Monthly Archives

July 2012

Wellness Warriors

Five Olympic Athletes Take the Gold for Sun Safety

Not all athletes, including Olympic athletes, are into tanning, even though a Google image search of the word “athlete” displays an overwhelming number of tanned muscle men and women. Being fit and looking great doesn’t mean you need tan skin. In fact, you’re likely to develop sun spots and wrinkles if you do tan. To dispel the tan athlete typecast, we went out in search of Olympic athletes spreading the word about using sun protection for a healthy sunny life. In our opinion, these five women get the Gold for their sun protection efforts.

Kerri Walsh (Photo credit Jasonschock, Wikipedia)

Kerri Walsh, Beach Volleyball (USA)

At age 34, Walsh has taken home two gold medals for beach volleyball. Being a native of California she also knows the importance of using sunscreen when playing on the beach. Quoted in Fitness Magazine online, she says, “My mom had skin cancer on her chin, so I know that sun protection is important.”

Christine Rampone in yellow (Photo credit Brittany Carlson, Wikipedia)

Christine Rampone, Soccer (USA)

When two-time Olympic Gold medalist Rampone, 37, is on the soccer field she may be focused on the game, but she always uses sun protection before heading out on the field. “I apply sunscreen about an hour before practice, and I get one with as high a SPF as I can find- at least 35, usually a 50,” she says on the Skin Cancer Foundation website. As captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team she leads by example for her team as well as the youth she coaches in her spare time.

Natalie Coughlin (Photo credit JD Lasica, Flickr)

Natalie Couglin, Swimmer (USA)

As a swimmer and 11-time Olympic medalist, at age 29 Couglin is wise beyond her years to use sweat- and water-resistant sunscreen in the water and encourage others to do so. During her interview with Marie Claire, she says “I’ve been in the sun my whole life, and fortunately, I’ve been obsessed with wearing sunscreen since I was a kid.” Couglin uses the Vertra Face Stick with SPF 38 is her choice as her water-resistant sunscreen go-to.

Victoria Pendleton (Photo credit johnthescone, Wikipedia)

Victoria Pendleton, Track Cyclist (U.K.)

Pendleton, 31, is a nine-time world champion and was an Olympic gold medalist in individual sprint at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She uses sunscreen on her face and body, and her complexion shows it! “My go-to sunscreen for my face is Elemis Liquid Layer SPF 30. For my body, I like to use a sunscreen from Soleil Organique,” she says in Marie Claire.

Gisela Dulko (Photo credit Pascalre, Wikipedia)

Gisela Dulko, Tennis (Argentina)

Dulko, 27, is a former women’s doubles world No. 1 and has won 17 doubles titles. Playing tennis outdoor for a living she’s exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. She keeps her skin naturally beautiful by wearing sunscreen. “I don’t wear any makeup when I play matches, only sunscreen—Avène SPF 30 for face and body,” says Dulko in Marie Claire.

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Coolibar Athletes

Peter Urban Reviews the Coolibar Sunblock Jacket

Coolibar Athlete Peter Urban plays tennis competively as often as he can. He’s done so for about 30 years now! Even though he’s had an encounter with skin cancer, he still pushes his outdoor game forward. Now he sports Coolibar’s UPF 50+ sunwear and wishes to share his thoughts with you. Read Peter’s review of the Coolibar Sunblock Jacket.

What are you overall thoughts on the shirt?

When Coolibar suggested that I try out the Sunblock Jacket, I was reluctant as I am used to hoodies and jackets being heavy, and not “breathing”. However, I was very surprised by the lightweight, breathable material.  I cannot believe that it is UPF 50! It is also quite compact in that I could pack it down to almost fit in the space between my palms cupped together. I also really like the shade of blue. I like being able to put the hood up to protect my head from the sun too.

What are your favorite features?

Lightweight, breathable fabric. Athletic tailoring that doesn’t leave a ton of extra fabric in the abdomen. Hoodie – breathable and light; I prefer wearing it to a hat because the hoodie is looser fitting and more comfortable than a hat.

