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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Sun Protection Zone Rashguard Shirts > Test Report by Cheryl McMurray



INITIAL REPORT  June 22, 2009
   FIELD REPORT  September 7, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT November 2, 2009


Name:  Cheryl McMurray
Age:  50
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight:  145 lb (66.6 kg)
Email Address:  cherylswanATearthlinkDOTnet
City, State, Country:  Garden Grove, California, U.S.


I've been backpacking and hiking for four years, mostly on weekends year around.  Backpacks are usually 3 day, 2 night trips in the Eastern Sierras with 32-40 lb (15-18 kg) loads depending on the season and  distances around 30 mi (48 km).  One class 2 rock climb with a day pack is common.   Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16-24 km) in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains with loads of 15-20 lb (7-9 km).  I have camped in snow, freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale force), light rain, but mostly fair weather so far.

                                                            INITIAL REPORT


Manufacturer:  Sun Protection Zone
Year of manufacture:  2009
Product: Adult women's short sleeve rash guard shirt
Listed sizes: S-XXL
Listed measurements:  none listed on website
Requested measurement:  38 in (97 cm) chest
Tested size: XL
Listed weight:  None listed on website
Weight as delivered: 5.5 oz (160 g)
Color tested: White
100 SPF / UPF 50+      
MSRP:  $35 US


This rash guard shirt is called SunSkinz by the manufacturer and is made out of a four way stretch, tightly woven fabric.  They state that it is comfortable to wear, dries quickly and stands up well to chlorine and salt water with sun protection that does not wash off.  With a SPF rating of 100 and UPF rating of 50+ it should provide a maximum amount of sun protection while wearing it.  


SPF is the ratio of time required to produce minimal erythema (redness) when a sunscreen product has been applied compared to the time required to produce the same amount of erythema without the sunscreen. This means, if skin reddening takes 20 minutes with a person who is using no protection, theoretically, the use of a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would prevent reddening 15 times longer (about 5 hours).

UPF:  UPF defines the amount of Ultraviolet light (UVL) that penetrates a fabric.  UPF is a ranking of fabrics according to how much UVL penetration occurs based on standardized criteria.  For example, a UPF rating of 30 would indicate that 1/30 of the UVL hitting the fabric actually penetrates it.  Therefore, fabric with tighter weaves and thicker fibers will have a higher UPF.

                                                                          Women's Pink Solid Body with Short Sleeves


The manufacturer sent me a women's white rashguard shirt with a green flower on the chest.  It is very attractive and nicer looking than most hiking shirts I wear.  Since they didn't have a size chart on their website I gave them the measurements of 38 in (97 cm) chest size so that it would not be too form fitting and they sent me a women's XL.  The material is 86% polyester and 14 % spandex.  There is a "ClassicSkinz" label sewn on the lower left side that appears to be made from some sort of vinyl material and is a little bulky but attractive.  The shirt has flatlock seams that lay flat against my skin.  All of the seams look neatly sewn with just the exception of one area under the left arm that has some excess material sticking out (photo below).  One of the removable tags that came on the shirt shows a demonstration of its quick drying abilities even stating that it will absorb sweat from the skin surface to the outer layer of the fabric within one second.  The other tag has "frequently asked questions" about sun protection in relation to their clothing.

      Rashguard shirt laid out    Label on shirt      
Only seam flaw I found                       


The washing instructions say to hand wash in cold water with a mild detergent and hang dry out of the sun.  This will be a little different for me as I'm used to putting everything in the washing machine.


The sleeves are slightly snug (however I don't have thin arms) but other than that, the shirt fits me well.  The sleeves come down 7 in (18 cm) from where my arm and shoulder joins.  It feels very soft against my skin and is lightweight.  The neck comes up like a low turtleneck but is very comfortable.  The length is just right for either allowing the shirt to be tucked in or worn outside.  When removing the shirt, it stretches well and comes off easily.

                                                                        Wearing Rash Guard Shirt


I have been wearing it around the house along with a few errands around town for a few days and it has been very comfortable.  


The quality of the shirt looks excellent, fits well and does not bind me in any way while wearing it around the house and out for a few errands.

This concludes my Initial Report.  The field report will follow at the end of August.  Please check back then for further information.



