The 11 Best Hiking Hats of 2023

Sunday Afternoons’ Adventure Hat is comfortable, breathable, and protective

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best hats for hiking

Adidas / Amazon

Hiking hats can keep you comfortable in a range of different conditions—protecting you from the sun, shielding you during downpours, and even keeping pesky bugs at bay. “A hiking hat can greatly improve your overall experience in the great outdoors,” Justin Rimon, outdoor guide and founder of Just Trek, says. “You want to feel as prepared and comfortable as possible on your adventures and not feel miserable from nature’s elements.”

Reviewed & Approved

Sunday Afternoons’ Ultra Adventure Hat is our top overall pick because it’s protective, sweat-wicking, breathable, and adjustable. We also recommend Sireck’s Sun Hat, which is budget-friendly, UPF-rated, and ventilated for better airflow.

The best hiking hats are both breathable and protective. High-quality sun hats should be lightweight, breathable, and equipped with UPF 50+ protection—meaning they block 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Rain hats should be totally waterproof. And winter hats need to be insulated to keep you warm in the cold. Good hiking hats are also durable, packable, and easy to clean.

To find the best hiking hats, we turned to experts like hiking guides and dermatologists for their advice on which features to look for when buying one. Then, we researched dozens of top-rated hiking hats, favoring options that were protective, comfortable, packable, and easy to clean.

Based on our research, here are the best hiking hats on the market.

Best Overall

Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat

4.8
Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat

Amazon

Pros
  • Sunglasses lock

  • Broad brim

  • Adjustable neck cape

Cons
  • May run small

Sunday Afternoons’ Ultra Adventure Hat is our best overall pick because it has every feature experts recommend, from sun protection to plenty of breathability. It’s rated UPF 50+ and has a 3.25-inch brim that keeps your face and neck in the shade. The hat is also designed with an adjustable, 6-inch neck cape, which you can release when you want extra protection and pack inside when you don’t.

Made from a nylon and polyester blend, the Ultra Adventure Hat feels sturdy but lightweight. And a moisture-wicking headband keeps sweat from pooling on your forehead. Like other hats on our list, this one is lined with breathable mesh panels that keep you cool on hot days. 

It even boasts a sunglasses lock—a pair of holes you can slide your sunglasses through to keep them from falling off mid-hike. But some wearers have noticed that this hat tends to run small.

Price at time of publication: $42

Sizes: S, M, L | Material: Nylon, polyester | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3.25 inches | Care: Hand wash only

Best Budget

Sireck Sun Hat

Sireck Sun Hat

Amazon

Pros
  • Broad brim

  • Water-repellent

  • Breathable mesh panels

Cons
  • Only comes in one size

If you’re shopping on a budget, we recommend Sireck’s Sun Hat. This water-repellent hat offers many of the same features as our other top picks for less.

It has UPF 50+ protection, and it also boasts one of the widest brims on our list. Measuring 3.4 inches long on the sides and 3.9 inches long in the front and back, the brim provides plenty of protection from the sun. The hat is also designed with a built-in sweatband, which wicks away moisture and dries quickly to keep you comfortable on your hikes. And it’s lined with breathable mesh panels that stop the hat from trapping heat.

Choose from three neutral colors. Just note that this hat only comes in one size, so it may not fit every wearer. 

Price at time of publication: $7

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Material: Chinlon (nylon) | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3.4 to 3.9 inches | Care: Not listed

Best Investment

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat

REI

Pros
  • Hidden pocket

  • Machine washable

  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons
  • Small side brim

While Tilley’s LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat is the most expensive on our list, it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee that we think is worth the extra cost.

Made from a tough blend of nylon and polyurethane, this hat offers UPF 50+ protection. And we like that it’s packed with comfort-friendly features, like a sweat-wicking headband and breathable mesh panels. It’s also machine washable for easy cleaning (which sets it apart from others on our list) and equipped with a hidden pocket you can use to store small essentials. 

