Best Outdoor Hiking Hats
If you are going outdoors on any adventure during any season, you want to make sure that you are properly protected from the sun. A hiking hat can be one of the best pieces of gear that you can equip yourself with to protect you from the sun as it can protect you from heat stroke, sunburns, and can even protect you in a rainstorm. Now a hiking hat is much different from a normal baseball cap as a hiking hat has a much wider brim and protects you from the sun from 360 degrees of protection. A baseball cap only protects the front of your face leaving your neck exposed to the sun, so it may not be the most stylish option but a hiking hat is definitely the safest option. If you agree, then the hats below are for you!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Good sun protection
Comfortable and convenient to use
- Sun Blocker Unisex Neck Flap
- UV Protection Sun Cap
- Lenikis Unisex Outdoor Activities
- Camo Coll Boonie
- Home Prefer Unisex
- Columbia Sportswear Booney 11
- Dorfman Pacific
- Outdoor Research Sombriolet
- Outdoor Research Sun Runner
- Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Outdoor Hiking Hats
1. Sun Blocker Unisex Neck Flap
Good sun protection
Comfortable and convenient to use
Not the most stylish
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.Read more
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. This is excellent protection against potentially skin cancer-causing harmful UV rays.
This hat is very breathable and has two convenient mesh pockets at the top of the hat to allow for fresh air to flow in and out and keep your head cool.
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.
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.
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.
2. UV Protection Sun Cap
360 degree sun protection
Additional (removable) protection to cover nose, front part and neck
Ninja-esque face covering might not appeal to some(although it is removable)
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.Read more
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. This hat covers the nose and front part. Generally, hats do not have this feature.
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.
This hat is made from a durable material. The material is a little thinner than other hats on our list but overall it offers great protection.
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.
3. Lenikis Unisex Outdoor Activities
Good protection against the sun
Neck flap is not detachable for those who do not want it
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.Read more
As discussed, this level of protection is good to keep harmful UV rays out.
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.
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.
Its fabric is extremely soft, which makes it very comfortable to use. 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.
While there are cheaper alternatives available in this price range, it is fairly reasonably priced given its durability.
4. Camo Coll Boonie
Very reasonably priced
Excellent sun protection
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.Read more
UPF 50 plus UV protection is good for a hat in this price range. It will block most of the harmful UV rays.
This hat offers great breathability as it has a mesh strip on the top of the hat to ensure that fresh air is able to flow in and out and keep your head cool and refreshed on your next hike.
100% Polyester. Most hats have polyester in them, particularly in the brim, linings, and mesh. It is standard for a hat.
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.
5. Home Prefer Unisex
Enough options in terms of colors
Removable neck flap
Not the most fashionable hat around
This windproof hat with mesh eyelets comes with an adjustable and detachable drawcord. 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.Read more
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. 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.
The mesh vent will keep you cool by keeping sweat at bay.
There is a blend of cotton and polyester. It is light and comfortable for hiking(and other outdoor activities) purposes.
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.
6. Columbia Sportswear Booney 11
98% protection against UVB & UVA
Wide brim shade protection
Designed in sweatband
No neck flap for neck protection
An instantly recognizable and very popular silhouette, seen in the jungles of Colombia, mountain regions around the world, this hat works wherever the wearer needs top performing protection and comfort.
Lightweight, very comfortable, highly protective unisex hat for all outdoor activities. A multi-functional hat giving protection from UV for the neck and face. Blocks out a huge 98% of skin damaging UVB & UVA and has the honor of being recommended by the Foundation for Skin Cancer. Though firstly for protection during long hot days fishing, this hat works for all outdoor activities where you will need protection. A designed in sweatband from Omni Wick works in conjunction with a strategically placed ventilation mesh which gives you 100% comfortable FIt with protection. The toggle can be adjusted to FIT any head size and an adjustable chin strap further ensures this is a FIT for all people.
The price is reasonable, customer reviews are very positive that this hat gives great protection, comfort, and a combination of practicality and durability.Read more
The hat casts a broad shadow to cover the head and neck while ensuring 98% defense against UVA rays and UVB rays. The rim can be manipulated to drop down around the head or the brim can be raised to cast a broader shadow. For outdoor people looking for full protection, this is a very good option.
