Whether you’re scaling peaks or trekking through valleys, a great hiking hat is your best friend on any adventure. Finding the right hat style for you can take time, but the benefits of a good hat go beyond simply looking great.
From maximum sun protection to long-lasting comfort, we’ve come up with a list of great hats for all types of hiking, including sun hats, packable hats, and cold weather hats.
Our top pick is the Tilley hat, with its effortless style, excellent durability, and great protection against any weather you might face on your travels.
Other great hat styles include the Filson Summer Packer or the Columbia Bora Bora Booney. Both of these have wide brims offering the best protection from the sun. Here’s a list of the top-performing hiking hats that stand up to the elements.
The Tilley Hat is a classic and is loved across the world for its durability and comfort. My dad has owned his Tilley hat for years and brings it out every summer in Scotland for sailing and mowing the lawn. It still looks almost new after many years of use.
In 1980, the founder of Tilley Endurables, Alex Tilley was unsatisfied with the hats on the market for outdoors enthusiasts. A sailor, Mr. Tilley wanted to create his own sturdy hat that would last in all kinds of weather conditions.
The Tilley hat is water resistant, it does not shrink when it gets wet, it can float in water, and always looks stylish. Made from sustainable materials, it has great ventilation for days in the sun and is certified UPF 50+ protection.
The classic look suits men and women and is available in several exact sizes according to your head measurements. It works well for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, from hiking to watersports. It comes with a lifetime warranty and a four-page owner’s manual.
The Columbia Bora Bora Booney is the ultimate sun hat with a full 3-inch wide brim that protects your face and neck from the sun, while the technical Omni-Shade sun protection blocks harmful UV rays.
The lightweight material is moisture-wicking and is made from 100% nylon, allowing it to feel soft on the skin. Breathable mesh ventilation on the sides makes this a good hat for hiking, as does the sweat-wicking headband.
It is comfortable to wear for long days out in the sun. It has an adjustable pull cord to tighten during windy days and the size is adjustable with a toggle. It packs easily and can be folded up really small to fit into a backpack or suitcase.
A baseball cap cannot offer the same levels of sun protection as a wide-brimmed sun hat, but there is still a time and a place for a handy hiking baseball hat, particularly for shorter hikes. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the neck and ears at the same time.
One of the best hiking baseball caps out there at the moment is this Swift Cap by Outdoor Research. The adjustable back strap allows for a customized fit, and it ensures the cap stays in place no matter how vigorous the activity.
The range of colors offers plenty of choice for any hiker, from bright purple to olive green. Lightweight and breathable, this cap has a full mesh liner for ventilation in hot weather, with a shaped bill and nylon panels for added sun protection.
A neck flap is always an option to consider when buying a sun hat, especially if you have pale skin.
For ultimate protection against sun damage, this hat from Sunday Afternoons offers great protection and shade with an extra wide 4-inch brim. It also features a drawstring chin strap with a toggle cord to keep the hat in place when the wind picks up.
Founded in Oregon, Sunday Afternoons has a great variety of technical hats for protection from the elements.
It may not be the most fashion-forward accessory, but if you are serious about sun protection or spend a lot of time hiking, this hat will have a place in your life. It can be tightly packed for storage or travel, it’s great value for money, and it will keep you cool in the hottest weather with excellent ventilation.
Keeping the kiddos safe from the sun is always a top priority for parents. A tricky task at the best of times, it can be simplified with another great product from Outdoor Research, the Sun Runner Cap.
The sun hat, with a removable neck cape, has wide sun coverage and protects the neck, ears, and face from the sun. It is made from 100% Supplex nylon which is water resistant, breathable, and easy to wash. It features a Velcro attachment around the chin for extra protection from bug bites.
This is a great sun hat, perfect for playing in the backyard, beach days, hikes, and all kinds of outdoor adventures.
All of us at Outdoors.com understand that hiking is not just a fair-weather activity. You’ll also need a hat for winter or cold weather hikes. This unisex hat from The North Face is a super cozy option, made from recycled polyester tricot fleece.
Impossibly soft to the touch and not at all itchy, the fluffy beanie hat offers an effortless look for winter walks or après ski fun. The North Face, an iconic leader in outdoor clothing, also makes a matching Osito Jacket made from the same materials. Why not buy them both and be extra cozy?
The classic beanie fit easily covers the ears and can be worn cuffed or uncuffed. For more winter hiking hats, view our list of the warmest winter hats that we could find.
For ladies with long hair, ponytails and hats have never been a good combination. Luckily, hats with ponytail slots are becoming more popular in the world of outdoor gear.
This warm ponytail hat from Trailheads is the only one you’ll ever need in your closet. For colder days, the hat features a premium fleece ear warmer that can be flipped up or down.
It is made from sweat-wicking material so it can be used for chilly winter workouts, trail runs or long hikes. It features an anti-glare bill to shade your eyes from the sun, and a 3-inch slot for your ponytail. It can be worn with hair up or down.
This innovative hat is made from a combination of polyester and spandex. The reflective stitching around the outside of the ponytail slot and on the brim makes the hat stand out on dark mornings or evenings.
