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The Best Sun-Protective Gear for Gardeners

Baleaf Men’s UPF 50+ Quick Dry Cargo Shorts

These have been pretty comfortable for me so far. With a UPF 50+ rating, the 90 percent polyester with 10 percent spandex fabric is quick-drying, lightweight, and wicks moisture effectively.

The four-way stretch allows for comfortable all-day wear. The waistband is elasticated for additional comfort, and it has belt loops.

These shorts from Baleaf have two zippered hand pockets for securely storing money or keys and two back pockets for seed packets or other small items.

Baleaf Men’s Quick Dry Cargo Shorts

The fit is relaxed, but not baggy. The sizing runs a little on the small side, so you may need to buy a size up.

I especially like wearing these when I know it’s going to be a hot and sweaty day, because they wick moisture well and dry so quickly.

These shorts are available in black, gray, light blue, navy, khaki, and sage.

While the material is durable, be aware that if you are planning to clear a large section of thorny bush, you may want something more heavy-duty – and my next selection is just that.

Read customer reviews and check current prices on Amazon.

Carhartt Men’s Relaxed Fit Ripstop Cargo Short

These are my everyday-use shorts. I buy two pairs each year, and wear through them happily.

Made from a blend of 58 percent cotton, 39 percent polyester, and three percent elastane they are slightly heavier than what I would prefer to wear, but as work shorts, I’ve never found anything better.

Carhartt Cargo Short Relaxed Fit

With reinforced belt loops, two large cargo pockets, two back pockets, and two deep hand pockets, there’s plenty of room for carrying around my phone and small tools.

Since they are made partly from cotton, these shorts do not have quite the moisture-wicking properties of purely synthetic materials, and they take a bit longer to dry.

But if your priority is to find a pair of gardening shorts that can stand up to some rough work, then these are perfect.

It’s worth noting that this pair does not have a UPF rating, but the thickness of the material should block the worst of the sun’s rays.

These Carhartts are available in two color choices: Dark Khaki and Navy.

Head to Amazon to check prices and read customer reviews now.

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

These are my go-to pair of convertible pants. I admit that I use them mostly when I’m hiking and camping, but the days when I wear them to work are good days.

They are light and easy to zip on or off, they fit well and give my legs room to move, and they have enough pockets to hold just about everything I need.

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

Constructed from lightweight, 100 percent recycled polyester that features Columbia’s Omni-Shade™ with a UPF rating of 50, these provide maximum sun protection.

The mesh panels feature Omni-Wick™ fabric technology that provides excellent moisture-wicking and breathability.

Although they feel very light, the slightly stretchy material is durable, and quick to dry. A webbing belt is supplied, but you can replace this with your own, should you wish to. Keep in mind that the belt loops are quite narrow.

The Silver Ridge features two front pockets, two back pockets, and two side cargo pockets.

My only slight annoyance with these is that in order to remove the lower legs and convert them into shorts, I have to take off my boots, as there are no side zippers.

These convertibles are available in 10 colors, including Ancient Fossil, City Gray, and Dark Mountain. I tend to prefer the darker ones as they show the dirt a lot less!

Read customer reviews and check price on Amazon now.

Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Convertible Pants

Made from 100 percent ripstop nylon, these convertibles from Outdoor Research are lightweight and comfortable.

Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Convertible Pants

The UPF 50+ fabric protects you from damaging UV rays, and it’s breathable and quick-drying to keep you comfortable on hot days.

When you zip off the lower legs and convert them into shorts, I particularly like the fact that the zippers are color-coded, making it easy to match when you want to put them back on.

They feature a zippered side pocket, front pockets, and zippered back pockets – convenient for stashing small items. The only downside is that the cargo pocket is a bit on the small side.

A wide waistband with belt loops and internal drawcord means it’s easy to adjust the fit of the waistband even if you are not wearing a belt.

The fabric is durable, and will stand up to most garden chores.

