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Anybody else pack sun sleeves for Europe?

I cycle a lot on holiday, and your arms can get sunburned pretty easy on a bike, so I bring sun sleeves.

What I found is that not just for cycling, but in general, sun sleeves can do a good job of replacing a long sleeve t-shirt or long sleeve tech tee if it's a warmer season and you don't particularly want a long sleeve shirt for layering warmth.

I go with off-white, not white like in the linked picture, and not too tight so they look a little more like a slim-armed shirt and less like technical clothing. Once you have them on you have about the same insulation as a hot weather long sleeve tech tee, but you're saving about 75% of the weight and packing space, and far less than a collared sunshirt.

Can be a bit of a chore to find without big annoying logos or too tight or too warm, but it's doable.

The look is a little makework, but it's close enough to the long sleeve tee under short sleeve tee look that I'm fine with it.

Anybody? Kind of doubt it but ya never know ;)

Posted by
4574 posts

Saving yourself from cancer risks shouldn't be up to another's opinion. I know people who wear them in more equatorial countries. Though I have to wonder if sunscreen or plain old long sleeve cotton or linen button-up shirts aren't sufficient. Knits like tshirts and tech clothing is not all there is.

Posted by
395 posts

Generally, the tighter the weave and the darker the fabric, the more effective it is at keeping the sun from damaging your skin. I like to hike and swim in long-sleeved "rash guards", also called swim shirts, which don't lose sun protection when they get wet. I'm bringing several for our Cotswold Way hike this summer. For hiking I generally also use a hat, and a loosely tied bandana to protect the back of my neck--plus mineral sunscreen! I already have enough sun damage from spending my childhood summers outside in southern California in the 60s.

Posted by
14163 posts

Yes, I’ve taken Outdoor Research brand sun sleeves to Italy but on my current trip to Amsterdam, Paris, London and Northern England I did not. I did bring a sunshirt which I’ve worn once. Other days it’s still been cool enough that Ive worn a LS dri-fit. The sleeves from both of those shirts come down over the backs of my hands.

My sun sleeves are a medium green. It doesn’t matter to me if they look dorky.

Posted by
3179 posts

I don’t see how you are saving 75% of the weight over a long sleeve tech tee. You still need to wear a shirt with the sun sleeves, right?

I just bought a cycling sun shirt like this:

https://www.terrybicycles.com/Soleil-Long-Sleeve-Top_26

It weighs 3.5 oz and packs up smaller than a short sleeve tshirt. And dries in hours when I wash it.

MariaF, from what I have read cotton does not provide the sun protection that a synthetic fabric will.

Posted by
1855 posts

I don’t see how you are saving 75% of the weight over a long sleeve
tech tee. You still need to wear a shirt with the sun sleeves, right?

Because If I brought a long sleeve shirt I wouldn't bring fewer short sleeve shirts. Right now I do three shirts, button up short sleeve collared riding shirt that doubles as my nicer shirt, tech tee with a passible look for sports and casual wear, and a cotton t-shirt for the highest level of comfort when relaxing and for wearing out.

Adding a long sleeve shirt doesn't rotate any of those shirts out of my packing list.

Oh and cute cycling shirt by the way, Terry makes a lot of good looking practical riding clothes for women. I can't do the cycle specific pockets on back though - I pack so little that all of my clothes outside of my cycling shorts need to also work for my ordinary touristing.

Posted by
1855 posts

Yes, I’ve taken Outdoor Research brand sun sleeves to Italy

Cool. As for dorky, I think sun sleeves look fine! I just go for as much as I can the T-shirt under a t-shirt look for more versatility.

Posted by
4862 posts

I will have to give this some thought. I've gone the other direction with my packing - one Columbia long sleeve, button-down shirt that I leave open and layer over an assortment of lightweight tank tops. Effectively, bringing only one "set of sleeves" that protect my arms.

Posted by
6624 posts

How do they stay up above your elbow instead of sliding down? You can't be doing a golf swing all the time. Gravity is what it is.

Posted by
3936 posts

I usually do what CWSocial does but am going to look into these sleeves. Thanks for the tip.

Posted by
4574 posts

Maybe you can clarify what you are packing for. In second paragraph you say 'not just for cycling.....'. If you are packing for normal tourist travel, you may well be in and out of shade and buildings all day not requiring the same level of protection. If it is all about cycling or outdoor pursuits only, then sun sleeve away.

Posted by
9776 posts

I have literally never heard of these.

You really do learn something new every day.

Posted by
1855 posts

Sun sleeves are elastic at the top which keeps them from sliding down. Depending on your arms and the sun sleeves, they can be annoyingly squeezy or unnoticeable.

I don't think I would bring them if I wasn't cycling and/or getting outside a lot in the mountains. I like using them better than slathering my arms with sunscreen, and I don't really have a place in my summer trip rotation for a long sleeve shirt.

But if I was just doing an ordinary touristing tour ... 🤔 Maybe.....

Posted by
4574 posts

Thanks for clarifying the activity. It wasn't clear...thus my initial response.
They, like rash shirts, are great inventions.

Posted by
8594 posts

Hank, I had some for cycling at home, but I prefer long sleeve rashguards for most outdoor activities. If you're talking about wearing sun sleeves with a short sleeve t-shirt then I dont see the advantage. With a gap showing (even occasionally), it looks funny to me to have those sleeves on, kind of like those thigh-top hose that women wear. I usually pack long-sleeves when traveling anyway, as they can always be rolled up when hot, and down when cold. But whatever works for you.

