Rashies Are Not Just For Surfing: Why Rash Guards Are the Outdoor Outfit For All Occasions

September 27, 2019

Rash guards or “rashies,” as they are known here in Australia, are a type of protective quick-drying athletic top originally meant to protect surfers from sunburn, as well as from abrasion injuries from using their surfboards. Today, they are used in all types of water activities for similar reasons — and also as fashion statements.

While the name “rash guard” or “rashie” suggests that their purpose is protection from abrasion, UV protection is perhaps the most important benefit from wearing one. This is especially true in Australia, given the country’s high incidence of skin cancer and its people’s fondness for the beach and outdoor activities.

Most rashies today feature a significant amount of sun-protection, blocking up to 98% of the sun’s UV rays. This allows wearers to use sunblock on just their face, rather than on their entire body. Given that there is evidence many types of sunblock are damaging to coral reefs, this is a benefit well worth noting for anyone concerned about the environment.

Rashies for other outdoor activities

Another reason people love rashies is how the quick-drying materials used in their construction quickly wicks away moisture and keeps the wearer more comfortable in and out of the water.

For this reason, rashies have started to become popular for some non-aquatic outdoor activities as well. A few runners, hikers, and hunters have taken to using rashies either by themselves as a layer under their other clothes.

As a bonus, they have some overlap with traditional types of compression clothing, providing the same theoretical benefits such as reduced muscle fatigue and better muscle oxygenation. Form-fitting rashies with bottoms can even provide some support to certain areas, including the groin and chest

Types of rashies

Today, there are looser-fitting rashies specifically designed for swimming or for layering under wetsuits, as well as rashies suited for just lounging around the water. There are also rashie bottoms, as well as one-piece designs available on the market. Some rashies women’s clothing stores offer are even meant as much for fashion as they are for serious activity.

What should you wear under your rashies?

This is a question we often get, especially concerning rashies for women. The answer is, you can wear whatever you want with them, but most women tend to prefer wearing their bathers under their rashies. After all, some rashies can sometimes be quite sheer, so understandably, a lot of people would prefer a bit more for modesty. 

To address this and to provide better comfort, there are women’s rashies with built-in padding as well. These can provide not only additional covering should anyone need it, but also provide support during strenuous activity as well.


Rashies now come in a variety of fits, designs, and sizes for people of all ages and interests. From being a simple top meant to prevent rashes due to bare skin rubbing against a surfboard, they have become an essential piece of outdoor wear in and out of the water. Whatever your sport, chances are, there are rashies out there that are perfect for your needs.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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