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric?

Feather-light, soft and breathable. Nice top that doesn’t wrinkle.  Hoodie is tailored nicely so that it doesn’t have extra material that makes hoodies look sloppy.

Did the fabric meet your expectations?

It exceeded my expectations!

Did the fabric and shirt keep you cool?

Yes. Fabric breathes well and is lightweight.

Did the fabric stick to your skin?


What do you want others to know about this shirt?

The hoodie is versatile. You can wear it during the day, and even though it has long sleeves, it does not make you hot because the material breathes. You can put the hood up and down as needed. As a bonus, the hoodie is good for sporting events because unlike a hat, it won’t obstruct the view of people behind you. The hoodie is great at night as well as a lightweight way to take the chill off, even if you don’t leverage the UPF 50 protection.  

Do you have any tips to stay comfortable and safe out in the sun?

I suggest UPF clothing. It allows you to play sports without having to worry about putting sunscreen on your torso, including your back, which is the most difficult to reach spot. In fact, the back is where most melanomas are found on men. A regular cotton t-shirt provides inadequate protection at UPF 5. My dermatologist recommended a minimum of UPF 50 in order to stay safe in the sun.

Get the Coolibar Sunblock Jacket.

Read other Coolibar Athlete product reviews.

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Get Outside and Play

What are you going to do with your summer? A question all kids must answer once the school year is over. If watching television, playing video games or surfing the web are your child’s top choices, it may be time to introduce some outdoor activities into their summer routine.  Good habits start early and active children become active adults, conquering obesity and sedentary behavior. Your kids will thank you for it.

When children engage in less structured outdoor play, they typically sustain moderately energetic activity over longer periods of time – the type of activity that is particularly important for health and fitness.  In addition, there is a growing body of research on how spending time outdoors benefits children’s development beyond the obvious physical benefits.  Those benefits include kids that are more imaginative, creative and cooperative.

If the children in your life need a little encouragement to put away their video games, we’ve got some ideas to get your kids excited about playing outside.

  • Plan an Interesting Place to Visit  – The backyard may be the easiest option to get children playing outside, but by planning a little, you can find other interesting places to take your children. Walk to a neighborhood park or visit a nature center or the zoo.
  • Have Fun While Moving Around – One of the great things about playing outside is that most of the time, your kids are concentrating so hard on having fun, they don’t even realize how much effort and energy they’re using. Fly a kite at the park, skip stones at a pond or play a game such as red rover red rover, tag or hide and seek.
  • Investigate Nature – Playing outdoors is critical to a child’s development because all of his senses are engaged and he’s making decisions based on using those senses. Also, cultivating an interest in trees and other plants, animals and natural phenomena is a great way to motivate kids to get outdoors. Take a nature walk and share stories about things you remember about nature from your childhood, start a collection from your walks or plan a family hike.

Move around and demonstrate how much you enjoy being outside. This will go a long way in teaching your kids to embrace the outdoors too.  Life happens outside, get out there and enjoy it!

Outdoor play is beneficial beyond health and fitness.











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Wellness Warriors

A Man Fascinated by the Desert and Extreme Heat

Ripley Davenport, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, is a dedicated explorer and adventurer of desert regions. His curiosity and awe of the desert environment has led him to discover the wonders that the desert has to offer. By crossing the desert on foot Ripley has become very intimate with the landscape and the crucial preparation needed to survive.

Mr. Davenport is about to embark on a Death Valley Man Haul. Lucky for him, he has had on-foot experience crossing desolate and arid deserts. Recently in 2010 he man-hauled his way across the Manchurian Steppe and Gobi desert covering a little over 1000 miles and again in 2011 he walked another 1000 miles, leading an International team with 12 Bactrian camels, from West to East across a section of the Altai Mountains and Gobi desert.

