Best Outdoor Hiking Hats

When we think of long hikes, we think of backpacks, adequate water supply, food, boots and comfortable clothing. We tend to miss out on something that is integral to clothing and hikes in general: a hiking hat.

A hat is one of the most important things you will need on your hike, make no mistake about it. If you plan to hike on a sunny day, you will need a hat to protect you from the sun’s UV rays. If it is windy and/or rainy, then the hat will protect you from the wind and rain. In short, you cannot go without a hat on a hike. Therefore, next time you jot down the things you will need on a hike, make sure that the hat makes the list, preferably near the top.

Choosing the right one for you doesn’t have to be difficult. With the number of choices that are available, it can be a little confusing. Below, we will give you a list of the 10 best hats that you may want to consider on your next outdoor adventure.

Our Top 3 Picks

Bodvera Fishing Bucket
  • Bodvera Fishing Bucket
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great ventilation
  • Great price
  • Price: See Here
Columbia Sportswear Bora
  • Columbia Sportswear Bora
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Great sun-protection
  • Price: See Here
Military Camouflage Boonie
  • Military Camouflage Boonie
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great ventilation
  • Fashionable design
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Outdoor Hiking Hats

 

Bodvera Boonie Hat

The Bodvera Fishing Bucket Sun Boonie Hat Summer UV Protection Cap Outdoor Camouflage Hat with Side Snap Chin Cord is ideal for long hikes, trips, outdoor sports or even a day at the beach. It is made of extremely soft cotton material for ultimate comfort. Both sides have a couple of eyelids in order to enable ventilation. This is important to keep your head dry. Look no further if you want to protect your face and neck from the sun without burning a hole in your pocket.
Expand to see more
Material

The material used is 100% Polyester Fiber Cotton. This is reasonable for a hat and you will feel comfortable wearing it.

Price

At this price, it is a steal. You’ll be hard pressed to find much better hats at more reasonable prices.

Weight and comfort

It is very comfortable and lightweight (4.3 ounces). These are two of the most important things to consider when buying a hat.

Ventilation

2*2 eyelids to help keep your head dry. This will prevent sweat falling onto your face, which we all know can be very irritating.

Adjustable chin strap

This is advantageous on windy days as it can be tied tight to hold it in place. It will not hurt your chin the least bit, so you can rest easy.

UPF 50+ Sun Protection

This is arguably the most important feature of any outdoor hiking hat and one of the first things you should look for as a buyer. This fares excellently in this regard.
Pros
  • Very reasonably priced

  • Convenient to use

  • Space saving

  • Enables ventilation

  • Excellent sun protection

Cons
  • Not the easiest hat to clean, hand wash recommended

  • Not waterproof

Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Hat

All too often you see what seems to be the perfect hat but it does not fit (despite claims of “one size fits all”). This Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hat comes with an elastic draw string which enables you to get the hat to fit just as you want it. Add in its lightweight, small size and sun protection and it becomes an invaluable travel companion whether you are out on a day hike or just gardening in your yard.
Expand to see more
Price
This hat seems to be on the higher side but all features considered, it is worth buying. If you feel that it is too much for a hat, then there are plenty of cheaper alternatives available. However, this hat is long lasting and will serve you well.

Weight
At 4 ounces it is lightweight and does not make you feel like you have an overweight crown on your head.

Elastic string
You will never have to worry about the hat not fitting. Let the elastic draw string to do its job and voila!

Small size
Even when you are outdoors (whether on a hike or otherwise) you will not always need or even want to wear a hat. The small size means it can be conveniently tucked away without worrying about it taking up precious space in your backpack.

Quick-dry
You can safely wear it to the beach and not be concerned about it getting wet. It has quick-dry properties which means it dries up extremely quickly.

UP50 Sun Protection
The Bora Bora Booney blocks out 98% of the harmful sun rays.

Adjustable chin strap
This provides further stability in addition to the toggle that ensures the hat fits your head perfectly.

Material
It is made up of Nylon. Nylon is one of the newer materials used in hats and not as common as polyester or cotton. Nylon is usually easy to wash and resists shrinkage and winkles.
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Easy to stash in a bag/space saving

  • Dries quickly

  • Great sun protection – has Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of recommendation

  • Customizable toggle and adjustable chin strap

Cons
  • Slightly pricey

Military Camouflage Boonie

There is something intrinsically appealing about a military hat. If you fall in that category and a military themed hat appeals to your aesthetic sense of beauty, then you can choose this hat with your eyes closed. However, this hat offers a number of features even for those who do not fall into such category. Its 3-inch brim provides excellent protection against the sun, aided in no small part by the neck flap. It is a blend of cotton and polyester and has 4 grommet eyelets with mesh screen. It is lightweight and can be used for any outdoor activity of your choosing.
Expand to see more
Price
Understandably, this hat comes at a large price range. However, what you have to understand is that it depends on the color you choose and the size available. On average you will be paying about $5 to $7 which is very reasonable given the hat and its features.