Similar in its good looks to the Tilley hat, the Filson Summer Packer is a hat that will go with you on every adventure. There is a great debate about which of the two hats is the better investment, but they are both excellent options if you are looking for a hat to last a long time.
Filson has been making durable outdoor gear for almost 100 years, and their products offer high-quality protection from the elements. The timeless fedora style looks great on both men and women, and you’ll reach for it time and time again.
The Filson Packer is much more than just a fashion statement, however. It is made from lightweight, water-resistant, water-repellent fabric. The brim keeps the sun off your face while you’re out and about. It will keep you cool on hikes, and it can be rolled up and packed away easily for travel.
Keep the following in mind when you are searching for your new ultra adventure hat.
When shopping for a sun hat, a wide brim is the most effective feature to shade your face, neck, ears, and shoulders from the sun. The wider the brim of the hat, the more sun protection it will provide. Look for a hat with at least a 3-inch (7.5 cm) brim.
Look for a hat that offers the best sun protection. Check the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating on the adventure hat that you are interested in purchasing, before you click ‘buy now’.
It must have a UPF 30+ rating or higher, which means it was crafted specifically for protection against harmful UVA and UVB sun rays. If you are going to be spending a lot of time in the sun, try to find one that has a rating of UPF 50.
The material is another significant aspect to consider. Breathable fabrics like polyester, nylon, and mesh can make a world of difference on a hot, sweaty hike.
These lightweight materials not only allow air to flow freely, keeping your head cool, but they also have moisture-wicking properties that draw sweat away from your skin and keep you comfortable. You should also consider how quickly the material can dry, since this will be important for hiking.
It’s always important to make sure that your new hat fits snugly and comfortably on your head. Some hats come with adjustable mechanisms, such as pull-string closures or adjustable straps.
Quality brands will provide accurate head size measurements and offer their products in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to measure the size of your head before purchasing a new hat.
A chin strap is another useful feature that helps secure the hat in place, especially in windy conditions. They can also prevent the hat from slipping off during strenuous activities.
For hiking, being comfortable beats looking stylish almost every time, but you must find a hat style that suits you, so you will want to wear it. After all, who says you can’t look good while protecting yourself from the sun?
Most hats come in many colors and patterns, so pick one that suits your look the best. Bear in mind that bright colors can be useful for hiking in far-flung locations, and dark colors are the best for absorbing UV rays.
A hiking hat’s packability is a key feature to consider. Hats that are easy to pack and don’t lose their shape or functionality when folded or rolled are ideal for on-the-go adventures.
Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are considered the most suitable for packing due to their quick-drying properties, excellent sun protection, and durability.
Whether you’re hiking in the rain-soaked North Cascades National Park or the foggy Appalachian Trail, a waterproof hat is always useful. Materials like nylon and polyester with mesh lining, or treated cotton, work well in wet conditions.
A wide brim can also be helpful from keeping the rain away from your face. Look out for hats with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating if you will be spending time in soggy climates.
Look after the planet and opt for a hat made from eco-friendly, recycled, and sustainable materials.
Once you have found your perfect hiking hat, it’s important to maintain it properly to ensure its longevity. One of the most basic care tips is to hand wash your hat. Even if the label indicates that it’s safe for machine washing, hand washing is generally gentler and less likely to cause damage.
Storing your hiking hat properly can also extend its lifespan. Hang it from a hook in your closet or keep it inside a storage box to protect it when you are not using it.
Bucket hats have a small brim, so although they provide a good level of sun protection, a wide-brimmed sun hat will offer much more coverage.
A classic straw hat is lightweight and offers breathability, but it may be more suited to beach days than hiking trips. Straw hats typically lack the durability and moisture-wicking properties needed for more strenuous fun in the outdoors. They can also be difficult to pack.
Your baseball cap will offer decent sun protection, and it will work well at shading your eyes and face from the sun. However, it will not offer as much ventilation as a sun hat designed for hiking, and it will leave your neck and ears exposed to the sun. The materials might not be as lightweight or breathable.
Many of the hats on this list are effective at keeping bugs at bay, especially the Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat or Sun Runner Cap by Outdoor Research. These styles have neck flaps which offer extra coverage and protection against insects swarming around your head.
There shouldn’t be any problems wearing a hat with a pack unless you have a backpack that sits very high up on your back.
From reading user reviews, it seems that there can be issues when an extra wide-brim hat meets a very tall backpack. It might be worth trying them on together before you head off, to check if there is an issue. Hats with neck capes or very wide brims might not be the best styles for wearing with a pack.
Ultimately, choosing the right hiking hat takes some time and research. Is your hat for hot hikes in the desert, or do you need an all-weather option?
Always consider factors like sun protection, material and breathability, adjustable fit, style, packability, weather resistance, and sustainability.
You can find great hats at every price point, but if you spend a lot of time outside, perhaps now is the time to consider purchasing an investment hat, such as the Tilley or the Filson Packer.
Remember, a good hiking hat is more than just a fashion accessory – it’s an essential piece of gear that provides protection and comfort on all of your outdoor adventures.
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