We love that the LTM6 Airflo comes with a lifetime guarantee: The brand promises to repair or replace your hat if something goes awry, including normal wear and tear. It’s also available in a wide range of sizes and colors, so you can find one that fits both you and your style. However, this hat has a smaller side brim than some of our other top picks do.

Price at time of publication: $90

Sizes: 6, 7/8 and 8 | Material: Nylon, polyurethane | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 2.5 to 3.5 inches | Care: Machine washable

Best Cooling

Columbia Coolhead II Zero Booney Hat

Columbia Coolhead II Zero Booney Hat

REI

Pros
  • Fabric cools down as you sweat

  • Broad brim

  • Adjustable neck cape

Cons
  • Only comes in one size

Many hats on our list are lightweight and breathable. But for a hat that works overtime to keep you cool, we recommend Columbia’s Coolhead II Zero Booney Hat. 

This nylon hat is made with Columbia’s Omni-Freeze Zero—a knit fabric that’s designed to feel cooler as you sweat. It wicks moisture, pulling sweat away from your face. While other hats have sweat-wicking headbands and breathable mesh panels, this is the only one we’ve found that actively works to cool you down.

Thanks to its tight fabric weave, the Coolhead II also offers UPF 50+ protection. And it’s designed with a 3.5-inch brim, one of the widest on our list. We like the adjustable neck cape, which fits inside a mesh panel on the back of the hat. This feature adds coverage without adding too much extra weight, making it easy to protect yourself from the sun on long hikes.

But this hat only comes in one size, so it may not fit everyone. 

Price at time of publication: $45

Sizes: One size | Material: Nylon | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3.5 inches | Care: Hand wash only

Best for Sun Protection

Coolibar Agility Sport Cap

Coolibar Agility Sport Cap

Amazon

Pros
  • Large, removable neck cape

  • Adjustable coverage options

Cons
  • May run small

Coolibar’s Agility Sports Cap is our recommendation if you want plenty of sun protection while staying active. Made from polyester and spandex, this hat’s curved, 3-inch bill will keep the sun off your forehead. And its anti-glare underside makes it easy to see clearly, even on bright days. 

But what sets this hat apart is its removable neck cape, which you can snap onto the cap for extra protection. The cape is 13 inches long, much longer than a traditional hat brim. And we like that, unlike other neck capes, this one also covers your ears and the sides of your face. It includes a second set of snaps, too, which you can fasten to cover the front of your neck if you need to. 

While adjustable hiking hats aren’t hard to find, we love how many coverage options this one gives you. However, some wearers have found that it runs small.

Price at time of publication: $55

Sizes: S/M to L/XL | Material: Polyester, spandex | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: None | Brim Width: 3 to 13 inches | Care: Spot clean only

What the Experts Say

“Coolibar specializes in UPF clothing and has a mission to promote a healthy outdoor lifestyle, safely. They have been innovators in the UPF clothing area for more than 20 years, and they were the first clothing company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation's seal of recommendation. They are definitely a trusted brand, and all of their fabrics have UPF.” Dr. Hadley King, M.D., dermatologist at Dr. Hadley King Dermatology

Best for Cold Weather

Sunday Afternoons Meridian Thermal Cap

Sunday Afternoons Meridian Thermal Cap

REI

Pros
  • Insulated for warmth

  • Crushable design is travel-friendly

  • Concealed ponytail hole

Cons
  • Short bill

  • Only comes in one size

Sunday Afternoons’ Meridian Thermal Cap is our top pick for hiking in cold weather. It’s packable, insulated, and low-profile. And despite its crushable, travel-friendly design, it doesn’t skimp on sun protection.

This Sunday Afternoons hat doesn’t look like our other top picks because it’s designed for warmth, not breathability. It’s made from a stretchy blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex. And its unique shape is easy to layer under hats and helmets. 

