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The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Whether you’re hiking, gardening, or kicking it at the beach, we’ve handpicked the best sun hats that will keep you protected from those harsh UV rays.

Testing out a few of the best sun hats of 2023 with friendsTesting out some of the best sun hats of 2023 with friends; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)
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If you’re planning on ticking off those summer bucket list hikes or spending your days on the river, then protecting your head, face, and shoulders from those blinding rays with a solid sun hat is key.

Sure, you could put on some sunscreen and hope for the best, but that won’t save your scalp, face, or neck from those UV (ultraviolet) rays all day. If you’re looking to protect yourself from an unwanted sunburn or need to shield your eyes from bright glare, a sun hat is certainly the way to go.

From the beach to the mountains — or even your garden — these sun hats are top-notch for keeping your head and face cool and plenty shaded.

We reviewed over 13 hats for this guide, putting them through a multitude of tests in different environments to craft our selection of the best sun hats on the market. We tested each hat with a mind for a number of different performance metrics, including UPF rating, durability, adjustability, and comfort. Our lead tester, Meghan LaHatte, has over five years of professional gear-testing experience, and brought each hat a variety of different adventures and travel scenarios to test each metric thoroughly.

To learn more about sun hats and all their bells and whistles, be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide, FAQs, and comparison chart below.

The Best Sun Hats of 2023


Best Overall Sun Hat

Patagonia Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat

Specs

  • Weight 4.05 oz (115 g)
  • Material 95% nylon (65% recycled)/5% spandex with a DWR finish. Sweatband: 100% recycled double-knit polyester
  • Brim size 3.5 in.
  • UPF rating 40+
  • Style Hiking
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable fit
  • Inner-sweatband keeps head dry
  • Larger, semi-rigid brim

Cons

  • Color selection limited
  • Pricey
Best Budget Sun Hat

Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat

Specs

  • Weight n/a
  • Material Textured poplin 100% nylon
  • Brim size 3 in.
  • UPF rating 50+ (excludes mesh)
  • Style Hiking
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Stays secure in wind
  • Generous brim

Cons

  • One-size
  • Mesh panels may cause some UV exposure
Runner-Up Best Sun Hat

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat

Specs

  • Weight 4 oz (113 g)
  • Material 100% Recycled Nylon. Mesh: 100% polyester
  • Brim size 3.25 in.
  • UPF rating UPF 50
  • Style Safari
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Inner pocket for ID
  • Stylish with several color and size options
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not as packable
  • Adjustability needs improvements
Best Sun Hat for Hiking

The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat

Specs

  • Weight 2.9 oz (82 g)
  • Material 100% recycled nylon/Lining:100% recycled polyester mesh
  • Brim size 2.9 in.
  • UPF rating 40+
  • Style Bucket/Hiking
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Brim size won’t interfere with a backpack
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Brim lacks the structure of some others
  • Limited size options
Best Full-Coverage Sun Hat

Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat

Specs

  • Weight 3 oz (85 g)
  • Material Nylon/Polyester
  • Brim size 4 in. front/7.5 in. neck cape
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Full-coverage hiking
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Full face and neck protection
  • Packable
  • Floats in water

Cons

  • Not the most stylish
  • Brim may be too cumbersome for some
Best Sun Hat for Travel

Overland Crushable Aussie Mesh Breezer Safari Hat

Specs

  • Weight N/A
  • Material double-barrel cotton duck and polyester mesh
  • Brim size 3 in.
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Safari
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Packable
  • Versatile stylish design
  • Brim keeps the face shaded

Cons

  • Headband is non-adjustable
  • Leather chin strap is a bit stiff
  • Only one color option
Best Sun Hat for the Beach

Kavu Chillba Hat

Specs

  • Weight N/A
  • Material Fabric (Solids): 100% nylon; (prints): 100% polyester
  • Brim size 18 in. diameter
  • UPF rating N/A
  • Style Sedge
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Dome-style hat provides full coverage
  • Array of colors and patterns
  • Fully adjustable with band and chin straps

Cons

  • No listed UPF rating
  • Not ideal for dynamic movement like hiking or running
Best of the Rest

Filson Summer Packer

Specs

  • Weight 3.9 oz (110 g)
  • Material 9-oz. dry finish Shelter Cloth
  • Brim size 2.75 in.
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Fedora
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Stylish design looks sharp with any outfit
  • Higher UPF
  • Packable
  • Generous size options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited color options
  • No chin strap

