Simply put, you should never go up in the mountains for a hike without a hat! It is part of the 10 hiking essentials list.
Then thing is, when you are getting ready for a hike, you probably remember to pack a bottle of sunscreen and a long-sleeved shirt to prevent sunburn. And those items are very important, no doubt!
But how about a hat?
More often than not, a hiking hat is not exactly a fashion statement but they provide many important benefits on the trail.
Continue reading this article to learn why is it so important to wear a hat while hiking and which hats are the best.
Why do you need to wear a hiking hat
You will spend a lot of time in the sun while hiking in summer. Even if you are not in the midst of a heatwave, the sun’s rays still pose many concerns that you should consider, like sunburn, sunstroke, and dehydration.
There are several different types of hiking hats that will help you with a lot of these health concerns and other summer hiking gear will take care of the rest.
Heatstroke is a result of your body, especially your head, overheating – there is a high risk of that happening if you stand in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. Symptoms of a heat stroke include throbbing headaches, dizziness, disorientation, high body temperature, and nausea or vomiting so it is well worth it to protect yourself before you embark on a hike.
A sunhat protects you from the sun’s rays and wide-brimmed hats also provide a bit of shade for your face and neck, preventing sunburn in these areas.
Some summer hiking hats have extra fabric to protect your head, neck, and shoulders from insect bites.
Skin cancer is an important concern all around the world and prolonged exposure to the sun puts you in a high-risk group. Skin cancer develops over time and is harder to detect than lesser sun-related health concerns like sunburns or heat stroke but it is much more dangerous.
That is why you need to protect yourself as much as you can, especially when being outside for hours and days at a time.
Other summer hiking essentials
Now that you know the importance of bringing a hat on your hike, let’s talk about other summer hiking essentials. These are the things that you should put on your hiking checklist and make sure they are packed before you head out into the wilderness, especially when it is hot outside.
- Sunglasses. It would be best to protect your eyes in bright sunlight, and there is no better way to do that than wearing sunglasses. It is a must-have item to take with you on a summer hike.
- Sunscreen. Everyone knows how important it is to protect your skin from sun, yet there are many people who skip this step or are very lax about reapplying sunscreen throughout the day. Because you will be exposed to the sun for hours, get a sunscreen with high SPF – preferably not lower than SPF 40. Covering up is also recommended. While all clothes block the sun’s rays to a certain extent, UPF-rated clothing will provide guaranteed protection.
- Bug spray. It is very important to protect yourself from mosquito and bug bites on the trail, especially if you are travelling along rivers and lakes where there are many insects. Some insect bites are just an annoyance while others might lead to serious health consequences so you can never be too careful.
- Plenty of water. In the summer heat, hydration is absolutely crucial. Dehydration leaves you feeling tired and can increase the risk of getting a sun stroke. Make sure your hiking backpack has a hydration system, or buy a reusable water bottle (check our article: The Best Backpacking Water Bottles) beforehand.
Best hiking hats for summer
Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hat
This is the favorite hiking hat of many experienced hikers! Made of 100% textured nylon poplin, it offers UPF50 sun protection – meaning that you get additional sun protect than headwear made from non-UPF materials can provide. This summer hat has earned Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of recommendation. Wide brim will protect your head and face from the sun.
This hat has a sweatband and mesh cover that absorbs perspiration and ensures ventilation. It is made from fast-drying material so even if it gets wet, it will dry in no time. You can also buy a bug mesh separately for extra protection from insects.
This hat is an essential for any outdoor collegiate event, with its wide, protective brim providing all day sun protection;
This high-performance hat features a mesh breeze-inducing vent to keep you cool and protected and is equipped with an adjustable drawcord and toggle at the back for a fit that's adjustable and comfortable;
Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
If you love baseball caps, this summer hiking hat offers a twist on that concept! Sun Runner has a removable veil – it offers protection from sun when you need it, but you can take it off when you choose. It is a versatile style that caters to a variety of different weather conditions: sun, wind and dust.
This hat offers UPF30 sun protection. The lightweight fabric covers not only your head but also neck. It is top choice for hikers who prefer all-around sun protection.
Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat
Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat has a lot of useful features. They include a floatable foam core, a down-sloping front brim that protects your face from the sun and also a back veil that shields the back of your neck from sun’s rays. It is made from a nylon/polyester mix with UPF50 protection and also has strategically placed mesh panels for ventilation. The fabric is water-resistant and does not stain. Both men and women love the innovative design of this top-rated hiking hat for summer which is available in a variety of different colors.
100% Nylon; Mesh Ventilation 100% Polyester;
4” downsloping front brim and 3.75" sides with floatable foam core and poly brim wire;
7.5” back veil neck flap with lift-up tab;
UPF 50+ certified breathable sun rating (mesh vents not rated);
Water repellent / stain resistant;
Coolibar UPF50+ Unisex Explorer Hat
This highly-packable hat offers many features that are important for hikers and outdoors lovers. Probably the most important of them is UPF50+ protection which will efficiently shield you from the negative impacts of sun. With foam shapeable brim, cooling mesh sweatband and side panels for ventilation, it offers the comfort that you are looking for when hiking. It is great for boating too – it has an under-brim that prevents glare from water. It is easy to care for and dries quickly.
UPF 50+ - blocks 98% of UV radiation;
Anti-glare under brim lining to prevent glare from water; Approx. Circumference: 22 1/2 inch (S/M), 23 inch (M/L), 24 inch (L/XL); 4 inch brim;
Drape length: 7 inches; Hand wash, line dry; Imported;
Connectyle Outdoor Mesh Sun Hat
For those who love simplicity, this hat embodies just that – it is lightweight, foldable and will hardly take up any space in your backpack. It has a wide brim that provides a little bit of shade in scorching heat and breathable mesh vent that keeps you from overheating. It is adjustable and fits both men and women. This hat comes in many colorways, even red and fuchsia pink so the ladies can coordinate it with their hiking outfits. This hat is suitable not only for hiking but other outdoors activities as well, like fishing, gardening and hunting. The only downside is that this wide-brim hat does not have UPF protection.
Polyester, well-made, lightweight and foldable
Breathable mesh vent keep you cool and comfortable
3" wide brim, size: 21.6"-23.2"/55-59 CM
Adjustable Chin Strap