Instead of a wraparound brim, this one has a short, 2.5-inch bill and a pair of cozy ear flaps. These features offer sun protection without making the hat harder to layer—although they do leave your neck exposed. (A scarf or a high-neck coat can offer additional coverage.)

We love that this hat is rated UPF 50+ for protection from rays that bounce off snow and ice. We also like that this hat is insulated with hollow-core microfleece, which makes it warm and cozy without adding any bulk. Plus, it has a discreet hole for a ponytail if you’re sick of trying to bundle all of your hair up. 

Like others on our list, this hat only comes in one size that may not fit everyone. 

Price at time of publication: $38

Sizes: One size | Material: Nylon, polyester, spandex | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: None | Brim Width: 2.5 inches | Care: Not listed

Best Waterproof

Outdoor Research Seattle Rain Hat

Outdoor Research Seattle Rain Hat

Outdoor Research

Pros
  • Waterproof Gore-Tex shell

  • Breathable

  • Wide range of colors and sizes

Cons
  • No adjustable crown strap

  • No air vents

Outdoor Research’s Seattle Rain Hat is our pick for the best waterproof hiking hat because it has lots of features that experts love. It’s durable, sun-protective, and easy to pack. It’s designed with a Gore-Tex shell—a durable layer Rimon recommends investing in for rainy hikes.

Gore-Tex is a thin layer of Teflon in-between layers of nylon and polyurethane. When added to fabric, it becomes waterproof. Gore-Tex is also lightweight and breathable, so the waterproof shell doesn’t make this hat any less comfortable. It’s still lightweight, foldable, and easy to toss in your bag. And even though it's designed without any air vents, it won’t trap sweat and heat when you wear it.

The Seattle is made from lightweight, sturdy nylon with UPF 50+ protection. Its long brim—which measures 3 inches in the front and 3.75 inches in the back—shields you from the elements. But it doesn’t have an adjustable crown strap like some of our other top picks do.

Price at time of publication: $65

Sizes: S to XL | Material: Gore-Tex, nylon, polyester | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3 to 3.75 inches | Care: Not listed

Best for Bugs

Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat

Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat

Outdoor Research

Pros
  • Bug-repellent finish

  • No mesh face shield

  • Stiff brim holds its shape

Cons
  • Finish wears off over time

  • Small brim

When you’re walking through thick brush, you don’t just need protection from the sun—you also need a way to keep bugs off your face. To get the job done, we recommend Outdoor Research’s Bugout Brim Hat.

The hat is made from durable nylon with UPF 50+ protection. The fabric is also treated with an EPA-registered chemical called permethrin that repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. We love that the hat’s design doesn’t obstruct your view because, unlike other hiking hats, it uses this treatment instead of a mesh face shield to block bugs. But the treatment only lasts up to 70 washes, so it may become less effective over time. 

The Bugout’s foam-stiffened brim holds its shape over time, while a moisture-wicking headband keeps sweat from pooling on your forehead. And it’s lined with breathable mesh panels, which keep your head cool on hot days. Plus, the hat comes in four different sizes—so it’s easy to find an option that fits you perfectly.

Price at time of publication: $49

Sizes: S to XL | Material: Nylon | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 2.5 inches | Care: Hand wash only

Most Stylish

Adidas Victory Bucket Hat

Adidas Victory Bucket Hat

Adidas

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Wide range of colors

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Only comes in two sizes

“One product I really like because of its utility and style is the Adidas Victory Bucket Hat,” Rimon says. “It’s lightweight,” he adds, “and actually looks stylish, unlike many wide-brim sun hats.” 

Made of polyester, the hat is lightweight and sturdy. And even though it looks sleek, it’s just as protective as our other top picks. The Victory has UPF 50 sun protection and a 3-inch brim to keep the sun off your face. It’s also packed with classic hiking hat features, like a moisture-wicking sweatband and breathable mesh panels.

