Man hiking in hat

Best Hiking Hats and Caps for Summer Adventures

When preparing for a long hike in hot weather we naturally put the sunscreen, drinking water, and maybe even rehydration tablets at the top of our packing list. The hiking hat tends to come as an afterthought even though it’s one of the most useful items of hiking clothing you can have in your backpack. Wearing a quality wide-brimmed hiking hat or cap hat doesn’t just make you as stylish as Indiana Jones. It also protects your skin from harmful UV radiation and keeps the sweat from ruining your on-the-trail selfies! It can help to regulate your temperature and provide shelter from light rain and wind. Best of all, if you wear the best sun hat for hiking, you can be confident that you won’t come home looking like Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer!

Summary of the 10 best hiking hats in 2018

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ProductBest forFeaturesFabricCost
Outdoor Research SombrioletSun protection and styleGood ventitlationNylon and ripstop polyester$$
Sunday Afternoons Ultra-Adventure HatSun protectionSunglasses sleevesNylon and polyester$$
Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo HatAll weatherSecret ID pocketNylon$$$$
Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas HatPackability and styleCrushableCotton/ polyester canvas$$$
Outdoor Research Cloud Forest Rain HatWet weatherWaterproofVenita nylon shell and PU coated$$
Outdoor Research Swift Sun HatHot weather hikingExcellent ventilationSupplex nylon and polyester$
Kuhl Renegade CapComfort and styleWater resistantNylon and spandex$
Buff Pack Trek CapPackability and comfortMoisture wickingPolyester$
Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot III HatSun protectionLightweightNylon and polyester$
Sunday Afternoons Sun Tripper HatTraveling and packabilityFoldable with secret pocketNylon and polyester$

The best hiking hats

Outdoor Research Sombriolet

Outdoor Research Sombriolet

The Outdoor Research Sombriolet is a reasonably-priced hiking hat which is suitable for changeable weather conditions. The ripstop nylon fabric provides UPF 50+ protection while the piping along the brim and adjustable chin strap prevents it from losing its shape or blowing away on windy days. The hat is unisex and available in various colours and sizes. Whichever colour you choose, the hats underside will be a light absorbing dark grey. What’s more, the combination of an internal mesh structure and adjustable headband, plus moisture-wicking fabric with four large air vents should keep your head cool and comfy throughout your hike.

Pros

  • Glare reducing brim
  • Structure provides good ventilation
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Ourdoor Research


Sunday Afternoons Ultra-Adventure Hat

Sunday Afternoons Ultra-Adventure Hat

If you’re like me and you regularly return from a summer hike with a strong resemblance to a dried-out lobster, then the Sunday Afternoon Ultra-Adventure Hat is a sensible choice. With a wide 3 ¼ inch clamshell brim and 6-inch neck cape, you certainly won’t win any fashion awards by wearing this hat. You will, however, keep your head from overheating due to the moisture wicking sweatband and UPF 50+ crown ventilation.

The Ultra-Adventure Hat also has a couple of clever features, such as two reflective strips for when you’re hiking home after sunset, and integrated sleeves for securing sunglasses. It can even be folded in half for easy packing without damaging the hat.

Pros

  • Excellent sun protection
  • Adjustable headband
  • Useful features
  • Packable
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Not very stylish
  • Limited sizes available

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat

Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat

Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat is the best hat to wear hiking in both wet and dry weather. It’s also one of the most durable hats on the market. It is made mostly from nylon fabric with a non-absorbent foam liner which is mildew and water resistant. It can float too!

Its hydrofil anti-sweat band keeps you nice and cool but what makes this Tilley hiking hat stand out is its clever construction. The crown has a secret ID-sized pocket. Plus, it’s designed to sit just above your head, allowing air to flow and heat to escape through mesh vents. The hat also features a light absorbing underbrim and has a UPF 50+ protection rating. Although the Tilley LTM6 Airflo is not adjustable it does come in at least 9 sizes.

Pros

  • Water resistant
  • Buoyant
  • Hidden pocket
  • Sun protection
  • Available in multiple sizes and colours

Cons

  • Higher price tag

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas Hat

Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas Hat

Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas Hat is one of the most lightweight, practical, and good-looking sun hats for men. True to its name, this hiking hat is fully crushable so you can stuff it into your backpack without worrying about damaging the shape. On windy days the adjustable chin strap and the elastic headband keeps the Crushable Ventilated Canvas Hat firmly fixed on your head.

