The Finest Sun Hat for Hikers

After interviewing three dermatologists, an ultra-runner, and four ultra-hikers, and field-testing for a total of 200 hours, we are convinced the sun hat that works is the one that you’ll actually wear. A unanimous favorite among our testers, the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat provides the ideal balance of coverage and breathability, and is unobtrusive enough which it is possible to forget that you have it on.

Our pick


Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat

The hat you will really keep wearing

This hat with UPF 50 fabric is so lightweight and airy, you could easily forget you’re wearing it, which means you are more likely to abandon it on your head.


The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure game  offers  breathability, venting, and packability yet is comfortable enough that you will not mind wearing it. This new-for-2016 design combines the best features of the former model and improves on them, offering lighter fabrics (which are still UPF 50 ) and a thinner shape. We had to eliminate other hats to observe when browsing snow-covered mountain moves, but the clamshell brim about the Ultra Adventure stops just prior to the ear, balancing protection with visibility. The brim also remains rigid in the wind–protecting the face out of sunlight even through gusts. After the wind picks up, you won’t drop it, as a result of flexible sizing and a fantastic chin strap. Designed with pockets to hold sunglasses plus reflective tape for non invasive scenarios, it keeps its shape afterward and packs down easily for traveling.

Our testers unanimously applauded the Columbia Bora Bora II Booney because of its breathability, which makes sense as it’s the most generous mesh venting of anything we tested. It kept our heads cooler than other hats, both in the field and in a controlled test. For a sun hat that drops greater on the style spectrum compared to others we looked at, it offers a great amount of coverage, including UPF 50 fabric. Once the wind picked up, crown and an adjustable neck strap retained it on our heads. In airplanes and at night when you don’t need it, the more Columbia crams down to a minimum size in your package.

The Tilley LTM6 AirFlo is constructed with UPF 50 fabric designed to keep your neck and face protected, and is particularly good-looking. This lasting, Canadian-made hat also has a higher quality of workmanship (evidenced by the hand-sewn lock-stitching) compared to other hats we analyzed and a company brim that does not lose its shape in wind or if compacted. The sole drawback is that each of this design comes at a price.



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