by Texas Homesteader ~
*contains affiliate link
RancherMan & I work our homestead every day, so much of our daily activity involves being outside. Sun protection is important but we both hate the feel of sunblock. Plus I don’t like the thought of slathering chemicals on my skin every day anyway.
So we’re careful to protect our skin by covering it instead – wide-brim hats (helllooooo cowboy!) and long-sleeved lightweight shirts are often worn while mowing the yard or doing hours of tractor work.
But c’mon – although it helps, that’s not much actual sun protection. I need to find clothing that protects us while keeping us comfortable.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
Now although these shirts were sent at no cost to me to try out & review, please remember that my words will be my own. I’ll share the real story with y’all, no fluffy obligatory stuff from me, oh no!
The fine folks at Vapor Apparel agreed to send sun-protective shirts for both RancherMan as well as myself. That way we’ll be able to compare our individual experiences with the performance of the shirt.
About Vapor Apparel’s Solar Shirts
Per Jennifer over at Vapor Apparel:
- These garments are made with 100% Microfiber (a special performance spun polyester)
- The garment’s UPF/UPX INCREASES with each washing. In fact, after 25 washes the UV-B % block reaches coverages of: 99.44% dry and 99.92 wet!
- These solar shirts are actually endorsed by The Skin Cancer Foundation for their sun protection.
RancherMan will be using his long-sleeved solar shirt during the 4 to 5 hours-long chore of mowing the yard. (yeah, it really takes that long!) He also used it for several hours on the tractor mowing pastures.
I will be using it primarily for my gardening chores since they typically involve the same measure of sun exposure time as his mowing the yard.
When the shirts arrived I was pleased with the colors. RancherMan prefers to wear tan so I’d requested that color for him.
I’d requested a pretty water-blue for myself. In addition to RancherMan’s plain tan shirt, Vapor even sent additional long-sleeve & short sleeved solar-protective hunting-themed shirts for him to try.
The shirts were sent with minimal packaging, folded only in a single plastic envelope.
I’d really have preferred the shipping to be in a cardboard envelope like USPS offers so I could just compost the packaging afterwards. But as much as I hate plastic, at least this shipping envelope will be reused soon.
Giving UV-Protective Shirts A Test Run
When I handed the shirts to RancherMan his first exclamation was “Wow. These shirts feel like sleepwear!” LOL – well I guess if you can mow the yard in your PJ’s that’s a GOOD thing, huh??
RancherMan tested his shirt while mowing the yard – an hours-long chore for him today.
To protect his skin from the sun he typically wears a regular light-colored long-sleeve cotton T-shirt for his lawn mowing chores. But today he’s trying out a sun-protective *Solar Long-Sleeve shirt.
The weather was blue-sky sunny and the temps were in the low 90 degrees range. Hot and humid – typical weather for our area of NE Texas this time of year.
RancherMan’s observations about the men’s shirt:
- The sizing for the shirt seems to be a little small. He typically wears a size Large but ordered an XL yet it’s still semi-snug across his belly. Not really tight, just not as loose as he’s used to.
- The short sleeve shirt sizes are even a little more snug than the long-sleeve versions, even though they were the same size. Not uncomfortably snug, but more form-fitting than the long sleeve version.
- That slinky Under Armour feel is not as preferable to him as the cotton T-shirt he’s used to wearing.
- There was a noticeable reduction in the feel of the intensity of the sun on his skin after putting on this shirt as compared with his regular long-sleeve cotton t shirt.
- He said he sweat about the same in this solar-protective shirt as his lightweight cotton one. So no sweat difference than with an ordinary tshirt, but he had significantly more sun protection and was cooler.
- He mentioned that although he sweat just as much in this solar-protective shirt as his lightweight cotton one, there was no ‘work funk’ smell afterward. That’s because these shirts have a zinc-based addition that keeps fabrics fresh and defends against odor-causing bacteria. I guess it really works!
- The shirt didn’t get near as heavy with sweat while mowing as his old cotton standby did. It wicks moisture away.
- The solar-protective shirt didn’t stick to his body as he sweat as he was afraid it would. (yea wicking action!)
- He commented several times that it was a very comfortable, lightweight shirt.
