ALL TERRAIN WINTER SPORT SUNSCREEN
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - January 11, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - January 18, 2010
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
Backpacking Background: I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay around Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge, Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and the Olympic Peninsula. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 15 lb (7 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack. My sleeping pad is a Therm-a-Rest air mattress.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: All Terrain Company
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.allterrainco.com
Listed Weight: 3.0 oz (85 g)
Measured Weight: 3.625 oz (103 g) including package, so net weight is about as advertised
Dimethicone 1% - skin protectant
Octinoxate 7.2% - sunscreen
Oxybenzone 6% - sunscreen
Titanium Dioxide 3.5% - sunscreen
Zinc Oxide (Z-CoteŽ) 3% - sunscreen
A couple comments about sunscreens after researching on webmd.com and consumerreports.org, that All Terrain did not mention:
Sunscreens that I have most commonly seen use chemicals like Octinoxate and Oxybenzone. They are absorbed into the skin, which takes about 20 minutes to become effective. They aren't very good at absorbing some wavelengths such as UVA which may cause cancer and aging. There are some concerns that these chemicals may cause cancer, but this is controversial.
I have also seen a few sunscreens that use Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide. These protect better against all wavelengths including UVA. They cover the outside of the skin, so they may come off by rubbing against clothing or whatever. Historically, these chemicals have been white on the skin. Recently, these have been made into very small particles (nanoparticles) which make them clear on the skin. There are some concerns that these nanoparticles may have risks, like causing cancer. Z-CoteŽ is a nanoparticle version of Zinc Oxide. I think the Titanium Dioxide in the All Terrain sunscreen is also a nanoparticle version because it appeared clear on my skin.
Clearly, sun exposure does cause cancer and skin aging. The best thing is to avoid exposure by wearing a wide brimmed hat, long shirt, and pants.
The All Terrain sunscreen may provide better protection than most other sunscreens because it has both types of sunscreen chemicals, but it also has the risks of both types.
One other confusing factor is that skin makes Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. A lack of Vitamin D can make a person susceptible to cancer. It takes 15 minutes of exposure to make Vitamin D. Longer exposure does not increase the amount of Vitamin D produced. If a person wears sunscreen, it interferes with the production of Vitamin D. Especially in the winter when there's less sunlight, it might make sense to get 15 minutes of exposure, then put sunscreen on. In the summer, if someone spent all day in the sun, maybe they get plenty of exposure to produce Vitamin D, because the sunscreen lets some sunlight through.
According to the package, the All Terrain sunscreen is Paraben free. Paraben is a substance that mimics estrogen which some studies show to cause cancer and growth problems.
According to the package and the All Terrain website, the sunscreen "helps prevent chafed, chapped and cracked skin, is water/sweat resistant, and contains essential oils and botanical extracts". There is a long list of ingredients that must provide this. I will get a chance to evaluate this during the test period.
On the tube, it says to apply liberally 20-30 minutes before sun exposure and as needed. It also says "retains SPF for 40 minutes."
Front side of tube:
The sunscreen comes in a plastic tube, typical of sunscreens. There is a screw-on cap that includes a pop-up top that reveals a squeeze hole. The pop-up top clicks closed, and appears that it will stay closed and keep the sunscreen from leaking. I will report on this if it's a problem:
I applied some of the sunscreen on the back of my wrist.
The sunscreen is an opaque white lotion.
With some sunscreens, I have to really rub it in good to get it evenly applied. The All Terrain sunscreen easily spread into an even coat on the back of my wrist.
After the sunscreen was applied, I could see no difference in the skin between the area with and without sunscreen.
The sunscreen had an unusual smell. Most sunscreen has a smell that I can only describe as smelling like sunscreen. The All Terrain sunscreen has more of a medicine smell, or maybe it's like an insect repellent smell. This is a negative, but it's fairly faint, so I don't think this will be in issue. After an hour I didn't smell anything. I'll be using this a lot in the test period and I'll bring this up again if it's a problem.
I am looking forward to testing this on some good trips in cold, windy, and sunny locations.
Thanks to All Terrain and backpackgeartest.org for letting me test this.
Look forward to my Long Term Report in three months.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
On 1/13/2010 I did a 2 day backpack on the Deschutes river in Northern Oregon. 35 to 45 F (2 to 7 C). Fairly dry, windy, and sunny.
On 2/16 I did a 6 night backpack on Zigzag Mountain and Ramona Falls in Northern Oregon. 22 to 45 F (-6 to 7 C). One day was in sun and snow.
I did 3 day hikes in the Columbia Gorge in Northern Oregon that were fairly sunny. 35 to 70 F (2 to 21 C).
I wore the All Terrain sunscreen on 4 days in May working around my yard in the sun.
I took the sunscreen on a couple more backpack trips, but didn't use it because it was cloudy, cold, and rainy.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I used the All Terrain Winter Sport Sunscreen on two sunny backpack trips of a total of 8 days, 3 sunny day hikes, and 4 sunny days around my yard. It worked just fine. I didn't get sunburned or anything.
The reason I wear sunscreen is to prevent skin cancer, and perhaps aged skin, but there is no way for me to evaluate this during this short test. I assume the research is correct that this sunscreen is effective in this regard.
I tried to evaluate whether the sunscreen prevented dry, chafed, and cracked skin, by applying to just one arm, but didn't really notice any difference between the two arms. At least I verified it didn't do anything negative.
I noticed that when the sunscreen was applied, there was a faint whitish color on my skin. In the photo below, notice that my left arm (top) is slightly whitish from the sunscreen. I think the main point of this photo is that the effect is very minor, because there's hardly any difference:
When my clothes rubbed against the sunscreen, some of the sunscreen rubbed off. Notice the slight whitish color on my sleeve in the photo below:
When the temperature was very cold (25 F -4 C) the sunscreen was still easily applied. Other sunscreens I have used get very thick at cold temperatures and become difficult to apply.
After using this sunscreen a number of times, I have reached the conclusion that this sunscreen is a little more difficult to apply evenly than other sunscreens I have used previously. When I apply it, it's whitish at the application point and I have to rub it around quite a bit to get it to cover my skin all over.
I have used zinc oxide sunscreen before and it had the same properties that the All Terrain Sunscreen has - slight whitish color that comes off on clothing and a little more difficult to apply than other sunscreens.
I mentioned a weird smell in the Initial Report. I didn't even notice this when I applied it outside.
Overall, I am satisfied with the All Terrain Winter Sport Sunscreen.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
My research shows that the combination of Zinc/Titanium Oxide and Octinoxate/Oxybenzone is more effective than other sunscreens at preventing cancer.
I don't like that the sunscreen leaves a whitish color that comes off on my clothes and is a little more difficult to apply than other sunscreens, but that is just the way the Zinc/Titanium Oxide is.
I like that the sunscreen is still easily applicable at very cold temperatures.
I will continue to use the All Terrain Sunscreen until I use it up. I'm not sure if I'll buy some more after this or I'll use more conventional sunscreens. When possible I'll use long sleeves which provide better protection or avoid mid-day when sun exposure is worst.
Thanks to All Terrain and backpackgeartest.org for letting me test this.
Read more reviews of All Terrain gear
Read more gear reviews by jerry adams