REI Co-op Sahara Bucket Hat

Specs

  • Weight N/A
  • Material Polyester (bluesign® approved)
  • Brim size 2.5 in.
  • UPF rating 50
  • Style Bucket
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Comfortably soft
  • Breathable
  • Floats in water
  • Moisture wicking

Cons

  • Smaller brim means less coverage
  • Sizing runs large

Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat

Specs

  • Weight 2.3 oz (65 g)
  • Material 89% nylon, 11% polyester, double weave ripstop main shell 100% Supplex nylon, plain weave under brim
  • Brim size 2.75 in.
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Hiking
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • High UPF protection
  • One-handed adjustability
  • Quick-drying

Cons

  • No sizing options for smaller heads

FURTALK Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat

Specs

  • Weight N/A
  • Material 100% Paper Straw
  • Brim size 3.35 in.
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Women’s cloche/beach
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Versatile with foldable brim
  • Affordable
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Not super breathable
  • Ribbon on crown is not removable

Sunday Afternoons Ultra Storm Bucket

Specs

  • Weight 2.5 oz (70.9 g)
  • Material Shell 78% nylon/22% polyester Lining: 100% polyester
  • Brim size 3 in.
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Bucket
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Waterproof exterior
  • Reflective details
  • Comfortable and soft

Cons

  • Lacks structure
  • Internal adjustability is not super user-friendly

Outdoor Research Sunbriolet Sun Hat

Specs

  • Weight 3.1 oz (88 g)
  • Material 86% nylon/14% ripstop polyester
  • Brim size 3 in.
  • UPF rating 50+
  • Style Hiking
The Best Sun Hats of 2023

Pros

  • Well shaded
  • Quick-drying
  • Floats in water

Cons

  • Can see sweat band when wearing it
  • Crown is deeper than other hats

Sun Hats Comparison Chart

Sun HatPriceWeightMaterialBrim SizeUPF RatingStyle
Patagonia Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat$594.05 oz (115 g)95% nylon/5% spandex Sweatband: 100% recycled polyester double knit3.5 in. 40+Hiking
Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat$26N/ATextured poplin 100% nylon3 in. 50+Hiking
Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat$994 oz (113 g)100% Recycled Nylon. Mesh: 100% polyester3.25 in. 50Safari
The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat$452.9 oz (82 g) 100% recycled nylon/Lining: 100% recycled polyester mesh2.9 in. 40+Bucket/Hiking
Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat$423 oz (85 g)Nylon/Polyester4 in. front/7.5 in. neck cape50+Full-coverage hiking
The Overland Crushable Aussie Mesh Breezer Safari Hat$59N/ACotton duck and poly mesh 3 in. 50+Safari
Kavu Chillba Hat$50N/ASolids: 100% nylon; Prints: 100% polyester18 in. diameterNoneSedge
Filson Summer Packer$853.9 oz (110 g)9-oz. dry finish Shelter Cloth2.75 in. 50+Fedora
REI Co-op Sahara Bucket Hat$40N/A100% polyester2.5 in. 50Bucket
Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat$402.3 oz (65 g)89% nylon, 11% polyester2.75 in. 50+Hiking
FURTALK Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat $26N/A100% paper straw3.35 in. 50+Women’s cloche/beach 
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Storm Bucket$602.5 oz (70.9 g)Shell: 78% nylon 22% polyester Lining: 100% polyester3 in. 50+Bucket
Outdoor Research Sunbriolet Sun Hat$452.5 oz (70.9 g)86% nylon/14% ripstop polyester3 in. 50+Hiking
From sedges to bucket hats, there are plenty of sun hat styles on the market; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

How We Tested Sun Hats

Here at GearJunkie, we spend more time in the sun than not, which is why we put a tremendous amount of time and effort into hand-selecting the best sun hats of 2023. From UPF protection to durability, we know how important it is to find the right hat to guard your scalp, face, neck, and shoulders from any risk of sunburn.

Lead tester and GearJunkie contributor Meghan LaHatte is certainly no stranger to the sun hat market. As an avid climber, hiker, dog walker, and gardener, she greatly understands the importance of protecting yourself from harsh UV rays. 