Available in Black, Light Pewter, and Sand, these Ferrosi pants run a little on the small side, so you might want to consider trying a size up from what you usually wear.

See the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible pants on Amazon now.

Carhartt Women’s Rugged Flex Work Short

These rugged shorts are ideal for rough work in the garden on a hot day. They are made from 97 percent cotton canvas, with three percent elastane to allow for extra freedom of movement.

Carhartt Women’s Rugged Flex Work Short

Being primarily cotton, they do not have a UPF rating, and they aren’t as lightweight, breathable, or quick-drying as the nylon or polyester options.

With roomy cargo pockets, two back pockets, hand pockets, and a hammer clip, you’ll have plenty of room to carry around your essentials.

The reinforced belt loops are wide and the main seams are triple-stitched. With their relaxed fit, these shorts are not baggy, and they are comfortable for a day’s work in the garden.

You can choose from three colors, Brown, Basil, and Greige. If you are looking for a durable pair of shorts that also looks stylish, you won’t go wrong with these.

Head to Amazon now to check price and read customer reviews.

Baleaf Women’s Active Bermuda Shorts with Pockets

Sometimes we just want something comfy to pull on and dash out into the garden.

These shorts provide great sun protection and functionality. The soft, 55 percent cotton, 39 percent polyester, six percent spandex material wicks sweat and moisture, and is also stretchy.

Baleaf Women’s Active Bermuda Shorts

The comfortable elastic waistband won’t dig into you as you’re moving in the garden, and the two deep front pockets will hold whatever you need.

An additional small pocket at the rear is perfect for holding seed packets or other flat items.

Landing just above the knee, they are the perfect length to offer sun protection and comfort as well. They are available in 11 colors including black, light blue, light gray, navy, and army green.

Read customer reviews and check prices on Amazon now.


Above all else, we’re looking for a hat with a wide brim if we can find it. But a regular baseball cap with an added bandanna or multifunctional Buff® will do the job too.

The key is to find a hat that fits well, doesn’t blow off in a little wind, and isn’t too hot. There’s nothing worse than bending down and finding a stream of sweat running down your forehead when you are trying to keep cool!

A close up of a man bending over in the garden wearing a straw hat, surrounded by foliage with light sunshine in the background.A close up of a man bending over in the garden wearing a straw hat, surrounded by foliage with light sunshine in the background.

Regular baseball caps provide some protection for your face, but leave your ears and the back of your neck exposed to the sun.

I find that my work hats suffer quite a bit of abuse and need regular replacement, but if you aren’t toiling away outdoors for a living, you should get a great lifespan out of yours.

Comhats Foldable Women’s Siggi Summer Hat with Ponytail Hole

According to one of my coworkers, this was an excellent purchase.

She doesn’t have to worry about crushing her ponytail, and the hat’s durable construction means it can be tossed around pretty freely without worrying about damaging it.

Comhats Women’s Foldable Sunhat

Made from 100 percent cotton, with 80 percent polyester and 20 percent cotton lining, the hat features a concealed flap at the back so you can pull your ponytail through it.

I like this idea, as it keeps the hat secure. If you don’t have a ponytail, there is a detachable chin cord as well.

With a UPF rating of 50, the wide brim gives good coverage from the sun, and the thin fabric is lightweight and breathable. This hat is available in beige, black, and navy.

According to my coworkers, it stains fairly easily, and she bought a light color. But hey, it’s a garden hat, so it should have character!

Read customer reviews and check current prices on Amazon now.

Columbia Schooner Bank with UV Protection

If you like wearing a baseball cap but need some additional sun protection, this has a nice flap that covers the back of your neck and your ears.

Columbia Schooner Bank

The folks at Columbia worked hard to develop their Omni-Freeze™ ZERO fabric.

This technology reacts with moisture from perspiration to cool the temperature of the material, actively cooling you down.

The Omni-Shade™ provides UPF 50 sun protection, and the mesh allows for good ventilation. There’s a drawcord with a back toggle to adjust the fit.