His intent in Death Valley is to be completely self sufficient and entirely on foot throughout the 153 mile route from North to South through the Valley itself by manhauling a specially fabricated wheeled desert trailer, which will carry minimal water and provisions that weighs approximately 441 pounds across Death Valley, which consists of sand dunes, jagged mountains, salt-pans, washes and canyons. Read more about Ripley’s Death Valley Man Haul.

man haul desert trailer - photo courtesy of Emmanuel Berthier

Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in North America with the highest reliably reported temperature in the Western Hemisphere at 134 degrees F. The average daily temperature is 114.7 degrees F.

Extreme temperatures, dry conditions and sparse vegetation will push ones mental, physical and physiological limitations, therefore, strategic preparation is essential for a successful trek. Mr. Davenport says, “I travel very light and take minimal gear. There’s no point in taking anything that you are not going to use. If you have to question why you should take something, you shouldn’t take it at all.”

Ripley needs sun protection he can rely on while in Death Valley. His gear list includes the Coolibar sun gaiter, full finger gloves, ultra sport hat and face sun shield to keep him safe from UV. We will be checking in with Ripley throughout his man haul. Stay tuned for more on Ripley Davenport and his wild desert- loving adventures.

 See Coolibar’s UPF 50+ gear for Ultimate Sun Protection.

Ripley Davenport - photo courtesy of Emmanuel Berthier
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Coolibar Athletes

Athlete Kristie Cranford Reviews Coolibar Fitness Shirt

Coolibar Athlete Kristie Cranford is a certified personal trainer, coach, marathoner, health blogger, mother and melanoma survivor. Her active, seven days a week lifestyle has prompted Kristie to try just about every active apparel brand on the market. Because of her battle with skin cancer, Kristie also understands the importance of protecting her skin. She put Coolibar’s UPF 50+ sunwear to the test and now shares her thoughts on its technical performance. Read Kristie’s review of the Coolibar Fitness Shirt.

The Coolibar Fitness Shirt is fashionable, functional, and durable. The shirt is classic, has a flattering fit and is easy to care for.

What activities did you partake in when wearing the shirt?

I have worn it to the gym, running, and casually out to dinner. 

What are your favorite features?

The textured fabric was unexpected giving it visual appeal. I wore it in direct sun, 106 degree heat and could not feel the sun’s searing heat. I felt protected. 

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric?

Soft, easy to care for, holds the shape. Again, love the texture, unexpected. 

Did the fabric meet your expectations?

Exceeded. Very high quality. I have tried almost every “fitness” brand. This fabric is durable, easy to care for, and soft. 

Did the fabric and shirt keep you cool?

YES! I was in 106 degree sun, running in the desert. I was amazed! 

Did the fabric stick to your skin?

No, I was sweating and it wicked away moisture. It was comfortable to wear and not heavy when it was sweat soaked. 

What do you want others to know about this shirt?

In the running world there are “known” fitness brands. I’ve tried almost all of them. This shirt will be my go-to long sleeve fitness shirt.  It is comfortable, functional and attractive. 

Please provide any additional comments you would like to share with us!

I have worn the shirt with jeans, and layered under a suit. Versatile shirt.

Wish it came in a short sleeve option too. (Coming soon)


Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun?

There is no room for debate when it comes to sun protection, tough love here. I am a Melanoma survivor and sun protection should be automatic, like breathing. Sunscreen should be put on every day just like you put on clothes.  I use Raw Elements’ Eco Stick. It fits in my purse, my running shorts and in the built in pocket in all the Coolibar swim bottoms

I recently ran a half marathon where the starting temperature was 95 degrees. We were under the baking sun for the duration of the race. I carried my Eco Stick and reapplied during the race. It goes on underwater, so of course it goes on over sweat. No excuse not to protect yourself from the sun.

Do your best to avoid the sun during the peak part of the day, and if you cannot, look for shade, wear UV protective sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen (don’t forget to reapply) and UV protective clothing. 

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Read other Coolibar Athlete product reviews.

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SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

Coach Karl Dunbar Talks NFL Training Camp

With only a few weeks of summer left, the NFL Training Camps are kicking into gear this Thursday, July 26, 2012. Karl Dunbar, defensive line coach for the New York Jets (former DL coach for the Minnesota Vikings) talks about how he’s preparing for the weeks ahead and what he loves most about training camp.