Its wide 3-inch brim and UPF 50+ rating will protect your ears and neck, as well as your nose, from strong UV rays. Meanwhile, mesh ventilation on the crown will help you to stay cool. It also features a top panel. While this does provide some extra protection it also takes away from the breathability of the product.

Pros

  • Packable
  • Stylish simple design
  • Comprehensive sun protection
  • Available in different colours and sizes

Cons

  • Not the most durable hiking hat

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


Outdoor Research Cloud Forest Rain Hat

Outdoor Research Cloud Forest Rain Hat

For cold or wet weather hikes the Cloud Forest Rain Hat from Outdoor Research is the most practical travel companion. Although the combination of a Venita nylon shell and PU coated under brim doesn’t offer as much breathability as typical sun hats, it is fully waterproof. The hat is also quick drying and moisture wicking with a 2 ¾ inch brim and internal headband which helps prevent heavy rain or sweat from blurring your vision. For a comfortable fit, the Cloud Forest Rain Hat comes with a one-handed drawcord adjustment and a removable chin strap.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Easy to adjust
  • Light absorbing rim
  • Packable design

Cons

  • Limited breathability
  • Less UV protection

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Outdoor Research | Backcountry


The best hiking caps

Outdoor Research Swift Sun Hat

Outdoor Research Swift Sun Hat

If ventilation and breathability are your top priorities then the Outdoor Research Swift Sun Hat certainly ticks those boxes. The crown of the cap is made with a 3-panel mesh of lightweight polyester which allows hot air to escape. The front nylon panel and shaped brim provide UPF 30+ protection from the sun. While the UV protection is not as comprehensive as others on this list, it’s certainly more stylish and the ventilation makes it the perfect hat for training or trail running, too.

Pros

  • Breathable mesh panels
  • Adjustable fit
  • Stylish design
  • Cheaper price

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide as much protection from UV rays
  • One size may not fit all heads

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Outdoor Research | Backcountry


KUHL Renegade Cap

Kuhl Renegade Cap

The Kuhl Renegade Cap is a comfortable and affordable hiking baseball hat. It’s made from a 2-way stretch fabric which is DWR treated and has a UPF 50+ sun protection rating. Not only is this hat non-absorbent but it’s also quick to dry, has moisture wicking properties, and is very comfortable to wear. Something we like is the quick-adjustment strap which allows the cap to be adjusted with just one hand. This leaves the other free to hold your hiking poles etc. The Kuhl Renegade Cap is unisex and available in two colours.

Pros

  • Soft-shell fabric makes it very comfortable to wear
  • Water-repellent
  • Quick drying
  • Easy to adjust
  • UPF 50+ sun protection

Cons

  • Only available in one size

Find the latest price on:
REI


Buff Pack Trek Cap

Buff Pack Trek Cap

The Buff Pack Trek Cap is the perfect pocket-sized hiking hat for those days when you don’t know whether it’s going to rain or shine. Its pack-and-carry design means that it can easily be folded to fit inside a jacket pocket.

Made from ultra-light polyester fabric with UV protection and breathable mesh side panels, the Buff Pack Trek Cap is best for warm weather hikes. The adjustable Velcro strap makes it quick and easy to adjust while the 4-way moisture-wicking stretch fabric offers an extra comfortable fit. What we really like is that this hiking cap is both practical and stylish. You’d certainly be able to wear it around town after your hike.

Pros

  • Very packable
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Comfortable 4-way stretch fabric

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot III Hat

Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot III Hat

The Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot III Hat has the look and feel of a baseball cap with the added protection of a neck cape. The neck cape can also function as a windbreak or protect from water spray. It’s made from a lightweight UPF 50+ nylon fabric with a Coolmax polyester lining and Omni-wick sweatband. The cap is fitted with an elasticated drawcord which is super-easy to adjust by using a plastic toggle at the back.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easily adjustable
  • High UV protection
  • Available in two colours

Cons

  • Only available in one size

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


Sunday Afternoons Sun Tripper Hat

Sunday Afternoons Sun Tripper Hat

The Sunday Afternoons Sun Tripper Hat has the appearance and style of a regular baseball cap but its 2-inch foldable clamshell brim and UPF 50+ polyester/nylon blend make it extremely practical for travelling and hiking. Its subtle side mesh ventilation and wicking sweatband combine practicality with a sleek design. Like the Ultra-Adventure Hat, this cap features integrated sunglass sleeves and an adjustable design, as well as a hidden interior pocket for storing an ID or your emergency ice cream fund! The Sunday Afternoon Sun Tripper Hat is available in multiple colours and two sizes.

