25+ Best Hiking Hats That Are Functional And Cool

Always take a hat when you go for a hike. Hiking hats are an essential piece of hiking gear. They are key to staying cool, comfortable, and maintaining good health on the trails. Hats are definitely an important item of clothing to wear on your hikes.

Many people just take their favorite baseball or sun hat. However, there are strong benefits to wearing a hat that is specifically designed for the outdoors. A hiking hat.

We spent hours looking over what the top manufacturers currently offer to uncover the best hiking hats that you can get in 2022. Not only does our list of hats offer excellent performance, but they also look like cool hiking hats.

Best hiking hats for men and women that are stylish and cool

So, why should you have a go-to hiking hat? Primarily for sun protection and comfort but there are additional benefits. Check out the best hiking hats available at REI this year. Or read on for our top picks of the newest and best hats for hiking.

Top brands for hiking hats

These are our favorite brands that make functional and good-looking hats for hikers. Start browsing the newest hats by clicking the links below.

Benefits of a hiking hat

  • Protects your face and neck from the sun
  • Made of comfortable lightweight materials
  • Keeps rain snow and sweat out of your eyes
  • Props up jacket hoods away from your face
  • Keeps bug netting away from your skin (better insect protection)
  • Provides a surface to clip on lights or other tools
  • Better ventilation (than regular hats)
  • Waterproof or water-resistant fabrics keep your head dry

How to choose the best hiking hat?

There are a number of factors that you should consider before buying a new hiking hat.

The main focus should be on protection and comfort.

However, there are other important features and components to look for and think about.

Protection

The point of a top-quality hiking hat is to provide protection from the sun and weather.

Sun protection

The first line of protection comes from the materials or fabric used in the hat. Look for a hiking hat that has the highest rating to combat the ultraviolet rays (UVR) of the sun. You want to shield yourself from UVA and UVB radiation. The best hiking hats block 98% of UVA/UVB radiation. The higher the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) the better. Look for a hat that has least 30UPF, but ideally greater than 50UPF. The fabrics used in hats will have different UPF ratings. The fabric material, color, weight, and weave determine how high the UPF rating will be in a hat. Dark colors, heavier weight fabric, and a tighter weave will allow less UVR to penetrate the hat. Of course, lighter colors and fabrics are typically cooler and more comfortable.

The other way to protect yourself from the sun is to get a hat with a wide brim, larger brim, or neck cape. They may not look so cool but these features are effective at keeping the sun off your skin.

Rain protection

Another consideration is how a hiking hat can protect you from the rain.

Synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester can make a hat more water-resistant compared to cotton.

Hats that have Gore-Tex lining will be waterproof and breathable.

Brim width/shape/style

This is pretty straightforward. A bigger or wider brim will provide more shade and thus protect more of your body and skin. A wide brim hiking hat is essential in hot climates, at high elevations, or during the Summer months.

A full brim that goes around the entire hat will shade your ears and neck better than a hat that only has a brim in the front like a baseball hat. A 3-4 inch brim will provide great protection from the sun. Full brim hiking hats are a great option for those that are sensitive to the sun.

Keep in mind that larger brims can impede your vision or be uncomfortable if you are carrying a large backpack.

Some hats offer flaps (neck capes) or detachable flaps to complement the hat brim. This provides additional ear and neck protection.

Comfort and sizing (fit)

Comfort is very important and should guide your decision. The degree of comfort is going to be determined by the sizing, how the hat fits, and the materials used.

One size fits all is most often one size fits many. It is a good idea to measure and know your head size. Then you can match it up to the size specifications of hats. Wrap a flexible measuring tape or a string around your head. Be sure to cross the middle of your forehead, across your temples, and around the back of your skull that sticks out the most.

Another option is to look for a hiking hat that is adjustable in size.

Avoid wearing hats that are too small or feel tight on your head. This feeling will only worsen over the course of a long hike.

Also, be sure that the hat isn’t too loose. That will just get irritating. A hat that is too loose will flop around, get in your eyes, and could blow away if it is windy. If you plan on hiking in windy conditions you may want a hiking hat with a chin strap.

Hat Materials

Synthetic Fabrics

Most hiking hats are made of synthetic fabrics. The most common fibers used are nylon and polyester. Polyester is great because it doesn’t absorb water, wicks away any moisture, dries fast, and is durable. Nylon is very durable and does an okay job with moisture management.

