Sun protective clothing starts with a great hat, but the rest of my body needed a shield from aging UV rays. My first stop was a New York City institution, Paragaon Sports. Located near Union Square, Paragon has a seemingly inexhaustable selection of of equipment for just about every sport you can name. I wandered into their hiking section and started thumbing through their racks. A really hot thirty something salesman came over and asked if he could help me find what I needed. When I explained what I was looking for, his eyes lit up in admiration. ” Oh, I understand, you’re going on a safari.”
I really loved that image, but I had to admit I was planning a hike on a mountain near Kingston, New York. “It gets very sunny there and the bugs are vicious this time of year” I added weakly. I could see ‘hot guy’ struggling to hide his loss of interest. ” Well, just let me know if you need a anything” he muttered as he waved his hand in the general direction of the hat section.
I found the perfect pants from Columbia and shirt from Royal Robbins. I was not so lucky with the hats and eventually ordered that item online from Tilley. So here I am, dressed up in my sun protective clothing that has a 20 SPF and a hat that offers a 50UPF and an insect repellant treated fabric– ready for a safari, hike up a mountain or in this case, trying them out in a walk in Carl Schurz Park. Despite the 90 degree temperature, these clothes actually kept me cooler and more comfortable than my friends dressed in shorts and tees. The pants and shirt definately deflected the suns rays.
The hat turned out to be truely wonderful. Not only did it offer cooling sun protection, the fabric was treated with the FDA approved insecticide permethrin and bugs definately stayed away. All kidding aside, New York State can be really buggy, making it hard to sit outside. Wearing this hat, insects were a non-issue and I wore it to plant an herb garden, read in a hammock and chat with neighbors while our legs dangled in the pool.
From a functional point of view, this outfit is a winner. However the style and color made me look like a very mature Dora the Explorer. I’m going to look for other sun protective items in brighter colors and patterns. Anyone know of a good source for this type of clothing?