12 Best Hats for Sun Protection in 2017

If you spend a significant amount of time in the sun, wearing a protective hat is a must – it’s a tried and true way to keep the skin on your face and neck safe from sun damage. Whether you are a professional who works outdoors, a research scientist doing field work, or a tourist on a tropical vacation, it’s prudent to shield your skin with a hat in addition to wearing sunscreen.

These days, there are protective hats of all shapes and sizes on the market. We have put together a handy guide to help you understand what features the best hats for sun protection have in common. We also include reviews of our top five picks. Read on to learn more.

Top 12 Hats for Sun Protection Ultimate Table

DesignNameStyleGenderRating (1-5)
  1. Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hats Booney hat Unisex 4.6
  2. Sun Protection Zone Unisex Lightweight Adjustable Outdoor Booney Hat Booney hat Unisex 4.6
  3. Sloggers 442DB01 Women’s Wide Brim Braided Sun Hat Floppy wide brim hat Women 4.5
  4. Coolibar UPF 50+ Men’s Reversible Bucket Hat – Sun Protective Bucket hat Men 4.5
  5. Columbia Men’s Schooner Bank Cachalot III Hat Cap with attached neck flap Men 4.5
6. Camo Coll Outdoor UPF 50+ Boonie Hat Summer Sun Caps Booney hat Unisex 4.5
7. Siggi Bucket Boonie Cord Fishing Beach Cap Summer Sun Hat Wide Brim Booney hat Women 4.5
8. lethmik Camouflage Hat Summer Fishing Sun Hat UV Protection Outdoor Boonie Hat Booney hat Unisex 4.5
  9. Siggi Womens Summer Flap Cover Cap Cotton UPF 50+ Sun Shade Hat Floppy wide brim hat Women 4.5
  10. Ddyoutdoor™ 07-281 Fashion Summer Outdoor Sun Protection Fishing Cap Cap with attached neck flap Unisex4.3
  11. Vbiger Visor Hats Wide Brim Cap UV Protection Summer Sun Hats Floppy wide brim hat Women 4.4
  12. Simplicity Women’s Summer UPF 50+ Roll Up Floppy Beach Hat Floppy wide brim hat Women 4.1

Finding the right hat for your needs is much simpler once you know what to keep in mind while you’re shopping.

In this section, we will give you an overview of the different types of hats on the market, as well as the key features you should evaluate before making your purchase.

Types of Hats

The amount of time you will spend in the sun and the type of activities you plan to do effect the style of hat you should choose. Below is a brief summary of a few different styles and their key features, so you can easily determine which is the best match for your needs.

  • Booney hat – If you’ve ever watched Indiana Jones or read National Geographic, you have seen adventurers and scientists alike sporting khaki Booney hats whenever they’re out in the sun. These hats are as practical as they come. The bucket shape hugs your head without weighing it down. The wide brim keeps your face in the shade. Best of all, the adjustable drawstring cord ensures a snug fit when you’re trekking by foot or logging miles in a bumpy vehicle.
  • Floppy wide brim hat – This style is wonderful for wearing on the beach or around town when the sun is shining. The brim is wide and shields all angles of your face from harsh rays. The silhouette is typically flirty and feminine, and it pairs well with summer dresses and swimsuits. It often comes with an attached adjustable drawstring cord and embellishments such as a ribbon surrounding the brim.
  • Cap with attached neck flap – Versatility is a key benefit of this style. It can be worn as a regular cap during days of moderate sun exposure. When you face prolonged exposure (say, during a boat trip), simply unfurl the flaps to cover the sides and back of your neck. You’ll avoid getting scalded in easy-to-overlook places like the part of your neck between your hairline and collar.

Material

The best hats for sun protection are fabricated from materials that ensure durability and comfort. When shopping for a new hat, consider the following:

  • Breathability – If you plan to be doing physical activity while you’re out in the hot sun, you should make sure that your hat will help you stay as cool as possible. Fabrics like nylon help wick away moisture, rather than allowing it to pool up under the brim. Heat will also have a better chance of escaping.
  • Durability – Fabrics such as nylon and polyester are ultra strong. They are also quite resistant to stains. Look for these types of fabrics when choosing a hat for activities such as hiking or field work.

Natural fabrics such as paper and cotton are great for more leisurely activities like lounging on the beach and sightseeing. They can be spot cleaned, provided they aren’t exposed to an excess of dirt.

Portability and Storage

The final thing to consider is how portable your hat is. If you’re traveling by bus or plane with limited storage space, make sure to look for styles that can be folded up and placed in your luggage.