Trip #1
Location: Peter's Canyon, Orange County California
Distance: 7 mi (11 km) day hike on trail (rolling terrain)
Elevation: 500 ft (150 m)
Weather: Cloudy to partly sunny skies, slight intermittent breeze, humid
Temperature: 65 F to 70 F (18 C to 21 C)

Trip #2
Mt. San Antonio in the San Gabriel Mts in Southern California
8 mi (13 km) day hike on trail (ascend then descend)
6,200 ft. to 10,000 ft (1,900 m to 3,050 m)
Windy conditions at 9,000 ft (2,750 m) and sunny clear skies
Mid 50s F to mid 60s F (13 C to 18 C)
Trip #3
San Bernardino Mts in Southern California
3 day 2 night backpacking trip.  Backpacking miles totaled 11 mi (18 km) and day hiking miles totaled 8 mi (13 km) with 2.5 mi (4 km) off trail on scree and loose rock.
6,000 ft to 11,500 ft (1,800 m to 3,500 m)
Partly cloudy skies with intermittent breezes and wind.
Temperature: 50s F to 80 F (13 C to 27 C)

Trip #4
Location: Mt. Charleston (Las Vegas area)
Distance: 18 mi (29 km)
Elevation:  7,700 ft to 12,000 ft (2,350 m to 3,650 m)
Weather: Sunny and breezy
Temperatures: 50s F to 70s F (13 C to 24 C)

I would give this shirt a 4.5 out of 5 rating on comfort.  I have found consistently on all of the outings that the shirt is very comfortable.  I have not had any binding or chafing issues wearing a daypack or backpack even on the trips that lasted all day.  The shirt moved with me and although I initially reported the arms as snug, never even noticed them.  The only time that the neck bothered me was during the Peter's Canyon hike in the humid conditions.  I found myself wanting to unzip that area for extra air circulation.  On the backpacking trip I was able to take it off and on with great ease in my solo tent due to the stretch factor of the material.

I would give this shirt a 2.5 out of 5 rating on its wicking ability.  This is where the shirt does not get the highest marks.  The worst conditions were at the Peter's Canyon location with the rolling terrain and humid weather.  The shirt became soaked in all areas except the tops of my arms and sternum area.  Those areas were damp.  The route was rolling terrain so there was never enough descent at one time to give it a chance to dry.  From the time I ended the hike until it was dry was three hours.  The shirt did better at the higher elevations as the air is drier.  It would become sweat soaked on the uphill hiking but when there was breezier conditions, it would start to dry but never completely.  I used a fleece pullover over the shirt at higher elevations when it would get windy but in all fairness, I would do that no matter what shirt I was wearing.  On the backpacking trip the shirt was always dry by the time I got to camp or shortly after.  I wore it all three days and I never had to hang it out to dry.  The shirt's wicking abilities were never an issue on the long day hike to Mt. Charleston.  It did become damp when hiking uphill but I never noticed the dampness becoming an issue.  I did use a light pullover on windy ridges but, once again, would have used one no matter what shirt I was wearing.  The only comment that I can make regarding the manufacturer's claim that the shirt wicks sweat away from the skin in one second is, although that may be true, it does not evaporate from the shirt material quickly making it less than efficient.  My skin under the shirt was also damp to wet when the shirt had those same qualities.

I would give the shirt a 4 out of 5 rating for temperature control.  The shirt surprised me given the amount of dampness it can retain.  Other than the windier conditions at high altitude requiring an additional fleece, at no time did I ever feel chilled or too hot wearing the shirt.  It did feel a little stifling on the Peter's Canyon hike with the higher humidity but that is the only negative I can report in this category.  I think the denser material that the manufacturer uses helps keep out some of the wind chill factor.

I have worn the shirt a total of 16 days so far and the durability issues I have found so far are some light wear in the areas that the pack comes into contact with the shirt and two snags (unknown cause, possibly bushwhacking).  The snags are small and are not resulting in any runs. and the light wear is surface only.  Photo below shows the slight wear at the end of the pencil point.

                                             Light wear at pack contact areas


The washing instructions say to hand wash and hang to dry.  I have found that no matter how much I scrub the shirt in the sink not all of the dirt that tends to accumulate in the abdomen area from dusty trails will come clean.  I have resorted to using the washing machine to wash only and then hang dry.  The washing machine does a little better but the white material still shows some dirt.  The shirt is still holding its shape and fits the way it did when I first put it on.  I have not notice any severe odor after a hard day out on the trail.  It did start to smell a little the morning of the day three on the backpacking trip but it was not too bad.  I did not notice anyone avoiding me that morning but then again, they probably smelled as bad as me. The flatlock seams are starting to yellow slightly but not very noticeably.