Nylon textile is fully windproof and used in all types of clothing which need to give defense against the wind. Even though this hat is for wearing in the hot sun, in such weather conditions it is not unusual to have a warm air breeze which can dry out the skin and make it further vulnerable to sun damage.
The hat makers have not designed in the drop down neck flap, instead, the design/brim is styled to throw a broad shadow to cover the neck. This means less material/weight for those times when you want to fold up the hat and stow it away.
The hat has a ventilative mesh built into the front and rear, this means that sweat is quickly evaporated and avoids sweat dripping down the forehead and into the eyes.
Constructed from Nylon Poplin, this hat jumps straight into the top for durability, hard wearing, can be rolled up and folded and will return back to shape. Polin nylon will not absorb sweat, moisture passes through the texture and quickly evaporates. Wash this hat in running water and wear it immediately on a hot sunny day because it will dry out very quickly.
The synthetic material construction means that moisture cannot be retained in the way which a cotton hat will absorb water and that natural ventilation will work to wick moisture so that the wearer will feel dry and comfortable and any friction caused by a damp material is not evident. Designed strategically into the head is a durable sweatband which will collect sweat and wick the moisture.
The hat is marked up at a real buyer friendly tag and the buyer will get many years of protection and comfort.
7. Dorfman Pacific
Made from tough material
Offers great protection from the sun
This hiking hat is the more stylish of the options listed. Not only is it stylish but it also offers great protection and is very durable. Most likely if you decide to go ahead with this hat, you will have it for quite some time and bring it on many adventures to come.Read more
This hiking hat from Dorfman is not only stylish but offers great protection from the sun as it comes with a wide brim that will offer sun coverage to 360 degrees of your head. Even though the sun is your number one priority that you want this hat to protect against, this hat also will protect you against the rain, wind, and any other weather condition that mother nature wants to send your way.
This hat is not as breathable as some other hats on our list, but still offers you a small amount of breathability. It is made from a thicker material so you may have some issues where you will need to take it off for a second or two to air it out.
This hiking hat is made of cotton and polyester. It also is made to be 50+ SPF protection to ensure you get maximum protection from the sun.
This hat is a bit more expensive than some other options on our list, but for the quality of the hat and also the style, it is worth the price. If you are looking for a hat to last you quite some time and also keep you stylish than this is the hat for you.
8. Outdoor Research Sombriolet
Easy to stash in a bag/space saving
Outdoor Research’s Sombriolet hat is a great all-around hat for people who need good protection while enjoying the great outdoors. It’s got a lot of sun protection developed into it, and its design helps to keep it on even when the wind really starts blowing hard. Plus, it’s designed to be very comfortable, and it does have more style to it than some of the other options on our list. It’s very versatile and works great for a lot of outdoor activities, so if you like to change things up a lot, this just might be the hat for you.Read more
This hat doesn’t feature a neck flap, but it is designed with a nice, wide brim that’s there to offer plenty of sun protection while you are outside. While it doesn’t provide as much protection as other hats with flaps and capes for your neck do, this hat is designed to be very stylish, and it still offers a decent amount of sun protection around the neck because of its brim. However, if you are prone to getting sunburns, then you might want to consider a hat with a neck cape on it.
The Sombriolet offers a lot of breathability with its design and is one of the most breathable hats on our list. You won’t need to worry about your head sweating too much, or getting too hot and uncomfortable when you wear this hat since the ventilation system works to push moisture out of the hat, and the hat includes moisture-wicking technology. This hat is made with a mesh-lined crown, and it features vents all the way around the hat. That means you get some of the best ventilation around designed into this hat, and you’ll always feel comfortable when you wear this hat.
This hat is comprised out of 50% nylon and 50% cotton, and the lining on the interior of the hat is made out of 100% nylon materials. The fabric on the hat is designed to be water-resistant, breathable, and moisture-wicking. The hat dries quickly if you tend to sweat often or you wind up getting the hat wet from your outdoor activities. Plus, this hat is very lightweight and comfortable, which is a huge plus.