We like that it comes in a range of modern colors and patterns. Choose from blues and khakis to tiger prints and stars and stripes. The variety makes it easy to find a hat you’ll enjoy wearing during hikes and outdoor activities. But it only comes in two sizes that may not fit everyone.

Price at time of publication: $32

Sizes: S/M and L/XL | Material: Polyester | UPF Protection: 50 | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3 inches | Care: Hand wash only

Best Moisture-Wicking

Columbia Bora Bora II Booney Hat

Columbia Bora Bora II Booney Hat

Backcountry

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking sweatband

  • Breathable mesh panels

  • Adjustable crown and chin straps

Cons
  • Only comes in one size

Columbia’s Bora Bora Booney II Hat is our pick for the best sweat-wicking hiking hat out there. We like that it’s comfortable, breathable, and protective. 

Like other hats on our list, the Booney II is made of durable nylon. It also has a headband made from sweat-wicking performance fabric that’s designed to lay flat and dry quickly. The hat is also lightweight and foldable, too, so it’s easy to pack in your bag. 

And thanks to its 3-inch brim, ultra-tight weave, and UPF 50 rating, it’s great at shielding your head from the sun. Lined with breathable mesh panels, it will keep you cool on hot days. Although the hat only comes in one size, it has an adjustable crown and chin straps that make the fit easy to customize.

Price at time of publication: $30

Sizes: One size | Material: Nylon | UPF Protection: 50 | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3 inches | Care: Not listed

Best for Ponytail

Mukeyo Summer Sun Hat

Mukeyo Summer Sun Hat

Amazon

Pros
  • Broad brim

  • Breathable mesh panels

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Ponytail cutout isn’t sun-protective

  • Only comes in one size

Packable, breathable, and protective, Mukeyo’s Summer Sun Hat is our pick for a hiking hat that’s functional and stylish. We love the ponytail hole, an added feature that makes it easy to keep your hair out of your face while you hike. (Note that the ponytail hole creates a small gap in coverage and sun protection.)

Made from waterproof polyester, this hat is durable and comfortable. And since it’s lightweight and foldable, it’s easy to bring on the go. It has UPF 50+ sun protection and a 3.35-inch brim that’s one of the largest on our list. Breathable mesh panels make it a solid pick for hot days and sweaty treks.

While this hat only comes in one size, it has an adjustable drawstring for a closer fit. 

Price at time of publication: $14

Sizes: One size | Material: Polyester | UPF Protection: 50+ | Closure: Drawstring | Brim Width: 3.35 inches | Care: Hand wash only

How We Selected the Best Hiking Hats

To find the best hiking hats, we spoke with Dr. Hadley King, M.D., dermatologist at Dr. Hadley King Dermatology, Dr. Erum Ilyas, M.D., dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, Justin Rimon, outdoor guide and founder of Just Trek, Alicia Filley, PT, MS, physical therapist and hiking guide, and Michele Stanten, ACE-GFI, walking coach, running coach, and group fitness instructor. King and Ilyas walked us through the basics of sun protection, helping us narrow down which hiking hats had enough UPF protection. Rimon and Filley provided their expertise on other features hiking hats need, like durability, comfort, and fit. Stanten explained how these features can translate to a better hiking experience out on the trail.

With our experts’ advice in mind, we researched dozens of hiking hats to find the top options available on the market. We looked for hats with UPF ratings of at least 50 with coverage-friendly features, like bills, brims, and neck capes. We also considered price, style, fit, design, weight, and breathability. 

What to Look for in a Hiking Hat

Fit

Size ranges vary between hiking hats, so it’s a good idea to check the brand’s size chart before buying. Look for hats with adjustable features like drawstrings, cords, and straps that make it easy to customize the hat’s fit. Then, make sure the hat is comfortable enough to wear for many hours of hiking, whether that means it’s lightweight, sweat-wicking, ponytail-friendly, or all three. “The best hat is one you will actually wear,” Filley says. “Even though you know you should wear [the hat], if you don’t like it or find it uncomfortable, you won’t.”

