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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Sun Protection Zone Rashguard Shirts > Test Report by Will Dalen Rice

SUN PROTECTION ZONE RASHGUARD
TEST SERIES BY WILL RICE
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 10, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Will Rice
EMAIL: will.dalen at gmail.com
AGE: 28
LOCATION: Charlotte, NC, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I began backpacking at the age of 13 when I first went to summer camp (1993). In 1999, I started working with a college tripping organization in outdoor trip logistics (in gear preparation), and then as a leader. My most frequented hiking locations are in the Carolina Appalachians and the Smoky Mountains during the cold early spring and the summer. I stopped being a trip leader in 2004, and now I average about 4 backpacking trips and 4 day hikes per year. I carry between 25 and 35 lbs (11.3-15.8 kg) on multi-day trips.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Product: Classic Skinz Short Sleeve Rashguard
Manufacturer: Sun Protection Zone (made in Cambodia)
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sunprotectionzone.com
MSRP: US$ 35.00
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 5 oz (141.7 g)
Colors: Blue and White
Graphics: Writing on back says "Holua Loa Surf School Hawaii Join Now."
SPF: 100
UPF: 50+
Misc: There is a rubber tag on the front panel in the lower left that says the name of the shirt and the SPF/ UPF ratings.

IMAGE 1
Front
IMAGE 2
Back


IMAGE 3
Heavy Seam Stitching
IMAGE 4
Double Stitching


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Construction
It is made of 5 pieces (front, back, 2 sleeves, and a collar).
The most important connecting seams are all highly stitched, as is normal for a rashguard. The trim seams are all double stitched. It looks well constructed and none of the stitching is loose or coming loose as of arrival.

Supposedly (i.e. according to the marketing tag/label) the shirt is made of a tightly woven proprietary high density yarn. The "4-way stretch fabric is comfortable to wear, dried quickly and Stands up well to chlorine and salt water."

Feel and Fit
The rashguard feels like any other rashguard. It is smooth and comfortable and fits pretty closely. The collar is a little taller than a regular shirt, but because of the way it fits snug on my neck, I don't even notice it after a couple minutes.

I have not worn it in water yet, which will be the true test of whether or not it is the right size and fits well for a rashguard.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS

"Rinse well and dry out-of-sun." It says to avoid dryers and to use mild detergents.

TRYING IT OUT

Day 1 Weather: 75-91 F (23.8-32.8 C), 50-84% humidity
The day after I got the rashguard, I took it hiking/ wading with me in a nearby stream. I was carrying a backpack (~10 lbs/ 4.5 kg), a shovel, and was walking in a pair of rubber waders in water depths up to 4.5 ft (1.4 m) deep. I walked about 2 miles (3.2 km) in the creek and then about 3 miles (4.8 km) back. I noticed excessive sweating a lot from the waist down because of the rubber waders and on my face and head. I did not notice lots of sweating in my torso and the shirt did not feel as though it was trapping heat.

Since the rashguard doesn't absorb moisture, it does not function well in wiping sweat away from a hot forehead. On the bright side though, it doesn't get heavy from holding all the water coming out of your body.

TESTING STRATEGY

My basic strategy is to wear the shirt as much as I can since I am doing lots of outdoor activites and will be sweating large amounts since the humidity and heat are high here in Charlotte.

From application:

Planned Activities while testing:
- Playing Ultimate Frisbee and Frisbee golf (at least once a week)
- Wading up streams looking for mill dams (a minimum of 16 hrs per week)
- Occasional outdoor bouldering (at least once a month)
- Occasional wakeboarding (at least once a month)
- Visiting Charleston, SC and going to the beach (at least once this summer)
- Visiting swimming holes in Linville Gorge, NC

It is also possible that I might:
- Find a swimming hole near my home and spend more time in the water
- Buy a new mountain bike and wear it while biking

SUMMARY

So far so good. The shirt is what I expected and it seems like it's the right fit. I have worn it once and it works fine with a backpack. The color and appearance of the shirt are stylish and it breathes as it is supposed to.

