Every hiker knows that protection on the trail is important. Even if a person is using a hiking guide for beginners, they understand that their safety and protection are core essentials to wilderness survival. Mother Nature is beautiful, but she is also strong. Hikers primarily need protection from extreme weather conditions like heavy rain or snow when cold weather hiking, but the sun can be extreme too. Sun protection is important on the trail because it keeps your skin from burning. With proper sun protection, you’ll feel cooler as you traverse the trails.
We have made a list of the 10 Best Hiking Hats in 2018 to help you bump up your sun protection to the next level. The best hiking hat would provide protection, but still be comfortable to use and wear and should be added to the top of your day hiking checklist. You don’t have to be overwhelmed by all the designs, because we have picked the top 10 for your consideration.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
How To Choose A Hiking Hat – Buying Guide
Hikers understand that hardshell jackets, hiking vests, hiking pants, hiking boots, and hiking socks can all be used to have you hike comfortably and safely. All your gear add protection to your body on the trail, but often a hiking hat is the item left forgotten on hiking and backpacking checklists. There are many different designs of hiking hats and when it comes to choosing just one, you want to be sure it’s the best one. There are differences to each hat design that can enhance your experience and comfort on the trail. You should easily be able to pack and use a hiking hat, so that you keep your head, face, and neck protected against the sun.
A brim is a smart idea on a hat because it is what gives you protection from the sun. Manufacturers and the FDA suggest that hikers use a wide brim hat that is made out of firmly woven fibers for optimal sun protection. However, it is important for hikers to find a good balance in the width of the brim. A hat that has too wide or too floppy of a brim can obstruct a hiker’s view, which is dangerous on the trail. The most common suggestion is to get a hat that has at least a 2.75-inch-wide brim and if the brim is darkly colored on the underside, it is even better. The dark color can help reduce glare.
Shape of the Brim
UV rays can reflect and scatter across various surfaces. One of the most reflective surfaces is snow, which can reflect up to 80% of the rays. A dry beach can reflect 15% and sea foam 25%. Reflection important to consider with the shape of the brim, because light can reflect off of things and get under the brim of your hat. The best brim shape will be one that curves down and sits closer to the face. The close proximity and curve can help stop some of the UV ray’s reflection. However, the brim should be chosen carefully according to your activity. If you are hiking or fishing, a hat with a brim that is too curved can be an obstruction to your vision.
Lighter colors can reflect the sun better. It is best to choose a light-colored hat for protection because it can help deflect some of the rays away from your head and face. A lighter color will also not get as hot to the touch as a darker one. Hats that have a dark color on the underside of the brim are even better. The dark underside can help absorb some of the reflected light, but being on the underside of the brim, aren’t prone to getting hot to the touch. However, lighter colors can be harder to keep clean. Therefore, natural off-white colors like beige, khaki, or ivory are excellent choice for a hat color.
The material of your hat should fit its intended use and intended climate. For hotter temperatures, a lightweight material is the best. Even better if it is breathable too. Remember that the type of material can change your ability to wash your hat. Some design will be machine washable and others won’t. The material of the hat can also affect the brim. There are stiff and floppy materials that give you different style brims. Finally, some companies have designs that are made of a water-resistant material. This can be great for the fisherman or water explorers, because a hat won’t sink and be lost if it is dropped in the water.
A hiking hat should be breathable. A hat that is breathable will keep you cooler and it also tends to be lighter in weight. Hats can quickly get sweaty when they sit on your head for long periods, especially when you’re already sweating on the trail. A breathable hat can help you stay cooler by allowing your sweat to dry.
It is important that your hat is comfortable for you. However, the comfort of a hat can depend on an activity. If you are climbing or hiking, having a large brimmed hat would most likely be irritating because it would constantly hit your back as you looked around. If you are a runner and have a hat that isn’t properly fit, it can be easily lost in the wind. You should be sure to find a hat design that is comfortable for you, but also works for your activity without obstructing your view or becoming a nuisance.