1. How would you best describe training camp from a coaching perspective?

The best way to describe training camp for a coach that goes off to camp is “sanctuary”. It’s a time to get away and focus just on football!

2. What are you most looking forward to this training season?

The thing I’m looking forward to the most is getting to Cortland, NY and getting to know my new guys! With the limited days of OTA’s and MiniCamps, it’s hard to really see them in physical action. This will be the time!

3. How long do players train each day during training camp?

The players only get four hours on the field, but the meeting time is limitless. That is why I love going to camp. They have nowhere else to go, they are all yours!  🙂

4. Is it mostly outdoors?

I think most practices will be outdoors if weather permits. It’s that time of year you need to be outside and it helps because we play outdoors alone with Miami, New England and Buffalo.

5. How do players protect themselves from the elements (heat and sun)?

The trainers do a great job of keeping the players hydrated, and we feed them well so they keep their weight up. We do let them get their rest too. Being away at camp helps limit the players access to outside sources (family, friends and curfew keeps them off their feet).

6. What is your role in guiding players during training camp?

My role as a “Coach” is to get these guys ready to play at a high level. I have to teach them proper technique and make sure they learn our playbook so they know what to do. It’s fun because I’ve played the position at this level, and I can relate to what most of them are going through.

7. How do you protect yourself from the sun during training camp?

Over the years, I’ve protected myself from the sun with sweatshirts and sunscreen. Now that I have Coolibar gear, I will be using that to protect my skin from the sun along with sunscreen! Lightweight Coolibar clothing is just what the doctor ordered. It protects me from the sun and keeps me cool in the process.

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Coolibar Athletes

Athlete Tania Prymak reviews Coolibar Water Jacket and Bike Gloves

Coolibar Athlete Tania Prymak competes in ski cross by winter, but in the summer, she builds her endurance by biking 20 miles every day. Despite having kidney disease, Tania pushes herself hard in hopes of qualifying for an Olympic spot on the U.S. ski cross team. She also knows that whether she’s biking on the pavement, or rushing down the snowy slopes, she needs to keep UV rays at bay. Now, after wearing Coolibar’s UPF 50+ sunwear during her training, she shares her thoughts on the Coolibar Water Jacket and Bike Gloves.

What are you overall thoughts on the shirt?

Very practical and comfortable activity shirt! Its fabric makes the shirt extremely light and is soft on the skin. The gloves fit very well and the padding on the palms prevent my hands from hurting when I bike.

What activities did you partake in when wearing the shirt?

I use the jacket and bike gloves when I bike 20 miles every day.

What are your favorite features?

The light feeling of the jacket is my favorite feature and the padding on the bike gloves.

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric?

The fabric on the jacket is great; it’s light and breathable. The bike gloves are much thicker and do not allow the skin on the hands to breathe as much.

Did the fabric meet your expectations?

The fabric exceeded my expectations. I would like if the bike gloves were made of the same fabric as the jacket, lighter fabric.

Did the fabric and shirt keep you cool?

Yes, it did a great job allowing me to stay cool even though I was sweating.

Did the fabric stick to your skin?

The fabric did not stick to my skin at all.

What do you want others to know about this shirt?

It is an amazing and practical shirt for active women who want to protect their skin from sunburn and look great at the same time!

Any additional comments you would like to share with us?

The shirt is really great, it fits well and I love wearing it. I constantly use the bike gloves so I have a few comments on them. The fabric is okay, but it would be nice if it were made of the same fabric as the jacket. Also instead of bike gloves that cover the entire hand, maybe have bike gloves that cut off at the knuckles and leave the finger tips exposed. It would also be nice if the bike gloves cut off at the wrist instead of coming down the forearm.

On the same subject, has Coolibar ever considered creating bike jerseys? I think it would be a great idea and I can think of many friends of mine who would love to use it!  It would also allow sponsored athletes like me to get Coolibar’s name out there! What if you did some promotional bike jerseys with the Coolibar logo/advertisement? I know I would wear it numerous times a week.

