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3 Different Types of Hats for Hiking

A man wearing a hat.

With the right gear, fresh air, and spectacular views, hiking can be a fantastic way to appreciate the great outdoors, and wearing the proper hiking hat can enhance the experience. As a result, many types of hats are available, and not all of them are suitable for hiking.

That said, what are the different types of hiking hats?

Most outdoor travelers like to wear one of three types of hiking hats when venturing into the wilderness. Sun Hats, Baseball Caps, and Bucket Hats are three hiking hats designed explicitly in different shapes, sizes, styles, and features specifically for typical outdoor use, including hiking.

With only three types of hiking hats, deciding on one for you isn’t all that difficult. However, choosing the right brand, material, durability, ventilation, and style, on the other hand, can be pretty challenging.

In light of that, let’s take a further look into each hiking hat style, along with the best ones to choose and their features.

Related to: 8 Types of Sustainable Clothing for Camping and Hiking

The Three Different Types Of Hiking Hats

Hats have become almost exclusively viewed as a functional item in recent decades.

As a result, I usually only wear them in extreme temperatures and when hiking: on the coldest winter days to keep warm and the hottest summer days to protect our head and eyes from the sun. It wasn’t always like this, though!

Until the 1960s, any self-respecting gentleman believed a hat to be an essential element of his daily clothing. Consequently, every man and woman wore a hat to complete their ensemble, whatever the weather.

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These days, the temperature and their own style now play a significant role in determining his hat type, especially when hiking.

The straw hat was one of the few notable exceptions. Since the Middle Ages, straw hats have been used in the USA, Europe, and Asia to cover one’s head from the sun and avoid heatstroke.

In light of that, starting with the most commonly won hiking Sun Hat, let’s take a further look into their background.

The Sun Hat – Wide Brimmed Hat With The Most All-Round Shade

A gray routdoor research sombriolet.

Source: Best Hiking

The Sun Hat (also called a floppy hat, harvest hat,  fedora, or field hat) is a head covering used to keep the sun off the face and shoulders.

The straw sun hat, fiber sun hat, and pith helmet are just some of the materials and varieties of sun hats available (sun helmet). Sun hats are popular in many regions worldwide, particularly in holiday spots near the equator.

They’re outstanding in shielding you from harmful UV rays. A sun hat’s brim can be modest or lengthy, depending on the style. As a general rule, brims should be four to seven inches wide.

John B. Stetson developed the first sun hat—made of straw, no less—in 1865, and the shape has remained virtually unaltered since then. Sun-straw hats were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and everyone wore them.

With their broad brims and ventilated crowns, these hats are equally at home in the wilderness as they are in the park. But, on the other hand, the wide brim gets caught in the wind in windy weather.

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They’re lightweight and easy to put on, with adjustable drawstrings to keep them in place, and they occasionally have more extended flaps on the back to shield your entire head from the sun’s rays.

The Baseball Cap

A baseball cap on the tip of blue pipe.

Thanks to its slimline silhouette and close-fitting style, a baseball cap provides protection while allowing you to work out and stay active in the sun.

In addition, they can assist in protecting your eyes from the bright glare of the sun by having large front bills, and ventilated crowns will keep your head cool.

Those will long hair will appreciate the added comfort of a baseball cap, which allows them to poke their ponytail out the rear neatly.

Although a baseball cap is more fashionable, its short brim leaves the sides of your face, neck, and ears mostly exposed. Floppy hats with a brim of more than 4 inches provide the best protection, but they’re not the most practical for hiking.

However, other baseball caps have a cape – also known as a caped cap – that can shield the back of the neck, and some designs can even spread around the sides of your ears and face.

The front of the hat usually has a design or logo (historically, usually only a sports team, namely a baseball team, or names of relevant companies, when used as a commercial marketing technique).

The hat’s rear may contain elastic, a plastic prong-in-a-hole (many holes with one prong that you can insert), Velcro, a zipper, or a tri-glide slide so that it can be swiftly altered to fit different wearers’ heads.

The baseball hat is an integral component of the classic baseball uniform, with the brim pointed forward to guard the eyes against the sun.

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Baseball caps have grown popular in the United States and many other countries since the 1980s for hiking, typical outdoor use, and fashion accessory purposes.

The Bucket Hat

A woman on a hike and wearing a bucket hat.

A bucket hat (also known as a boonie, fisherman’s hat, Irish country hat, or session hat) has a narrow, downward-sloping brim.

