hiking hats for men

The Best Men's Hiking Hats For Trailblazers

Published 12th May 2021
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Attention all trailblazers, outdoor explorers, and adventurers! If you simply can’t resist the tempting call of Mother Nature and the outdoors, then you’ll need to be prepared for everything that she can throw at you - starting with your choice of hiking gear and attire. As well as stocking up on plenty of hiking poles, backpacks, and navigational compasses, you’ll need to be dressed for the occasion, too. From a warm and waterproof coat to plenty of thermal socks and underwear, another equally important part of your body to kit out is your head!

Indeed, the humble hiking hat offers a wide range of protection and has been adored by avid hikers for decades. Originally worn for the protection they offer from the sweltering sun’s UV rays, hiking hats now come in a variety of styles to suit all kinds of weather and unfavourable outdoor conditions. Ideal for battling pesky bugs, fending off sunburn, and even keeping the chill off your neck, a hiking hat has a huge range of benefits that you’re sure to enjoy.

Is a hat a necessary hiking accessory?

hiking hat necessary

A hat may not be the first must-have item that comes to mind when you’re packing for a thrilling and substantial hike, but we think it should be! Unlike everyday hats worn for fashion purposes, walking hats and hiking hats have been designed with this specific outdoor activity in mind to ensure your next hike is as comfortable and successful as possible.

While men’s hiking hats vary in their particular style, colour, and list of included features, they’re often picked up because they’re practical accessories that fulfil an essential hiking requirement. Regardless of whether you’re searching for a hiking hat that’ll protect your neck from the sun’s powerful beams or you need a warm walking hat to see you through those chilly outdoor adventures, it’s always a good idea to look after your noggin! 

Key hiking hat features to consider

hiking hat features

When it comes to selecting the right outdoor hat, there are four key areas that you should look into before you commit to purchasing your new hiking accessory. This includes reviewing the style and fit to assess just how comfortable the hiking hat is, as well as exploring the particular benefits of the hat’s fabric such as stretch, rigidity, and its level of water resistance.

We also suggest that you find out whether it provides any protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays, discover how breathable the material is, and also explore whether it possesses any air vent holes. Below, we’ll take a quick look at each of the aforementioned hiking hat features and explain why each one matters for both casual walkers and expert hikers alike!

Ensure the design, shape, and fit is ultra-comfy

comfy hat

As any experienced hiker knows, hikes are quite different from your average meandering walk. Indeed, a moderate hike is generally classed as three miles and above, while more difficult hikes often span more impressive distances between four and seven miles. Facing hours outside, you’ll require a hat that offers maximum comfort and can be relied upon even in windy conditions to expertly battle the elements.

Not to mention, if you have a particularly large or small head, you’ll need to opt for a hiking hat with a baseball cap design, as this style of outdoor hat boasts an adjustable strap to guarantee a snug fit. Alternatively, try searching for a hiking hat made from a soft and pliable material like wool to sit securely around your forehead - ideal if you often struggle to find hats that suit your head shape.

Take into account the type of fabric

fabric hat

For those idyllic and peaceful hikes on warmer days, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled for a hiking hat that’s made from a soft fabric like cotton or polyester. Ultra-comfy, these pliable fabrics are ideal for keeping you cool. They’re breathable, lightweight, and tend to feature a wide rim that’s perfect for deflecting the sun away from your neck and face.

When the temperature drops or the evening descends, it’s time to pack away your summer hiking hat and whip out the warmer alternatives. To cope with the chilly and rainy winter and autumn seasons, your best bet is to opt for a hiking hat with water resistance, thermal insulation, and an abundance of cosy features (like built-in earmuffs) to defend yourself against snow, rain, and biting wind.

Stay shady and seek sun protection

sun shade hat

Without an appropriate hiking hat, the delicate skin on your face, head, and neck are all exposed to the sun’s damaging UV rays. Regardless of whether it seems particularly warm or sunny on the day of your hike, these areas of your body have thinner skin and receive daily exposure to the sun, so it’s important to protect them whenever you can.