The price of the Sombriolet is very competitive when compared to some of the other products on our list. It comes with a bevy of features, great sun protection, lots of breathability, and it’s designed to stay on your head whenever the wind gusts get strong. You won’t need to worry about losing this hat, and you’ll make a sound investment if you decide to purchase it.
9. Outdoor Research Sun Runner
Excellent sun protection
Foldable and crushable
After-sale service is great
Outdoor Research’s Sun Runner Cap is designed to offer a lot of versatility and protection when it comes to dealing with the outdoor weather. It also comes with an affordable price tag, and it offers a bevy of features that make it an excellent outdoor hat. You get a lot of adjustable features with this hat, including a neck flap you can remove when you don’t want or need the extra sun protection. The ability to remove the neck flap means you get a bit of extra style when you want it, or if you need the sun protection, put it back on so your neck stays safe. Also, the hat is designed to be lightweight, and you get more color choices with this hat than many of the other products on our list. You’ll get a lot of versatility with the way you want to use this hat, and also a lot of sun protection.Read more
The neck flap on this hat is removable, so that is a very nice feature for people who want to seem stylish. You only really need to wear the neck flap when you feel you need it so you can get the sun protection you need for the back of your neck if you have sensitive skin. However, if you are in a position where you don’t want the flap on or don’t need it, you’ll be able to adjust that part of the hat easily. Since neck flaps can often make hats look less than stylish, this is a very nice feature for people who are very worried about fashion.
The Sun Runner does come designed to be breathable, but the neck cape on the hat doesn’t feel all that breathable when you wear the hat. It seems that the neck cape can cut off the airflow designed into the hat, and the manufacturers didn’t think about making the neck cape on this hat as breathable as it should be. However, the hat does still breathe with the cape on, it just isn’t quite as breathable as some of the other options on our list.
Outdoor Research’s Sun Runner Cap is made out of 100% nylon materials and comes with a snap-on sun skirt to help protect your neck against the sun when you are adventuring in the great outdoors. You get a hat that is basically convertible, and it is designed with a lightweight fabric. It’s also nice that you can remove and adjust the sun skirt, and only use it when you feel you really need the sun protection. That gives you some options with style and a bit of versatility with this hat, which will make you breathe a sigh of relief if you really worry about fashion.
Outdoor Research’s Sun Runner Cap is priced competitively and isn’t any more expensive than most of the other hats on our list. With it falling into the average price range, it makes a pretty good value buy. It offers you plenty of sun protection and it also breathes well. Also, you can remove the sun flap from this hat when you don’t want it, which will help cut back on some worries if you are concerned about fashion.
10. Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure
Very reasonably priced
Convenient to use
Easy to pack
Not the easiest hat to clean, hand wash recommended
Sunday Afternoon’s Ultra Adventure hat is one of the best performing all-around hats, and it does a great job of blocking out the sun. It’s very protective and great at blocking out the sun’s harmful rays, and it won’t cause your head to overheat. You’ll stay very comfortable while you use it, and your head will stay cool and dry. This hat ventilates well and also is designed to be lightweight. It’s also made to very durable and easy to pack. What is most impressive about this hat is its combination of great breathability and UPF protection.Read more
There is a six-inch neck cape designed into this hat. The material on the neck flap is designed with UPF 50+ sun protection so your neck will stay protected against the sun. You won’t need to worry about any sunburns or other problems when you’ve got this hat covering your head and neck. The cape on the hat can occasionally blow up from the wind, but otherwise, this hat offers a lot of great sun protection.
The Ultra Adventure is one of the most breathable hats on our list, and its design guarantees it will ventilate well. It features mesh panels on the top of the hat, and it also has very light nylon and polyester material design that makes it breathable. You also get a nice tapered hat style, and that can help with the ventilation as well, especially around your neck.
The Ultra Adventure is comprised out of 88% nylon materials and 12% polyester dobby. This combination of fabrics makes this hat inherently breathable, which is a nice touch because you’ll never overheat when you wear it. It also is designed to be water and stain resistant and features a sunglasses lock. Besides its great breathability, it also has a UPF 50+ sun rating.
