If you are a water sports enthusiast, you may have heard of rash guards. These are popular among surfers, swimmers, and divers who want to protect their skin from sunburn, rashes, and jellyfish stings. However, you may wonder if rash guards can also provide warmth, especially when you are diving in cold water. In this article, we will explore the question, “Do rash guards keep you warm?” and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.
What Are Rash Guards?
Rash guards, also known as rash vests, are tight-fitting shirts or jackets designed to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, abrasions, and irritants that can cause rashes. They are typically made of lightweight and breathable materials such as nylon, polyester, or spandex, which are quick-drying and stretchy. Rash guards can be worn alone or as a base layer under wetsuits or other protective gear.
Materials Used In Rash Guards
Rash guards can be made of different materials, each with its own properties and benefits. The most common materials used in rash guards are:
- Nylon: A lightweight and durable material that dries quickly and offers good UV protection. Nylon rash guards are easy to move in and provide a comfortable fit.
- Polyester: A synthetic material that resists water and chlorine and dries quickly. Polyester rash guards are also resistant to fading and stretching, making them ideal for frequent use.
- Spandex: A stretchy material that provides a snug fit and allows freedom of movement. Spandex rash guards are breathable and comfortable, but they may not offer as much UV protection as nylon or polyester.
The Insulation Properties Of Rash Guards
Rash guards are not designed to provide insulation or warmth in cold water. They are meant to protect your skin from the sun and prevent chafing and rashes caused by contact with surfboards, sand, or other irritants. However, some rash guards may have a thin layer of neoprene or fleece lining that can provide some insulation and increase warmth.
Rash Guards VS Wetsuits
Rash guards are often confused with wetsuits, which are thicker and provide insulation and buoyancy in cold water. Wetsuits are made of neoprene, a material that traps a thin layer of water between the suit and your skin, which is then warmed by your body temperature. This layer of water acts as an insulator and helps keep you warm in cold water. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses, ranging from 1mm to 7mm, depending on the water temperature and the level of insulation required.
Do Rash Guards Keep You Warm In Cold Water?
As mentioned earlier, rash guards are not designed to provide warmth in cold water. They are meant to be worn in warm water or as a base layer under wetsuits or other protective gear. Rash guards can provide some insulation and warmth in mild water temperatures, but they are not suitable for prolonged exposure to cold water. If you plan to dive or surf in cold water, it is recommended to wear a wetsuit.
Factors That Affect Warmth
The warmth provided by a rash guard depends on several factors, such as the thickness of the material, the type of material, the fit, and the amount of water exposure. Rash guards made of thicker or lined materials may offer more warmth than thinner ones. The type of material also affects warmth, as some materials are better at retaining heat than others. A snug fit can help prevent water from seeping in and cooling your body, while excessive water exposure can decrease warmth.
How To Choose The Right Rash Guard For Warmth
If you plan to wear a rash guard in colder water then it is important to choose one that offers some insulation and warmth. Look for rash guards that have a fleece or neoprene lining, as these materials can help retain heat. Rash guards with thicker material such as those with a 1mm to 2mm thickness, can also provide more warmth. A snug fit can help prevent water from entering the suit and cooling your body, so make sure to choose a size that fits well.
The Benefits Of Wearing Rash Guards
Although rash guards are not designed to provide warmth in cold water, they offer several benefits that make them a popular choice among water sports enthusiasts. Rash guards can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause sunburn and skin cancer. They can also prevent rashes and irritations caused by contact with surfboards, sand, or other irritants. Additionally, rash guards are lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, which makes them comfortable to wear in warm weather.
How To Care For Your Rash Guard
To prolong the life of your rash guard and maintain its properties, it is important to take proper care of it. Rinse your rash guard with fresh water after each use to remove any salt, sand, or chlorine that can damage the material. Avoid exposing your rash guard to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as this can cause fading and damage to the fabric. Wash your rash guard in cold water with mild detergent, and avoid using bleach or fabric softeners.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: Can you wear a rash guard under a wetsuit?
A: Yes, a rash guard can be worn as a base layer under a wetsuit to prevent chafing and add an extra layer of insulation.
Q: Do all rash guards have UV protection?
A: No, not all rash guards have UV protection. Check the label or product description before purchasing to ensure that the rash guard provides the level of UV protection you need.
Q: Can rash guards prevent jellyfish stings?
A: Rash guards can provide some protection against jellyfish stings by reducing the amount of skin exposed to the water. However, they are not a foolproof method and do not guarantee protection.
Q: How thick should a rash guard be for cold water?
A: Rash guards with a 1mm to 2mm thickness can provide some insulation and warmth in mild to moderate water temperatures.
Q: Can you wear a rash guard in the pool?
A: Yes, rash guards can be worn in the pool to protect your skin from chlorine and reduce the risk of sunburn.
Q: What to wear under rash guard?
A: Rash guards are typically worn as a standalone piece of clothing, but some people may prefer to wear a sports bra or swimwear underneath for added support or coverage. If you plan to wear a wetsuit over your rash guard, it is recommended to wear only a thin layer of clothing underneath to prevent overheating. Avoid wearing cotton or other materials that can absorb water and weigh you down.
Rash guards are not designed to provide warmth in cold water, but they offer several benefits for water sports enthusiasts. Rash guards can protect your skin from UV rays, prevent rashes and irritations, and provide a comfortable and flexible fit. When choosing a rash guard for warmth, look for thicker materials or ones with a fleece or neoprene lining. Always take proper care of your rash guard to ensure its longevity and effectiveness.