Best Sun Protection Hats. Keep your hat on this summer!

Sun protection hats come in all shapes and sizes and offer varying degrees of sun protection. The best sun protection hats should provide good shade from the sun for your scalp, face, neck, head and ears and preferably have a high UV barrier factor.

Sun Protection Hats Reviews

I’ve bought loads of sun hats in my time and I’m especially careful to be sun smart as I have had a melanoma and don’t want a repeat experience. I’ve found great hats and not so great hats. Some have been chucked out because they just don’t work, and others are old worn and tattered because they do.

These days there’s no end of choice, and summer hats for women come in many different styles and prices.

There’s the floppy sun hat, or the wide brim sun hat both of which will  look good and give you good protection. If you’re going for a bit of style then you might rock a Panama hat, and don’t forget to tilt it an angle. You might need a hat more suited to sporting action which offers high UV protection or something suitable for your hiking, travel or watersports.

So I hope I can help you not make the same mistakes I have, so that you can buy right the first time.

Best Sun Protection Hats

Read on for sun protection hats reviews to help you decide which hats are best for you. I’ve picked out what I consider the best in each case. The product descriptions are by the suppliers.

Have fun choosing!

Best Ladies Sun Hats

We are so lucky that style doesn’t have to pay the price for skin safety when it comes to buying sun protection hats, because wide brimmed hats and floppy hats nearly always add va-va-voom to an outfit. On the other hand baseball caps, as sporty as they are, do not offer a great option for everyday sun protection because they only protect your scalp and forehead but not your neck and ears. Secondly you can hardly wear them with a pretty summer frock IMO 😉 Sorry, I’m not a fan.

Wide brim hats on the other hand like the one below look great and offer good sun protection.


Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Packable Wide Brim Hat – Sun Protective (One Size- Natural)

Product Description

  • Polyester Knit
  • UPF 50+
  • Wide 4” brim; Approx. circumference: 22 1/2”
  • Internal sweatband for comfort and a snug fit and crown lining for maximum sun protection
  • Packable, crushable construction

Best Floppy Hat

A floppy hat is a must have in your wardrobe. I like ones which I can fold up and put in my handbag, which I can then shake out when I need them and they don’t look worse for wear.

Siggi Summer Flap Cover Cap Cotton UPF 50+ Sun Shade Hat 

Product Description

  • Cotton/ramie/polyester
  • Free size with an adjustable string at back. Best fit for 55-58cm 21.6″-22.8″ 6 7/8 – 7 1/4.
  • SPF 50+: this sun hat has passed a UPF 50+ test, it could block 97.5% or more of sun UV rays.
  • 4.7″ brim that’s wide and long enough to shade forehead, eyes and cheeks from sun’s UV rays.
  • Light and ventilated. Cool and comfortable for summer. The chin cord will help keep the hat on in wind.

Best Straw Hat

Straw is a fabulous material for summer hats because it’s breathable and lightweight. Many straw hats are quite malleable and can be scrunched up in your bag and then shaken out to wear. If you choose a natural straw colour it’s likely to look good with many outfits.


Joseni Women Floppy Straw Hat

Product Description

  • High Quality & Bowknot Design: 100% paper straw [cellulosic fibre + polyester]. Lightweight, ventilated and soft for a luxurious customized feel. Nice way to cut down some of the heat. The bowknot design adds more fashion and femininity.
  • Foldable: Soft straw fabric. Convenient as it’s foldable and packs into your bag for travel.
  • Detachable Chin Strap: Adjustable for a snug fit so that it won’t blow off when it gets windy.
  • Great Fit: One size fits most. Height (above top of brim) is 3.5 inches. Brim width is 3.5 inches. Large brim performs well shielding sunlight. An adjustable tape built inside the sweatband. Best fit for 56-58cm 22″-22.8″ 7- 7 1/4.

Best Beach Hat

Looking for the best beach hat? Then buy one with an ultra wide brim in a material which will keep you cool. Felt is definitely out! The wider the brim the more of your neck, back and shoulders will be protected.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Beach Hat – Sun Protective

Product Description

  • Cotton/Linen Blend
  • Elastic closure
  • UPF 50+
  • Approx. circumference: 22 1/2”; Ultra wide 6” wired brim
  • Fully lined crown with grosgrain sweatband and elastic string for adjustable sizing
  • Travel friendly packable construction

Best Panama Hat

At around the turn of the 20th century, Panama hats became popular as tropical and seaside accessories because they were easy to wear, stylish and they let the head breathe. They are traditional straw hats which originate from Equador. Panama hats are light-colored and  lightweight. Their beauty is that they are breathable.  For the best quality Panama hat look for a tight, fine weave.

Tumia – Fedora Panama Hat – White or Natural – Lightweight rollable version.

Product Description

  • Genuine Panama Hat. Fedora Style. Hand woven in Ecuador. Light and breathable. Ethically Traded.
  • Hand woven in Ecuador and hand finished in Bristol, England. By Tumia Panama Hats, the UK’s leading Panama specialist.
  • Comfortable sweat wicking inner headband.