Material
60% Cotton and 40% Polyester. This hat is easy on your head and offers great comfort.

Many sizes
It comes in 4 different sizes namely, small, medium, large and x-large. You can always swap if the hat of your choosing does not fit you. What is important is that there are enough sizes available to ensure that you will end up with a hat that fits your head well.

Large brim
Its 3-inch brim is a wonderful protection against the sun.

Ventilation
The hat’s 4 grommet eyelets with mesh screen give adequate room for ventilation. Adequate ventilation prevents and minimizes sweating which is very important in retaining body water when you are on a hike or any such similar activity.

Aesthetic appeal
They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but you will likely be hard-pressed to find a lot of people who dislike the intrinsic aesthetic appeal that this hat has.

Colors
It is available in 6 colors, therefore you are not forced to choose a color you do not want.
Pros
  • Low price, great value for money

  • Fashionable and aesthetically pleasing

  • Available in many colors

  • Available in many sizes

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • Although the large brim offers decent sun protection, it lags behind in this category as compared to some of the others on this list.

Camo Coll Boonie Hat

The Camo Coll Outdoor UPF 50+ Boonie Hat is one of your best friends during a day trip on a very sunny day. It blocks out the sun effectively and ensures that your sunscreen does not have to do all the work. Its adjustable drawstring means that you can use it on ferries and cruises without worrying about the wind blowing your hat away as you take that picturesque selfie. It is excellent for virtually all outdoor activities and a must have in particular if you are planning a series of hikes.
Expand to see more
Price
At this price, you will not find many cheaper hats that offer these many features. For the excellent sun protection alone, I would say it is worth it.

Material
100% Polyester. Most hats have polyester in them, particularly in the brim, linings and mesh. It is standard for a hat.

Excellent sun Protection
UPF 50 plus UV protection is good for a hat in this price range. It will block most of the harmful UV rays.

Adjustable drawstring
Your faithful companion on a windy day. No-one wants to lose their favorite hat to strong wind.

Unisex hat
It can be worn by all sexes
Pros
  • Very reasonably priced

  • Excellent sun protection

  • Adjustable string

Cons
  • Not waterproof

Panegy Outdoor Folding Sun Hat

This wide brimmed hat can protect you from the harshest of sun rays. It dries quickly and its mesh enables you to feel cool at all times. One of its unique selling points with respect to many other hats is that it is completely crushable and packable. You may use it not just for hiking but also fishing, camping, hunting, tourism, gardening and myriad outdoor activities.
Expand to see more
Price
At first glance, the price range appears slightly above what you would want to pay for a good hiking hat but given its myriad features, the difference is not all that much.

Material
100% Polyester. Most hats tend to have some polyester in them especially in brims, mesh and linings. While there are people that prefer cotton only hats, it is not very common to find hats without any polyester.

Weight
Less than 0.2 pounds which makes it a very light hat. Heavy hats are less ideal as they can bog your head down and make you feel uncomfortable.

Color
Available in a number of colors. Not everyone wants a standard black, gray or brown hats. Go ahead and choose from the myriad colors that are available.

Convenient
Easily crushable and packable. How many times have you had to wear a hat because you could not risk crushing and creasing it or worse, breaking it? You no longer have to worry about that because this hat can be easily crushed with no issues.

Brilliant sun protection
Blocks 97% of U.V rays. This is par for the course for a good hat. You could even argue that for its price, it does not do as much as some of the cheaper hats. However, of and by itself it is still an effective weapon against the harmful UV rays.

Adjustable drawstring
To keep your hat in place at all times. You do not have to put one hand on your hat or hold it in your hand for fear of it blowing away in the wind.

After-sale service
Availability of after-sale service ensures prompt redressal of grievances. Personally speaking, this is an important consideration. Many a time it happens that you are not completely satisfied with a product and would like a few changes. Having a “satisfaction guaranteed, after-sale service” mitigates this concern to a large extent.
Pros
  • Excellent sun protection

  • Foldable and crushable

  • After-sale service

  • Quick dry properties

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Price could be slightly on the higher side but reasonable nonetheless

360° UV protection Sun Cap

For those of you who do not like a full fledged hat as the other ones we have seen thus far and have a preference for caps as opposed to hats, this is for you. It offers 360 degrees UV protection and effectively protects your face, neck, head, eyes and shoulders. It also serves as an effective tool against wind, dust, light, sand and insects. The flap and mask are removable in case you do not feel the need for them. It can be used by all sexes and the super light fabric of the cap will keep your head dry at all times. It can be used in virtually all outdoor activities in addition to hiking.
Expand to see more
Material
Breathable cotton super light fabric makes it simple to breathe even when the face is fully covered; hence, you do not have to worry about suffocating. It is also efficient in preventing the sweat falling onto your face.

