Let the Sunshine in . . .
I guess the title should probably read “Keep the Sunshine out . . .” but that’s not nearly as catchy.
Sun protection is a big deal when you spend hundreds of days per year on the water. It’s also a big deal if you’re just going to be spending a couple of days a month on the water. I’ve had too many friends have too many body parts cut off to mess around with sun protection. Below is just a sampling of many of the products we use to stay cancer free . . .
- Buff – $23 – buffusa.com – there are a number of products out there that cover the neck/lower face, but the Buff is a trusted standard. I like to stick mine in the ice chest on hot summer days, then slip it back on. The Buff does have one shortcoming: it will fog up your sunglasses when worn over the nose, but you can usually reposition it to accommodate the glasses.
- Gloves – $27 – buffusa.com – These are one of the most surprising items I’ve ever used. I hate gloves. I don’t like to wear gloves when it’s freezing outside, so why on earth would I wear them when it’s 100 degrees? Happily, these gloves are so light weight and functional that you forget you’re wearing them after a little while. Bonus tip: these are also super refreshing when dipped into the cooler and slipped back on.
- Columbia PFG Long Sleeve Tee – $35 – columbia.com – This is my go-to t-shirt. Generously cut (for a big guy like me); you can find these on sale at Dick’s or Bass Pro for a better deal. The long sleeves are great for fishing days where you want more coverage in the morning (when it’s mild). These shirts are also moisture wicking, so when the temps rise in the afternoon you’re kept cool and dry.
- Breath Like a Fish Shirt and Mask – $45 – breathlikeafish.com – This is the only product on my list I haven’t tried yet, and I’m anxious to put it to the test. The mask has a vent around the mouth, which I believe would alleviate the sunglass-fogging issue I have with the buff. The shirts have vents on the side, which look super cool for those hot summer days.
- Neutrogena Sport Sunscreen – $12 – neutrogena.com – I’m a firm believer in this sunscreen. My family has used it for years. The key, for us at least, is to put it on early, like before you leave the house. Then hit it up again once you get to the launch. As a general rule, we try to reapply every 2-3 hours. Make sure you hit the areas around gloves or sleeves, as sliding those items around can rub the sunscreen off! (Another money-saving tip: check out neutrogena.com and sign up for their emails to get some awesome coupons.)
- New Era Baseball Cap – $25 – neweracap.com – I usually start the morning off in a ball cap, and this is the one I usually choose. The New Era 3930 has the perfect fit, and it’s just a little bonus that you get to support your favorite team.
- Smith Sunglasses – $180 – smithoptics.com – Most fishermen are avid Costa Del Mar users. I used to be a fan, but I’ve been burned by their warranty program the one time I needed to use it. So I began to look for other sunglasses options. Both my wife and I have used Smith’s for the last few years and love them. Comfortable, great lenses, well made – give them a try – you’ll be pleased.
- Sperry ASV Shoes – $140 – sperrytopsider.com – I grew up fishing barefoot, or with flip-flops. But as I’ve gotten older, protecting my feet from the sun has become paramount. Add in the comfort of the Sperry ASV’s for cushioning your feet and joints while standing up on the boat, and these pay for themselves in short order. My knees have been thanking me.
- The Tilley Hat – $84 – tilley.com – This is the gold standard of hats. I bought one of these for my dad when I was in high school, and he still wears it on every trip (almost 15 years later). I recently switched to one of their hemp hats, and so far have been very impressed. These hats are stylish (for a floppy hat), and they float, meaning when one blows off, you can recover it. But they won’t blow off, as they have plenty of straps to keep them on your head. These hats are pricey but they come with a lifetime warranty, and they are built to last.
- LL Bean Tropicwear Shirt – $50 – llbean.com – This is my standard all-day trip shirt. Comfortable, roomy, keeps me cool when I need to be cool, but it’s suitable even for chilly fall and spring mornings. I’ve been an LL Bean fan for a long time, and this shirt lives up to their reputation.
- LL Bean Tropicwear Pants – $60 – llbean.com – Just like the shirt in #10, these pants are comfortable and lightweight. Also, just for kicks, let me plug the fact that if you call LL Bean right now, a person will answer the phone. Amazing.
There you have it. Eleven things we couldn’t do without in the omni-present Florida sun. When loaded up with these products, my fingertips are about the only exposed skin I have. Make sure you check some of these products for your next day on the water.
What are some of the products you use to stay safe in the sun?