What is the Best Hiking Hat?

When you’re out enjoying a long hike on a sunny day, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sunburned on the top of your head. Ask me how I know!

That’s the kind of thing that ruins your weekend. Having the best hiking hat possible is an essential part of any hiker’s kit. Whether you’re looking for a wide-brimmed hat or just a hiking trucker hat, I’ll help you find the right one. A good hat is one of the most underrated things to have on a trip, whether it’s just for a day or an entire week.

The features I find most important in a good hat for hiking is good sun coverage, a UPF 50+ rating, durability, and lastly, a proper fit. 

After all, what good is a hat if it gives you a headache after wearing it?

Person hiking on a trail

Columbia Bora Bora II Booney Hat

If you’ve done any hiking or outdoor activities, you’ve probably come across Columbia in your shopping before.Columbia Booney Hat - it's a proven design to keep the sun out of your eyes. I’ve only had great experiences with their products, and this Booney hat is no exception.

The material used is textured nylon poplin, which means that it’s going to be resistant to the elements. A crucial factor for hiking when you’re going to be sweating a lot and potentially getting rained on!

It’s also rated UPF 50. That makes it great for providing ample protection from the sun. The only downside to this hiking hat is the look – but when I’m out on a hike, I’m dressing for pure functionality anyways. 

The price is right on the money for what you get as well.


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Hiking Trucker Hat? Outdoor Research Swift

The Outdoor Research Swift is somewhat close to the trucker hat style, with a distinct advantage: more protection from the sun. The Outdoor Research Swift trucker hat will serve you well if you're looking for a regular style.

While it’s not the same, that’s for the best. This design provides more sun coverage over the top and back of the head but still has ventilation on both sides to help keep you cool on those long hikes.

Much like the Columbia hat, it’s made of nylon to provide the most strength and resistance to the elements. (Huge amounts of sweat, mostly.) The most significant difference between this hat and the Columbia hat is that it’s much more lightweight.

The design of it provides a bit less sun protection on the sides, but that’s no surprise.

The only real con I find with this hat is that it is a little more expensive. Not by an outrageous amount, but enough to make you consider the other hiking hats on the market.

The overwhelming amount of positive reviews say a lot though about this brand. They make more than just this style of hat, so don’t hesitate to look further into them.


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Looking for an outback style hat? The Dorfman Pacific

This hat’s style is everything the Booney hat wishes it could be. The Dorfman Outback Hat is perfect for pretending you're Josh Gates when you're out on the trail.The western-style and wide brim doesn’t just look good either – the Dorfman Pacific boasts a UPF 50 rating to keep your head protected from the sun.

The other cool thing about the rim is that it’s shapeable. There’s a wire inside it that helps hold the position – extra handy for blocking the sun. The hat is made of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, which is an excellent mix for breathability. The cotton definitely wouldn’t lend itself well to getting wet.

One of the other perks is how many sizes there are – a godsend for those of us with larger heads. The only downside to this hat is with these premium features comes a slightly more premium price. It looks like the best survival hat ever though, at least when you compare it to the other hats on this list.



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Need neck coverage? Sunday Afternoons Ultra-Adventure Hat

If you thought the Booney hat wasn’t a looker, well…The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure is perfect for covering your neck from the sun. Not much else.let’s just say the Ultra-Adventure is one of the best hats for hiking when it comes to providing sun protection for your neck.Few hats come close, and the material mix of nylon and polyester is excellent for dealing with moisture of any kind.

The hat also has excellent ventilation on the top, as well as a nifty “sunglasses” lock to put the arms of your glasses in. A really nice touch by Sunday Afternoons! The adjustable sizing is also a win, considering the Columbia Booney hat doesn’t have it.

If you can get past the looks, you have one of the most protective and functional hats on the market for hiking. While it isn’t cheap, it’s well priced for what it offers.


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Finding the right outdoor hat for you

Personal preference and needs are enormous for hats in general, but especially hats for hiking. That makes it hard to determine a best hiking hat as we are all different. The most considerable difference between the hats I’ve reviewed is the amount of sun coverage you get from the design — wide brim, no brim, etc. All of the materials used in them are weather and sweat resistant – the more synthetic ones will outperform the others in this regard.

Ventilation is another aspect that almost all of these hats excel in. Regular caps that lack the vents and usually end up heating your head more than anything!

Price-wise, these aren’t too different except for the Dorfman. I don’t see it as a factor to skimp on in this scenario. Typically, you don’t want to go cheap when you’re buying your outdoor gear unless it’s for a yearly trip kind of thing. Buying a quality hat will bring you enough comfort and usability in the long run that the cheap stuff doesn’t. 

All in all, with this line up of hats for hiking, I’m sure you can find one that suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for a hiking hat for men or a women’s hiking hat, all of these are pretty unisex.

If not, you know what features to look for elsewhere in store. Here’s to more hiking with less sunburn!

Want more clothing recommendations? Check out this article I wrote on what to wear hiking.

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