The Best Sun Hats For Backpacking

The best sun hats for backpacking will have some very particular features; it pays to pick your sun hat carefully and abide by the key features outlined below; the last thing you want is a sun hat that doesn’t pack well, loses shape, and doesn’t protect you properly from the sun!

Below is a list of key features to look out for when choosing the best sun hat for your trip, and, if you need help deciding what hat to go for then I have provided a recommendation at the end of this article.

The best sun protective hats will all have the following key features:

Sun Protection

Getting maximum sun protection should be the number one priority when selecting your sun hat. There are a number of features to look out for to ensure that you will get optimum protection:

  • Ensure that you select a sun hat that is constructed from material that provides sun protection of UPF 50+.
  • Select a model that has a brim wide enough to protect your face from the sun and a neck veil that protects the back of your neck from burning (this is a particularly sensitive area that is often forgotten about and is therefore prone to burning!)


  • Opt for a hat that is packable. You will need a hat that is compactable and does not lose its shape. Large, unfordable hats are definitely not practical – not only will they take up a lot of room in your backpack, they will get easily misshapen.
  • Ensure that it is of a washable fabric – as you may be wearing your hat for extended periods of time and in hot climates you will definitely need to wash your hat during your backpacking journey so ensure that you select a hat that allows you to do this. Whilst a straw hat may be pretty, it’s not that easy to wash; practicality is the aim of the game!
  • Keep it lightweight. Sun hats designed specifically for travel will be specially made from ultra-lightweight fabrics – be sure to select a hat designed for travel; packing light is key!


  • Backpacking will often involve encountering a wide variety of weather conditions which makes packing a real challenge. As a rule of thumb it is best to take with you the most versatile clothing possible – and this goes for your hat too! Choosing a sun hat that is constructed from waterproof material will allow you to wear it come rain or shine and you won’t have to worry about it getting ruined.


  • Whilst you will need good protective cover, the best sun hats will also provide excellent ventilation to avoid overheating.
  • Opt for a hat with a chin strap – this will make your hat feel more secure and will also prevent it from flying away in the breeze!
  • Ensure that your sun hat fits you head properly – you will not feel comfortable in a hat that is forever slipping down!


  • Ensure that you choose a sun hat that is constructed from a quality, durable fabric. It is worth investing a little more and buying a quality sun hat from the outset, rather than opting for the cheapest model you can get your hands on, as chances are that it won’t last and you will have to replace it during your trip.

Best Sun Hats: Recommendation

The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat is well known on the backpacker trail for being one of the best sun hats currently available on the market. So what makes this sun hat such a great choice for backpackers?

  • UPF 50+ Sun protection: the highest sun protection rating possible.
  • Waterproof fabric
  • Specially designed to be as light as possible – less than 3.0 ounces
  • Packable – constructed so that it can pack flat or be rolled into a cone for travelling without losing its shape – perfect for backpacking!
  • Constructed from fabric which repels water and dirt and dries 3-5 times faster than regular fabrics making it ideal for backpacking when encountering various weather conditions.
  • Ventilation to help keep you cool whilst maintaining maximum sun protection.
  • Customisable sizing.
  • Chin strap.
  • Four inch wide brim & neck veil for ultimate cover
  • Wide variety of colours available to suit every taste.

The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat is on the market for $36.

The Negative?

Whilst the Adventure Hat is notorious for being one of the best sun hats on the market, it is also noted that when it comes to the best sun hats for style, well, this one is not top of the list. But hey, something’s gotta give and I’m sure that any wise backpacker would choose sun safety over style!

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