While you could opt for a generous lathering of sunscreen, a hat with built-in UV protection is a brilliant way to fend off those damaging rays without using a sticky solution that requires frequent reapplication. However, using a hat in conjunction with sunscreen (and even sunglasses!) is a fantastic way to defend your skin and eyes against the effects of the sun.

Particularly important for anyone who is bald or shaves their head, shielding your scalp from the sun with a hiking hat is vital to both your comfort and your safety during long walks outside. Some hiking hats even come complete with additional fabric on the back to protect your neck or a wider brim to deflect sunlight away from your face.

Opt for a hiking hat with breathability

breathable mens hat

A must-have feature for any dedicated hiker, breathability in an outdoor hat ensures you’ll be able to stay cool even on particularly long, tiring, and hot outdoor pursuits. Indeed, if trapped moisture and excessive sweat seems to be a recurring problem while you’re enjoying your hiking adventures, then opting for a hiking hat with vent holes will allow you to expel a small amount of hot, moisture-laden air.

Another way to make sure you snap up a breathable hiking hat is by checking the material. Indeed, fabric hiking hats that are made from durable materials, such as cotton or polyester, generally allow for the best breathability. Regardless of whether you have a full head of hair or you prefer the sleek, shaved look, a breathable hiking hat will prevent your head from feeling hot, sticky, and sweaty after a bracing hike.

When should you put your hiking hat on?

hiking hat

While there’s some contention around the best season to get out into the wilderness and slip on your hiking boots, a general misconception is that spring and summer are the most suitable hiking periods. However, provided the weather is on your side, autumn and winter also make fantastic times to wrap up warm and explore the outdoors.

If you choose to hike in these cooler seasons, then you won’t need to worry about soaring temperatures making you hot and sticky. As a result, you can opt for a hiking hat such as a beanie or a baseball cap that can even be paired with a cosy neck warmer or scarf to fend off the chill of any billowing winter wind.

Autumnal and winter hikes are also beloved by avid or budding photographers as the natural scenery is transformed into a frosty wonderland or a haze of striking red, orange and yellow trees. Not to mention, popular hiking trails are also much less likely to be bustling with people at this time of year, so it’s absolutely worth paying your natural beauty spot a visit during these two seasons. Love to capture the sights and scenery of the great outdoors? Check out our guide of the best DSLR cameras for beginners to find the perfect companion to take on all your adventures.

OnBuy’s top 5 hiking hats

top 5 hiking hats

Bearing our helpful list of essential hiking hat features in mind, we’ve selected only the best men’s outdoor hats for you to check out. Filled with mens walking hats that can be worn in the warmer seasons, as well as cosy walking hats for donning in those cooler months, you’re sure to find the perfect headwear accessory to suit your outdoor exploits right here. Ready to brave the elements? With these hats in your adventurer’s arsenal, you will be!

The versatile hiking hat | Men’s Cotton Polyester Outdoor Hat

cotton polyester hat

Pros: Wonderfully versatile, made from cotton polyester, adjustable strap, wide brim

Cons: Not suitable for colder weather, not waterproof

Perfect for fishing, hiking, and mountaineering, this versatile item of headwear comes complete with an adjustable strap to ensure it stays put - even in windy weather. Finished with a wide rim around the edge of this stylish outdoor hat, it keeps sunlight away from your face and features air vent holes and a breathable fabric to keep you cool, calm and collected all day long.

While the soft and textured cotton polyester construction boasts a degree of water resistance, it’s not fully waterproof and doesn’t feature any padding or thermal insulation to make it suitable for the cooler seasons. As such, this men’s hiking hat is best worn in summer and can even be snapped up in your favourite shade to match your current selection of hiking attire - snazzy and practical!

