Among the many sun hats out there, in the many various styles that they come in, there are some designed to offer real, substantial sun protection. These can be a tremendous help when trekking the outdoors, helping to keep you cooler for longer while keeping the sun out of your eyes.
Practical sun hats can come in many shapes and sizes. Baseball caps can be good, but ones from outdoor gear brands tend to be more appropriate as they're often lighter, quick drying, and have specially-designed peaks.
Bucket hats are another strong choice, as they're lightweight with 360-degree sun protection. However, the brims often don't protect your entire face from sunlight, so they can be a better choice for more casual protection.
Broad brim hats can be the most practical, providing maximum shade from the sun in a hat that is often breathable, lightweight and ventilated. It's important to consider whether they'll stay on your head in the wind, but many brimmed hats have features designed to secure them in place.
So, we've selected our top picks of the best and most practical sun hats.
Best sun hats to buy in 2022
Tilley T3 Wanderer Hat
Tilley hats are some of the most thoughtfully-designed, purpose-built sun hats available. The T3 Wanderer uses fabric with a UPF50+ rating to protect you from the sun, as well as an inner sweatband to wick away any sweat and moisture from around your head.
There's a water-repellent finish to help protect against the rain, and front and back wind cords to secure the hat when it's windy. It's also buoyant, so it'll stay afloat in water, and grommets add extra ventilation. The T3 Wanderer Hat, among some other Tilley hats, comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Sealskinz All Weather Cap
Sealskinz have become known for the weather-proofed outdoor gear, from socks to gloves to hats. Their all-weather cap has been designed with this same approach, made using a triple-layered construction that includes a laminated, waterproof membrane.
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For when it's a bit warmer, the cap has minimal insulation to allow for improved ventilation. Combine these features and you have a hat that's waterproof and breathable for both warm and cold weather. Plus, when the sun's out, the peaked cap should keep your head and face covered in well-needed shade.
Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat
The wide brim of this hat is perfect for providing 360-degree shade in the sun. Made from a breathable nylon and polyester material, the Helios sun hat is water-resistant and quick drying, with a UPF50+ rating and a foam-stiffened brim. The adjustable drawcord can help fasten it to your head when it's windy, too.
Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Cap
With a stiffened, rounded peak designed for sun shade, the Montane Minimus cap is a great choice for hot days. Ventilation allows for warm air to escape from your head, and a Pertex shield in the material will help to wick away any moisture. Plus, the seams are fully taped, providing more long-term comfort by reducing the risk of irritation and chafing.
Tilley LTM5 Airflo Hat
A medium brim and a moisture-wicking headband make this sun hat an ideal choice. It carries Tilley's familiar craftmanship, with a water-repellent outer and UPF50+ sun protection.
The 3/4-inch mesh fabric around the crown adds some extra ventilation, and a wind cords system at the front and back should help to keep the hat secure when it's windy. Plus, the sage green is a wonderful colour when trekking in the outdoors!
Forclaz Travel Cap
The Forclaz Travel Cap is a simpler and more affordable choice for protecting yourself against the sun. The fabric has a UPF50+ rating and is said to be breathable, allowing moisture from your head to leave the inside of the hat. And at 88g, it's a lightweight sun hat.
Fjallraven 1960 Logo Langtradarkeps Cap
With the outdoor brand's distinct logo gracing the front, it should be no surprise that this cap from Fjallraven is designed for practical outdoor use. The mesh back offers superior ventilation compared to most, and the fabric itself is said to be quick-drying.
The mesh is made from 100% recycled polyester, while the cap's fabric is 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton.
The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat
This classic design from The North Face is a fitting sun hat, with a wide brim and a breathable mesh lining. There's also a fast-drying sweatband to keep you cool, and cords to help it stay on your head when it's windy. Plus, the fabric's body and lining is made from 100% recycled materials!
Peter Storm Tech Bucket Hat
Bucket hats can provide mild protection from the sun. They aren't as shaded as brimmed hats, but they're often more lightweight and breathable.
This bucket hat from Peter Storm is an obvious choice for the outdoors, with a water-repellent coating and an integrated toggle shockcord.
Dan works across a range of Our Media's special interest brands. With a keen eye for what makes a product great, their expertise comes in handy when writing for publications like Countryfile, Science Focus and YourHomeStyle. Outside of work, their passion for creative culture pushes them towards music and the arts.