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Reviews > Health & Safety > Sunscreens and Skin Protection > Coppertone Oil-free lotion > Owner Review by David Tagnani

July 08, 2007


NAME: David Tagnani
AGE: 31
LOCATION: Spokane, Washington
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 160 lb (72.60 kg)

Backpacking Background: I have been camping and hiking for as long as I can remember, but I've really only been backpacking for eight years or so. I started off in the hills of northeastern and central Pennsylvania, have hiked trails from Maine to Georgia, and now I am exploring the incredible terrain of the inland northwest. I seldom do trips longer than three days, with most trips being overnighters. I do not own crampons, an ice axe, or a climbing harness, so if the route is technical enough to require them, you won't find me there. I simply like to walk in the woods.


Manufacturer: Coppertone IMAGE 1
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: 10.50 US$
Size: 8 oz (237 mL)
SPF (Sun Protection Factor): 15

The information on the bottle lists these characteristics:
- Oil free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic
- Ultraviolet A and B (UVA/UVB) protection
- Won't clog pores or cause breakouts
- Waterproof, PABA-free
- Light, non-greasy formula absorbs quickly

The bottle also claims that this product "retains SPF after 80 minutes of activity in the water or sweating." This is poorly worded, because the obvious question is, "how long after 80 minutes?" More on that later. The verbiage on the bottle also advises to "Reapply as needed or after towel drying, swimming, perspiring, or vigorous activity."


I initially purchased this product for a trip to Glacier National Park. Glacier is a haven for grizzly bears, and all of the literature on bear safety that I read in preparation advised against using or carrying any scented items, including personal hygiene products. This made sense to me, since so many of these products are scented like bears' favorite foods, i.e., honey, fruit, herbs, etc. Since I was put off by the prospect of wandering through grizzly habitat slathered in marinade, I decided on this sunscreen because it was scent-free. I also didn't want to take the chance of products that smell like flowers and fruit attracting bugs.

On the initial trip with this product to Glacier, the conditions were mainly clear, warm, and sunny, with daytime temperatures averaging 82 F (28 C). Elevation was anywhere from 4800 ft (1463 m) to 6200 ft (1890 m). Much of the hiking was done through mountain meadows, with little or no opportunity to escape from the sun. Elevation gain was moderate and constant, meaning a lot of perspiring and "vigorous activity."
Since that initial trip in mid June 2007, this has been the only sunscreen I have used. There was one exception, and that was in order to use up the last remaining bit of lotion left over from another bottle. I have been on more than ten extended hikes in this short period. My trips are often in the dry, hot, high desert of Eastern Washington, or in the mountains of the Idaho Panhandle, where meadows, rocky outcroppings, and hiking above the treeline often leave me with nowhere to hide from the sun. In addition to hiking, I fish the Spokane River several times per week, so I have a lot of experience with this product in this short period of time.


I have fair skin and freckles, so I am quite familiar with many different sunscreen products. Over the years, I haven't found much difference among the different brands. This product clearly stands out as something different.

As mentioned above, I initially purchased this product because it is advertised as scent-free. It delivers on that claim. If I hold my nose to the bottle, I can detect a very faint smell, but that disperses quickly once applied to the skin. This is good not only because of bears and bugs, but because I can't stand walking around smelling artificial coconut all day long.

An unexpected plus is the oil-free formula. I paid little attention to this when choosing this product, but this turned out to be a nice feature. It absorbs very quickly and does not feel greasy or slimy like most sunscreens. I'm guessing that's why it feels lighter and less viscous than traditional sunscreens, but this unusual consistency left me wondering about its ability to protect me from the sun.

It protects just fine, however . . . just as efficient or better compared to the traditional sunscreens that I have used. I've hiked all day, gaining elevation and sweating, then reached the summit and basked in the sun, all without ever reapplying sunscreen. This is quite a bit longer than 80 minutes, more like four hours or more. I've found that this sunscreen lasts much longer that the vague 80 minute window that the bottle claims. And this is in hot, sunny conditions while sweating profusely. Though not advertised as part of Coppertone's "Sport" line of sunscreen, the oil-free stuff really performs during active, sweaty pursuits.

One caveat: I have not gone swimming while using this product, so I cannot attest to its waterproof qualities.


Long-lasting protection
Absorbs very quickly


Nothing so far


Dave Tagnani

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Health & Safety > Sunscreens and Skin Protection > Coppertone Oil-free lotion > Owner Review by David Tagnani

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