Price
At this price, you cannot possibly ask for much more. It has most of the essential features every good hiking hat has and is priced reasonable enough so as to not burn a hole in your pocket.

Sun protection
360 degree design protection and anti-UV hat. It offers a more complete face and neck protection because of its design than many other hats/caps in this price range.

Special facial design
This covers the nose and front part. Generally, hats do not have this feature.

Adjustable hat neck protection
This gives you the option to remove the neck protection should you feel the need.

Elastic buckle
This is to accommodate different head circumferences. No two heads are exactly the same. An elastic buckle becomes an important consideration while choosing a cap or a hat.
Pros
  • Competitive price

  • 360 degree sun protection

  • Additional (removable) protection to cover nose, front part and neck

  • Can accommodate different head sizes

  • Super light soft cotton fabric

  • Ample ventilation

Cons
  • Ninja-esque face covering might not appeal to some(although it is removable)

Sun Blocker Unisex Neck Flap Hat

This one size fits all hat looks trendy and stylish but there is more to it than just style. It has a sweatband which keeps moisture away, can float on water, has a chain strap cord lock and is extremely light-weight. Made up entirely of Nylon, it offers UPF 50+ UV ray protection with a brim that is soft and flexible making it easy to store.
Expand to see more
Price
This is higher than some of the other hats we have seen here so far. It looks trendy and stylish so chances are you will not mind shelling out a couple of extra dollars for it.

Material
Made up entirely of Nylon. As we have discussed, Nylon resists wrinkles and shrinkage. They are a good option to buy and are growing in popularity.

Easy storage
The brim of the hat is soft and flexible. This makes it easy to store and stash the hat away. As aforementioned, being unable to store the hat away for fear of damaging is one of the worst feelings as a hat owner. Luckily, this hat has that base covered.

Stylish
This hat looks trendier and more stylish than many of the other hats. Not everyone cares about style or prioritizes it while buying hats for hiking; however, there are undoubtedly those that do. Therefore, for the image conscious this hat offers enviable style.

Light weight fabric
This enables extensive use and comfort.

UPF 50 +
This is excellent protection against potentially skin cancer causing harmful UV rays.
Pros
  • Stylish and fashionable

  • Good sun protection

  • Comfortable and convenient to use

  • Lightweight

  • Easy storage

Cons
  • Price could be on the higher side

Lenikis Unisex Outdoor Activities

This hat is made up of polyester and offers comprehensive protection from the dangerous ultraviolet rays. It is breathable, light and long lasting. Its soft material also guarantees comfort.
Expand to see more
Price
While there are cheaper alternatives available in this price range, it is fairly reasonably priced given its durability.

Soft material
Its fabric is extremely soft, which makes it very comfortable to use.

Breathable and light weight
Do not worry about feeling suffocated, this hat offers plenty of breathability and ventilation thanks to its mesh; and its light weight means it will not fatigue your head.

Durable
It is long lasting and very durable. You could wear it in a desert for a year and still be protected on the last day as well as you were on the first day.

UPF50+ sun protection
As discussed, this level of protection is good to keep harmful UV rays out.

Neck flap
This hat comes with a neck flap. Do not worry about your neck and face having 2 different colors by the end of your hike! This hat will adequately protect both.
Pros
  • Reasonably priced

  • Durable

  • Good protection against the sun

  • Neck flap

  • Breathable

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Neck flap is not detachable for those who do not want it

Connectyle Outdoor Mesh Sun Hat

This hat made of polyester is lightweight and foldable. Furthermore, it has breathable mesh to keep you comfortable at all times. The adjustable draw cord and toggle behind coupled with the adjustable chin strap make it an attractive proposition.
Expand to see more
Price
It is worth the price. The hat is very well made and its features make the price very reasonable.

Adjustable toggle
As mentioned earlier, an adjustable toggle is desirable because hats that are too tight or too loose become problematic.

Adjustable chin strap
This acts as insurance in very windy conditions. You do not want to lose your hat just because it is too windy.

Ventilation

Breathable mesh makes ventilation possible, prevents sweating and keeps you comfortable.

