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We recommend choosing a hat with a brim of around 3 inches; too short and it won’t do its duty, and too wide and floppy and you won’t be able to see where you’re going. If you’re easily burnt or you’re exploring somewhere very hot with little shade cover, you could opt for a design with an additional longer neck cover.
Another top tip for hiking in very humid climates is to go for a pale coloured hat that won’t absorb as much heat as a darker shade. And if you do so, look for a darker fabric stitched beneath the brim that will further help reduce glare from the sun.
The great thing about baseball caps is of course value for money and flexibility of use — you can wear them for numerous other activities or excursions, or just day to day. Travellers who like to get out and about in nature whilst on the road will also find their multi-use status appealing, as you’ll be able to get away with only packing one hat for your trip.
They too can function as an all-rounder for trips incorporating both beach time and outdoor rambles, but the narrower brim will make them another one for milder rather than scorching sunshine. Bucket hats are commonly worn for fishing, and can be a great way to keep your head dry and the rain out of your eyes during wet hikes, so long as you find a waterproof design.
Whilst there are numerous beanie hats out there for general cold weather wear, for hiking we’d recommend finding one that covers your ears, which you should be able to determine from the product images or description. Some may also feature longer ear flaps, so if you’re going sub zero this could be a wise choice.
Hats for summer should preferably provide safe sun protection, which will be stated as a UPF(Ultraviolet Protection Factor). This will protect you from harmful UVB and UVA light, whereby a UPF rating of 50 equates to protection from 98% of these rays. So, this should be the minimum you seek out.
Mesh panels are another way to limit overheating and promote air circulation to your head on summer hikes, and will usually be found on the crown or sides of the hat. Bear in mind the UVF won’t be present on these sections, but they should be small enough not to affect it too much.
Additional linings such as fleece are also recommended if you’re planning on hiking in particularly cold climates, as well as thermally insulated hats. A waterproof treatment is sometimes applied to these fabrics, so seek this out if you need it.
Some types such as baseball caps may also come with adjustable bands for a more personalised fit, but the main adjustability you will come across is a chin strap. Chin straps are a smart addition that ensure a secure and snug fit, and you can use the cord to rest the hat on your back or clip it to your pack when you don’t need to wear it.
If this sounds like something that would make your hiking life easier, have a read of the specs of the hat and look for those describing themselves as crushable, foldable, or packable.
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Wide Brim Outdoor Sun Hat
The Ultimate Summer Hiking Hat
Helios Sun Hat
High Performance Fabric for Warm Weather Comfort
Unisex Coolhead II Baseball Cap
Sun Protection That Cools While You Hike
Stylish and Superbly Cosy Waterproof Beanie
Solid Pack Trek Cap
Ultra Light With Technical Features and Smart Looks
Waterproof All Weather Cap
Perfectly Simple Multifunctional Cap
Real Wool Makes This a Cosy Beanie
Women’s Foldable Bucket Hat with Chin Strap
Chic, Waterproof and Adjustable Bucket Hat
Unisex Lightweight Thinsulate Thermal Hat
A Budget Thermal Beanie for Chilly Days
Whether you're hiking in the summer heat or battling through snow on the ground, keen hikers won't want to let a little thing like the weather stop them. To be ready for anything, you need to have the best kit possible, so why not check out our favourite hiking essentials that will help you overcome any obstacles en-route.
Camping is a fantastic way to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, even more so if you decide to go solo-camping! That's where Emily's top picks come in. She has put together a brilliant list of must-have items for solo camping from cooking sets to power banks and even security cases so that you won't be left stuck in the mud.
No. 1: Gisdanchz | Wide Brim Outdoor Sun Hat
No. 2: Outdoor Research | Helios Sun Hat
No. 3: Columbia | Unisex Coolhead II Baseball Cap
No. 4: SealSkinz | Bobble Hat
No. 5: Buff | Solid Pack Trek Cap
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