The hat is typically composed of heavy-duty cotton fabric such as denim or canvas or strong wool such as tweed, with metal eyelets put on the hat’s crown for ventilation.

It was first popularized as a high fashion item in the 1960s, with successive revivals on the street and the catwalk.

It is currently popular festival clothing, often known as a “session hat,” and is worn by fans of Sticky Fingers, The Stone Roses, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Oasis, Yung Lean, and The Courteeners.

These traditional-style hats are incredibly adaptable, with wide brims (similar to the traditional sun hat), ventilated crowns, and adjustable size, making them appropriate for various applications.

However, these hats have a more outdoorsy aspect to them and are popular with people who like to hunt, fish, hike, and camp, and they have a very macho look and feel to them.

What Are Some Of The Best Hiking Hats?

While it may not always be the first thing that comes to mind (often for seasoned hikers, too), a hat should always be on your hiking packing list.

Weather in the highlands can be impulsive, so protecting your head and eyes from bright sun rays or sudden rain should always be a priority.

The best hiking hats come in various styles and sizes, and they are designed to fit while providing maximum protection from the weather comfortably.

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Depending on where you intend to trek, you may go for a minimalist model akin to a baseball cap or a full-coverage sun hat with 360-degree protection.

I’ve chosen the best hiking hats for you, so you don’t have to apply many applications of sunscreen before your trip (but always wear at least one coat of sunblock on your face!).

Whether you want a full-on nose-to-neck cover or something more fashion-forward, there is something here for everyone.

That said, starting with XYZ, here’s what value they will bring to your next hiking adventure.

Sunday Afternoon Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat

Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat, Pumice, Large

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.7 of 5 stars

The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure is one of the best-performing sun hats overall, especially for technical use. This hat offers excellent sun protection while staying lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and highly packable. I had a great time having this model with me on most of my hiking adventures.

It has a substantial down-sloping brim and a long neck cape that protects you from the fierce mountain sun, even if it is a little goofy. It’s also less likely to get in the way of a backpack, making it an exceptionally comfortable option.

On days when you don’t need it, the brim may be folded in half and stowed in your pack. It has some surprising features, such as a sunglass keeper and anti-glare material under the brim for when you’re traveling on reflecting surfaces like water or snow.

The only drawback to this top performer is that you may have to sacrifice your ego to wear it. But as the saying goes, focus on function, not fashion.

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However, this model has everything else you need to keep the “Death Star” from scorching your neck and face. This hat will keep you cool while washing your car or gardening, as well as on hot desert walks or summer kayak excursions along your local creek.

GearTOP UPF 50+ Wide Brim Sun Hat

GearTOP UPF 50+ Wide Brim Sun Hat for Men and Women to Protect Against UV Sun Rays for Hiking Camping Fishing Safari (Khaki, 7-7 1/2)

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This remarkable tiny sun hat provides 50+ UPF protection against both UVA and UVB rays, is well-ventilated to keep you cool, and is lightweight and pleasant to wear.

In the heat of the day, the mesh panels allow your head to breathe, while the adjustable drawstring keeps the hat firmly on your head even when it’s breezy.

The wide-brimmed shape provides shade for your eyes, face, and neck area, and the quick-drying fabric makes it ideal for usage in humid and damp weather.

Filson Summer Packer Hat

A photo of Filson Summer Packer Hat in a white background.

Source: Back Country

Get it at the Backcountry store here

The Filson Summer Packer shielded my skin, stole my heart, and deserved to be in the spotlight. Thanks to its clean lines and classic fedora style, this is one of the most appealing hats I tried.

However, it performs far better than an essential fashion ornament.

The Summer Packer is tough and breathable, and it stands up well to being folded and crushed within a pack.

This hat’s design also makes it more suitable with a backpack than the other full-brim hats I examined, so it’s a good option for long-distance hiking trips.

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In addition, this hat style is one of the most comfortable I’ve tested. I could go the entire day without taking it off.

No hat is flawless. The Summer Packer’s primary drawbacks are that it isn’t adjustable (though it does come in five sizes) and that it’s not as protective as some of the other hats in this review, particularly the cape-style caps.

It may not be the perfect answer for the most technical outdoor sports, where you’ll be spending extended days in harsh circumstances. That’s why the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure is still my go-to hat for technical purposes.

The Filson Summer Packer, on the other hand, is your best pick if you’re seeking a long-lasting, comfy sun hat that can carry you from the trail to the bar patio.

