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Having a good hiking hat can keep you cool (or warm), help with bugs, and add a fashion flair to your hiking ensemble. There are many different types of hats to choose from that are sold for hiking and the best hiking hat for women, men, and kids depends on what you’re doing and your own personal preference.
We bring a hat on almost every hike we go on and we each have different preferences for style. Below you can find specific details on the best hiking hats for women, men, and kids for every situation.
Check out our: Complete Day Hiking Packing List
Quick Look at the Best Hiking Hat for Women, Men, and Kids
Men and Women who want a breathable full brim hat
Lightweight baseball style hat with SPF
Great stylish and fun hats with mesh back
Best sombrero style hat for kids camping and hiking
This is an excellent lightweight hat for kids.
A small and efficient winter hiking hat
Great winter hiking hat for kids.
Why do You Need a Hiking Hat?
Depending on the weather, hiking hats serve a variety of purposes. The main purpose is to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Summer hiking hats are often baseball-style hats, visors, or hats with a brim all the way around that help keep the sun off your face and/or neck when you hike. Often sunglasses can get foggy when you hike and having shade on your face not only keeps you from getting burnt but also ensures that you don’t spend all day squinting.
Having a hat can also offer some bug protection, and when worn with a bug net helps keep the net off your face. During the winter, a hat is key to keeping you warm as you lose heat off your head when you hike. A winter hiking hat is especially important when you take breaks from hiking and your body starts to cool down – a warm hat will help keep the heat in.
The final consideration when selecting a hat is that it looks good and can be purchased for a good price.
Types of Hiking Hats
Warm Weather Hiking Hats
The best warm weather hats are lightweight, offer good coverage and are comfortable. When selecting a warm-weather hiking hat, your top considerations should be:
- Type of material (will it dry quickly?)
- How breathable is the hat (look for mesh to allow airflow)
- How well will it stay on your head (think about the wind)
- How much coverage does it provide?
- How does it look?
Cold Weather Hiking Hats
The best cold weather hats are lightweight and warm and cover your ears. When selecting a cold-weather hat, your top considerations should be:
- What is the hat made from? (avoid cotton that doesn’t dry well)
- How warm is it? (depending on the weather and the hike you may want a light hat, or something warmer)
- How big it is? Can you fit your hood over the hat?
- How does it look?
Best Hiking Hat for Women
One of the main differences between the best hiking hat for men and the best hiking hat for women is that women often (but not always) have more hair. As someone who often wears their hair in a ponytail, I find many hats don’t fit or are uncomfortable. Finding a hiking hat with a ponytail hole is key when I shop for a women’s hiking hat.
Best Hiking Hat for Men
Some of the best hiking hats for women are also the best options for men as well. Below you can find suggestions for cold weather and warm weather hiking hats for men. The main difference is on what looks best for men versus women.
Best Adult Hiking Hats
A lightweight, breathable and crushable hat, this is a great hiking hat for women and men. This hat is adjustable and has a drawstring to keep it on your head. It also comes in multiple fun colors and looks good on your head. I like the adjustable portion as it allows me to wear it with a ponytail and adjust it when my hair is down.
This is my favorite Bucket Hat!
This is an easy-to-pack hiking hat that offers sun protection on your face. The hat is made with SPF so will keep your head from getting burnt, and even fits under helmets to provide protection when you are biking and climbing. The last benefit is that this hat floats!
Trucker hats make great options for hiking for people who don’t like the wide brim, but still want to keep the sun and rain off their face. Trucker hats have mesh on the back making them more breathable, and since they have a hole for a ponytail, they are one of the best hiking hats for women. This style of hat also makes one of the best backpacking hats.
The best hiking hat for women and men during the winter months is a beanie style. This keeps your head warm but also easily allows a hood to cover the hat if needed. I always prefer a winter hiking hat that has a lining to keep your head warm even in the wind.
Best Hiking Hat for Kids
Finding the best hiking hat for kids depends on the kid’s age, what they are willing to wear, and their sensitivity to the sun. Many people opt for kids hiking hats that provide shade and protection on the next for sensitive skin. Having a hat that stays on is also important when selecting a kid’s hiking hat. Many hats have drawstrings or a ponytail hole to keep the hiking hat on the child’s head.
Keeping the sun off is even more important for young hikers. I like this hat with a wide brim for kids. It doesn’t offer as much ventilation as other options, but for older kids who like the style, this is an excellent hat.
This is an excellent hat for hiking with extra sun coverage, lightweight material, ventilation and all for a good price. It also comes in some fun colors and has a drawstring to keep it on your kid’s head.
Columbia Watch Cap (good for older kids AND adults)
This is the hat my son wore for years. It’s simple and efficient and the fold-up portion offers additional warmth. It comes as a one-size-fits-all and is best for older kids and kids with larger heads. This hat is small enough that you can put a hood over top. If you are searching for winter hiking hats for younger kids, look for non-cotton options.