- He ended up with a coffee stain on the front & a quarter-sized spot of dirt or grease on the elbow of the shirt (maybe from the tractor?) All stains came out easily in the wash. I used my same Homemade Laundry Detergent and it all came out beautifully, even without pretreating.
I’m testing out my shirt for gardening chores. I’ll be in the sun all day so I’m wearing the *Ladies Solar Long-Sleeved shirt along with denim jeans, a wide-brimmed hat and gloves.
Here are my thoughts about the women’s shirt:
- Yeah, the ladies shirts definitely run small. In a regular t-shirt I wear a size medium, but I often opt for a size large instead for a loose fit. So for this Solar Long-Sleeved Shirt I’d requested an Extra Large based on *Amazon’s Sizing Chart & my measurements. It fit comfortably, but certainly not loose.
- The ladies shirts are also pretty fitted. So it’s slinky and snug and shows every line & curve. So keep that in mind, ladies!
- The sleeves are very long, which I find delightful. I’m a tall girl and sleeves that are long enough for me are sometimes hard for me to find.
- I was TOTALLY surprised at how cool I stayed in this shirt versus other shirts I’ve worn in the sun. A true skeptic here, but I was very pleasantly surprised. This is the biggest benefit right here!
Although I love that I’m so protected from the sun, I wonder if this shirt is just too pretty to limit its wear to schlepping around in the garden. 🙂
It may very well be worn when we’re out & about running errands too. It’s too pretty to be strictly a work shirt.
Conclusion? We Love The Shirts!
I’m very appreciative of the Vapor Apparel folks for sending these shirts to RancherMan & me to try. I must say I’m pretty impressed with these solar shirts.
Personally I love the feel of them (although RancherMan prefers a traditional cotton look & feel to the silky-type qualities).
I’m also very pleasantly surprised at how much cooler they keep me in that hot Texas sun. I was really skeptical given the heat & humidity of NE Texas. The thought of wearing a long-sleeve shirt seems like madness!
But yeah, they really DO keep me significantly cooler than a short-sleeve shirt would. Not only do they block that hot sun from hitting my skin, but the wicking action also helps keep me cool. A true skeptic at first but no more!
I found Vapor’s *Solar Shirts on Amazon, but also found them *online at WalMart. (They’re a little cheaper at Walmart, y’all! But they can be difficult to locate in the store so order them online via the WalMart link above)
So if you are concerned about the sun’s harmful rays on your skin but don’t want to slather on sunblock every day, check out Vapor Apparel’s solar-protective shirts. They’re light, comfortable, affordable and look terrific!
Want To See Other Sun-Protection Posts?
- Protecting Skin Without Sunblock
- Wearing Cool But UV-Protective Clothing
- Sun Protection: Rigid Canopy For Our Mid-Sized Tractor
- Use Whatcha Got: MYO Fabric Canopy For Tractor
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What brand hat do u use? Love your blog!
🙂 Thanks for the kind words, Stacy. When I’m on the tractor for hours I typically wear a white straw Resistol. When I’m in the garden I use the hat in the photo because it’s a much shorter duration in the sun. It’s just your regular ole garden-variety generic-brand hat. (“Garden Variety”? LOL – see what I did there?) ~TxH~
These look very nice. Do you know if they offer full camo patterns for hunters? It gets really hot early in dove season.
Good question, Joe. I know they have solar shirts with a cammo image on them, but I’ve not been able to locate a Vapor Apparel solar shirt that has the cammo pattern over the entire shirt. ~TxH~
I have not tried this brand, but use sun block clothing from a couple of other companies and find they are great for blocking the sun, being cool for having long sleeves and not having to use sun block. I have a pair of sun block gloves that I use for driving. I don’t use them in the garden because I don’t want to get them dirty, but I do use heavy work gloves and hope that will control the skin damage. When driving I was told never to hold the steering wheel on the top because of the sun damage that can be causes by the sun through the glass.
I will look into this company’s line.
I have other brands of sun-protective shirts and of course they have their place as well, but I’ve been really impressed with this Vapor Apparel sun-protective shirt Cynthia. And we attended an affair this weekend and I’d taken my solar shirt as part of my dinner outfit and got many compliments on my look. This one is just too pretty to stay in the garden! Thanks for commenting, & stay sun-safe, girl! ~TxH~