Although a hiking hat might not be top of your equipment list for your next trek, as your first defense against the powerful rays of the sun, it’s actually an important item of clothing to get right. For every keen lover of trekking, finding the best hiking hats to suit you is an essential step on the path towards enjoyable adventures in the great outdoors.

But are you baffled by brims and breathability? Or you wondering which hat will keep your head cool on a hot summer’s day?

At The Adventure Junkies, we’re always looking to help make the process of buying new equipment as painless as possible. So we’ve trawled through the best offerings in headgear to put together this guide to our selection of the best hats for summer hiking and how to find the one most suited to you.

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out the Best Hiking Hats for Women

hiking gift guide
Hiking Gift Guide

Quick Answer - The Best Hiking Hats

  1. Columbia Bora Bora Booney II
  2. Tilley Endurables Airflo
  3. Tilley Endurables T3 Traditional Canvas
  4. Outdoor Research Sun Runner
  5. Columbia Coolhead Ball Cap III
  6. Buff UV Headband
  7. Outdoor Research Swift
  8. Outdoor Research Helios
  9. Sunday Afternoons Adventure
  10. Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas

 

Comparison Table - Best Hiking Hat

PictureNameUPFFabricSizeWeightPriceRating
Columbia Bora Bora Booney II50+NylonOne-size-fits-all4.0 oz$4.6
Tilley Endurables Airflo50+93% Nylon, 7% Spandex11 Sizes4.0 oz$$$4.7
Tilley Endurables T3 Traditional Canvas50+100% Cotton Duck Canvas8 Sizes6.1 oz$$$4.6
Outdoor Research Sun Runner30+NylonS, M, L, and XL2.9 oz$$4.5
Columbia Coolhead Ball Cap III50+91% Polyester, 9% ElastaneOne-size-fits-allUnknown$$4.5
Buff UV Headband20+PolyesterOne-size-fits-all1.3 oz$4.6
Outdoor Research Swift30+NylonOne-size-fits-all2.6 oz$4.6
Outdoor Research Helios50+86% Nylon, 14% PolyesterS, M, L, and XL2.2 oz$$4.6
Sunday Afternoons Adventure50+NylonS, M, and L3.0 oz$$4.6
Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas50+Cotton/Polyester canvasS, M, L, XL, and XXL8.8 oz$$$4.4
PictureNameUPFFabricSizeWeightPriceRating

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Reviews - The Best Hats for Hiking

Columbia Bora Bora Booney II

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Size: One-size-fits-all
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 4.0 oz

BEST FOR: PACKING AWAY IN A RUCKSACK

PROS: The toggle means it can adjust to fit different sized heads, while the inclusion of a polyester sweatband and mesh interior help to wick away sweat effectively. It also dries quickly and folds flat for packing but doesn’t lose shape.

CONS: Brim not very rigid and may flop in windy conditions or when wet.

Tilley Endurables Airflo

Specs
  • Fabric: 93% Nylon, 7% Spandex
  • Size: 11 Sizes
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 4.0 oz

BEST FOR: PROTECTION IN DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEATHER

PROS: Vents on the hat allow air to circulate easily, while its dark underbrim protects against sun glare. Water resistant fabric makes this hat suitable for wet weather conditions, it can be washed without losing its shape and is guaranteed by the manufacturer for life.

CONS: Can be hot in very humid conditions.

Tilley Endurables T3 Traditional Canvas

Specs
  • Fabric: 100% Cotton Duck Canvas
  • Size: 8 Sizes
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 6.1 oz

BEST FOR: DURABILITY AND COMFORT

PROS: This hat has an under-chin drawstring to secure the hat, as well as a glare-reducing underbrim. The cotton duck canvas and manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee make it exceptionally durable.

CONS: Owners of previous Tilley T3 believe that the quality of the new versions of this hat has lowered.

Outdoor Research Sun Runner

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Size: S, M, L, and XL
  • UPF: 30+
  • Weight: 2.9 oz

BEST FOR: COMPLETE SUN PROTECTION

PROS: The mesh side panels allow for excellent breathability and it is made with a quick drying and lightweight fabric. There is an adjustable strap for a secure fit and the cape and brim provide comprehensive sun protection.

CONS: Cap can get very hot in sunny weather.

Columbia Coolhead Ball Cap III

Specs
  • Fabric: 91% Polyester, 9% Elastane
  • Size: One-size-fits-all
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: Unknown

BEST FOR: FIT

PROS: The fabric both absorbs and wicks away sweat quickly and doesn’t stain, while the adjustable strap makes this fit different sized heads easily and comfortably.