12 colors
The hat is available in 12 colors – from pink to black to khaki to orange, you will not be short of options.

UPF50+
It offers adequate protection against harmful UV rays and keeps you safe.
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Breathable, good ventilation

  • Adjustable toggle and chin strap

  • Available in 12 different colors

  • Good protection against the sun

  • Looks trendy and fashionable

Cons
  • Depth of the hat is not that much, so you may have to pull it down a little

Home Prefer Unisex Hat

This windproof hat with mesh eyelets comes with an adjustable and detachable draw cord. It is extremely practical and easy to assemble. The neck flap can be hidden if you wish to. The hat offers adequate protection against the sun and has large flaps which protect your face from the sun.
Expand to see more
Price
Fairly priced. Some would say it costs a couple of dollars too much, but when you intend to buy a hiking hat with the long term in mind, then a couple of dollars here and there should not really be a consideration, especially with a hat with features as good as this one.

Material
There is a blend of cotton and polyester. It is light and comfortable for hiking(and other outdoor activities) purposes.

Neck flap

The neck flap offers considerable protection for the neck. If you are averse to neck flaps for some reason then you can always choose to hide them.

UPF50+ protection
The hat’s flaps form the crux of the protection offered. The flaps will not allow the sun to touch the sides of your face and the hat’s considerable brim also helps in keeping the sun at bay.

Windproof

The hat can withstand gusts of wind. Feel free to step out in the wind without fear of having your hat blown away.

Ventilation
The mesh ventlet eyes will keep you cool by keeping sweat at bay.

Different colors
The hat is available in 5 different colors.
Pros
  • Good ventilation

  • Enough options in terms of colors

  • Removable neck flap

  • UPF50+ protection

  • Windproof

Cons
  • Not the most fashionable hat around

Criteria for Evaluation

Finding something that works for you does not seem to be the most daunting thing in the world and really, it need not be. However, with the sheer number of choices available to us, how do you choose the most ideal pick? Do you choose the cheapest one? Do you go for the one that looks the best? Do you look at size? The list of questions goes on and on, and when that happens you will naturally start getting overwhelmed. Do not worry, just take a few deep breaths and go through what follows and you will be just fine.

For starters, it is important to realize that there is no one universal set of criteria that can be applied to all hats. Every person is different and has different needs, therefore it goes without saying what is a great product to you might be nothing more than a mediocre hat in your friend’s eyes and vice-versa of course. With that being said, there are some things that you just cannot compromise on when it comes to buying a hat for hiking. Let us have a look at them as follows:

Sun Protection

This is unarguably the most important factor while choosing a hat. It cannot be overstated. A staggering number of people simply overlook this when it comes to headwear and simply go for the most aesthetically appealing one or the cheapest one. This is WRONG! It is imperative that we all understand that overexposure to the sun can have disastrous consequences, skin cancer being one of them. A desire for tan or a cheaper price cannot even come close to offsetting the risk of skin cancer. This is not to say that you cannot have other factors that influence the choice of your hiking hat, but your priority should be the amount of protection it offers from the dangerous ultraviolet rays.

Whenever you see a hat, make sure you ask for the Ultraviolet Protection Factor(UPF) rating of the hat. It is absolutely essential that your hat has a UPF rating of 40 to 50+ which is considered to be in the excellent range as it blocks 97.5 to 98% of potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation. There is more on UPF in the FAQ section.

On a final note – and I have to mention this because a surprisingly large number of people seem to think this – sunscreens are not a substitute for a hiking hat. Without getting into a discussion about the chemicals in sunscreens or their effectiveness (that is for another day), a hat protects you from the sun in a way no sunscreen can. I cannot stress this enough, please make sure that your hiking hat has the best possible UPF rating.

Ventilation

Another overlooked factor while shopping around is the quality of ventilation it provides. You might be wondering as to what relevance ventilation could possibly have in this context because we will be able to breathe regardless of the hat, right? Well, not quite. An ideal hiking hat should have little holes on the side called eyelets. This is to facilitation air circulation. It helps you keep cool and prevents you from sweating excessively. Not only is constant swearing pouring onto your face irksome, it also causes a loss of fluids. When you are on a hike, one of the last things you want is for your body to get dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to fainting, nausea and in extreme cases even death. We tend to miss the importance of such things, make sure you do not! Seemingly minor things can have far-reaching repercussions.

Material

Hats are usually made of polyester, cotton or a blend of both. In more cases than not, it is a blend of both. Nylon hats are relatively new to the market. What material is best for you again depends on what your needs are; every material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

For example, polyester is washable, dries quickly, does not fade easily and tends to last long. However, it does not absorb moisture as well as other materials.