Breathable and lightweight, this is an ideal choice if you want to stay cool and protected from the sun while you get on with your gardening. It’s available in seven colors including Fossil, Black, and Cool Gray.

See more customer reviews and check prices on Amazon now.

Sloggers Women’s Braided Sun Hat with Wind Lanyard

This one has a style that I like so much, I wish it were available in men’s sizes. I love the tight weaving and ultra-wide brim. It’s like you’re walking around with an umbrella on your noggin!

Sloggers Women’s Braided Sun Hat

It has a UPF 50+ rating, and the polyester fabric is lightweight and breathable. The wide brim keeps its shape without being too stiff.

This is truly a great hat, and for the price it’s a steal.

The only headache here might be handwashing, which is recommended on the label. It’s available in six colors, including light brown, navy, and sage green.

Head over to Amazon for more information.

“Plant Daddy” Baseball Cap

This is my normal style of hat. I’ll wear something like this as often as I can, and will double it up with a bandanna over the back of my neck on particularly hot days.

This hat is ideal for all but the sunniest conditions; at that point, I’ll place the hat back in my gardening gear bag and take out a wide brimmed hat instead.

“Plant Daddy” Cap

Made of 100 percent cotton and available in eight different colors, this hat has an adjustable strap at the back and small ventilation holes on the top.

If you are looking for a good-quality baseball cap, why not try this one?

Head over to Amazon to learn more.

Fun and Sun Men’s Seagrass Outback Straw Hat

This is the hat I am most inclined towards. It is light, breathable, and has a perfectly sized brim.

The open weave at the top of the hat allows for lots of airflow, and the wire that wraps around the brim allows it to be shaped to your own style and needs.

Fun and Sun Men’s Seagrass Outback Straw Hat

With its classic “straw hat” looks, this one provides no UPF rating, but it will keep your head cool, and the sun off your noggin while you weed the vegetable patch or water your flowers.

This type won’t last, though. By the end of each year, mine is definitely ready for replacement!

Read customer reviews and check price on Amazon now.


I recommend wearing safety glasses whenever you’re working outdoors. They can function as regular sunglasses but are designed to take a bit of damage, and to protect your eyes as well.

At the very least, using a pair of these to do garden work means your good sunglasses will be kept in fine condition.

Crossfire Safety Glasses

These are the only sunglasses I wear.

When I lived in Arizona, a friend of mine had this exact pair, and was hit right in the lens with a cascading rock kicked downhill during a hike.

Crossfire Safety Glasses

A small bruise was the only damage he sustained, but without these glasses, he might have lost an eye.

Providing 99.9 percent protection from the sun’s rays, the polycarbonate lenses are scratch-resistant and robust.

The rubber temple grips keep them secure on your face, and the rubber nose bridge provides ventilation to prevent them from fogging up.

These are comfortable and just stylish enough that I can wear them most places, even beyond the garden.

They are available in six colors, including black, brown, and even pearl pink.

See more customer reviews and check price now on Amazon.

Edge Eyewear Brazeau Torque Polarized Safety Glasses

These provide excellent protection from UV rays and light in general – but on the flipside, the lenses are quite dark in anything but the brightest sunlight.

Edge Brazeau Torque Polarized Safety Glasses

With flexible, rubberized frames, these sunglasses can withstand some rough treatment.

They don’t have a nose bridge, so they can tend to fog up in hot, damp conditions, but the snug fit prevents grass clippings or other debris from getting in behind them.

For the price, these are a top choice if you need a robust pair of safety glasses. They are available in black.

See more customer reviews and check prices on Amazon.

Edge Eyewear SR116 Reclus Safety Glasses

These are a great choice for people with narrow heads. They fit snugly and do their job very well, but they aren’t the ideal choice for folks like myself with big noggins.

Edge Eyewear Reclus Safety Glasses

With flexible nylon frames that feature hypoallergenic plastic rubber temple tips to keep them stable on your face, the dark polycarbonate lenses are robust and scratch-resistant.