For hotter days, short sleeve or no sleeves would be great, and for cooler bike days long sleeves with light fabric.

Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun?

If you’re blonde and fair skinned like me, you cannot risk being severely sunburned while playing your favorite sport. Coolibar products allow you to stay cool and be safe at the same time no matter what you’re doing!


Tania Prymak Biking in Coolibar Water Jacket


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Sun Protection Clothing SunAWARE

Choosing the Perfect Sun Hat

 With so many sun hats to choose from, how do you narrow it down to the perfect one? The three most important factors to consider are: brim size and shape, material, and the activity for use.

Brim size is a fundamental factor in the level of UV protection provided by a sun hat. Most physicians recommend a minimum brim of 3 inches or greater. Coolibar sun protection hats range from 3 inches to 8 inches in brim size. Brim size is most important for blocking direct UV rays.  

The shape of the sun hat and brim also impacts the hat’s UV blocking ability. In some environments, there may be significant dispersed or reflected UV. This dispersed UV can bounce up underneath the brim of the sun hat and will often strike areas lower on your face such as your chin and cheeks. In general, brims that curve down and sit closer to your face will provide better protection against this reflected UV. For complete sun protection, it is best to also use sunscreen on your lower face area while wearing a sun hat.

Another approach to protecting against reflected UV is to wear a flap hat. Sun hats with flaps can almost completely protect your skin from reflected UV where the fabric lies on your skin – such as your ears and neck. Some sunblock hats with flaps have an extended neck flap that can wrap all the way around to the front of your face and provide excellent protection for your chin and cheeks.

The second key factor for UV protection is the material used to make the sun protection hat. Look for a hat constructed from material rated UPF 50+, meaning it will block 98% of the direct UVA and UVB falling on it. Cotton canvas typically provides good to excellent sun protection. Straw hats with a tightweave or fabric lining under the brim will keep your face shaded too.

One other factor that has a modest affect on sun protection is the color of the underbrim. A sun hat with a dark underbrim will absorb more reflected UV that could bounce down on to your face and thus provide more protection for your skin as well as help minimize UV and glare on your eyes.  

Finally, consider what you’ll be doing outdoors while wearing the hat. If you’ll be in a windy environment, opt for a hat with a locking chin strap. For water or other physical activities, look for a wicking or chlorine resistant hat material. And of course, for an outdoor wedding, picnic or other fashionable occasion go for the oversize brim that will provide excellent coverage and a stunning look.

If you consider these factors in selecting a sun protection hat, you can be confident your choice will provide excellent sun protection.  

Shapeable Pooliside Hat
Sun Hats for Women
Shapeable Wide Brim Hat
Sun Hats for Men
Girl's Chlorine Resistant Bucket Hat
Sun Hats for Kids


Coolibar Athletes

Athlete John Barker Reviews Coolibar Fitness Shirt

Triathlete and Coolibar Athlete John Barker spent the last year training for the Life Time Triathlon in Minneapolis held on July 14th, which is the first race he’s successfully completed since donating his kidney to a stranger in 2010. While training, John knew he not only had to watch his diet and stick with a strict training schedule, but also had to use sun protection as part of his healthier living routine. He put Coolibar’s UPF 50+ sunwear to the test and now shares his thoughts. Read John’s review of the Coolibar Fitness Shirt.

What are your overall thoughts on the shirt? 

I am very impressed with the performance of the athletic shirt. I have been wearing these shirts for two months for indoor and outdoor training sessions and can say these are the best shirts I’ve worn. Not only do they protect me from the sun, but they actually keep me cooler, which is very important to having a good training session.

What activities did you partake in when wearing the shirt? 

I use the athletic shirts for running and biking.

What are your favorite features? 

I like the fit and the feel of the fabric. Other shirts I own have difficulty keeping me dry. The athletic shirts wick the moisture away from my body, allowing me to stay cooler and not feel like I’m swimming in my own perspiration. 

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric? 

I like the feel of the fabric, and after two months of wearing and washing these shirts they have maintained their shape. They have been very durable shirts.

