Sun Protection Packing List for Horseback Riding Trips

If you’re looking for a unique travel experience that goes beyond the usual sightseeing and food trips, you can find your answer in horseback riding. After all, a previous post highlights various travel destinations you can explore on horseback, from galloping through the magical deserts of Luxor in Egypt to adventuring along the Wide Coast of South Africa.

But regardless if you end up on the beach or the desert, one thing you should absolutely prepare for is sun protection. Although high temperatures can affect a geographical location’s ultraviolet (UV) index, the threat of UV damage among equestrians riding in broad daylight remains present no matter the weather or time of the year. 

Prolonged sun exposure, often with limited shade available, can contribute to skin damage, ranging from minor burns to premature aging and the increased risk of skin cancers, namely basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Besides the skin, the eyes can also be vulnerable to eye strain and a condition called photokeratitis if left unprotected from the sun. Not only can these skin and eye problems dampen your horseback riding trip, but they can also impact your overall health — making the following items essential in your packing list.

White horse and rider in the desert at sunrise surrounded by mountains
Hooves Around Egypt


Even when the typical horse riding apparel already covers a significant portion of your skin, the first step to sun protection is always sunscreen application. When buying sunscreen, it’s not enough to simply pick whichever you see on the shelf. It helps to choose a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. 

Additionally, prioritize a sunscreen that suits your skin and has been tried and tested by horseback riders. For instance, Eucerin’s Dry Touch Oil Control Gel-Creme has a non-oily formulation that doesn’t sweat away even on particularly long rides spent in harsh environmental conditions. With its lightweight, matte finish, you can apply and reapply throughout the day without worrying about skin irritation or breakouts.

Horses and riders watching the sunset in the desert from on top of a sanddune
Hooves Around Egypt


Sunscreen is always paired with sunglasses, as you can’t apply the product on the eyes and the surrounding sensitive skin. Following the same principle as sunscreen, you should also choose a pair of sunglasses labeled with 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays to minimize sun damage.

If you’re a horse rider with existing vision impairments like nearsightedness, consider investing in prescription sunglasses for equal sun protection and vision correction. While you can wear sunglasses on top of contact lenses, the sand, dust, and wind you encounter along the trail can irritate the soft surface of contacts and thus raise the risk of infection. Top eyewear brand Ray-Ban offers classic frame styles like the Aviator and Original Wayfarer with UV protection and prescription options, allowing you to easily match your sunglasses to your horseback riding outfit.

Group of horses and riders on a path in the Sahara desert with mountains in the background
Hooves Around Egypt


Wearing protective headgear, such as a hat or a helmet, can also heighten sun safety by shielding your scalp, ears, face, and neck from the heat and harsh light. A timeless hat choice among equestrians is the apparel brand Charles Owen, which was even announced as the official partner and helmet supplier of the US Equestrian teams.

Among Charles Owen’s popular selections is its velvet hat, The Fian, available in different velvety colours like brown, bottle green, and elephant grey. The velvet material makes it comfortable to wear even with maximum coverage, while the slim, adjustable harness ensures it’s properly fitted to protect your head. If specialized headwear is beyond your budget, go for a wide-brimmed bucket hat or cap for optimal protection.

Group of horses and riders on a path in the Sahara desert
Hooves Around Egypt

UPF clothing

Instead of packing your usual travel outfits, consider bringing clothing that provides full coverage and comes with a built-in ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). UPF is influenced by factors like garment colour, material, and construction, and a higher UPF means greater protection from the sun’s harmful rays. The brand Horze has a wide range of short- and long-sleeved sun shirts made of Nanotex fabric for UPF30+ protection, improved airflow, and overall comfort while riding a horse.

As you get to explore new sights and bask in the sunshine outdoors, horseback riding can truly be a fun, memorable experience. However, besides following the proper riding techniques, you can also improve and maintain personal health and safety by packing travel essentials for sun protection.

White horse head looking at statues in Luxor Egypt
Hooves Around Egypt
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