There is no worse way to end a successful day fishing than to head home and discover your face has been burnt to a crisp. Not only is it painful, it’s not safe or healthy. Unfortunately, sunscreen doesn’t always do the trick, which means you need to invest in a worthwhile fishing mask that will provide you with ample sun protection.
So what are the best fishing masks for sun protection? Several factors affect the quality of a fishing mask, including the level of sun protection, price, material, style, and durability. We’ve done the research and determined that we have found the top 7 fishing masks.
There is a lot of necessary gear to invest in as an avid fisher, and a good sun-protecting face mask is a must-have. Not only do fishing face masks protect you from the sun, they can help prevent wind-lash, and the annoyance of pesky bugs. If you are looking to have an even more enjoyable fishing experience, any of these fishing masks will be a worthwhile investment.
Do I Really Need a Face Mask?
I understand how ridiculous it may seem to wear something similar to a ski mask while out on a boat in the blazing sun. Perhaps it feels suffocating and rather counter intuitive, and while looking like you’re ready to rob a bank may not be what you had in mind, a 2nd degree sunburn on your face and neck is probably not what you have in mind either. But, between the two options, I’d go for looking like a bank robber over the 2nd degree burn.
Skin cancer is a very serious concern when spending so much time out in the hot sun, especially when you’re on a body of water, where the sun reflects off its glassy surface, making the effect of the sun and its harmful rays even more intense. While you can wear strong zinc-based sunscreens, it’s important to be mindful of marine life.
Scientists have discovered how tremendously harmful sunscreens are to coral reef, and certain tourist destinations (like Hawaii) have even started banning it from its beaches to attempt to protect marine life. When coral reef gets bleached and dies, it affects the presence and population of marine life – which affects what you can and cannot fish.
Plus, applying sunscreen every hour can be very cumbersome. And nothing is more irritating than sweating and having layers upon layers of sunscreen start to drip into your eyes. I spent a whole day with swollen, puffy eyes due to this very reason.
The Key Elements You Want in a Fishing Mask
Before we get into our fishing mask recommendations, it’s helpful to know why these masks were chosen as the top of the line, and what you as a consumer and fisherman (or woman) should be looking for in a mask.
- V Protection – the most important aspect of a fishing mask is going to be whether or not it can protect you from the sun’s harmful U.V rays.
- Barrier from Wind Lash – It’s important to find a facemask that has a durable fabric that can protect your face from harsh sea winds.
- Breathability – When you are fishing in hot weather, you don’t want to have your face covered in wool. So you’ll be looking at specific fabrics that are lightweight and breathable so that you don’t feel uncomfortable in the sun.
- Overall Look & Design – As I mentioned earlier, looking like a robber may not be on the top of your list of to-do’s, so when looking for your perfect fishing mask, you may take into account the different styles available to you. They even have masks in camouflage! (Which could potentially help your fishing game?) You will also want to bear in mind that the darker colors will absorb the heat more (so maybe black isn’t the best.)
- Level of Coverage – Ideally, you’ll want to find a mask that covers your face, all the way down to your neck. The skin on your neck is as sensitive and likely to burn as your face is.
The Best of the Best
1. DUWOEXT Balaclava Fishing Face Mask
If you are looking for the fullest coverage, while still being able to breathe easy, and not feel overheated, this full-coverage balaclava face mask from DUWOEXT I the one for you!
- Breathability – This balaclava is ultra-thin and made to breathe. It is strong and also does not hold wrinkles. You’ll be able to protect your face without feeling overheated in this fishing face mask.
- Odorless – Courtesy of the thin, Blcool polyester material, this mask is moisture-wicking, which helps to prevent odors, and keep your face from feeling soggy. It is abrasion-resistant
- Full Coverage – Since this mask covers from the neck up to the forehead, you are getting full coverage of protection. You can guarantee protection from the sun, as well as other environmental issues (wind, dust, sea salt, etc.)
- Price – For a full-coverage mask that will protect you from the sun’s UV rays, this mask is surprisingly cheap
- Fogs Up Glasses – Though this material is breathable, some customers have reported experiencing their glasses fogging up continually when breathing (due to the structure of the mask).
- One Size Fits All – For some, this may not belong in the ‘cons’ category. However, for those of us with exceptionally small or large faces, this could be a thumbs down for this style of mask.
