Hiking and other outdoor adventures can be a joy, but they can also take a toll on the body. Protecting yourself from UV rays is imperative to prevent skin cancer and painful sunburns. In addition to a good sunscreen, the easiest way to do this is with a good hat.
Here are styles for even the most passionate outdoor enthusiast that will hold up in nearly every setting.
These hats are durable, comfortable, and will keep you cool and shielded at the same time. Bonus points are given for modern looks that can adapt to every style and taste.
And keep in mind that taking care of your skin never goes out of style.
American Hat Makers
American Hat Makers has a wide array of sun hats. They are proudly handmade in the United States, made chiefly of straw or lightweight synthetic materials, and come with a lifetime warranty.
Styles include Panamas, fedoras, boaters, and pork pie designs! Most are designed to be worn in heat as they are breathable and have multiple cooling features.
They also offer excellent sun protection, with some styles offering up to UV 50+.
Another attractive feature of American Hat Makers is the performance price, which leans heavily toward the consumer. These products carry modest price tags to be crafted by hand in the United States.
The quality of the finished products is very high, with glowing reviews. Small touches like removable chin straps make a difference. With no further ado, here are the top sun hats to help you keep your cool.
Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat
This hat took home the Editors’ Choice for Technical Use award by Gear Lab. It earned this honor due to its high performance and its impressive versatility. Though not the most stylish option on the list, it is durable, light, and provides excellent sun protection.
In testing, it performed above the competition regarding outdoor activities like hiking and boating. The testers stayed cool the entire time, thanks to this hat’s barely-there weight and fast-dry material.
In protection, comfort, and durability, the Adventure Hat scored 9/10, an 8/10 for breathability, and 5/10 for style. With a UPF rating of 50+, it is definitely worth the lowest list price of $29.40
Do you need to mold your hat but don’t know how? Here are some tips for reshaping nearly any fabric!
Tilley LTM6 Airflo
The Tilley LTM6 Airflo is style meets durability. The design takes a little charisma to work, but you're golden once you pull it off. This is a tough yet comfortable hat. It is very breathable thanks to mesh paneling and a built-in sweatband. The LTM6 holds its shape and has a classic ruggedness that gives off serious Indiana Jones vibes.
Unlike the cape-style Adventure hat, this number has more of a Panama aesthetic to it.
Testers gave the LTM 6 a 9/10 on durability, 8/10 on style, and 7/10 for protection, comfort, and breathability. The hat runs on the small side and is a more expensive option at $90.00. It does offer 50+ UPF sun protection.
The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer
This full brim option is ideal for hiking and backpacking. From the North Face, the Breeze Brimmer kept tester heads cool all day, even in the direct sun. Though not the most protective hat tested, it did a great job of keeping the sun off the test group’s faces and ears.
The low-profile brim is less likely to be problematic with a backpack, and it is one of the least expensive hats on the list at $40.
Gear Lab gave this option 6/10 for style and protection, 7/10 for durability, and 9/10 for comfort and breathability. The 2.9” brim could be wider, and the hat provides a lower UPF rating of 40.
Are you shopping for a hat but don’t know your size? Have a look at this guide to find your best fit.
The Arc’teryx Sinsola is stylish and easy to pack. Geared towards women, the Sinsola looks great and is very comfortable. However, the hat is not adjustable, and its thin fabric is no match for rugged outdoor wear.
The style is challenging to wear with a backpack, and it is not very breathable. It is versatile as the Sinsola goes as well with hiking gear as it does a sundress.
While light and most flexible, this entry is more about form than function. It is not adjustable, and the brim does affect one's line of sight. Testers rated the Sinsola a 5/10 in durability, 6/10 in protection (UPF 50+), 7/10 in breathability, 9/10 in comfort, and 10/10 in style.
The price point is equally attractive at $55. Just keep in mind that this is much more of a city hat than a durable adventurer.
Overall, the Sinsola offers midrange performance with modest breathability, as testers noted they did not get too hot thanks to this hat’s thin and light material.
Related Link: The Ultimate Guide to Women's Hat Styles
Best Sun Hats - Final Thoughts
When it comes to a sun hat, the most important factors are comfort, durability, and protection factor. A hat might look great, but looks will not protect your eyes and skin from the sun. You must look for a rugged design that does its job and will not interfere with your other activities.
A good fit with even a large backpack is more important than the perfect selfie, and the pictures will look less than stellar if you are squinting or rocking a bright red sunburn.
Optimal sight is also a must to ensure you can keep your eyes open for any array of hazards. The most significant consideration is if your well-being means more than your ego.
The sun can cause permanent damage, not to mention skin cancer. It is far better to keep yourself healthy than look like an outdoor model regarding your adventuring gear.
Use common sense and purchase a hat that will meet and exceed your expectations as you take on Mother Nature.