Sturdiness of a hat can be dependent on a few different factors. Mainly the color, material, and construction can all affect whether a hat is sturdy or not. The best hats are an off-white color. This is because stains aren’t as likely to show up versus an all-white hat. The material of the hat should be sturdy too and you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in high-quality. For example, always choose a nylon hat over a straw hat. Nylon will be much longer lasting. Finally, a hat that is constructed well, should last you for a long time.
Maintenance and Care
Every hat will have a different maintenance and care routine based on the manufacturer and materials used. It is best to see if the manufacturer provides any guides on the maintenance and care for your hat. However, most hats should be able to withstand a hand wash. To wash your hat by hand you should use cold water and a soft brush, like a toothbrush, with mild soap. You can gently brush out stains. Do not use fabric softeners because they can degrade the material of your hat. When the hat is still wet you should reshape it to its original shape.
It is extremely important that you perform regular maintenance and care on your hat. Sweat and the salt in sweat can rapidly degrade a hat and allow for the buildup of rot. When you are not using your hat, it should always be stored bone dry.
Similar to sturdiness, durability is important. A high-quality outdoor hat should last you for years to come, even if it is dragged through rugged terrain and battered by extreme weather. If you properly care for your hat, you can extend the durability and ensure that your hat is always ready to go on the next adventure.
UPF is the ultraviolet protection factor, which determines how intense the sun’s rays are and how much protection you need. Commonly you will hear of UVA/UVB ratings, which determine how high the UPF rating is. The best hats will block UVA/UVB rays and that means having a high UPF rating.
Fit is important because it is what keeps your hat comfortable and secure to your head. Outdoor hats need to fit well because you will be moving a lot when wearing them. You should be able to freely move your head without worrying that your hat will fall off. A well fit hat also stands a better chance against wind. Even a slight breeze can easily dislodge a hat if it is not well fit. The better the fit, the better your hat has the chance to stay on your head.
As mentioned throughout, a hat is designed for protection. Its main job is to protect your head, face, and neck. You should find a design that maximizes your protection to ensure you don’t get burnt by the sun’s rays.
Q: What is UPF and why is it important?
A: UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. This is a measurement of the level of UVA/UVB protection that your hat offers. If a hat boasts a UPF rating of 50, it means it blocks 98% of UV rays. UVA/UVB protection is important because the sun’s ray can lead to skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and 20% of people in the US will experience battling it in their lifetime. You can take the steps to protect yourself by having a good UVA/UVB sum protection ethic. Hot weather hiking tips will point to a hiking hat as an excellent way to give yourself some much needed protection.
Q: How do you clean a hiking hat?
A: You should look at the manufacturer’s manual to see if they provide a guide for cleaning your hat. Every hat is different and cleaning it can be dependent on what material it is made out of. Different materials can withstand different cleaning methods. In general, you can hand wash a hat with cold water. If there is a stubborn spot, you can use a soft brush to gently scrub it away. A hat should be reshaped when it is wet. You should airdry your hat and always store it completely bone dry. A damp hat that is stored is prone to developing mold or rot, which causes major damage.
Q: How much protection do I need?
A: Not much. Having any layer that can provide shade or cover your head, neck, and face is sufficient protection. The ideal goal with a hiking hat is that it provides a layer between you and the sun’s rays. This means that you aren’t directly being hit by the sun’s rays, which helps keep you cooler and prevents the risk of skin cancer. Especially, if you are hiking with kids, you will want to ensure they stay safe from the rays of the sun too. A hiking hat is the best choice to add a lightweight layer of protection to your child’s head.
Globo Surf Overview
When it comes to your hiking hat, finding the best design can greatly enhance your time on the trail and have you looking stylish. With these top rated hiking hats, you can have peace of mind that you are actively protecting yourself from the sun’s rays. The best hiking hat will keep you cool and help block some of the sun’s harmful UV rays. If you know exactly what you need and want, you can save time and money by investing in the best hiking hat for you!
Do you own one of the hiking hats that made it onto our list? Let us know how it has worked for your outdoor needs in the comments section below.
Globo Surf Hiking Hats Reviews