Gear test: Simms Solar-Flex Armor

When I fish, I do not trust sunscreen alone. My days of wearing a T-shirt and shorts, and slapping on a bit of SPF-15 (if I remember) are over. Doesn’t matter if I’m walk-wading for trout, or on a flats skiff, I’m now always in some sort of sun shirt designed specifically to protect me from UV rays.

The best shirt I’ve come across is the Simms SolarFlex Armor shirt, and here are five reasons why: First, it has a UPF 50 rating, and I’ve worn this near the equator where the sun is most intense, and it did not fail one bit. Second, it’s light and breathable, weighing a tad over 7 ounces. Third, it has that COR3 technology, which keeps you from stinking. Fourth, It has Coolcore fabric, which literally cools down as you sweat. (It doesn’t feel like you’re jumping in a lake, by any means, but you do sense the effort). Fifth, it has a built-in gaiter at the neck, which I prefer 100 times more than the standard hood on other shirts (it works better with a ball cap with visor).

Price is $129.95, but if you’re going to spend five times that on a guide trip or a fly rod, why not invest in not frying yourself? I’d actually put this type of “technical” gear at the top of my priority list. I still use zinc-based sunscreen on my face and hands, and I touch up a couple times a day. But my main sun protection these days is my clothing, and there are some options that are smarter than others Whatever you choose to do, please, just choose to do something and be sun-smart.

We want you healthy and happy.

— Kirk Deeter

By Chris Hunt.