Muryobao Women’s Ponytail Sun Hat

Muryobao Women Ponytail Summer Sun Hat Wide Brim UV Hats Floppy Bucket Cap for Safari Beach Fishing Gardening Pure Grey

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.6 of 5 stars

This broad brim hat is ideal for girls who enjoy hiking, fishing, and adventuring in the great outdoors, and it incorporates a ponytail hole to keep wearers with longer hair comfortable.

This hat, which comes in a range of stylish colors, has folding side snaps that allow it to be worn in an assortment of different ways, and the broader brim has been created to shield your eyes, face, and neck from the sun’s damaging rays.

It is lightweight and comfortable to wear, constructed of quick-drying, waterproof, and breathable material.

The versatile design allows it to be folded down tiny and kept nearby you at all times.

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Arc’teryx Calvus Cap

A photo of Arc'teryx Calvus Cap in a white backgound.

Source: Rei

Get it at the Rei store here

The Rei store rating: 4.4 of 5 stars

Next on this list of the best hiking hats is one of many hikers’ favorite brands – Arc’teryx! Arc’teryx elevates hiking clothing to new heights time and again, especially with the Calvus Cap.

The Calvus Cap is an excellent hiking cap for both men and women. As a result, if you want to share a hat with your spouse (this hiking hat is washable), this is the hat for you!

The Calvus is a water-resistant garment composed of lightweight and breathable socora polyester fabric. In addition, it has a moisture-wicking fabric and a spacer mesh sweatband for added comfort.

From the trail to town, the Calvus boasts a shooting brim that looks cool and fashionable. I especially like its long-lasting, water-resistant finish, which protects against light rain, which you will undoubtedly meet on the trails.

Combine them with a decent pair of hiking sunglasses, and you’re ready to spend the summer outdoors!

The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat

THE NORTH FACE Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat - Asphalt Grey Small/Medium

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.9 of 5 stars

Anybody who wants to save some money but does not want to wear a cape-style hat will appreciate the North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat. I like how this very comfy hat features a broad mesh crown that allows for plenty of ventilation. In addition, it is more comfortable to wear with a backpack than wide-brimmed hats.

I discovered that the Horizon Breeze Brimmer could withstand repeated folding and crushing. It is a hat I’d be pleased to toss into a backpack or pack for whatever outdoor activity the day held, and it’s also one of the most economical ones I examined.

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The Horizon Breeze Brimmer has a slimmer brim than some of the other hats I examined, so it doesn’t provide as much sun protection as the Outdoor Research Sun Runner.

And while it’s highly breathable, and I adore the color, I found the Horizon Breeze Brimmer’s brim to be very floppy, which got in the way of a large backpack and my field of vision at times.

Arc’teryx Sonsola Bucket Hat

A pink Arc'teryx sonsola bucket hat.

Source: Amazon

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

While most of the hats in this review are a little dorky, the Arc’teryx Sinsola is elegant and attractive. This female-specific hat has an Audrey Hepburn look, and I think it’s stylish enough to wear to a casual outdoor event.

It’s also really comfortable, and it folds up to nothing, so you can have it in your bag or purse all the time. Even after being crushed, this hat returns to its original shape with no creases visible.

The Sinsola, while elegant, is not a great technical performer. Its brim has a distinct curved form that makes it difficult to glance around or take in the scenery when hiking, particularly while wearing a pack.

It’s also not at all adjustable. It also doesn’t perform all too well when it’s windy.

Furthermore, there is also has very little ventilation. Therefore, users looking for a hat that would keep them protected deep in the outdoors should consider an alternative.

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat

Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat, Pumice, Large

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.7 of 5 stars

Tilley has long been known for its sun protection hats, and it makes an excellent hiking sun hat. They’ve traveled the world and had their fair share of experiences. It keeps its shape, and the material is fashionable. In addition, Tilley is unique in that they guarantee their hats for life against wear and tear.

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A hat with a wide brim keeps the sun off your face. Its floating ability and concealed pocket to carry an ID or money are features I appreciate in addition to the guarantee.

It has everything a good hiking hat should have. Although the higher price point may put some people off, keep in mind that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Caped Cap

Sun Runner Cap

Get it at the Amazon store here

Amazon rating: 4.1 of 5 stars

The Outdoor Research Sun Runner is a multifunctional and protective style that is reasonably priced. The Sun Runner is practically two hats for the price of one, making it an excellent buy.

This hat comes with a detachable “neck cape” – not the most fashionable, but quite useful when you need extra protection from harsh solar radiation, such as in the middle of the desert with no shade trees in sight.