Meghan excitedly dove headfirst into testing over 13 sun hats for this guide, putting each model through the wringer over a three-month testing period. She focused on key factors such as comfort, adjustability, and UPF rating to help her determine the best picks for this roundup. From the highest alpine trails to the shadeless golf courses of Colorado — she put these hats to the ultimate test. Not only did she wear these hats in the sun, but also in wind, rain, and extreme heat. Each product was given specific focus, and tested to its limit.

Thanks to her expertise and experience, you can be assured that this guide is a helpful map that will lead you to your dream sun hat. Finally, this is an ever-evolving guide, with more designs and model iterations coming out each season, and we work hard to stay on top of the newest and best sun hats on the market to bring you the most relevant suggestions possible.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Sun Hat

We’ve all been there — you roll up to your local gear shop, ready to pick out a new sun hat, and all of a sudden you’re staring at a wall filled with options, totally unsure of what to get. Choosing a sun hat doesn’t have to be a hard process as long as you know what sorts of environments and activities you will be using it in. Keep reading below for our best advice on comfort, types, sun protection, and more for the best sun hats of 2023.

Walking down a mountain trail while wearing one of the best sun hats of 2023
Sun hats are the perfect accessory for any summer excursion; (photo/Josh Boulton)

Types of Sun Hats

From classic hiking looks to more unique sedge styles, there are many different types of sun hats on the market. However, they all ultimately serve the same purpose — to protect wearers from UV(ultraviolet) rays, sunburn, and glare. 

When considering which type of sun hat to buy, think about where and how you’ll be using it. Let’s say you’re looking for a sun hat to bring along on a backpacking excursion — you’ll most likely want a hiking or bucket-style hat that has a shorter or softer brim and can be easily packed. If you want a sun hat to accessorize an outfit for a music festival or for a trip abroad, you may want something more leathery or fashion-forward like a safari hat. Or, if you are looking for a do-it-all model, then an activewear-style fedora might be your best bet. 

When we selected the best sun hats of 2023, we tested and considered a range of bucket, safari, cloches, fedora, straw, and other wide-brimmed hats in various environments while performing different activities.

If you’re thinking you may want a classic ball-cap style hat, be sure to check out our buyer’s guide for the Best Running Hats of 2023

Comfort

When selecting a sun hat, the most important thing to keep in mind is comfort. If you’re selecting a sun hat that you’re going to wear all day, everyday then be sure it feels soft, lightweight, and fits you well. 

A woman sits in a golf cart while wearing a sun hat
The Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat is perfectly comfortable to golf in all day; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

A few factors go into what makes a sun hat comfortable, but typically its materials and construction are the main determiners. Sun hats manufactured with breathable fabrics like nylon, polyester, or mesh will stay light on your head, while also providing enough airflow that any sweat should be wicked away. If you’re wearing a sun hat in scorching or humid weather while hiking, fishing, or beaching, you’ll want it to feel feathery light and have plenty of circulation. 

In terms of construction and comfort, consider the different brim sizes, stiffness, accessories, and shapes a sun hat can have. Some sun hats have lots of toggles, cords, and bands to assist with adjustability. If you’re not too keen on these appendages potentially poking or prodding you, you may want to go with a simpler sun hat. However, if you need extra help to get the perfect fit, definitely snag a hat with these features. 

Stiffness and brim size can also impact how comfortable a sun hat is when worn. Stiffer hats with firmer materials and shapes can be easy to wear all day as long as they fit well and don’t have any protruding seams or bands. Larger, stiffer brims may help keep you shaded, but can be a bit cumbersome, especially if you’re wearing a backpack or in high winds. You may want to opt for a softer, floppier brim if you want more flexibility in your sun hat. 

Our pick for the most comfortable sun hat? The Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat has just the right amount of stiffness and flexibility, while also being ultra-lightweight and breathable thanks to its 100% recycled nylon and polyester makeup. 

Brim Size

The Patagonia Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat has an ideal brim size of 3.5 inches; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Depending on how much of your face, neck, and shoulders you want covered from the sun, you’ll want to consider brim size when choosing the perfect sun hat. Our selection of sun hats have wide brims that range from 2.5 inches up to 3.5 inches. While these numbers may seem small, these size differences can make a significant difference in how much of you will be shaded. 

Smaller and larger brims both have their pros and cons. Smaller brims that are shorter than 3 inches, tend to offer less protection from the sun, but are more compact and conducive to activities like strolling around town or heading to the local block party. Style-wise, they offer a subtle look and can be more easily thrown in a backpack or beach bag. We thought that the REI Co-op Sahara Bucket Hat still provided enough sun protection despite its smaller, more flexible brim. 

