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Whether you're a novice hiker or a hardcore adventurer, you want to be sure you have the best hiking hat for your needs.
A lot of people don't consider a hiking hat part of their hiking gear essentials, but in reality, having the right headwear when you're trekking through the backcountry can make a big difference. Not only are most baseball caps not quick-drying, but they don't provide the right airflow that a proper hiking hat offers.
These bucket hats and sun hats from Amazon are some of the best for UV protection and breathability. These outdoor hats differ from standard ball caps in their wide brims and moisture-wicking capabilities, so you'll be much more comfortable on your next hike.
What is UPF?
UPF is ultraviolet protection factor. Skincancer.org writes, "UPF indicates how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin. For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun's rays and allows two percent (1/50th) to penetrate, thus reducing your exposure risk significantly."
When shopping for summertime outdoor apparel, be sure to look for clothing with a UPF 50+rating. However, many budget-friendly options may offer 30-40 UPF+ protection, which is still a good rating for outdoors. Just be sure to wear sunscreen as well, and to limit time in the sun each day.
Be sure also to consider shades of clothing in the summertime. Skincancer.org also notes that dark and bright colors keep UV rays from reaching your skin by absorbing them. So, be sure to pick a dark or bright color. Many sellers are sure to have various colors to choose from.
Best Hiking Hats
Protect yourself from harmful UV rays with this Columbia cap. Columbia's Omni-Shade technology is top-notch for protecting yourself from long-term skin damage. With UPF 50 sun protection and sunscreen, you'll feel ready to take on the heat.
With ventilation to keep your head cool, plus an adjustable chin strap to keep the hat securely in place, this is a great go-to hiking hat. The $30 hiking hat is also perfect for everyday wear. It's casual enough for walks, errands, and sporting events.
Amanda gave it a five-star review and wrote, "Perfect fit!!! I was worried about this being one size men's (I am a woman with a size small head) but the toggle in the back makes this hat perfect..."
With a moisture-wicking sweatband and a UPF 50 rating, this brimmed hat is perfect for backpacking trips or long hours spent outdoors. The removable neck shield is great for sunny days and scorching hot summers. If your neck gets sunburned, you'll definitely want a hat like this option.
Michael gave it five stars and wrote, "I wear this for fishing and recently wore it while swimming and boogie boarding in Hawaii. I have a bald head and this is a life saver, perhaps literally."
This bucket hat comes in a bunch of colors and is highly rated for UV protection, making it great for long days in the backcountry sunshine. It's incredibly lightweight and packable, making it ideal for camping or backpacking trips.
Tilley is a well-known Canadian brand for top-rated hats. If you'd like to trust a brand that thousands of customers rave about, you can't go wrong with sun hats from Tilley.
We love that you can wash this hat on the delicate cycle! We all know hiking hats can get pretty gross after a few hikes.
With an absorbent headband and dark fabric under the brim, this hat is great to pair with sunscreen if you're going for maximum UV protection. It's one of the most durable and best hiking hats for anyone who wants a simple, no-frills cap.
It offers UPF 50 protection, and the piping along the brim edge offers greater wind resistance in the case of an unexpected storm. Outdoor Research is another top-rated outdoor apparel brand hikers love.
A five-star review: "This one has vents and mesh lining in the crown which helps keep your head cool and aids in moisture management as well."
This safari hat by Sunday Afternoons is perfect for both men and women and is an awesome outdoor hat for hikers of all skill levels. It's quick-drying and great for any outdoor activity. The neck flap helps prevent the dreaded neck sunburn and helps keep you comfortable.
UPF 50+ rating, of course (which is the highest rating).
This Tilley LTM6 hat is made of 100% Supplex nylon and guaranteed for life. It offers 98% blockage from harmful UV radiation and has a UPF rating of 50+. There's even a secret pocket in the top of this sunhat to store any small items you want to take with you!
David gave it four stars and wrote, "Expensive, but well made and correctly sized."
This floppy brim hat from The North Face is perfect for any adventures you may find yourself on. The breathable moisture-wicking fabric construction and a moisture management sweatband keep you cool and comfortable while you trek, hike, or explore. It comes in a variety of cute colors too, so you can rep whichever hue suits your style. It has a UPF 40+ rating.
A five-star review, "I have a small head and the hat fit well. Wore it all summer in the pool and shape held up."
This article was originally published on April 14, 2021.
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