Do hikers wear hats?

Do Hikers Wear Hats? (And What Type?)

Yes, many hikers wear hats while they are out exploring the trails. Hats serve several useful purposes for hikers and are a popular accessory for outdoor adventures.

In this article, we will look further into the world of hiking hats and explore the best option for your personal hiking needs.

Let’s dive in…

Why Do Hikers Wear Hats?

There are many reasons to bring a hat along with you for your next hiking adventure.

This useful and light accessory takes up almost no space in your backpack and can come in handy in lots of situations!

Personally, as I lose the battle against my hairline, I couldn’t imagine heading out into the mountains without some form of headwear!

Let’s look into the main reasons why hikers wear hats…

  1. Sun Protection: Hats with wide brims or baseball caps help shield the hiker’s face, neck, and ears from direct sunlight, reducing the risk of sunburn and sun-related skin damage.
  2. Eye Protection: Hats can also help to shade the eyes from the sun, improving visibility and reducing glare, especially when hiking in bright, sunny conditions.
  3. Temperature Regulation: In colder weather, a hat can help retain body heat and keep the hiker’s head warm. Conversely, in hot weather, hats with ventilation can assist with cooling by allowing heat to escape from the head.
  4. Insect Protection: A hat can act as a barrier to keep insects, like mosquitoes and flies, away from the hiker’s face and scalp. Some hiking hats even come with detachable insect nets.
  5. Sweat Absorption: Hats can help absorb sweat, keeping it from dripping down the face and into the eyes during strenuous hikes, which can be especially useful in warm and humid environments.
  6. Rain Protection: In wet weather, certain types of hats, like waterproof or water-resistant ones, can help keep the head dry.
  7. Dust and Debris Protection: When hiking on dusty trails or in windy conditions, a hat can protect the hiker’s head and hair from dirt, debris, and sand.
  8. Mid-day naps: Hats are great for placing over your face to create some darkness, perfect for a mid-hike nap

bare chested hiker wearing a har - Do Hikers Wear Hats

What Type Of Hat Do Hikers Wear?

Hikers often wear a variety of hats depending on their preferences and the weather conditions.

A popular choice is the wide-brim hat, which provides excellent sun protection for the face, neck, and ears. It’s perfect for sunny and hot hikes, keeping those nasty UV rays at bay.

Another classic option is the trusty baseball cap, loved for its simple design and ability to shield the eyes from the sun.

For those who want all-around sun protection, the boonie hat with its soft brim and comfortable fit is a favorite.

Bucket hats also make an appearance on the trail, offering full coverage and a laid-back style.

In colder weather, hikers go for insulated hats or beanies to keep their heads warm during frosty adventures.

Choosing the Right Hat for Hiking

Choosing the right hat for hiking is not too difficult, as long as it is fairly light, breathable, and looks cool then you are onto a winner.

For those looking to perfect their hiking hat choice, here are some considerations.

Sun Protection

Opt for a hat with a wide brim or a baseball cap style that provides adequate shade for the face, neck, and ears. Look for UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings for added sun protection.


Choose a hat made from lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking materials like nylon, polyester, or synthetic blends. These fabrics help keep the head cool and dry during strenuous activities. These materials also dry quickly which helps to avoid rashes or skin infections.


Consider hats with mesh panels or ventilation holes to promote airflow and keep the head comfortable in hot weather. Proper ventilation prevents excessive sweating and overheating.

Brim Length

For more active hikers, shorter brims may be preferable to avoid obstructing peripheral vision during dynamic movements. For those in hot and sun-exposed conditions, a wide brim is g


Ensure the hat fits snugly but comfortably on the head. Adjustable straps or drawstrings can help achieve a customized fit.

Water Resistance

If hiking in wet conditions, consider hats with water-resistant or quick-drying properties to keep the head dry and comfortable.

Insect Protection

If hiking in bug-prone areas, select a hat with fine mesh or insect-repellent treatments to keep pests at bay.

Seasonal Considerations

In colder weather, choose a hat with insulation or one that can be layered with a beanie for added warmth. For hot weather, prioritize lightweight, breathable hats.


Opt for hats that are easy to fold or pack away or can clip to your backpack when not in use. This feature is especially valuable for backpackers and those with limited storage space.