Pros

  • Stylish appearance
  • Easily adjustable bungee cord
  • Side ventilation
  • Fordable
  • Useful features

Cons

  • Hand wash only

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


What to look for when choosing the best hats for hiking

Shape and width of rim

A baseball cap may well be more stylish but its narrow brim leaves the sides of your face, neck, and ears, mostly unprotected. While floppy hats with a wide brim of over 4 inches will provide the best protection, they’re not the most practical for hiking. Generally, a 2.5 to 4-inch round brim is sufficient for keeping the sun’s rays off your skin without getting in the way of your vision.

Material

A hiking hat should be made from a lightweight and moisture-wicking fabric which is comfortable to wear. Most are fitted with absorbent sweatbands which stop the sweat from dripping down your brow. Ideally, the fabric of hiking hats should be quick-drying and abrasion resistant too, so that it doesn’t snag or tear on the first low hanging branch you bump your noggin on.

Weather protection

The best sun hats for hiking in hot weather will have a high UPF rating. This indicates the level of ultraviolet protection it will provide. To give you an idea; fabrics with a UPF rating below 15 are not considered UV-protective, while those with a rating of 50+ will allow less than 2% of UV rays to pass through the fabric. We hikers are not always blessed with clear blue skies either, so a hat made from water and wind-resistant fabric, or DWR (durable water-repellent) treated fabrics, are a bonus too.

Ventilation

You can’t summit a mountain without breaking a sweat but the best hats to wear hiking should keep your sweat to a minimum. Breathable mesh or air vents in the crown help to keep the air flowing.

Comfort and fit

It may seem obvious but your hiking hat will need to be a good fit. You’ll be wearing it for hours at a time so one that’s too small will become very uncomfortable. Meanwhile, one that’s too loose will probably take off in the first gust of wind.

Colour

A stylish hiking hat may not be your priority but there are reasons for picking certain colours over others. Choosing a lighter coloured hat will help to avoid getting a hot head, however, a brim with a dark underside can help to absorb reflected light and glare from shiny surfaces like water.


Design features of the best hiking hats

  • Adjustable hat buckle

    Adjustable headband

    Some hats come in a variety of different sizes. However, some are designed to be adjustable so that the fit can be customised to your head. A buckle or strip of velcro is usually located at the back of the to adjust the headband to fit perfectly.

  • Chin strap of hat

    Chin strap

    These are especially useful in windy conditions and are usually tightened under the chin with a drawstring toggle.

  • Sunglasses pocket

    Sunglasses holder

    A nice addition to hiking hat designs are sunglasses holders. These are usually small slots in the side fabric of the hat that make sure your glasses don’t topple off your hat when you bend down.

  • Folding brim of hiking hat

    Foldable

    Foldable hats are ideal for hikers and backpackers as they can be stuffed into a pack without worrying too much about misshaping them. Caps that can folded in half are also carriable in the pocket of your pants.

  • neck cape of the best hiking hat

    Neck cape

    For hiking in very hot and sunny conditions, opting for a hiking hat with neck cape is highly advisable. The extra length at the back fully protects the skin from burning or sun damage.

  • Internal hat pocket

    Pockets

    Some hats have small pockets that are super useful to store small things in like a key, credit card or cash. These are often located on the inside of the hat, though some are on the outside.


The importance of making sure your head is protected from the elements should not be underestimated. Whether you opt for a fully-fledged wide-brim Indian Jones style hat, or something more suitable for everyday life, as well as hiking, we hope you’ll find something on our list of the best hiking hats that your head will love!

Happy hat wearing, happy hikers!

About the author

author-beth

Originally from the UK and currently based in Turkey, Beth Carter is a full-time adventurer, former scout, and vegan traveller. When she’s not hiking long-distance trails with an oversized pack on her shoulders, you’ll probably find her peddling up and down scenic roads, or pitching a tent in a far-off mountain range. On the odd occasion, you might even see her sitting at a keyboard, coffee at the ready, typing about her latest outdoor pursuit.

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