOR ENDURANCE VS. SWEAT & WATER - from family fun to hardcore competition, our sunscreen provides strong sun protection that stays on so you can play on.
  • CLINICALLY PROVEN - broad spectrum protection protects you from UVA/UVB rays.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, BREATHABLE FORMULA - non-greasy feel won't weigh you down.

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Why You Should Invest in Good Climbing Sun Protection

While it might not seem like a big deal at first, keeping protected from the sun is going to be a lifesaver if you intend to spend a good deal of time outdoors on the walls. It is more likely than not going to be hot outside when you decide to make a trip to the walls; and even if it is cloudy, you will need protection if you spend hours back-to-back outdoors. Not only will the sun protection reduce the pain from sunburns during your day, but you will also be thankful a few days after climbing when putting on shirts doesn’t hurt. Additionally, don’t fall into the mindset that sunscreen alone can prevent burns – you will have to apply copious amounts of sunscreen if you spend more than an hour or two outside, and even then, you can get burned if you spend too much time outdoors – even with a rigorous application of sunscreen. So, finding quality clothing, in addition to sunscreen, is optimal for an enjoyable climbing experience.

Climbing protection is not primarily about sunburns; skin cancer, while not as deadly as other forms of cancer, is still a serious issue in the world. Avoiding burns and using proper sun protection is best for keeping healthy and skin cancer-free when spending lots of time on the walls. Through investing in quality climbing sun protection, you are investing in your future health and wellness.

How to Choose the Best Climbing Sun Protection for You

There are many factors to consider when looking at the best sun protection for your individual situation and preferences – wearing a helmet, the weather, your region’s climate and the intensity of the sun, the climb itself, the length of the climb, and more. All of these factors are important to consider when picking out the best form of sun protection.

For example, if you only plan a short climb for the day, and there is some overhead, sunscreen may be enough to protect you. But if you are doing a multi-day climb, and especially if it is going to be sunny and hot, you’ll need more protection than just sunscreen. However, sunscreen can be an effective method of protecting the exposed parts of your body that clothing is not covering, such as your face.

Clothing does more than just prevent you from getting burnt, and it can also keep the heat off you by stopping the rays from heating up your skin. Staying cool is not just great for the comfort of ideal climbing experience, but it also can limit the dangers of overheating. So, staying burn free and nice and cool through utilizing a combination of sun protection methods is the best way to make sure your climb goes well.

Summary of the Best Climbing Sun Protection for Climbing

Our Top Favorite
Outdoor Research Men's Echo Hoody, Alloy, Medium
Our Top Runner Up
Outdoor Research Unisex Sombriolet Sun Hat, Shade, Medium
Our Top Value Pick
Hanes by Sport Cool DRI Women's Performance Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Climbing Sun Protection
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee
Prime Eligible?
-
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Outdoor Research Men's Echo Hoody, Alloy, Medium
Climbing Sun Protection
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Outdoor Research Unisex Sombriolet Sun Hat, Shade, Medium
Climbing Sun Protection
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Hanes by Sport Cool DRI Women's Performance Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Climbing Sun Protection
Hanes Sport FreshIQ Cool DRI Long Sleeve Tee
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

From sun shirts to sunscreen, there are many options to stay burn-free, even under the direct rays of the sun. There are many different potential options for having adequate sun protection, and a combination is usually best. UPF clothing or a simple long-sleeve t-shirt, a hat or a hoodie, sunscreen or a bandana – all can be equally effective if you simply plan ahead. While it may seem unimportant at first, a sunburn can quickly add up into something much more serious, so it is vital that you take sun protection seriously while on the walls! Hope you enjoyed this comprehensive guide to the best climbing sun protection for climbing; if you did, check out our other posts here.

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