What distinguishes a hiking hat? Purchase tips

Sun and rain protection in one: This is what distinguishes good hiking hats

A hiking hat protects against UV rays and light rain showers, but is also a popular fashion accessory

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Anyone who goes hiking regularly knows about the changeable weather conditions between mountains and valleys. A hiking hat can be a useful addition to ensure that you always keep a cool (and dry) head despite the sun and rain.

In contrast to ordinary headgear made of linen or straw, a hiking hat – ideally – has two important functions: it keeps out dangerous UV rays and it is waterproof. Nevertheless, the material should be breathable so that the heat does not accumulate under the hat. In addition, a hiking hat can have different properties that should be based on the nature of your outdoor activity: A light, crushable model that you can easily stow in your pocket is suitable for short trips. For long hikes, on the other hand, sturdy hiking hats with a wide brim are a better choice. And these are by no means all of the criteria that you need to consider when making a purchase. We tell you the most important points.

What distinguishes a good hiking hat?

In the first place should be a hiking hat be comfortable, i.e. it must not be too tight, but also not too loose. An integrated cord is helpful in that you can use it to ensure a secure hold on your head – even on windy days. As far as UV radiation is concerned, most models for men and women have a high sun protection factor, but at least they are waterproof. For this reason, it is advisable to study the manufacturer’s declared properties well in advance if you prefer a rainproof hiking hat. Depending on the area of ​​application, the size and the material play an equally important role. You can find out what to look out for in the next section.

Size and material: you need to know that

The size

To determine the right size for your hiking hat, you need to measure the circumference of your head – this is the guideline for most manufacturers. You can then use the following list as a guide:

Manufacturer Sizes

Head circumference in cm


53 centimeters


54 to 55 centimeters


56 to 57 centimeters


58 to 59 centimeters


60 to 61 centimeters


62 to 63 centimeters


64 centimeters

The material

Cotton, felt, Gore-Tex and polyester are the common materials used in making hiking hats. They differ from each other as follows:

  1. Cotton: The material is breathable and light, so it offers a high level of comfort. However, it does not have any water-repellent properties and can easily crumple in a hiking backpack. The hat is easy to clean in the washing machine.
  2. Felt: A Felt hiking hat is significantly heavier, but it also protects your head better from the sun’s rays and rain. Another advantage is that less dirt sticks to the material and it therefore has to be cleaned less often.
  3. Gore Tex: Because of its windproof and waterproof properties, Gore-Tex is a popular material – also in the manufacture of hiking hats. It is also particularly breathable. However, this combination comes at a steep price.
  4. Polyester: The robust material is not only easy to clean, but also particularly durable. In addition, it remains crease-free, even when stowed in a hiking backpack. Depending on the manufacturer provide appropriate Polyester hats high UV protection.

Note: Fleece is also used, but as an inner material for hiking hats to keep the head warm. For this reason, it is more suitable for cold days.

Useful uses for hiking hats

The hiking hat is a must-have on warm summer days, regardless of the altitude at which you are hiking: On the one hand it protects your head from the sun’s rays and on the other hand from rain showers. However, it is important that you choose a breathable and quick-drying material to avoid heat build-up. On cold autumn or winter days, on the other hand, it makes sense to opt for a lined hiking hat. It keeps your head warm while providing a fitting one UV protectionwhich is particularly important in snowy areas.

And one more tip at the end: The hiking hat is a good choice even for climbing, but you should always make sure that you attach the chosen model to your head with a cord. Otherwise your hat may fly off on windy days.

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