Best Shirts for White Water Rafting

It’s important to dress appropriately when river rafting. You don’t want to be stuck wearing a cotton shirt that will stay soaked and leave you uncomfortable on your expedition. If you’re going white water rafting, kayaking, boating, or doing any other water sport, you need a quality swim shirt designed for water. Here we will review the best shirts to wear on your white water rafting trip.

What To Look For in a River Rafting Shirt

When you’re shopping for a shirt for your rafting adventure there are a couple of things you want to consider:

Temperature 

The first thing you need to think about is the temperature on the day of your rafting trip. If it is a warm/hot day you will want a quick-drying t-shirt designed for water. This kind of shirt will keep you the most comfortable on your journey. If it’s cold or rainy weather you will most likely want a long-sleeved quick-drying undershirt with warmer layers on top. 

Material 

The next thing you want to look for in a good shirt is the material. Avoid cotton at all costs. This will leave you wet and uncomfortable because water clings to cotton. We recommend neoprene, polyester, or another kind of synthetic fabric. If it’s cold or rainy weather you may want a wool or fleece sweater with an undershirt to keep you warm. 

UPF Rating

Lastly, if the sun is going to be out, you want to consider the ultraviolet protection factor of your clothing. This will keep your skin safe from the sun. For maximum protection pick something with a UPF rating of 40 or above. Here is a handy UPF rating chart to help you understand Ultraviolet Protecting Rating numbers:

UPF Rating Chart

Best Shirts for River Rafting

  1. Amazon Essentials Men’s Short-Sleeve Quick-Dry UPF 50 Swim Tee
  2. O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard
  3. ATTRACO Womens Rashguard Swimsuit Rash Guard Swim Shirts Swim Rashguard
  4. Amazon Essentials Women’s Short-Sleeve Quick-Dry UPF50 Swim Tee
  5. Smartwool Men’s Merino 150 Baselayer Pattern Long Sleeve
  6. Western Owl Outfitters Merino Wool Women’s Long Sleeve Top

1. Amazon Essentials Men’s Short-Sleeve Quick-Dry UPF 50 Swim Tee – Best Value River Rafting Shirt


Product Features

Brand Name: Amazon Essentials
Style: Short sleeve
Material: 100% Polyester
Colors: 6 color options
Sizes: 7 size options

If you’re looking for an extremely affordable quick-drying shirt to wear on your white water rafting trip, you need to check out the Amazon Essentials Short-Sleeve Quick-Dry Swim Tee. This is a quick-drying 100% polyester swim tee designed to fit loose for maximum comfort. This is the type of shirt that is perfect for wearing while river rafting in warm or hot weather. The shirt itself features a UPF 50 rating which is excellent for protecting your skin from the sun. The real selling point of this shirt is the price. These are very cheap, which makes them perfect for taking on the river.

 

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Wide selection of sizes
  • Six color options
  • UPF 50 rating

Cons

  • These are designed to be loose fitting. Some may prefer a tigther rash guard style swim shirt
  • Exposed stiching, some may not like this style

 

2. O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard – Best Long Sleeve Shirt for White Water Rafting

Product Features

Brand Name: O’Neill
Style: Long sleeve
Material: Polyester spandex blend
Colors: 11 color options
Sizes: 10 size options

The O’Neill Men’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard is our pick for the best long sleeve river rafting shirt. This shirt is made from a quick-drying polyester-spandex blend and features a UPF 50 rating. These are designed for playing in the sun, which makes them great for the river. They have 11 color options and 10 sizes, which means they have something for everyone. Overall this is a great choice if you’re looking for something long sleeve.

 

Pros

  • Long sleeve
  • Wide selection of sizes
  • 11 color options
  • UPF 50 rating

Cons

  • These are tight fitting rash guards, some may prefer a looser fit

 

3. ATTRACO Womens Rashguard Swimsuit Rash Guard Swim Shirts Swim Rashguard – Great Women’s Shirt for White Water Rafting

Product Features

Brand Name: ATTRACO
Style: Long sleeve
Material: Polyester
Colors: 12 color options
Sizes: 5 size options

The Attraco Women’s Long-Sleeve Rashguard is the perfect shirt for women to wear on the river. Made from quick-drying polyester, this shirt features an excellent UPF 50 rating to keep your skin safe. The shirt is designed to stretch while maintaining a soft and comfortable fit. They have 12 different color options to choose from, each with its own unique design. Overall this is a great shirt for any activity on the water.

 

Pros

  • 12 color options
  • UPF 50 rating

Cons

  • Some may prefer a short sleeve shirt

 

4. Amazon Essentials Women’s Short-Sleeve Quick-Dry UPF50 Swim Tee – Best Affordable Women’s Shirt for Water Sports

Product Features

Brand Name: Amazon Essentials
Style: Short sleeve
Material: 100% polyester
Colors: Six color choices
Sizes: Six size options

If you’re shopping for a cheap women’s shirt to wear on the river you need to check out the Amazon Essentials Women’s Short Sleeve Quick Dry Swim Tee. This an extremely affordable polyester tee with a UPF 50 rating. It has all the comfort and flexibility you would expect from a great quick-dry swim tee while being sold at an extremely budget-friendly price. Overall this is a great choice for any water activity.

 

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • UPF 50 rating

Cons

  • These are solid colored, some may prefer something with a pattern or design

 

5. Smartwool Men’s Merino 150 Baselayer Pattern Long Sleeve – Best Long Sleeve Shirt for Rafting in Cold Weather

Product Features

Brand Name: Smartwool
Style: Long sleeve
Material: 87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon
Colors: 6 color options
Sizes: 5 size options

If you’re going rafting in the rain or cold weather you need to dress appropriately. Our recommendation is a quick-dry undershirt and a wool sweater or long sleeve shirt to wear as an outer layer. Our pick for a top of the line wool outer layer is the Smartwool Men’s Merino Long Sleeve. Made from 87% merino wool, this long sleeve shirt will help you stay insulated and regulate temperature even in the cold. This really is an excellent shirt, but it comes with a pretty expensive price tag, so keep that in mind.

 

Pros

  • 87% Merino wool
  • Temperature regulating
  • Flexible and durable

Cons

  • Expensive

 

6. Western Owl Outfitters Merino Wool Women’s Long Sleeve Top – Excellent Women’s Cold Weather Shirt for Rafting

Product Features

Brand Name: Western Owl Outfitters
Style: Long sleeve
Material: 100% Merino Wool
Colors: 4 Color options
Sizes: 4 size options

If you’re planning on going on the river in cold or rainy weather you need an outer layer that will keep you warm. The Western Owl Outfitters Women’s Merino Wool Long Sleeve is our pick for a women’s outer layer. This long sleeve shirt is made from 100% merino wool which makes it breathable and temperature regulating as you would expect from a premium wool shirt. This premium shirt will wick sweat away while keeping you comfortable. We recommend wearing a quick-dry undershirt with this as an outer layer in cold or rainy weather.

 

Pros

  • 100% Merino wool
  • Temperature regulating
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Only four color options

 

That completes the list. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather! If it’s going to be cold or rainy we highly recommend an undershirt and one of the wool long sleeves as an outer layer. If you’re going somewhere warm, the basic swim tee’s are an excellent choice. The good thing about these shirts is that you can use them for other things besides just white water rafting. They can be used for surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, or any other beach or water activity.