Sunday Afternoon’s Ultra Adventure hat isn’t overpriced at all for all of the great features you get. It’s very competitive compared to some of the other products on our list. Plus, it features a lot of great sun protection combined with an excellent ventilation system, which makes this hat a very affordable one for the nice amount of protection you get.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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 facilitate air circulation. It helps you keep cool and prevents you from sweating excessively.
Not only is constant sweat pouring onto your face irksome, but 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.
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 that 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.
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.
When it comes to looking for a hiking hat do not focus primarily on the price as the main concern is the type of protection you will get from the hat. Most of the time when looking for a hat to purchase, they are quite affordable and will not break the bank, so keep in mind what type of activities you will be doing this summer season and if the hat you are looking at will complement those activities.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Hiking hats aren't just for protection from the elements. If you plan to be trekking in an area where mosquitos and insects will be prevalent, consider a hat with the added protection of side and back neck flaps. These flaps help prevent insects and debris from getting into your clothing and hair.
When looking for a hiking hat to take with you on your next adventure, make sure you make sure the hat is breathable. The reason you want a hat that is breathable is that you will be out under the sun and your head will start to sweat if it does not get the proper airflow. So make sure the hat you are looking at has some mesh pockets to allow fresh air to flow in and out.
Other Factors to Consider
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 comes 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.
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.
What good is a hiking hat that offers the best protection and breathability but is not comfortable? The comfort of the hat you are looking for should be one of the main factors you are considering as no one wants to be out this summer season and wearing a hat that is not comfortable. The best way to ensure you are getting a comfortable hat is to check the customer reviews.
By checking the customer reviews you will get a first-hand look at how this hat fit and felt for other customers who decided to go with the hat.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 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.
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.
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.
In general, hats are best washed by hand. While some hats may allow for machine wash, there is always the risk of damage to the machine. Moreover, hats last longer if they are washed by hand. Use only mild detergent, so as to not damage the fabric. Furthermore, if you check with your particular hat’s manufacturer, you will easily find out which way is best to clean your hat.
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.
Really, it all depends on how you are defining protection. These hats are all designed to offer good weather protection and especially effective sun protection. In fact, protection is one of the most important things you’ll need to think about before purchasing a good sun hat. While you might think that all sun hats need to have wide brims, this isn’t always true. There are plenty of interesting styles and designs of these hats on the market nowadays that covers your neck and do a great job of protecting you from the sun without having to have too large of a rim.
The most effective hats should cover you all day long, and still make you feel like you look great when you have that hat on your head. Most of the hats with the best sun protection have capes that go along the back of the neck to prevent sunburns. While these capes do a great job of giving you sun protection, they don’t always look great. So, you’ll have to balance out that choice with style. All of the hats on our list offer some degree of sun protection, but the effectiveness does vary depending on the design of the hat.
Often times, the more protection you want or need from your sun hat, the less fashionable it is going to look. So, you might need to balance that choice out a bit if you are very concerned about style with your hat. But, if you can find a good hat with decent sun protection that doesn’t make you feel terrible about how you look, then you are off to a good start. It’s also good to get a hat that can withstand the wind and stay on your head without being blown off. So, look for hats that also feature drawstring cords so you can cinch that hat on you and never have to worry about using it.
Comfort is always something you’ll want to think about before you purchase a good sun hat. If you wind up with a hat that doesn’t feel great when it is on your head, you are probably never going to use it, and you’ll wind up wasting your money. Comfortable hats really make a difference, especially when you are on the go in the great outdoors. When considering comfort, you want to make sure the interior area of the hat feels soft and good on the skin, and the hat is also lightweight when you put it on your head. Some hats that are full brimmed tend to feel a bit more uncomfortable on your head, as well as hats with stiffer brims.
So, if you are thinking about a hat that is full brimmed or has a stiff brim, you may want to try it on to see if it works well for you, or if it bothers you. Comfort is often times a matter of personal preference, but those two types of hats typically feel less comfortable to other people. Also, make sure you get a hat that has the right size for you, or at least is adjustable so that you can get the size you need once the hat is on your head. Typically, the more lightweight your hat is and the softer the internal material, the better it will feel on your head.