Natural fabrics

The most common natural fabrics are cotton and hemp.

Cotton is not ideal for any article of hiking clothing in the majority of weather conditions. Cotton has benefits in very hot dry climates but that is about it.

Hemp is different and offers some clear benefits. This fiber is durable, comfortable, wicks away moisture, has natural anti-microbial properties, and can block up to 95% of ultraviolet rays. Hemp is environmentally friendly and chemical-free.

Wool is a fiber that can be found in hats. It is okay at moisture management, is very breathable, and is fairly durable.

Durability

For any hiking gear, hiking footwear, or hiking clothing, durability should be important to you and guide your decisions. Hiking equipment is expensive, so seek value.

A durable hiking hat will provide hours of service. Perhaps years. Why buy, wear, and destroy multiple hats per season if you can find one that will have a longer lifespan?

So, what factors make a hat durable and last longer?
  • Durable fabric (Nylon is the strongest)
  • Quality thread and stitching
  • A tight weave
  • Crushable fabric that can maintain hat shape
  • Mildew and mold resistant fabric (hemp)
  • Color
    • Light colors get dirty faster (cleaning can age the hat)
    • Dark colors get bleached by the sun (ruins fabric)
  • Washable fabric (most baseballs do not wash well)

Breathability and ventilation

A well ventilated and breathable hat is going to be more comfortable. If you are hiking in fair weather, hot climates, or warmer months of the year it is important to have a hat that breathes and delivers airflow. A hot, sweaty hat that doesn’t breathe is not comfortable. Sweating can cause sunblock and insect repellent to get in your eyes which is not pleasant and could be a health hazard.

Many hiking hats have mesh panels to help with ventilation. Mesh hiking hats that have vents are definitely going to keep you the coolest and are the best option.

Nylon hats are lightweight, dry quickly, and breathe.

The best hiking hats will keep you cool and comfortable. A bad hiking hat that doesn’t breathe properly can heat you up and cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Color

Most hiking hats are lighter in color. Light color fabric will reflect heat. Look for a hat that is a lighter shade on top.

Dark colors absorb more UVR. However, they can be much hotter on the trails. A darker underside to the hat brim can be beneficial.

Style

Looking good and feeling good are important. Not all hiking hats are stylish. Many look downright nerdy/geeky/dorky.

In our selection of the best hiking hats, we attempted to zero in on as many hats that we could find that approach a semi-cool rating at a minimum.

When you buy a hiking hat take a good long look in the mirror before you hit the trails. Be honest, and ask yourself, “is this a hat I am okay with wearing over the long term”?

Protection and comfort should definitely be the number one priority. But it is also important to find a hat that you can feel okay with wearing on your hikes. The last thing you want to do is change your mind and waste your money. Or worse, not wearing the hat and suffering health consequences.

Alright, we have covered everything you should look for in a hiking hat. These are the best hiking hats to take out on the trails.

Best Hiking Hats (Sun Hats)

In this first section, we are going to take a look at the best hiking hats with the traditional round brim. The cool hiking hats are further down. However, these picks are still pretty awesome and are not super nerdy by any means. We isolated the best options out of hundreds of hiking sun hats that you could possibly get. Let’s check them out. These hats work for men and women, but keep reading for some women-specific hats.

Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat

This is the most popular hiking sun hat by Outdoor Research.

  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Water-resistant
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight (65 grams)
  • Quick-drying fabric (89% nylon, 11% polyester)
  • Moisture-wicking headband
  • Foam-stiff brim floats in water
  • Dark fabric under brim reduces sun glare
  • Adjustable drawcord

Here is the same hat in a cool printed version.

Check colors and prices at REI | Backcountry | Moosejaw | Amazon | Outdoor Research

Tilley T4MO-1 Hiker’s Hat

This is the ultimate hiking hat made by Tilley in Canada. Out of all their options, we rate this one as the best Tilley hat for hiking and one of the very best sun hats. This top-quality hat comes with Tilley’s Guarantee for Life upon registration.

  • Maximum sun protection (UPF 50+)
  • Hydrofil band wicks away perspiration
  • Broad stiff brim protects against sun and rain
  • Mesh insert around the top provides superior ventilation
  • Floats in water
  • Water-repellent finish
  • Chinstrap keeps the hat on in windy conditions
  • 98% organic cotton; 2% spandex
  • Brim size: Front & back: 3.5 inches, and Sides: 2.5 inches
  • Guaranteed for life

Want to buy a Tilley hat at REI? Try the Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat. It is almost the same hat.