Look for hats made with sturdy construction and quality stitching, ensuring they withstand the rigors of outdoor activities and last for multiple hikes.


While functionality is key, style is also a personal preference. Choose a hat that complements your outdoor wardrobe and makes you feel confident on the trail.

Test it Out

If possible, try the hat on before purchasing or test it during a short hike to assess its comfort, fit, and performance in real-world conditions.

wide brimmed hiking hat

Hiking Hat Styles

There are so many styles of hats that are perfect for hiking. Each style with its own benefits when picked for the terrain and weather you plan of hiking in.

I have a whole cupboard full of hats for each season and hike but my trusted favorite and hat I use most is my Forclaz MT900 hiking hat from Decathalon. It is light, packs into a tiny ball, and looks pretty cool.

If you are looking for the perfect hat style for your next hike, here are some examples of popular hats and their benefits.

Wide-Brim Hat

This classic hiking hat features a broad brim that offers excellent sun protection for the face, neck, and ears. It’s ideal for hiking in sunny and hot conditions, as the wide brim shades the entire head from direct sunlight.

Baseball Cap

A baseball cap is a versatile and widely used hiking hat style. It provides shade for the face and eyes, and its brim is typically shorter than a wide-brim hat, making it suitable for active hiking and easy to wear with a backpack.

Boonie Hat

The boonie hat is similar to a wide-brim hat but often has a softer brim that can be shaped or rolled up. It is favored for its all-around sun protection and is a popular choice for hikers, campers, and military personnel.

Bucket Hat

The bucket hat has a downward-sloping brim all around, providing ample sun protection. It’s comfortable and offers full coverage for the head and neck, making it a great option for hiking in hot and sunny conditions.

Trucker Hat

Trucker hats have a mesh back and a solid front panel with a curved brim. They are popular among hikers for their breathability and casual style.

Sun Hat with Neck Flap

These hats often have a neck flap or cape attached to the back of the brim. The flap provides additional sun protection for the neck and can be particularly useful for hiking in intense sunlight.

Winter/Insulated Hat

For colder weather hiking, insulated hats with ear flaps or beanies are essential to keep the head warm and protected from wind and snow.

Convertible Hat

Some hiking hats come with convertible features, such as a detachable neck flap or removable crown, offering adaptability to changing weather conditions.

Packable Hat

Packable hats are designed to be easily folded or rolled up, making them convenient for hikers with limited space in their backpacks.

Waterproof Hat

Hats with waterproof or water-resistant materials are ideal for hiking in wet weather, ensuring the head stays dry during rainy adventures.

How To Wash A Sweaty Hat After Hiking

Washing a sweaty cap after hiking is essential to keep it clean, fresh, and free from bacteria.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to wash your cap effectively:

  1. Check the Care Instructions: Before washing your cap, check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions. Some caps may have specific washing guidelines, and it’s important to follow them to avoid damaging the material or shape of the cap.
  2. Pre-Treat Stains: If there are noticeable stains on the cap, gently spot-clean them before washing. Use a mild detergent or stain remover and gently rub the affected areas with a soft brush or cloth.
  3. Hand Wash or Use Gentle Cycle: It’s generally best to hand wash caps to maintain their shape and prevent damage. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
    • Immerse the cap in the soapy water and use your hands to gently agitate it, paying particular attention to the sweat-stained areas.
    • Keep washing, rinsing, replacing the water, and re-washing until the water becomes clear.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: After washing, rinse the cap thoroughly under cool running water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Drying Hat Techniques:
    • Option 1: Air Dry Flat – Place the cap on a flat surface, reshaping the brim and crown to its desired form. Allow it to air dry naturally.
    • Option 2: Use a Hat Form – If you have a hat form or hat rack, place the cap on it to retain its shape while drying.
  6. Avoid Direct Sunlight: When drying the cap, avoid direct sunlight as it can cause the colors to fade over time.
  7. Don’t Squeeze or Wring: Avoid wringing or squeezing the cap, as this can misshape it and affect its fit.
  8. Clean Sweatbands: Pay special attention to cleaning the sweatband area of the cap, as it tends to accumulate the most sweat and oils. Use a soft brush or cloth to clean this area thoroughly.

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