If you have plenty of room to store your hat and don’t plan to travel with it, you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to a foldable style.

Top 5 Best Hats for Sun Protection Reviews

1. Columbia Sportswear Booney II Sun Hats

This ultra durable, versatile hat by Columbia Sportswear is a great product, so much so that in our opinion, it wins our vote as the best hat for sun protection.

Its bucket shape and brim are designed to protect your face and neck from the sun all day long. To ensure a perfect fit for every head, it has a cord with a toggle that you can adjust, as well as a chin strap.

The hat is crafted from 100% nylon, which dries quickly – keeping you cool and also preventing the hat from staining. It also features an Omni-Wick sweatband and a mesh vent panel to let heat and sweat escape as quickly as possible.

This hat also features Omni-Shade sun protection rated UPF 50, so your scalp, face, and neck will be protected from the harshest UVA and UVB rays.

This hat is easy to wash and store. Not only can you fold it up and tote it around easily, it’s safe to throw in the washing machine so you can keep it looking like new. (For best results, we suggest using a mesh laundry bag and rinsing it on the delicate setting).

If you love the classic adventurers’ hats of yore but appreciate modern finishes, this is the perfect hat for you.

2. Sun Protection Zone Booney Hat

Sun Protection Zone makes another great Booney Hat for outdoor enthusiasts.

This hat has serious sun protection credentials. It boasts a UPF of 50+ and is designated SPF 100. It has received approvals from the American Melanoma Foundation as well as the Melanoma International Foundation.

This hat features a 4¾” inch wide brim to shade your face and neck. It also has an adjustable drawstring to ensure a comfortable fit for all head sizes and shapes. Its chin strap comes in handy on windy days.

This hat is super lightweight, weighing in at a mere 2.5 ounces. It’s perfect for travel – especially if you’re headed off to the tropics with little more than a carry-on.

In order to preserve the brim of this hat, it’s best to hand wash it with detergent and let it air dry.

If you’re looking for a lightweight style that has certified sun protection capabilities, look no further than this classic Booney hat.

3. Sloggers 442DB01 Braided Sun Hat

If you’re a fan of feminine sun hats that take inspiration from styles of bygone decades, you will fall head over heels for this design.

Crafted from 65% paper and 35% polyester, this lightweight hat is perfect for wearing all day long with your favorite summer outfits. It is rated UPF 50+, so you can rest assured that you will be protected even when the sun is blazing.

This hat is as functional as it is stylish. It has a hat band to ensure a great fit, as well as a drawstring to prevent it from blowing away if you’re caught off guard by a sudden gust of wind. The drawstring is also handy when you pop indoors for a bit – simply remove your hat and let it drop behind your shoulders. You’ll have your hands free and will look super chic, too.

Whether you’re young or mature, this hat will go with many things in your summer wardrobe. Don’t hesitate to add this hat to your closet so you can enjoy it for many seasons to come.

4. Coolibar Reversible Bucket Hat

Coolibar’s Reversible Bucket Hat is a practical, stylish option for any man on the go.

This hat has a rating of UPF 50+ as well as a 3” brim which sits low over the brow to protect you from the sun. It is lightweight, so even though it covers a good part of your face, it breathes well and will keep you ventilated.

This hat is totally low maintenance and easy to transport. You can fold it up and keep it in your gym bag or suitcase – it will pop back into shape as soon as you put it on. Even if it gets a little dirty, don’t worry – you hand wash it to keep it looking fresh.

Best of all, this hat comes in two tones so that it will match practically all of the casual wear in your closet. It’s like getting two hats for the price of one!

If you’re looking for a no fuss, trendy hat which will make you look great while keeping you safe from the sun’s rays, this option is the best bet.

5. Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot III Hat

If you love a classic baseball cap but are looking for added protection from the harsh summer sun, this hat from Columbia Sportswear will be a great fit.

The shell of this baseball cap is 100% nylon, which sends moisture packing when it’s hot out. The Coolmax lining is also designed to keep you as comfortable as possible.

Attached to the traditional baseball cap is a flap to keep your neck totally protected. Rated UPF 50, the flap is more effective than sunscreen during long days in the sun. On days when the sun is milder, you can simply fold the flap up under the cap.

This hat is lightweight and easy to pack. Just toss it into your utility bag or suitcase and take it with you on any sunny excursion, from deep sea fishing to ball games.

If you’re serious about staying cool and protecting your neck from hours of sun exposure, give this cap a try. We think you’ll love it.