Outdoor Research Sun Bucket

Want a hat with a shorter brim that still provides coverage from the sun? This is the best bucket hat for hiking and is suitable for men or women since it is a unisex hat.

  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Removable chin cord
  • 86% nylon, 14% polyester
  • Moisture-wicking headband
  • Lightweight (65 grams)
  • Water-resistant
  • Breathable

For buggy locales, try the Bug Bucket with an attached no-see-um mesh.

Check out Backcountry’s lowest price guarantee.


Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat

The Bora Bora Booney II hat by Columbia is a performance hiking hat. It is built to keep the sun out of your eyes. A very good Columbia hiking hat that is going to keep you cool.

  • Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection
  • Omni-Wick ultra-sweat-wicking headband
  • 3-inch brim
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • Packable cape
  • Multiple sizes
  • 100% nylon

Get it in this tropical print or solid colors.


The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat

A new hat for a new hiking season. This high coverage hat is on trend for trail and town.

  • UPF 40+ fabric for sun protection
  • FlashDry sweatband wicks moisture
  • Recycled nylon exterior lined with recycled nylon mesh
  • Adjustable chin strap made from recycled ocean plastic
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for safe and effective UV protection

The Horizon Breeze is also available in for kids and women.

Best Hiking Hats For Women (Sun Hats)

The first thing to know is that many hats are actually unisex. So whether you are a man or woman keep that in mind. Almost all the hats in this list are appropriate for women too. If you want a cool looking hat scroll down to the best baseball hiking hats, and the best trucker hiking hats.

However, there are some women-specific hats to consider. So, let’s take a look.

Arc’teryx Sinsola Hat

This is a cute hiking hat. We rate it as the best pick for female hikers that want to maintain some style points. The lightweight, polyester sun hat with that has a soft, pliable brim that easily compresses to fit in pockets.

  • UPF 50+ rating for sun
  • Stretches for the ultimate fit and comfort
  • Lightweight and air-permeable fabric
  • Laminated brim holds its shape
  • Comes in two sizes
  • Weight: 55 g / 1.9 oz

Check REI price | Check Amazon price | Check Arc’teryx

Outdoor Research Women’s Solar Roller Sun Hat

For a hiking sun hat this one is pretty good looking. We give it a semi-stylish rating!

  • UPF 50+ rating for sun
  • Broad brim hat
  • TransAction moisture-wicking headband
  • 100% Supplex nylon
  • Water-resistant
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight (65 grams)
  • Foam floating brim
  • Removable chin cord
  • Packable

The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat

Another stylish brimmer hat from North Face with a more feminine, rounded profile.

  • Airy full-brim hat
  • UPF 40+ protection
  • Sweat-wicking Moisture Management technology
  • Mesh sides
  • Inner sweatband

Best Baseball Caps For Hiking

Regular baseball hats can get hot and sweaty. If you like the style of a baseball hat there are many options that are designed for hiking. That’s right, you can get a hiking baseball hat. They are made of materials that will keep you cool and wick sweat and moisture away from your skin. These are the best baseball hats for hiking. It also comes in 3 colors plus black.

My Hiking Hat – Kuhl Freeflex Hat

The quality of Kuhl products always impresses is me and this is no exception. The Freeflex has the shape of a classic ball cap with performance materials that breathe, dry quickly, and block the sun. The front panels maintain their shape when packed.

Outdoor Research Swift Cap

This is a really good hat for hiking because it is lightweight (compared to a regular baseball hat), it wicks sweat, has vents for excellent breathability and venting, and it has a UPF 50 sun protection rating. And, it comes in a variety of super cool colors.

Check prices: REI | Backcountry | Outdoor Research

Columbia Coolhead II Ball Hat

This is a great baseball shaped hat for that is designed to be worn on the hiking trails. This hat is an advanced sweat control, ultra-wicking ball cap that will keep you cool.

  • Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection
  • Omni-Freeze ZERO sweat-activated super cooling sweatband
  • Hook and loop back adjustment
  • 92% polyester / 8% elastane

Best Hiking Trucker Hats

These are the newest trucker-style hats that are perfect for hiking.

Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat

This hat by Patagonia will keep you cool on the trails with excellent moisture wicking and ventilation. This hat will obviously keep the sun off your head and face but does not have a UPF rating. For smaller heads, the kids version may be a better fit.

  • Open mesh in the back delivers great ventilation
  • CoolMax fabric headband wicks moisture
  • DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • The dark underside of the bill reduces glare
  • Foam brim bends and retains original shape if folded

Check REI

Black Diamond Hideaway Trucker Cap

The Hideaway solves my biggest problem with trucker caps – getting bent out of shape. Pack it, crush it, and it bounces back.

  • Breathable material and mesh paneling for all-over ventilation
  • Soft flat brim is crushable
  • Snapback adjustability

Check Backcountry | Check Moosejaw

Outdoor Research Women’s Trail Trucker

This is a very unique, modern trucker hat for women. It boasts incredible breathability. So, if you are a hothead, and want some cool style, this is a great hiking hat for women. It looks like a visor with a mesh top for some sun protection. This hiking hat is super lightweight, ultra-breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. The perfect hat for hotter climates.

Headsweats Performance Trucker Hats

Headsweats offers a ton of different styles and graphics to the trucker hat. Upgrade that retro style with modern material.

  • Perforated back and side panels provide incredible ventilation
  • 6-panel style hat
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Black under-visor reduces sun glare
  • Adjustable snapback

Best 5-Panel Hiking Hats

5-panel hats are the modern style of baseball hats. Most have a flat brim but there are some curved options too. These are some great options if you want a 5-panel hiking hat.

Outdoor Research Mt Baker 5-Panel Cap

Another cool and innovative hat made by Outdoor Research. This classic 5-panel lid has large mesh side panels that make it super breathable, perfect for those hot summer days. It is a snapback and so is adjustable for all head sizes.

Check Backcountry

Kuhl Engineered Hat

Kuhl

  • UPF 20 fabric
  • Wicks moisture and dries fast
  • Antimicrobial finish minimizes odors
  • Flexible foam brim is packable and floats
  • Elastic headband

Arc’teryx Elaho Cap

Arc’teryx has done it again with an ultralight hat that looks great in the city.

  • 50 UPF rating
  • Lightweight – only 1.6oz
  • Elastic sweatband for moisture management
  • Laminated brim holds its shape
  • Packable

Check Amazon

REI Co-op Screeline Cap

This 5-panel hat as extra features like a folding brim, sunglass loop, and side vents.

  • Adjustable strap for a snug fit
  • Sweatband wicks sweat
  • Foldable brim that floats
  • 30 UPF rating
  • Sunglass loop
  • Side vents for excellent ventilation

Topo Designs Nylon Camp Hat

  • 100% nylon is breathable and dries quickly
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) finish helps moisture bead up on the surface
  • Adjustable webbing buckle closure
  •  Flat brim
  • Check out different sites for more colors

Check REI | Check Amazon


Best Hiking Hat For Hot Weather (aka Desert Hiking Hats)

Extreme hot weather demands superior protection and comfort. These desert hiking hats are great for hot climates. These options are also great if you are looking for a Summer hiking hat.

Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

For a near-geeky hat shape, this hiking hat looks okay to me. The tight-knit fabric somehow makes this hat seem cooler than it should appear. Perhaps, elegant compared to similarly shaped hats.

  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Wide varied brim width
  • Lightweight
  • Super breathable with strategically placed vents
  • External breathable mesh panels
  • Wicking fabric in the crown
  • Brim piping provides wind resistance
  • Dark fabric under brim
  • Adjustable drawcord
  • Removable chin strap
  • Packable

Check REI price | Check Outdoor Research | Check Amazon price


Alchemi Labs Clearwater Sun Hat

For the hottest, most humid environments, this is the most hat with the least amount of material.

  • Radiant barrier technology (reflects 80% sun’s heat waves)
  • Fabric blocks 99.8% of ultraviolet rays (UPF 800+)
  • Moisture-wicking sweatband
  • Maximum ventilation
  • Adjustable sizing

Check Amazon

The Alchemi Expedition Hat features the same mesh in a classic bush hat shape and colors.

Outdoor Research Vantage Full Brim Hat

This classic hat shape with modern materials keeps you cool in style.

  • UPF 50+
  • 2.5″ flexible brim
  • Mesh side panels and crown
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-dry
  • Thermo-regulating sweatband
  • Packable

Backcountry | Moosejaw

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap

This is a cool two in one hat. Essentially, this is a baseball hat with a detachable sun cape that gives you maximum sun protection for your neck and ears.

