While the UK is being hit with a heatwave (and wetsuits seem less appealing) we thought we’d give you a run down on rash vests, their benefits and whether you should wear one.
A rash vest, also known as a rash guard or rashie, is a form-fitting garment typically worn in water sports and activities. Some of the main benefits include:
- Sun Protection: Rash vests are designed to provide a high level of UV protection. They are often made with fabrics that have a high UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which helps block harmful UV rays from the sun. This can significantly reduce the risk of sunburn and long-term skin damage caused by prolonged sun exposure.
- Abrasion Protection: The primary purpose of a rash vest is to protect the skin from abrasions and rashes. When engaging in activities like surfing, bodyboarding, or diving, the skin can rub against the board, equipment or your wetsuit, causing irritation and rashes. The smooth and stretchy fabric of a rash vest creates a barrier between the skin and the rough surfaces, reducing friction and preventing chafing.
- Comfort and Flexibility: Rash vests are made of lightweight, quick-drying materials like nylon, spandex, or Lycra, which are known for their stretch and flexibility. They allow a wide range of movement, providing comfort and unrestricted mobility during water sports. The snug fit of a rash vest also helps to keep it in place, even during vigorous activities.
- Thermal Insulation: In cooler water or weather conditions, a rash vest can provide a layer of insulation, helping to retain body heat. It acts as a thin barrier between the skin and the external environment, reducing the loss of body heat and keeping the wearer warmer.
- Versatility: Rash vests are versatile garments that can be used in various water-based activities. They are commonly worn for surfing, swimming, snorkelling, Paddleboarding, kayaking, and other water sports. Moreover, they can be used as an extra layer under a wetsuit for additional warmth or as standalone swimwear in warmer conditions.
- Skin Protection: Besides protecting against the sun and abrasions, rash vests can also provide a barrier against certain irritants in the water. For example, they can help guard against jellyfish stings, sea lice, or other potentially irritating substances that may be present in the water.
Overall, wearing a rash vest offers a range of benefits including sun protection, abrasion protection, comfort, flexibility, thermal insulation, and versatility. It is a practical garment for anyone participating in water sports or spending time in the water.