Likes:
- Appearance
- Feels soft and smooth, even with backpack straps

Dislikes:
- none yet


FIELD REPORT

CONDITIONS and PERFORMANCE

I.
Date: early July, early August
Location: Lake Norman, Mooresville, NC USA
Weather: Partly Cloudy to sunny, 80-95 F (27-32 C), Calm to windy (gusts of 5 mph/ 8 kph)

Activity: power boating, tubing, wakeboarding

Performance:
On the first occasion, the water was warm but the air too cool. When I got out of the water I got cold. The rashguard dries quickly, but with a cool wind on a wet shirt, it cools my body faster than it dries. Unfortunately, there wasn't much sun to worry about. The shirt did work well though in keeping the life jacket and tube from chafing on my chest.

I had used the rashguard a couple times at this point (short hiking, wearing as a general shirt) and it still smelled new and was clean after rinsing (according to directions).

On the 2nd occasion, it was sunny and I was wakeboarding. The rashguard dried quickly once I was up on my board. It kept me from getting sunburn and stayed in place, both wet and dry. The shirt expansion due to getting wet is minimal.


II.
Date: 7/19
Location: Linville Gorge, Pisgah National Forest, NC
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 75-85 F (24-29 C)
Terrain: VERY rugged, elevation drop of 1300 ft (400 m), 2.7 miles (4.3 km) hiking roundtrip

Activity: strenuous hiking with 4-8 lbs (1.8-3.6 kg) pack

Performance:
I felt fairly cool while wearing the shirt on this day. Also, I was exposed to sun, and I didn't get sunburn beneath the rashguard. I continue to find the rashguard is very comfortable and smooth feeling when I am wearing it. Even when I do sweat, the shirt feels good to wear and does not feel weighed down by moisture. The shirt still fits snug and thus does not move around at all while wearing a backpack.

IMAGE 1
In action





III.
Date: Last week of August
Location: Atlanta, GA
Weather: cloudy to sunny, 70-90 F (21-32 C)
Terrain: Flat

Activity: house construction
Performance:
I wore the rashguard for a few days of cloudy/ slightly rainy weather and a few days of sun. Once the sun finally did come out though, the Sunzone shirt kept me from getting burnt. I did get minor sunburn on the back of my upper neck and nose. The thicker material though seemed to keep me a little hotter than if I had worn a thinner, cotton shirt. However, the sleeves, being tight and close fitting, remained in place on my arms and therefore provided consistent protection from the sun for my shoulder and upper biceps.

The shirt picked up some dirt and mud during this week. I tried washing/ rinsing the shirt as the directions stated, but it did not come completely clean. So, I laundered the shirt and it got cleaner, but it no longer looks like a brand new product.

I have mixed feelings about the neck cuff. While doing water based activities, I don't notice is as much. However, when wearing it during activity not water related where I am sweating, the cuff becomes sort of bothersome to me. It detracts from comfort and feels confining. However, when I am wakeboarding or swimming, I like the cuff because it keeps sun off my lower, neck, which would otherwise burn without sunscreen.

IV.
Date: 9/6-9/8
Location: Tennessee/ North Carolina Border, Appalachian Trail
Weather: 55-75 F (13-24 C), cloudy to rainy, windy
Elevation: 4000-5500 ft (1219-1676 m)
Terrain: very rugged, lots of elevation change, steep uphills and downhills

Activity: backpacking (25 lbs/ 11 kg) both on-trail and off-trail (through waist high blackberry bushes and other chest high flowers)

Performance:
The rashguard has a very smooth feel to it and thus works fine with shoulder straps. This was one of my biggest concerns due to past experience with shirts meant for backpacking that did not feel good when pressed into my shoulders by straps.

As far as temperature usage goes, the rashguard is thicker than many shirts I would normally wear as a base layer. As a result, it seems to be functioning best in slightly cooler temperatures, especially when worn as a base layer under longer sleeved outers. Since the rashguard fits snugly, any layers on top of it rest as though they were being worn directly on the skin.