Sun Protection

If you want a hiking hat that protects you from the sun, look for two key features: a high UPF rating and a broad brim. “The UPF [Ultraviolet Protection Factor] rating tells us the amount of UV rays that a garment can block,” Dr. King says. “The higher a fabric’s UPF rating, the more protection it offers.” She recommends hats that are UPF 50 rated, meaning they’ll block 98 percent of UV rays.

Also, consider how well the hat will shield your face and neck. “Classically, I see sun damage accumulate along the temples, sides of the cheeks, tops of the ears, and neck,” Dr. Ilyas says. “Ideally, a brim that is at least 3 inches wide [that extends] around the entire head will provide better, more uniform UV protection.” But be careful with hats that include breathable features, like cutouts and mesh panels. These openings may keep you comfortable, but they won’t block UV rays—even if the hat is UPF rated.

Protection From the Elements

In addition to the sun, many hiking hats can also protect you from other elements. On hot days, Rimon and Filley recommend a sun-protective hat that’s breathable to prevent you from overheating. In the rain, Rimon advises wearing a hat with a waterproof Gore-Tex shell. And on windy days, he recommends a hat with an adjustable chinstrap to keep it from blowing away. During colder months, an insulated hat with sun protection will keep you shielded from the weather. And if you’re worried about bugs, look for a hat finished with a bug-repellent treatment, like Outdoor Research’s Bugout Brim Hat.

Convenience

“A great hiking hat is lightweight, packable, and something you’ll enjoy using,” Filley says. Make your life easier by picking a hiking hat that’s lightweight and foldable, like Sunday Afternoons' Meridian Thermal Cap, so it’s easy to throw in your bag. Also, look at the care instructions for your hiking hat: Is it machine-washable or hand-wash only? Choose one that’s easy for you to care for over time, so it will last for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I wear a hat while hiking?

    All of the experts we spoke to agree: You should definitely wear a hat while hiking. A hiking hat can protect you from the sun, reduce glare on bright days, and keep you from overheating when it’s hot, Rimon says. Depending on the hat you buy, it may also keep you dry in the rain, lock in warmth in the cold, and keep pests away on buggy days.

    Wearing a hiking hat can even improve your posture, Michele Stanten, ACE-GFI, adds: "If you're getting sun in your eyes, you're more likely to look at the ground instead of keeping your head up." The strain of looking down can lead to injuries down the road because "forward head flexion causes strain in your neck and upper back," she says.

  • What type of hat is best for sun protection?

    If you want to protect yourself from the sun, look for a hat that’s UPF rated with a broad, wraparound brim. “When browsing the hat section, look for hats that cover the scalp,” [and] avoid ones with cutouts or openings,” Dr. Ilyas says. “Next, look at the brim—does it go all the way around the hat or just offer shade in the front?” Then, check if the hat is UPF rated, meaning it offers protection from the sun’s UV rays. When it comes to UPF, a higher number indicates a more protective hat. “A broad-brimmed hat with UPF 50+ is the best option,” Dr. King explains—like our best overall pick, Sunday Afternoons’ Ultra Adventure Hat.

  • How do I measure hat size?

    Hat sizes are typically based on the head circumference or the total distance around your head. To measure your hat size, use a soft measuring tape around the widest point of your head (usually about the middle of your forehead). Compare this number with the hat’s size chart to find your size.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Lindsey Lanquist is a contributing writer for Verywell Fit with seven years of experience in the health and fitness space. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Skin Cancer Foundation. Sun protecting clothing: A safe, simple way to keep the rays at bay. 

  2. Bydełek A, Berdychowski M, Talaśka K. Modeling of material characteristics of conventional synthetic fabricsAutex Research Journal. 2022, June. doi:10.2478/aut-2022-0002