2. Meilaier UV Fishing Mask Moisture Wicking Headband
If hygiene is of the utmost importance to you if you require a mask that is moisture-wicking and odorless, and does all of that, while protecting your face from harmful UV rays, look no further than the Meilaier UV fishing headband.
- Moisture Wicking – Made of microfiber polyester, this is a lightweight material that excels at both getting rid of moisture, allowing you to breathe easily.
- Protection – This Meilaier mask has UPF50+ technology. This is arguably the most exciting feature in that it reduces up to 95% of the sun’s UV rays, and your exposure to them. This headband, which can be expanded to cover as much as your face as you desire, will always protect you from harsh winds, dust, and annoying little bugs.
- Non-Chafing – Thanks to its seamless edges, you can look forward to a chafe-free fishing day in this elastic, lightweight headband.
- Style – Currently, this headband is only offered in one style, which is a print of a big mouth bass. This may be your thing, or it may not But if that’s the one negative, the pros definitely outweigh it.
3. Fishmask Single Layer Neck Gaiter
This specific gaiter is an excellent mask option to wear while fishing and “fishmask” is even IN the name. So, you can’t go wrong with that, right? This lightweight mesh gaiter makes for great face protection and is unisex (you can get a matching set for you and your spouse!) It’s not only cool looking, but it is also entirely functional – made with a UPF 50+ fabric to shield your face from the sun’s harsh UltraViolet rays.
UPF 50+ Fabric – This Fishmask is made of 92% polyester microfiber and 8% spandex. The polyester microfibers naturally UV-resistant and will protect your face and neck from 99.9% of the sun’s UV rays.
Light Weight – This mask is made of lightweight fabrics, and they have cleverly installed tiny holes in the fabric to allow for more breathe-ability (this will likely help reduce the amount of fog you might otherwise experience fogging up your glasses.) This way you can enjoy fishing without getting burned AND see through your sunglasses while doing so. Win, win!
Ideal Fit – Thanks to the spandex in this mask’s fibers, the mask fits more snug along the edges of your face, so you don’t get that annoying slack you can experience in some masks (where you’re having to continually readjust and pull it up.) This mask will stretch and mold to your face.
Odor Repellent – due to the lightweight fabric, and the moisture-wicking technology of the polyester microfibers (and the cleverly installed airholes) this mask promises to eliminate odor.
Multiple Styles – One of the things that excite me about this mask is that it not only looks great, and actually will protect your face – it comes in 38 different colors and patterns. So while you and your spouse may want to be ‘twinsies,’ you can actually get this some mask in differing styles (to express your own unique individuality while fishing).
Made in the USA – For those who prefer to endorse American made products, this expertly crafted fishmask was made in the gorgeous mountains of Colorado.
- Not Totally Full Coverage – One of the few knocks I can give this otherwise stellar face mask is that it won’t give you that complete coverage that a full-face mask (like a balaclava) can give you. That being said, you can adjust this gaiter up and down to cover as much of your face and neck as possible.
- Not Inexpensive – I would say this mask is expensive, but it isn’t exactly expensive. $20 or so dollars for an excellent, high-quality mask isn’t necessarily crazy. However, when you compare spending $20 on one single mask, versus the other masks that come in a pack of 12 for 1 for only $15, then in that price comparison, this mask would be deemed more expensive. Thus, I qualify this mask as ‘not inexpensive.
4. WTACTFUL Thermal Fleece Balaclava W/ UV Protection
This unisex mask is best worn in the winter months, as it is made of fleece. In addition, it
is also super cost-friendly and can be switched around to be warned in multiple ways.
- Great for Cold Weather – This mask is made of imported fleece and is the perfect thermal mask for cold-weather fishing.
- Price – This full-coverage mask is inexpensive, which is hard to beat!
- Full Coverage – The balaclava covers everything here except your eyes (which you can cover with glasses or goggles, so you are 100% protected from your neck up from the elements and the sun’s UV rays.
- Versatile Design – while at first glance, this may look like just a normal balaclava, it can be worn as all of the following: full-coverage balaclava, an open face mask, a neck protector, or hate.
- Loose Elastic – Despite this mask’s full coverage, it lacks in shape, as quite a few who purchased this mask reported that the mask didn’t have a strong shape, and it felt loose around their face instead of form-fitting.