Light up your hiking life | Men's Grey & Black Rechargeable LED Beanie Hat

grey black beanie hat

Pros: Built-in LED light, stretchable beanie design, ideal for evening or winter strolls

Cons: On the more expensive side, not suitable for hot weather

Sadly, the thicker material and hand-knitted feel of this black beanie hat means it’s not suitable for wearing in warmer weather. However, it thrives in cooler outdoor conditions and darker evenings thanks to the heat-trapping design and hands-free LED headlamp that can be easily recharged using a standard USB port - perfect for charging with a portable power bank on your next camping trip or hiking expedition!

The stitched-in LED lamp itself boasts five bright LED lights (providing 48 lumens of brightness) and the long-lasting battery can go on for a whopping eight hours on a single charge, allowing you to effortlessly illuminate your outdoor activities all night long. Made from a warm and elastic material, this stretchy beanie hat has a soft inner lining for comfort and slips easily over your noggin, regardless of your head size, to provide a snug and secure fit that you’ll adore.

The thermal winter warmer | Heat Holders Men’s Waterproof Thermal Hunting Cap

thermal hunting hat

Pros: Waterproof, fleece-lined, foldaway neck flap, adjustable using toggle and draw-cord

Cons: Slightly pricier than most hiking hats, not ideal for summer due to limited breathability

Chock-full with useful features to help you combat the cold, this aptly-named Heat Holder’s men’s hunting cap is fleece-lined, waterproof, and features a foldaway neck flap for extra comfort, protection, and insulation on those long and snowy wintertime walks. Finished with a toggle and draw-cord at the rear, it can be easily adjusted into a secure, custom fit and is even available in a wide range of sizes and colours. 

While this hunting cap is a little on the expensive side, for the fantastic features it offers, you really can’t go wrong. If you plan on frequently wearing your hat in cooler conditions, this is the perfect piece of headwear for you. However, for those sweltering summer hikes, we suggest you opt for an outdoor hat with a little more breathability to help you stay cool.

Fend off those UV rays | Men’s Navy Outdoor Hat With UV Protection

navy hat

Pros: Cap design shades your face, removable veil provides UV protection

Cons: Not ideal for cooler seasons, not available in other colours

Finally, a hiking hat that’s perfect for defending you from the effects of the summer sun! This dark navy blue outdoor hiking hat is made from lightweight and breathable mesh fabric and boasts a detachable veil to stop you from working up a sweat too quickly. Plus, the matching navy veil also helps to keep the sun off your neck while walking - ideal if you often burn easily under the sweltering sun.

Once the veil has been detached, this hiking hat turns into a cap that’s perfect for keeping the sun out of your eyes on more casual outings. It can even be paired with a hooded coat or jacket to keep the rain off your back while also shading your face from the occasional sunny spot. While the large flap at the back fully covers any exposed skin on your neck, it doesn’t provide much warmth. Unlike knitted beanie hats that are designed to capture heat, this item of hiking attire is best for keeping you cool in sunny conditions! 

Our final outdoor exploration tips

hiking on everest

Before embarking on your hike, it’s always wise to go prepared with more than just one of our men’s outdoor hats! After all, if you’re exploring the stunning sights of the United Kingdom, you’ll be subject to the fickle, ever-changing weather, so you’ll need to prepare for any eventuality! Start by making a list of all your hiking essentials, such as water, a navigational compass, and a map, to name just a few outdoor necessities - but don’t forget your hiking hat either. For particularly long walks, locating convenient places for a toilet stop or taking along some loo paper is another vitally important aspect of hiking that some people forget to consider.

Not sure how long your hike is going to take? You could always use Naismith's Rule to give yourself a rough estimate! This useful rule predicts hiking time by stating that every mile on reasonably flat ground should take you approximately 19.5 minutes. However, it also mentions that you should add an extra 30 minutes to this time with every 1,000 feet of ascent.

Once you’ve calculated your estimated hike time, let a friend or a family member know where you’re going and when you aim to come back to ensure your safety, especially if you choose to embark on a hike alone. Now, all that’s left to do is pop on your brand new outdoor hat and (British weather permitting) get out there! Happy hiking!

The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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