Kim you see a lot of baseball players wearing those sleeves when its too cold for their short-sleeve uniform jerseys.

Posted by
1855 posts

Stan with the sun sleeves I wear there's never any gap showing, and I get the advantages of a long sleeve shirt without having to pack one in the summer months.

Posted by
16708 posts

For women, Terry has some shirts like the one Sasha mentioned on sale for Bike Month, 25% off with codeBMISTOPS23.

This style is not a true cycling shirt; it is not form-fitting and lacks the back pockets so common on cycle shirts. And the prints don’t scream “bicycle”. Still UPF 50+ and very light weight.

https://www.terrybicycles.com/Soleil-Free-Flow-LS-Top_2

Posted by
381 posts

Sun sleeves are very popular with Asian women. They were commonly seen when I was in China and I’ve noticed them on Asian tourists in Europe. They are routinely worn with a short sleeved summery dress.

Posted by
1855 posts

Sun sleeves are very popular with Asian women. They were commonly seen
when I was in China and I’ve noticed them on Asian tourists in Europe.
They are routinely worn with a short sleeved summery dress.

Awesome!

Posted by
2859 posts

No, I don’t pack or wear sun sleeves. No logic to them since I still need to wear a blouse or shirt of some kind. Can’t go around topless! I wear vented long sleeve sunshirts, like Kerrits Ice-fil or Romfh Chill Factor. After having melanoma, I seldom go outside without wearing long sleeves and lots of sunscreen on all exposed skin.

Posted by
33130 posts

I have them. I opted for a very pale pink. I use them, usually just one at a time, when I'm driving. They wick up the moisture and keep me cool too.

Posted by
496 posts

Sun sleeves are very popular with Asian women. They were commonly seen when I was in China and I’ve noticed them on Asian tourists in Europe. They are routinely worn with a short sleeved summery dress.

When I first went to Vietnam in 1990 - many women wore long white gloves - like you'd see a debutante wear in the 60s. I think the sun sleeves evolved from there. Asians value pale skin and it was there I got the habit of using an umbrella as well as a hat against the sun - so much cooler

Posted by
1251 posts

I wore arm sleeves when I went to Spain last year. I started using them with cycling and did not want to bother with lathering sunscreen on for my daily outdoor workouts. Just one pair is enough. They pack down to a size of one underwear, sink wash and dry quickly, change the look outfit from short to long sleeve and add warmth if it gets cold e.g mountain. I am not too concerned about looks (still a full-time fanny pack wearer). I never thought arm sleeves made me look like an Asian woman, more like Steph Curry or Russell Westbrook

I plan to buy a pair of leg sleeves for my trip to Portugal for the same reason. Just waiting for a sale on Amazon. My 60+ year old legs are dark and crusty from years of sun exposure. Currently, I use cycling pants at home for outdoor workouts. The leg sleeves can be rolled down or even easily pulled on or off without removing shorts or shoes.

Posted by
1855 posts

Add funpig to the armsleeve roster, and first name on the leg sleeve list :-)

Posted by
21 posts

I wore sun sleeves by Le Col throughout my recent self-guided and self-designed bike trip through the Alps. The Le Col sleeves are light, stay up (something that many other brands do not on my spindly cyclist-build arms - most assume bigger biceps), easily cool when made wet, etc. They are white, not black, yet have UPF 50+ rating. The logo is tasteful and also is made of reflective ink so they are good safety in low-light conditions.

Honestly: they worked well and spared me from having to use even more sunblock. They took up almost no room in my bags when not in use.

Posted by
1855 posts

Le Col ... Will keep on my radar. The pearl izumi's fit me well, but I like the previous generation with the black elastic better than the current generation that are all white. Liked the old fabric and fit better.

So yeah, thanks, always willing to try to optimize🙂 that is the way of the cycle tourer

Posted by
33130 posts

I use a pair of lovely pink fuschia sleeves when I am driving in the sun. Usually just one on my right arm, sometimes both. They wick sweat so I'm cooler, and are high SPF which I need.

Posted by
195 posts

I hike a lot in Southern California and wear either the Outdoor Research sun sleeves that cover the the hands too. If I wear a long sleeve shirt instead I wear OR gloves.

Posted by
380 posts

As a cyclist I have arm warmers (same as lighter weight sun sleeves). Also have leg warmers that cover 3/4s of your leg below your shorts. Have used them as a small lightweight way to keep warm on cold weather trips. You easily take them off, roll up and stash in any day pack when you warm up. You guys have convinced me to get some light weight sun sleeves for protection and cool evenings.

Posted by
74 posts

I am a golfer and along with several golfer friends now wear long sleeve ventilated golf shirts, including today finishing just before we hit 106!.they are. Great and very comfortable. If you don’t want to bring along a long sleeve, sun shirt, for golfers there are a couple of brands that offer sun sleeves that are connected more like a breathable, long sleeve, bolero that you wear inside your shirt. I find them more comfortable than separate cooling sleeves because I don’t like the feel of the bands on my upper arms .I prefer for my short sleeve shirts, and I intend to bring a pair of Sparms (you can find online and at PGA tour superstores) and the same for Jamie Sadock although I don’t think the sun protection is quite as good as the Sparms. And of course, if you search on Amazon, you will find a variety of cheaper versions in multiple colors.. they roll up and weigh nothing .

Posted by
1855 posts

Katy thanks for this! I cycle in my sunsleeves, but actually prefer a little bit looser as I'm not particularly aero on my touring bike anyway.