- Fogs Up Glasses – Multiple customers reported experiencing their glasses fogging up due to the structure of the mask.
- Not Great for Warm Weather – This is not as multi-purpose as other masks, as this mask is best suited for cold weather, as it is made from fleece and is way less breathable than a polyester mask. This one is, however, great in the colder months.
- Black – If you are wearing this in the winter months (which is probably the only reason you would wear a thermal balaclava), it may be okay that it is dark and thus soaks up the sun. However, you don’t typically want to wear a dark color face mask as it attracts the sun more than a lighter colored one.
5. KINGREE 9PCS Outdoor Headwear
These headbands from KINGREE come in a set of 9 (though really ten, because they throw in a bonus headband for some reason.) They come in a wide variety of colors and styles, and are made of polyester microfibers, and are therefore naturally UV-resistant. Considering how many headbands you get for the price of one, this is a very, very good deal.
Price – firstly, the price is truly unbeatable for the number of headbands you get
Breathability – made from 100% premium polyester microfibers, these are stretchy and super light-weight
UV Protection – thanks to that premium polyester, these headbands provide natural UV protection.
Variety – these headbands come in so many different colors and styles, and when you buy a pack, you can guarantee at least one of the ten you will receive will be your ideal look.
Lacking Full Coverage – while there is versatility in how you can wear these flexible headbands, it’s not going to be the full coverage of the kind of fishing face mask you could get with a balaclava.
6. Nextour Fishing Mask
These Nextour fishing mask sweatbands come in a pack of 12 for the price of 1 (not too shabby!) They naturally come in plenty of colors and styles and are excellent sports bands. They help to wick moisture and protect your vulnerable face from the elements and the sun while you’re out fishing.
Moisture Wicking – This is another polyester microfiber face mask option, so you can look forward to some reliable moisture wicking as well as breathability
UV Protection – Due to the polyester microfiber technology and the sweatband’s ability to expand to be larger, you can rely on some UV protection while fishing in warmer weather.
Variety of Styles – The product description strangely reads that these sweatbands meet “North American Tastes.” While I don’t know what that means exactly, I do know that these Nextour masks come in so many colors/styles that I’m sure they do appeal to North Americans–and many others who are not from North America.
Satisfaction Guarantee – Nextour promises that you can get 100% of your money back if you are not completely satisfied. I always like when a company is bold enough to offer a money-back guarantee.
Lacking Full Coverage – Again, unlike a balaclava, this sweatband will not cover the entirety of your neck and face. You can, however, move it to the vulnerable places you are most concerned about (neck/head/chin).
7. Aqua Design Fishing Mask
Aqua Design makes an excellent UV protection mask, specifically great for fishing. It has a four-way stretchy fabric that you can reshape into 12 different formations for your face. You can also rely on UPF 50+ coverage from the sun.
Protection – the overall protection of this aqua design mask is stellar for fishing needs. It provides an excellent wind barrier, and the polyester material helps to protect you from the UV rays.
Quick Drying – It’s 85% polyester and 15% spandex, so this is a quick-drying, moisture-wicking fishing mask that will dry quickly in between uses.
Size Specific – This could land itself in either the pros or the cons category. However, I find this to be a pro—size-based items (that are not one-size-fits-all) tend to fit the individual better, and thus provide better coverage and overall comfortability. This aqua design comes in five different sizes, ranging from xs-xl.
Invisibility – Aqua design likes to flaunt its proprietary “sky-ward” design (that looks like moving water). The goal is to camouflage yourself to look like water, to stay invisible from the fish you are attempting to catch. Does it actually work? The jury is out! But the design, regardless, is cool looking.
Price – While a $15 mask is not particularly expensive, when you compare it to the other masks that come 12 for the price of 1, then it is a less advantageous price in comparison.
Key Take Away?
The most important thing is that you educate yourself on sun-protection. Hopefully, you are now aware of just how important it is to cover and protect your face from the sun’s harmful rays while fishing.
If you fish mainly in warmer climates, you’ll probably desire one of the polyester microfibers or masks made of Lycra, so you feel cool, can breathe, and are protected by the material’s natural ability to fend of UV rays. However, if you are fishing mainly in cold-weather regions, a fleece or general thermal mask will likely be the best fit for you. Either way, we’ve helped you get started on your search for a fishing mask. Pick what will work for you and then head out to avoid the rays while catching the fish.