  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Removable cape
  • Lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying and water-resistant nylon fbrric
  • Inner headband wicks away moisture
  • Side mesh panels
  • Dark fabric under brim
  • Packable design

Check Amazon


The North Face Class V Sunshield Cape Hat

As far as hats with neck capes go, this is as cool as it gets. The attached cape rolls up and away.

  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation or safe and effective UV protection
  • UPF 40
  • Moisture-wicking FlashDry fabric in hat and sweatband
  • Attached sunshield can be rolled up
  • Floats in water

Sunday Afternoons Sun Guide Cap

With a folding brim and detachable cape, this hat is easy to pack.

  • UPF 50+ fabric
  • 3 1/4″ long folding ‘clamshell’ brim
  • Convertible crown ventilation panels
  • Neck cape is detachable
  • Lightweight microfiber fabric repels water and resists stains
  • Rear sizing band for custom fit

Check Backcountry | Check Moosejaw

Alchemi Labs Desert Hat

The shape is inspired by French Foreign Legion desert hats and made as much as possible out of sun-blocking mesh.

  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Fabric blocks 99.8% of harmful UV ray and reflects 80% of the sun’s heat
  • Moisture-wicking sweatband
  • Attached cape can be rolled up
  • Folds flat

Best Kids Hiking Hats

Hiking hats are probably even more critical for kids. Younger children can overheat more quickly than adults and are generally sensitive to the sun. These are the best kids hiking hats.

1. Best Kids Hat for Sun + Rain

Outdoor Research Seattle Rain Hat

The stiff brim keeps out sun and rain. The durable nylon is waterproof, breathable, and packable. For a different look, pull up one or both sides up with hook-and-look attachment

Check Backcountry | Check Moosejaw | Check Amazon | Check Outdoor Research

2. Best Kids’ Sun Hat

Sunday Afternoons Play Hat

With a wide brim, sun cape, and wide selection of colors and patterns, this is the best sun hat for kids. Mesh panels cut weight and enhance breathability while the DWR coating sheds moisture. This seems to be the top pick for many Colorado parents, who sometimes opt for the adult version,

Check REI | Check Amazon | Check Backcountry

The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is the same style designed for sun and rain.

3. Best Lightweight Baseball Cap for Kids

Sunday Afternoons Impulse Cap

This hiking hat recreates the always popular baseball cap in an ultralight microfiber with UPF 50+ sun protection and mesh ventilation. it is so lightweight and breathable that I buy this hat again every time it gets lost.

If the blue and coral colors aren’t quite right, try the comparable Outdoor Research Swift Cap.

4. Go-Everywhere Hiking Hat

Sunday Afternoons Clear Creek Boonie Hat

The UPF 50+ fabric is also moisture wicking, water resistant, stain resistant and crushable so take this 2.5 ounce hat everywhere. The reversible design gives 2 choices of colors and patterns. Check all the retailers to find the preferred combination for your little one.

The Outdoor Research Helios Hat is a close second in this category with similar features and a more classic style.

Check REI | Check Backcountry | Check Moosejaw

5. Most Coverage

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap

For the strongest sun, this is a lightweight baseball cap with attached cape to protect the face, shoulders, and neck. It is ideal for kids who resist sunscreen.

Check REI | Check Backcountry | Check Moosejaw | Check Amazon | Check Outdoor Research

6. Bucket Hat for Kids

Outdoor Research Solstice Sun Bucket

The bucket style provides the most shade in the smallest hat. This UPF 50+ hat wicks moisture, dries quickly, and comes in bright colors.

Check REI | Check Backcountry | Check Moosejaw | Check Amazon | Check Outdoor Research

For babies and toddlers, try this Patagonia Baby Sun Bucket Hat with a wider brim and chin strap.

7. Trucker Hat

Patagonia Trucker Hat

A large brim, mesh back, and CoolMax moisture-wicking headband means this cap looks and feels cool. It also is popular with adults with smaller heads.

Check REI | Check Backcountry | Check Patagonia

This concludes our guide to the best hiking hats. We hope that one of these suits your fancy. It is important to stay protected out on the hiking trails so get a quality hat. If you are not sure about the cool factor, than clip a second hat to your backpack for your photo sessions. Problem solved. Easy.

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