Larger and wider brims over 3 inches offer plenty of shade and are better suited for days that entail all-day sun exposure like an afternoon spent at the beach, or hours spent working in your garden. While wider brims are more practical thanks to their size, they can be a bit uncomfortable if worn with a backpack and tend to be harder to pack. However, wider brims are the best for providing protection from UV rays, and keeping your eyes safe from glare. The Patagonia Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat has a generous brim size that isn’t too cumbersome thanks to its flexibility. 

Some of the sun hats listed in this guide have unique brim sizes and functions. Take the Kavu Chillba Hat for example — this sedge-style hat has one large umbrella-style brim that encompasses the whole hat at 18 inches.

Whether you go with a smaller brim or a more full-coverage option, be sure to consider the sun hat’s intended use, style, and overall fit for you. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to throw on a pair of shades — so be sure to check out our guide for The Best Sunglasses for the Outdoors of 2023

A woman walks down a trail while wearing a sun hat
The REI Co-op Sahara Bucket Hat has a smaller brim that is well-suited for hiking and less exposed activities; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Sun Protection and UPF

Along with brim size, a sun hat’s ability to protect you from the sun’s ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays is guaranteed by its UPF rating, or ultraviolet protection factor. A garment’s UPF is essentially determined by its fabric thickness, color, treatments, and the type of fibers it is made with. Typically, sun hats with thicker, darker fabrics will have a higher UPF factor than those that do not, meaning they are better at protecting their users from any UV rays. 

By now you’ve seen that many of these sun hats have varying degrees of UPF from 40+ to 50+. These numbers are determined by calculating how much UV they let in. For example, a sun hat with a UPF rating of 50+ only allows 1/50th (2%) of UV radiation to pass through the fabric. Any garment with a UPF above 40 is considered exceptional in terms of ultraviolet protection. 

UPF ratings for garments always fall between 15 and 50+. Keep in mind that anything with a UPF rating of less than 15 won’t protect you at all from those UV rays. Almost every one of the hats we’ve tested has at least a UPF of 40.

Some sun hats are designed with dark underbrims that help stop any light from reflecting onto your face. This added level of sun protection can be crucial if you’re hiking in the alpine or on snow.

The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat has an extra long brim and added cape making it super protective from UV rays; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

With a UPF of 50+, a long cape to protect its wearer’s shoulders and a large frontal brim, we felt that the Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat performed best in full sun exposure.

We love spending days in the sun, and we understand the importance of covering up with clothing and sunscreen for those adventurous days or even just running around town. With skin cancer being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to cover up and lessen your UV exposure while outside. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide for The Best Sun Protection Shirts if you want to add to your UPF-rated wardrobe. 

Adjustability and Fit

Testing the best sun hats during a day at the lake
Most of the sun hats listed in this guide have adjustable bands and crowns; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

How well a sun hat fits will help ensure that you can wear it all day without experiencing any discomfort. Many factors such as size, adjustability, and shape can impact how a hat fits once on your head. A well-fitting sun hat should be comfortable without being too tight or too loose. Think like Goldilocks here — it should be just right. 

The crown of the hat, essentially the part on top of the brim, should comfortably rest above your brow and ears. If fitted correctly, the headband will be snug, without leaving any marks or putting pressure on your head. A well-fitting crown will ensure your sun hat will stay on, but also keep air circulating so you don’t get sweaty. If you try on a sun hat and find that it falls below your brows or is tight enough that it’s giving you a headache, you may want to try adjusting it or opt for a different size. 

Many of the sun hats listed in this guide have adjustability features like pull-cords, tieable strings, or velcro. If you want to be able to fine-tune the fit of your sun hat so it stays securely on during gusty days, be sure to grab a hat with these additions. To adjust your sun hat, simply pull the toggle on the crown, or tie it so it fits snugly without being too tight. Having a sun hat with adjustability has its major upsides — you can accommodate different hairstyles, throw a bandana underneath or let a friend borrow the hat for the day. 

The Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat really stood out to us for its superb adjustability system thanks to its easy pull-toggle on the crown and removable chin strap.

The Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat has both an adjustable crown and a removable chin strap; (photo/Josh Boulton)

Keep in mind that a few of these hats do not have any sort of adjustability, so it’s key to try them on and make sure they fit well prior to buying. Typically, hats with no adjustability features will come in more specific sizes, like the Filson Summer Packer which has sizes that range from small to 2XL. 

Breathability 

Whether you’re out on a multi-day backpacking trip or gearing up for a beach volleyball tournament, the last thing you want to worry about is your head getting too hot or sweaty. This is where your sun hat can truly save the day, especially if it’s breathable and able to circulate air. 

Sun hats designed with more porous materials or added mesh zones are fantastic for helping keep your head cool and dry. Fabrics like nylon, polyester or straw are typically woven in ways that allow air to pass through without sacrificing UV protection. Many of the hats listed have mesh panels or slits located on the crown to keep air moving and grooving through your scalp.

A close up look at a Kavu sun hat
The Kavu Chillba is super breathable thanks to its inner mesh lining; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

By keeping the air circulating, a well-ventilated sun hat can help prevent sweat, itchiness, or chafing in areas prone to perspiration like the crown, scalp, and forehead — even while in extreme heat. When selecting a breathable sun hat, be sure its material and construction is still well-suited for those super sunny days. If the hat is too porous and allows significant light leakage, it probably doesn’t have an appropriate UPF either. 

Some hats like the Kavu Chillba have an inner mesh lining to further keep the hat well-ventilated and lightweight when in use. By prioritizing breathability in a sun hat, you are ensuring that it can be worn all-day, without the risk of getting too hot or uncomfortable. 

Packability and Storage

It’s never a bad idea to throw an easily packable sun hat in your backpack — just in case; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

A sun hat is pretty crucial to throw in your pack or suitcase when going on an adventure — no matter the season. When searching for a travel-friendly hat, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind: 

  1. Packability: How well does your hat fold, roll, crush or pack down once in your bag? Sun hats made without wiring or stiff fabrics will always pack more efficiently than those with as they can fold to be quite smaller and take up less space. However, these styles of sun hat typically have floppier, smaller brims that may not be as practical for use in extreme sun. We particularly loved the easy packability of the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Storm Bucket due to its ultra-soft and structure-less design. 
  2. Shape retention: When packing a sun hat, be sure that it can pop back into its original form without being creased or super wrinkled. Usually hats made with wrinkle-prone fabric like nylon will smooth out after a few hours in heat and humidity. Most hats designed with stiffer fabrics like straw should bounce back into their original shape like the Overland Crushable Aussie Mesh Breezer Safari Hat

If you’re not super keen on packing your hat in a suitcase, you can always snag a cheap hat clip that you can attach to your bag.

We recommend storing your sun hat upright on a flat surface like so; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

When storing your hat, we recommend hanging it on a hook via the crown, or keeping it upright on a shelf. To help retain its shape, we recommend stuffing some soft tissue paper in the crown. Keeping it rolled or crunched all the time could cause it to lose its structure and UPF value if you’re putting too much stress on the fabric. 

Price

When deciding on the best sun hat for you, don’t feel like you need to totally break the bank. No matter the price, a proper sun hat should be durably made, have a 30+ UPF and be comfortable enough to wear during activities throughout the day.

Testing some of the best sun hats with friends
Sun hats are great for outings at the local park during the summer; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

If you’ve got a little more in the budget to spend, then we recommend considering hats like the Patagonia Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat ($65) Sunday Afternoons Ultra Storm Bucket ($60) or The Overland  Crushable Aussie Mesh Breezer Safari Hat ($59). More expensive options like the Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat ($99) and Filson Summer Packer ($85) are steeply-priced, but you can be assured you’re purchasing a hat that is made with quality and protection in mind. 

If your budget is more in the intermediate range, consider sun hats like The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat ($45), Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat ($42), Kavu Chillba Hat ($50), REI Co-op Sahara Bucket Hat ($40), Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat ($40) and Outdoor Research Sunbriolet Sun Hat ($45). All at 50 bucks or less, these sun hats are superb options that are pretty reasonably priced. 

At the lower price scale and the most budget-friendly without sacrificing quality or practicality are the Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat ($26) and FURTALK Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat ($26). 

Keep in mind that when you purchase a sun hat, not only are you investing in a clothing item, but also in your health as you save your skin and eyes from sunburn, UV rays, and any risk of skin cancer.

FAQ

What is the best sun hat?

