Best UV Protection: Fishing Sun Sleeves Review


Geared up for wild Cutthroat Trout
Anglers, hikers and other fans of the great outdoors in California recognize the importance of protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. While some rely on the traditional sunscreen method, I really got tired of smearing it on beforehand, then watching it wash away in sweat not even halfway through the trip. Instead, I've began to rely on protective hats and clothing for my fishing trips. While companies like Simms sell high-priced sun sleeves specifically for fishing, several companies make excellent alternatives that are considerably more affordable. This article will take a look at two affordable sun sleeves, perfect for anglers and others exploring the outdoors.

SolarTex, from Virginia, offers a massive selection of UV protection clothing and related gear. Of particular interest to me was their line of UV Sleeves. Available in sizes XS to XXL, and in 6 different colors, these fitted sleeves purportedly block 98% of UVA and UVB rays, rated as 50+ UPF (ultraviolet protection factor).

Eclipse, based out of Colorado, also sells a popular sun sleeve. Approved by the Melanoma Foundation, these sleeves are also 50 + UPF, with 3 different sizes and 3 different colors available. Unique to the Eclipse sun sleeves is the wrist/finger holes at the end, allowing the sleeves to fit underneath gloves and offer some protection to the hand as well.
Eclipse Sun Sleeves
[Read on for more after the jump]

Comfort

Both the Eclipse and the SolarTex slip on quite easily and are very comfortable to wear on a long day of fishing, even while baking in the sun. Unlike the Simm sleeves reviewed by Tackle Tour, neither sleeve left unsightly red wrinkle marks on the skin, even after 5+ hours of near constant wear. I found both sleeves to be quite breathable; neither left me feeling sticky or clammy underneath, even sweat. The SolarTex sleeves are a bit shorter than the Eclipse sleeves and really don't work as well with shorter-sleeve t-shirts if you want a complete arm protection. However, for those who wear longer-sleeve t-shirts or golf shirts, the SolarTex ones should offer adequate protection. Be sure to read the various measurements for each sleeve on the websites for them before purchasing to ensure you get the correct size. Check out the following video I've put together, showing these sun sleeves in action while fishing.

Durability
Both sun sleeves doubled as protection not only from UV rays but also from irritating high grass and other light debris. Anyone who has had to wade through a field of thick brush to reach a fishing spot knows exactly who chafing and irritating to the skin such brush can be. Both sleeves help up marvelously to during such trips. However, they should not be used as protection against anything too abrasive, including thorny bushes like blackberry brambles. Such thorns can quickly pick away and pull the microfibers out, causing annoying loose ends in the fabric.
The Eclipse and the SolarTex sleeves held up great after hand washing and washing machine cleansing. Composed of high-quality breathable fabric, both sleeves are assembled in the USA. It’s worth noting that the Eclipse sleeves are prone to getting fish slime on the hand regions, especially when you are gripping largemouth bass. This stink will stay in the sleeves until you give them a good, thorough wash. It may be best to roll up the wrist portion prior to gripping fish and thus avoiding this slime on the sleeves.
Wrist Protection with Eclipse
Price
The SolarTex sleeves sell for $20.90 for a pair. However, SolarTex has graciously offered readers of Hunting the River King a 15% off coupon code (Code: HTRK). They also have free shipping for orders over $65.
Eclipse’s sun sleeves sell online for $19.95 plus shipping. I think it’s important to point out that both of these excellent UV protectors sell for far less than the “official” line of fishing Sunsleeve from fishing tackle company Simms. As mentioned in the Tackle Tour review, the Simms sleeves sell for $34.95-quite a jump over these other sleeves! Furthermore, the customer service of SolarTex and Eclipse was excellent. I never heard back from Simms to my inquiries about their sleeves, but both SolarTex and Eclipse responded within one day.
SolarTex Sun Sleeves
Summary
I really liked both the Eclipse and the SolarTex sun sleeves. Comfortable to wear and with great prices, both of the sleeves are keepers. The extra protection for the wrist and hand offered by the Eclipse sleeves is awesome and they fit perfectly. The SolarTex line is also very impressive and their high-quality, breathable fabric is a welcome alternative to annoying sunscreen lotions. I’ll definitely be using both of these sun sleeve products on not only my fishing trips, but also my hiking and backpacking trips from now on.

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3 comments

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August 5, 2012 at 7:40 PM delete

That's fantastic that the sun protective sleeves are durable. They seem like a great buy.

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August 5, 2012 at 11:22 PM delete

I've seen these sleeves in action first hand.
No pun intended. :D

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July 7, 2016 at 5:40 AM delete

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Be nice.