On the other hand, cotton is easier on the skin – a cotton hat is unlikely to cause your scalp to itch or something of that sort if your skin is sensitive; it is breathable as it facilitates good air circulation; it makes you feel uncomfortable in hot weather. It has its downsides in that it shrinks easily and it is prone to deteriorate as a result of mildew attack. It also tends to fade more easily than polyester and is also prone to wrinkles because of its very nature.

Nylon is easy to clean and is very strong. It also tends to be light in weight – this is an advantage because you do not want your hat to bog you down on a hike. Nylon also combats mildew and fungi better than cotton does. However, it does not absorb water well.

All of that considered, which material should you go for? It must be reiterated that it really depends on the individual. However, a blend of polyester and cotton would not be a bad choice. You get the best of both worlds. Nylon is gaining popularity and has been a success though, and it is a force to be reckoned with.

Adjustability

Usually, hats are “one size fits all”. I am sure we all know from experience that it is not quite true. A hat should fit perfectly on your head when you are out on the trails. The last thing you want is for it to be too loose or too hat. Having to hold it all the time can also be irksome. This is where an adjustable toggle comes in. You can use it to ensure it perfectly fits your hand. Make sure the hat you buy has an adjustable toggle and also ensure that it is not flimsy.

Price

You may be surprised to see that price is slightly low on this list, but take it from me – a few extra dollars are totally worth the reduced risk of skin cancer and dehydration, not to mention better comfort. You should be able to get an ideal product as per your choice and specifications in the $12-$15 price range.

Ease of Cleaning

This is not as important as some of the other criteria, but it is a big help if a hat can be washed and cleaned easily before being tucked into your backpack(it is unlikely you will be wearing a hat for the entire duration of your hike). If you are the kind that goes for the “standard” hat colors such as gray, black or brown or some similar dark shade, then being able to clean it will not be as big of a concern. However, if you are the kind that likes experimenting with colors or someone with a preference for white or a light color, then you will likely be washing it multiple times; in such a case, this criterion assumes more importance. The more foldable a hat is, the easier it will be to pack.

Weatherproofing

A hat is not just to protect you from the sun during a hike. It may so happen that you have to hike in windy and rainy conditions. Having a hat that is waterproof and windproof will most certainly be advantageous in such cases. Hats with chinstraps are usually good enough to withstand reasonable pressure from the winds.

These are the most important criteria that you have to consider when buying a hat. In a nutshell, it has to shield you effectively from the sun, have good ventilation, be made of a fabric that best suits your needs and come with an adjustable toggle. If it is easily cleanable, washable and foldable, then it is a bonus. If it is also windproof and waterproof, then you truly have a hat for all seasons! Some might mention chin straps or neck flaps but these are usually add-ons and not of great importance.

FAQs

Q: What is UPF? Why is it important?

UPF is the Ultraviolet Protection Factor which measures the UV protection that a hat provides. If a hat has a UPF of 50, it means it blocks 98% (49/50) of UV rays.

It is important because exposure to UV rays could result in skin cancer.  Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and current estimates are that 20% of all Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime

(https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer).

The problem is that a lot of people seem to be oblivious to this skin cancer threat and leave themselves completely exposed, sometimes in the attempt to get tanned. Unfortunately, exposure to the sun could cause more than just tans!

Q: What are the criteria that you should consider when purchasing a hiking hat?

There is no hard and fast rule. One of the most important factors you should consider is the level of protection it offers against the sun. Adjustable toggles and ventilators are also indispensable because fit and breathability are very important. Too much sweating on long hikes could cause water loss and dehydration which could have dangerous consequences. Comfort and foldability are also important.

Q: How do you clean a hiking hat?

In general, hats are best washed by hand. While some hats may allow for machine wash, there is always the risk of damage in the machine. Moreover, hats last longer if they are washed by hand. Use only mild detergent so as to not damage the fabric.

Q: Can hiking hats be ironed?

Personally, I would not recommend ironing hats. That is not to say that you cannot, but the possible repercussions far outweigh any benefits you could get. If you must iron, do it at the lowest possible temperature setting.

Q: Which material is the best?

There is no “best” material. Cotton tends to be soft and more comfortable than other materials for example, but it also has the tendency to shrink and lose its color. On the other hand, polyester dries quickly, resists wrinkles and shrinkage but has low absorbency. Nylon hats tend to be very durable, but they also stain quickly. It all depends on which features you prioritize. Do you want the most comfortable hat or the most durable one? Do you want one that does not wrinkle and can be machine washed, or one that can only be hand washed? The answers to such questions will let you know as to which material will suit you best.