Remove the neck cape when you need less protection for a more hip look with better air circulation. I adore this hat and the variety of colors available.

However, although the neck cape is quite protective, it might restrict air circulation around your neck and cause you to feel damp on hot days.

The air seems to flow a little better when you run, which may be why Outdoor Research dubbed it the Sun Runner rather than the Sun Hiker.

North Face Door To Trail Mesh Cap

A black The North Face trail mesh cap.

Source: Rei

Get it at the Rei store here

The Rei store rating: 4.8 of 5 stars

This hat strikes a balance between the flimsiness of lightweight, breathable cloth and its durability. The front panel and brim are made of a polyester material that is elastic enough to fit any head shape.

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And, to keep your head cool, the rest of the hat is composed of mesh. The adjuster is a straightforward hook and loop closure. It’s difficult to adjust on the move, yet it never slips.

This hat is an excellent choice for long days spent traveling down trails because it is quick-drying and breathable. The sweatband is comfortable against the brow. And it dries rapidly enough that you won’t get saturated even as the temperature rises. It also looks beautiful enough to wear once your hike is done.

The Best Hiking Hats: What To Consider?

Now that you understand the three types of hiking hats, what is just as important are the features you need to consider before buying one that suits your needs and climate conditions. That said, it would help if you considered the following factors.

The Level Of Sun Protection

A woman wearing a hat for Sun protection.

The primary reason for wearing a hat when hiking is to provide sun protection while out on the path. Make sure to wear a sun-protective hat. A material’s UPF rating reflects how much UV radiation it allows through to your skin.

For example, a UPF-rating of 50 indicates that 1/50 UV photons (2%) are emitted through a specific fabric, which shields against 98 percent of UV radiation.

Therefore, the tightness of the weave in the material used is the most critical parameter for the UPF-rating.

Still, other factors such as construction, fiber type (wool, polyester, cotton, etc.), amount of stretch, dyes, treatments, and garment condition (new or worn-out) also influence the level of UV protection.

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Consider Waterproof Features

You never know when it will rain. If you live in a county that frequently rains, search for a hiking hat that offers some moisture protection. The Arc’teryx Calvus Cap stated earlier is excellent.

Comfort Is A Major Plus

The obvious goes without saying that if you’re going to be wearing something on your head all day, it should be comfy. I despise being uncomfortable while hiking, so having something lightweight and comfortable is essential.

It is where the OutDoor Research Swift Hiking Cap comes in handy.

The Materials It Is Made Up Of

A hat mage of a woven fiber.

Synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester work best in this application. Synthetics dry rapidly, which is essential for a hat because you’ll be sweating in it.

Get a hat made of opaque and tightly woven fibers for optimal durability and sun protection. A hat will be more durable if the weave is tighter.

Furthermore, a tighter weave allows fewer UV rays to penetrate through the hat and onto your skin.

You should also avoid cotton and straw hats. If cotton gets wet, it will stay moist for hours. Furthermore, straw hats aren’t woven firmly enough to give adequate sun protection.

Moreover, a straw hat cannot withstand the demands of extended trekking journeys.

A hiking hat should be made of a lightweight, moisture-wicking, and comfortable fabric. In addition, most have absorbent sweatbands that keep sweat from trickling down your brow.

In addition, hiking hat fabric should ideally be quick-drying and abrasion-resistant, so it doesn’t snag or tear on the first low-hanging branch you knock your head first on.

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You can’t climb a mountain without breaking a sweat, but the best hiking hats will keep your perspiration to a minimum: breathable mesh or air vents in the crown aid with airflow.

Consider The Different Shapes And Styles

Again, hiking hats exist in various shapes and styles, so choose one that fits your preferences. The two main styles described in this piece are the baseball camp style and the broad brim wrap-around sun hat.

It all hinges on what you’re searching for when it comes to hiking. Traditional ball caps are appropriate for mild temperatures, although specific full brim sun hats are excellent for mosquito protection and 360-degree sun protection.


Whether it is for targeting certain protection levels, uses, comfort, or just simply overall preference, all the different hiking hat types have their preferred role to play. Now that you better understand the three common types of hiking hats, choosing the best ones comes with a list of decisions.

That said, take your time to go through what you consider before buying one, or run through the best that many seasoned hikers adore! There is an adventurous hiker in all of us; no matter what trail we take in life, an excellent hiking hat makes that journey so much better.


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