All that I can report here is that my skin does not appear to have any sunburn or redness under the areas that the shirt covers.

                           With my backpack on                    Peak photo on backpacking trip's day hike



Attractive look
Stretches well
Good temperature control
Soft feel


Vinyl label can chafe under a hipbelt
Does not dry quickly

This concludes my field report.  I will continue to wear the shirt on my day hikes and backpacking trips through October and will report back in November as to how the shirt is holding up.



Location: Eastern Sierras near Lone Pine, California  (two trips, same location and weather)
Distance: 22 mi (19 km) backpack with 7 mi (11 km) day hike (5 mi (8 km) on rock and slab)
Elevation: 10,000 ft to 13,400 ft (3,050 m to 4,100 m)
Weather: Some light rain, clouds and sun
Temperature: 50s F to 78 F (10 C to 26 C)

Location: Eastern Sierras near Bishop, California
Distance: 10 mi (16 km) backpack with 4 mi (6 km) bushwhacking, rock and talus
Elevation: 9,000 ft to 11,000 ft (2,750 m to 3,350 m)
Weather: Light breezes and sunny skies
Temperature: 28 F to 78 F (-2 C to 26 C)

Location: Eastern Sierras near Independence, California
Distance: 12 mi (19 km) backpack with 7 mi (11 km) trail day hike and 5 mi (8 km) talus, scree, rock day hike
Elevation: 9,000 ft to 12,900 ft (2,800 m to 3,900 m)
Weather: Light rain/sleet and sunny skies
Temperature: 28 F to 75 F (-2 C to 24 C)

Location: Eastern Sierras near Big Pine, California
Distance: 12 mi (19 km) backpack with 4 mi (6 km) day hike on rock, talus, and scree
Elevation: 7,700 ft to 13,500 ft (2,350 m to 4,100 m)
Weather: Partly cloudy
Temperature: 46 F to 70 F (8 C to 21 C)

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California
Distance: 7.5 mi (12 km) with 2 mi (3 km) of bouldering
Elevation: 3,300 ft to 4,500 ft (1,000 m to 1,400 m)
Weather: Sunny
Temperature: 75 F to 100 F (24 C to 38 C)

The shirt has continued to perform well on these trips with nothing new to add to my Field Test Report except that I have noticed some chafing under the hip belt during backpacking due to the vinyl label that is sewn into that area.  It has continued to be a comfortable shirt, never binding me in any way when I have had to maneuver my way up and down rocks.  It has continued to regulate my body temperature, never feeling too cold or warm at any time.  It was even comfortable at temperatures of 100 F (38 C) as the dense material did retain some moisture for a while which acted like a cooling agent at times in light breezes.  I still like the way it stretches when I put it on and take it off making it easy in a small tent and has held its original shape through all of the wearing and washing.

I have had a total of twenty-two days of use wearing this shirt and the current condition is:

Negative condition of the shirt:
Some very light wear at pack contact points but not worn through
Two small snags but material did not develop a run
Light dirt stains that will not wash out

Positive condition of the shirt:
Material still soft
Material still stretchy but also held it's original shape
Seams held up very well
Given the fact that it is a white shirt, there are no yellow perspiration stains under the arms.


Although the shirt is not in any shape for a fancy dinner outing anymore, it has held up well to everything I have put it through and has performed well in a variety of conditions and temperatures.  I still have a defined tan line on my arms so I can only conclude that the shirt is indeed protecting me from the sun under the covered areas.  Although the laundry instructions state to hand wash the shirt, I have found it difficult to get most of the dirt out of the shirt that way.  Since the field testing, I have machine washed the shirt and air dried it.  That gets most (but not all) of the dirt stains out of the shirt.  The best result was the time I accidentally put the shirt in the dryer and the slight wrinkling around the waist area from tucking it in, which remains when I hang it dry, was gone.   

I recommend this shirt not only for day hiking but backpacking as well.  Thank you Sun Protection Zone and BGT for giving me the opportunity to test this shirt.  This concludes my test series of the Sun Protection Zone's Rash Guard Shirt.

Read more reviews of Sun Protection Zone gear
Read more gear reviews by Cheryl McMurray

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Sun Protection Zone Rashguard Shirts > Test Report by Cheryl McMurray

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