Outdoor Research Astroman Longsleeve Sun Shirt $159.99
Used by: Sun smart editor Alistair Hall
Used for: Two months
The countless sun smart messages my daughter has brought home from school has rubbed off on me and I’ve become quite fastidious in protecting myself from the sun.
The Astroman has a sun protection factor of 50+ with the added benefit that it won’t wear out after a few hours like sunscreen does.
The stretch-woven fabric – and boy, is it stretchy – is light and cool to the touch – exactly what you want if you’re wearing a long-sleeve shirt in the middle of summer. Its standout feature for me is the collar which can be folded up and snapped in place to protect your neck. Weirdly, though, one half of the snap button is hidden between layers of fabric, making it tricky to close. However, it does work; I used the collar in this configuration on a coastal walk where the sun was beaming down on my back for over an hour without suffering sunburn. I was sweaty, but the shirt dried quickly.
I have a size medium and find it true-to-size, although it hangs a little short at the waist. It has an athletic fit which makes it feel tight around the shoulders but it isn’t restrictive.
After several washes, the fabric hasn’t faded and all stitches and hems are in good condition. In conducting research for which shirt to get, I read stretch fabrics can lose their sun protection over time because they wear out sooner than non-stretch garments. In that regard, it might be an expensive form of sun protection compared to sunscreen, but I don’t expect it to lose its UPF in the next summer or two.
Verdict: Effective sun protection on summer hikes.