CONS: The Velcro on the adjustable strap can rub uncomfortably against the back of the head.

Buff UV Headband

Specs
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Size: One-size-fits-all
  • UPF: 20+
  • Weight: 1.3 oz

BEST FOR: VERSATILITY

PROS: It can be worn in various different ways and is made from extremely lightweight, quick-drying fabric. It is suitable for hot and cold weather and is machine washable.

CONS: Not a conventional sun hat so it doesn’t provide complete sun protection.

Outdoor Research Swift

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Size: One-size-fits-all
  • UPF: 30+
  • Weight: 2.6 oz

BEST FOR: VENTILATION AND BREATHABILITY

PROS: Its mesh liner in the crown, headband and lightweight material work to effectively wick away sweat quickly. It has an adjustment strap, and is easily washed in the washing machine to remove stains.

CONS: The one-size-fits-all claim is not necessarily accurate. Check reviews about sizing before purchasing.

Outdoor Research Helios

Specs
  • Fabric: 86% Nylon, 14% Polyester
  • Size: S, M, L, and XL
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 2.2 oz

BEST FOR: COMFORT AND WEIGHT

PROS: An adjustable draw cord helps to keep the hat in place, the material is very lightweight and adapts well to comfortably sit on the wearer’s head. A brow band wicks away moisture and this hat can be crushed and returns easily to shape.

CONS: The hat’s lack of ventilation can be an issue in very hot weather.

Sunday Afternoons Adventure

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Size: S, M, and L
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 3.0 oz

BEST FOR: COMFORT AND SUN PROTECTION

PROS: The adjustable strap customizes the hat’s size to suit all heads, mesh panels in the crown aid breathability, the large brim, cape and high UPF factor ensure complete sun protection, while the fabric is very lightweight and comfortable to wear.

CONS: Brim can crease easily and cape can flap in windy conditions.

Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas

Specs
  • Fabric: Cotton/Polyester canvas
  • Size: S, M, L, XL, and XXL
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 8.8 oz

BEST FOR: STYLE

PROS: This hat crushes and returns back to its original shape and is designed in a style similar to a fedora hat. The mesh ventilation around the crown also keeps your head cool during hot weather.

CONS: The sizing is often a little small and the hat can shrink is worn in wet weather.

 

LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING HATS

SUN AND WEATHER PROTECTION

The principle consideration when buying a hiking hat is the protection it’ll offer from the sun. The best hats are those with fabrics that can block up to 98% of harmful UVA/UVB radiation or the worst of the sun’s rays, so the higher the ultraviolet factor (UPF) factor the better.

But a wide brim and a neck cape are similarly important considerations; sure, a cape on your hat make you look as cool as Superman, but it’ll prevent painful sunburn on your neck, while a wide brim can help you to avoid sun glare. Check out our guide on what to wear hiking

 

DURABILITY

Hiking hats can take their fair share of battering, whether in your rucksack on the way to the trail or from the elements themselves while you’re trekking. Durability is therefore a key mark of a good quality hat; check whether it claims it’s crushable and won’t lose its shape after being stuffed into your backpack.

The type of fabric the hat is made of and its color can also affect whether it’s for life or just one season. Light colors can easily become stained with wear, so confirming that your hat can be cleaned easily using a washing machine or a gentle hand wash without losing its shape will help prevent any post-purchase regrets.

Finally, investing in a hat made from water and mildew resistant fabric ensures that not only will you be protected from any changes in the weather, but your hat will survive to see another day after a spot of rain.

 

COMFORT AND SIZING

Many hats claim to be one-size-fits-all – something which sounds too good to be true, and often is. More expensive brands are available in different size and may even include adjustable straps to adapt the fit comfortably to the size of your head.

A chin strap to secure it can also help to avoid the annoying necessity of having to cling onto your hat in windy weather.

 

BREATHABILITY

For summer hiking hats, choosing a fabric that offers both sun protection but still wicks moisture away from your head is essential. Fabrics such as nylon are light, breathable and quick drying, while mesh ventilation systems are new technologies that allow heat to circulate away from your head, keeping you cool and full of energy.

 

STYLE

You’re probably not planning on winning any style awards on your treks, but remember you’ve got to want to wear it in the first place if you’re to get the benefits of the hat.

As style is always a personal preference, when picking your hat it’s important to be honest about whether you can see yourself wearing it. If not, avoid wasting your money and feeling like a dork by choosing a different option.

 

 

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Hiking Hats for Women | Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

Socks for Hiking | Convertible Hiking Pants

Waterproof Hiking Shoes | Lightweight Hiking Boots

Hiking Shorts

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