Sandy beaches, epic road trips, and quality time with friends might just be some of the fun things on your list this summer. When packing your bags, hats, a beachball, and the all-important sunscreen are just some items on your list, but did you know that your clothes can also block out the sun? UPF vs. SPF are different things, and we're here to shed some light on them.

Read on to find answers to important questions, like, "What does UPF mean?" and explore related topics. Discover the advantages of UPF clothing and sunscreen, and learn how to stay comfortable and protected while enjoying the sun.

What Is UPF and How Does It Work?

When it comes to sun protection, Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is a crucial factor to consider, especially in clothing. UPF determines the effectiveness of fabric in blocking out the sun's rays. The higher the UPF number, the greater the level of protection it offers. While it may feel hot outside, wearing UPF-rated apparel like men's and women's sun shirts can help reduce sun exposure.

To stay safe under the sun, look for clothing with a UPF rating such as 30+ or 50+ to help keep you safe. For instance, if your clothing has a UPF of 30, it implies that only 1/30 of the sun's rays can penetrate through it, making it 97% efficient in blocking UVA and UVB rays. A UPF of 50 offers even better protection, with only 1/50 of the sun's rays passing through, resulting in 98% protection.

How Does UPF Differ From SPF?

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and UPF play different roles in sun protection. While UPF measures the practicality of your outfit in blocking UVA and UVB rays, SPF indicates how long you're protected from the sun with sunscreen.

When your skin is exposed to the sun, it can handle about 10 minutes of exposure. With SPF 30, that time is multiplied by 30, giving you a protective shield for 300 minutes, or five hours of protection from the sun.

Man and woman wearing UPF sun protective apparel

What Is the Recommended UPF Rating for Effective Sun Protection?

When it comes to finding clothing that shields you from the sun's harmful rays, it's always a good idea to check with the brand for the UPF rating if it isn't listed. The experts recommend wearing fabrics with UPF ratings of at least 30, with UPF 50 offering maximum protection. Covering up is a smart choice that allows your skin to catch a break from UV rays, even if it's just for short periods.

What Are the Benefits of Clothing and Accessories with UPF Ratings?

Accessories like sunglasses, hats, and towels complement your UPF clothing. On top of sun protection, here are some further benefits of UPF clothing and accessories.

  • Convenience: Wearing UPF clothing reduces the amount of surface area that is exposed to the sun. This means you don't need to reapply sunscreen to covered areas. Remember that wearing UPF clothing effectively blocks harmful rays, but any exposed or vulnerable skin should still be covered with sunscreen.
  • Extended fun: UPF clothing offers a longer-lasting solution so you can focus on enjoying yourself without feeling the need to retreat to a shaded location.
  • Versatile: UPF clothing is both practical and fashionable. It complements any outfit, allowing you to effortlessly mix and match styles. Whether you're aiming for a tan or staying fully covered, you can maintain protection by teaming your look with a stylish hat and sunglasses. With UPF clothing, you can have the best of both worlds—fashion and sun protection.

What To Know About Washing and Wearing UPF Clothing

Wearing clothes made with UPF fabric can protect you from the harmful effects of the sun's rays. The material is designed and integrated into the clothing to ensure that washing does not remove any of its protective layers. This is because sun protection is woven into the fabric itself.

However, damaged clothing does not offer the same level of protection. When clothing is damaged, it may become weak or develop minor tears, exposing your skin to radiation. This is why it's always best to follow the instructions when washing your UPF clothing and exercise good habits, such as using a light detergent and air drying when possible.

Stay Sun-Safe in Free Fly’s UPF Apparel

When the sun begins to thaw out the last bits of winter chill, it's a clear sign it’s time to get outdoors. As you plan your exploits under the vast, open sky, think about adding UPF clothing and accessories into your sun-smart gear.

Here at Free Fly, we get it. That's why we've put together a line of women’s and men’s sun shirts and bottoms for every way you enjoy your time outdoors. We've packed in all the UPF protection you need, without skimping on the breathability, versatility, or buttery softness. Because, why should you have to choose?

Man and woman at the beach wearing UPF sun protective apparel

Whether you're wandering sandy beaches or taking on that hiking trail you've always wanted to conquer, our gear has got your back. You can live in the moment, knowing we've balanced style and comfort just right for you. So, why wait? Check out our collections of sun protective clothing for men or sun protective clothing for women today and grab those sun-smart essentials that blend safety and fashion just the way you like it.