As I mentioned earlier, the neck cuff becomes real noticeable when I start sweating, especially on steep uphill parts. I layered the shirt as a second over the top of a tank top that worked better for real hot conditions. When it got cold, I found that having this as an extra layer below a fleece, created a good, smooth feeling warmth.

SUMMARY

The shirt wears well and feels good. It does not move around. It stays fairly clean and doesn't hold smell. It functions okay as a general activity/ backpacking shirt in warm temperatures and works even better in cooler temperatures as part of layer system.
As a rashguard, it works really well when being used during watersports.

Likes
- smooth feeling, good seams
- durable
- color and simple appearance
Dislikes
- neck cuff too warm
- shirt too thick for general, warm weather outdoor activities

TESTING PLANS

More backpacking, more hiking, more stream research, some bouldering, some ultimate, and maybe some swimming hole use.


LONG-TERM REPORT

CONDITIONS and PERFORMANCE

I.
Date: 9/12-9/13
Location: Charleston, SC, USA
Weather: partly cloudy to sunny, 66-85 F (19-29 C), windy (4-13 mph/ 6-21 kph)
Activity: Swimming in ocean, beach activities
Performance:
I used the rashguard at the beach while swimming and while jogging. The water was fairly warm (70 F/ 21 C), but with a cooler breeze, as soon as I got out of the water I became chilled. Luckily, the Sunzone shirt dries very quickly. Even after a dip in saltwater and a quick dry, the rashguard remained comfortable to wear out to the local restaurants.

II.
Date: Mid-September, 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Weather: sunny, 68-73 F (20-23 C)
Activity: Bouldering
Performance:
The shirt worked really well for bouldering. With the low aerobic-level activity, I didn't overheat. Also, the shirt's good range of motion make it ideal for climbing. I had no limitations in my arms for movement or circulation. The shirt did get pretty dirty, but it came clean.

III.
Date: October 3rd, 2009
Location: Kings Mountain State Park, NC
Weather: sunny, 68-78 F (20-25.5 C)
Activity: Orienteering
Performance:
I spent roughly 2+ hours of running/ hiking/ bushwhacking in the woods of Kings Mountain. I ended up sweating a lot and the cuffs on the neck and the sleeves became an annoyance for me. It was cool in the morning, so I had a shirt on over the rashguard, but that quickly came off when the running began.
The rashguard did hold up really well to the thorny blackberries that occasionally were in my straight line path.

IV.
Date: August-November, 2009
Location: Charlotte and surrounding areas, NC
Weather: widely varying
Activity: Field Work, Stream Research
Performance:
The Sun Protection Zone Rashguard did what it was advertised to do in keeping me sunburn-free below the shirt. In terms of my use while wading up streams and bushwhacking along their banks, the rashguard held together very well and shows minimal signs of use. The shirt remained comfortable and in place under my daypack, which weighed between 5-15 lbs (2-7 kg). It also resisted stains from red clay, which is good since it got plenty dirty. It also appears to have prevented bug bites.

SUMMARY

The rashguard works really well as a rashguard. When backpacking, the shoulder straps don't rub badly through the shirt. When swimming or wakeboarding, the shirt protects the skin from chafing. When in water, it stays in place and doesn't stretch/ swell too much to still perform.
As a piece of backpacking/ outdoor equipment though, I don't feel as though it stacks up. My experiences in the southeast US have left me generally hotter than if I was wearing a light cotton t-shirt or a looser fitting synthetic shirt. It does work well as a base layer, since it fits so snugly and is comfortable. However, as a single layer with nothing else on in warm temperatures (above 65 F/ 18 C) the shirt did not keep me cool under light activity.


Likes
- comfortable
- doesn't hold smell
- good look/ appearance

Dislikes
- way too warm for anything more than walking (except when in water)

CONTINUED USE

I plan to continue using this shirt as a base layer for really cold weather (i.e. lots of layers), as a rashguard for bodyboarding/ surfing, and below a life jacket while wakeboarding.

THANKS

Thank you to Sun Protection Zone and to BGT for the opportunity to test this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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Read more gear reviews by Will Dalen Rice

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