A rubber nose bridge allows for ventilation, and prevents them from fogging up. These are also quite dark, making them perfect for wearing on bright sunny days.

Check out customer reviews and prices now on Amazon.

Miscellaneous Gear

There are a couple of other products that I – and my coworkers – couldn’t be without.

Farmers Defense Unisex Anti-Scratch UV Cooling Arm Sleeves

This is a piece of gear that I just can’t get into. Many of my younger coworkers swear by these sleeves and wear them every single day, but us older folks tend to give them a raised eyebrow in response.

A close up of Farmers Defense sleeves in navy blue isolated on a white background.A close up of Farmers Defense sleeves in navy blue isolated on a white background.

Farmers Defense Cooling Arm Sleeves

These stretchy arm sleeves roll up and over your arms, and bridge the gap between your t-shirt sleeves and your wrist. With a UPF rating of 50, they block 98 percent of the sun’s rays.

While I’m not a fan, I see more and more of these every day, so it’s an option worth considering, particularly if you are pale skinned or particularly worried about sun damage.

These sleeves are available in a variety of colors and fun patterns.

Check these out for yourself now at Farmers Defense or on Amazon – and let me know what you think of them!

Read our review of the Farmers Defense sleeves here.

Hav-A-Hank Paisley Bandanna

This is a nice, high-quality bandanna.

I’ve used the cheapest ones I could get in the past, and I was always disappointed with their performance. These Hav-A-Hank bandannas offer great quality, they’re durable, and they serve plenty of purposes.

A close up of a bandana in black with paisley patterning in white and red.A close up of a bandana in black with paisley patterning in white and red.

Hav-A-Hank Paisley Bandanna

My favorite use for this product is to dunk one in cool water and wrap it around the back of my neck. Instant cool-down!

Made of 100 percent cotton, these 22-inch-square bandannas are made in the USA. They are available in 6 different colors, including black, blue, pink, green, and brown.

Find the Hav-A-Hank Paisley Bandanna at Tractor Supply Co.

Original Buff Multifunctional Headwear

I love the multiple uses that are available for the Buff, but personally I just can’t get comfortable using one.

The Buff is basically a tube of stretchy, seamless microfiber polyester fabric that has a UPF 50 protection rating, and you can use it in a variety of ways. It’s moisture-wicking, quick to dry, and breathable.

Original Buff in Zankor Blue

Some of my workers will wear one around their neck to keep cool, and then cover their nose and mouth if there’s pollen flying or they are weed-whacking. I’ve even seen one of these fashioned into a “beanie” type hat.

It’s a versatile option for many folks.

Available in a wide variety of colors, some are plain, others patterned – there’s something available to suit everyone’s taste!

Check it out now on Amazon.


Sunblock is something I would never be without during the summer. I’ve spent a long time looking for the “perfect” sunscreen, which to me means one that doesn’t feel too oily on my skin.

I recommend an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating of at least 30.

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion

This is a product that I’ve come to rely on. Many of the other sunscreens I have used were too oily or came off too easily when I worked up a sweat, but this one gets the job done.

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen, SPF 50

It’s a thick cream, and a little bit of it goes a long way. It definitely provides ample protection from the sun with an SPF of 50.

Eight-ounce, squeezable plastic bottles are available from Banana Boat via Amazon.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen

This is a brand that I don’t use myself, but the people who work at our retail shop at my day job do.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive SPF 30+

They’re working in full sun exposure while standing on the white gravel base we use, so they get hit twice with the sun’s effects.

It’s been designed in consultation with dermatologists, with an SPF rating of 30+, and contains no parabens or fragrance – perfect for those with sensitive skin.

The bottle features interesting Smart Bottle™ technology and will turn blue in harmful UV light, to remind you to put it on.

This is the only sunscreen they use at the shop, so I’m inclined to believe it’s one of the best out there!

You can find Blue Lizard sunscreen in five-ounce bottles available via Amazon.

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