While it totally depends on personal preference, intended use, and style, it is possible to find the best sun hat for you. All of these sun hats listed are fantastic in their own unique ways and functions, we can’t help but give major props to Patagonia with their Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat. Not only is it stylish, it’s also protective and easy to wear on a hike, bike ride or kayaking trip. 

When finding the best sun hat, it’s important to consider where, how, and what environment you’ll be rocking the hat in. Be sure to find one with the most comfortable band, ideal brim size, and style options that you may prefer. To find the right fit, we recommend trying different sizes and shapes on before purchasing if possible. If you’re still unsure of what to grab, try to scroll through our buyer’s guide and consider the various specs and prices of all the hats listed.

As long as your chosen sun hat has a decent UPF rating, a comfortable fit, and suits your style preferences, we say rock it all year long.

The Quandary Brimmer Sun Hat — our top pick — has impressive structure, design features, and a 40+ UPF; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)
How do sun hats work?

Sun hats work by protecting your head, face, neck, and sometimes shoulders from prolonged exposure to UV rays by providing shade and UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) via their brims, fabrics, and overall design. The wide brims found on sun hats not only protect the wearer from the harsh effects of the sun, but also can lessen the risk of overheating, sun sickness and other health issues. Standard ball caps may shield your face and scalp from the sun, but won’t protect your neck and shoulders, which is why we particularly love a well-designed sun hat. 

Hats with tighter weaves and thicker, darker fabrics tend to be the most shielding from UV rays. However, thanks to certain treatments and coatings, you can find a perfectly breathable sun hat that won’t be too heavy or dense on your head. 

When selecting a sun hat, be sure to check for its UPF, fit, and brim size. Keeping these features in mind will help you find the perfect shade for your head.

How do I care for and wash a sun hat?

To ensure the longevity of your sun hat, caring for and routinely cleaning it is pretty crucial. Here are some tips to help you keep your sun hat looking, functioning, and feeling its best: 

  1. Regular maintenance and storage: Whenever you’re done with your hat for the day, it’s always good to shake or brush off any dirt that may have built up while using it. Make sure to store it in a cool, dry place where it isn’t folded or bunched up. It’s best to keep it out of direct sunlight so the fabric doesn’t fade or the UPF isn’t lessened. We also recommend undoing any of the adjustment toggles or chords so they retain their original shape.
  2. Cleaning: If you only have one or a few small stains on your sun hat, we recommend spot cleaning it before fully washing it. Simply take a soft cloth with some mild soap and water and blot the stain. If your hike or gardening day was muddier than anticipated, you can fully wash your sun hat. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wash it and avoid using any harsh chemicals, bleaches or abrasive cleaners as they could affect the UPF value. 
  3. Drying: We recommend air drying your hat after it gets wet or cleaned as the high heat from a commercial dryer could damage the fabric, cause it to shrink or ruin the hat’s shape. When air drying, avoid placing the hat in any direct sunlight as it could cause the fabric to fade and negatively affect the UPF. 

Most importantly, always check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to clean and store your sun hat. Hats made with materials like straw and other weaves typically need a different maintenance routine than those made with cotton, nylon or polyester. Overall, the listed steps above should be a great starting guideline for making your investment in a sun hat even more worth it.

Are UPF and SPF the same?

While UPF(ultraviolet protection factor) and SPF(sun protection factor) are both measures of sun protection, they relate to different types of products and function uniquely. 

UPF is used to measure the effectiveness of clothing and other attire in blocking out UV radiation from the sun. The higher a UPF rating (40+), the better. For example, when a model says it is UPF 50+, that means that it only allows 1/50th of the ultraviolet rays to come through. This technology is typically found in clothing and accessories made for hiking, biking, beaching, and other outdoor activities. 

SPF, on the other hand, measures how well products like sunscreen protect its users from UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. The SPF number indicates how long you can stay in the sun before you get sunburnt. For example, a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 can theoretically be worn for 500 minutes(50 multiplied 10 times) prior to reapplying. 

When heading into the outdoors, it’s best to utilize both UPF and SPF products in order to protect yourself from sunburn and UV exposure. A sun hat, combined with some high SPF sunscreen, is the perfect pairing whether you’re hiking, gardening or just heading to the local farmer’s market for the day.

A dog wears one of the best sun hats of 2023
Our furry friends are big fans of sun hats too; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

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