Did the fabric meet your expectations? 

Yes, it actually exceeded my expectations. I’ve worn Coolibar shirts in the past so I knew they would keep me cooler. I was pleasantly surprised to discover they actually keep me drier as well.   

Did the fabric and shirt keep you cool? 

Yes. Compared to other shirts that I’ve worn in the past, the athletic shirt is more comfortable.

Did the fabric stick to your skin? 

No. Even during high intensity training sessions where I am perspiring excessively, the shirt never feels like it is sticking to me. One of the issues my other shirts have is that they cause chafing when they start to get wet. The athletic shirts have not had this problem, which is why I continue to wear these shirts daily.

What do you want others to know about this shirt? 

If folks are looking for a comfortable work-out shirt, outdoors or indoors, this is a great fitting shirt. The fabric keeps you cooler and dryer and won’t chafe your skin.

Do you have any additional comments? 

Since I wear the athletic shirt biking, it would be nice to have a couple of pockets on the backside of the shirt (like a cycling shirt) for storing energy bars and such for long endurance rides. I know Coolibar had “biking” clothes in the past, however these shirts are actually a better cycling shirt if they had some pockets!  Cyclists like to be aero dynamic, so loose fitting clothes aren’t going to attract attention. These shirts are a great option for cyclists.


John and his family wearing Coolibar Fitness Shirts for a 5K

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Read other Coolibar Athlete product reviews.

Also, watch John’s interview from the day of the Life Time Triathlon in Minneapolis.

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Coolibar Athletes

Athlete Jeremy Van Ek Reviews Coolibar Sport Shirt

Jeremy Van Ek, adventure racer and Coolibar Athlete, recently completed the Chicago Area Adventure Racing Association 2012 All-Nighter, an all-night workout on bike and foot.  So what would you wear for 11 hours of mid-June bushwhacking in the dark (or daylight)? His answer: the Coolibar Sport Shirt. Read Jeremy’s review of the Coolibar Sport Shirt.

What are you overall thoughts on the shirt?

Great shirt! It looks good and is lightweight yet tough.  

What activities did you partake in when wearing the shirt?

I competed in the Chicago Area Adventure Racing Association 2012 All-Nighter, and since it is adventure racing, there is no marked course. Participants navigate to checkpoints using map and compass, and it’s mostly off-trail, often through heavy brush, swamps, streams, etc. I also did the course scouting and setting wearing the shirt. 

What are your favorite features?

The mesh panels for breathability is my favorite feature.

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric?

Excellent – lightweight, breathable, wicks sweat well and holds up to all manner of abuse: thorns, branches, mud, sweat, heavy pack straps, etc. 

Did the fabric meet your expectations?


Did the fabric and shirt keep you cool?

Yes – no small feat considering the temps, humidity and my propensity to overheat. 😉

Did the fabric stick to your skin?

Not really.

What do you want others to know about this shirt?

Don’t underestimate the toughness of this shirt based on its looks. I thought it looked like “too nice” of a shirt to take out into the woods and swamps, but it held up in spades. 

Anything else you want to share about the shirt?

Considering the potential for thorns, stinging nettles, poison ivy, and other manner of brutal foliage on the course, I wanted to go with full coverage. But, it wasn’t supposed to go below mid-70s. The Coolibar Sport Shirt was the perfect choice. It is very lightweight and breathable, so I did not feel like I was suffocating all night in long sleeves. Even better, while it is lightweight it is still a rugged shirt. It stood up to the worst I could throw at it all night (branches, thorns, sweat, dust, mud, spilled sports drinks, heavy pack shoulder straps, you name it), and it still looks good enough to wear to a summer cocktail party (after a thorough washing, of course). 

I highly recommend the Sport Shirt as a versatile piece of clothing. It looks good and is tough enough to hold its own against weekend warriors. 

Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun?

Full coverage is my strategy. It seems counterintuitive when it is hot out, but full coverage protects you better and thereby is better in the long run.

Get the Coolibar Sport Shirt.

Read other Coolibar Athlete product reviews.

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