For more about how Panama Hats are made you might like to read my post How Panama Hats are made and More in Manta, Equador

Best Sun Protection Hat

UV protection hats or spf hats offer the best shielding from the sun, as they are likely to be made from material that doesn’t let UV rays through. Best sun protection hats for walking and being out on the water might be a legionnaire-style hat. If you’re into hiking or love water sports then choose a hat which offers the highest UV protection, and forget about drop-dead-gorgeous style by buying a less flattering hat possibly with neck flaps and chin strap too. You’ll be glad you did when you’re the one who doesn’t get a sunburnt neck. Mens and Womens sun protection hats will look the same so just be careful to choose the right size for your head.

This is the type of hat I walk in every day when I’m exercising in Western Australia.

Regatta Great Outdoors Unisex Protector Summer Legionnaire Cap

Product Description

  • Polyester, Elastane,
  • 95% polyester, 5% elastane.
  • Mesh ventilation.
  • Sunshade neck protector.
  • Reflective detail for enhanced visibility.

Best Sun Hat for hiking

Hiking hats should be made of water and rip-resistant nylon and fold up for easy storage in your rucksack or suitcase. An adjustable chin strap to stop the hat from slipping off and built-in mesh sweat band to help with ventilation on hot days.

Waterproof Outdoor Wide Brim Sun Hat by Feeker, Fishing, Hiking Sun Boonie Hat 

Product Description

  • 3.5″ WIDE BRIM BOONIE HATS | Provide a full range of sunshade. Will not block line of your sight.
  • SUN PROTECTION | Omni-Shade UPF 50+
  • REMOVABLE WATERPROOF  CROWN | The Crown of nylon fabrics protect your head from sun exposure and keep out the rain | Mesh crown inside keeps your head cool and ventilated.
  • ADJUSTMENT CHIN STRAP | Hold the hat in place even in windy or rainy conditions.
  • FOLDABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT | Great for fishing hiking, camping, travelling, gardening or any outdoor activity.

Best Hats for Watersports

If you’re into boating, kayaking, fishing or gadding about on the river in a ‘tinny’ then choose a hat suitable for watery pursuits. You need either a legionnaire hat or a wide brimmed hat which will stay on (like the one above). It must protect your neck, face, ears and head from the sun. Beware reflection from the water, so make sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses too. The hat should preferably have a neck flap (some are removable) and a chin strap to protect you from the sun and wind. It should also be a hat that dries quickly and folds up nice and small too.

YCHY Flap Hats Folding Hat

Product Description

  • Lightweight Sun Cap Flap Hat, quick to dry, breathable material for all-day wear, especially during warm months. The quick drying fabric 100% Polyester is great for all types of outdoor activities. Free size fits most with adjustable buckle.
  • YCHY Flap Hat, Sun Cap UPF 50+ sun protection. Offers a removable neck flap and a breathable face protector which helps protect skin from the elements. The mask can protect face from dust.
  • Mesh absorbs sweat, breathable. The back of the hat has elastic fast buckle. Windproof design with adjustable chin strap ensures the hat stays on. 
  • Comes in different colours: Black/ Light Blue/Light Grey/Deep Grey/Khaki/Rose Red.
  • Many ways to wear this cap depending on your protection needs and activity.
  • YCHY Flap Hats Sun Cap is portable, packs well, fits in small bags and can easily be folded into itself.

Best Wide Brim Sun Hats

A wide brimmed hat is a classic design, always looks stylish and offers a good barrier against the sun. Did you know that from the late 1920s it was fashionable for women to wear enormous straw hats while parading their latest fashions on the French Riviera?

Broad-brimmed and bucket hats provide good UV radiation protection for the face and head.

This sort of hat offers a good buffer if you’re gardening, or at the beach or if you are at an outdoor food and wine festival or music festival. However with a slightly stiffer rim than a floppy hat this sun hat isn’t the greatest on windy days, so choose one with a neck tie. Some may not be quite so easy to pack in your suitcase and travel with on holiday so check they are squashable.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Packable Wide Brim Hat – Sun Protective

Product Description

  • Polyester Knit
  • UPF 50+
  • Wide 4” brim; Approx. circumference: 22 1/2”
  • Internal sweatband for comfort and a snug fit and crown lining for maximum sun protection
  • Packable, crushable construction
  • Spot clean; Imported

Best Sun Hats for Travel

For me the legionnaire hat is the best hat for active travel. It should have a wide brim, chin strap and neck straps like the one mentioned previously. However, I will also probably pack a day hat like the one below – one that will scrunch up in my handbag but also look stylish – it must have a wide brim be made of a tight knit fabric in a fun colour, or be a neutral colour which I can wear with anything.

QBSM Womens Large Brimmed Foldable Outdoor Summer Beach Sun Protection Hats

Product Description

    • Cotton
    • Best fit for 56-58cm 22″-22.8″,Elastic band design behind the hat, can adjust the perimeter of the hat, and make it more comfortable to wear.
    • Cotton material, soft, breathable. Ventilated to keep you cool in summer.
    • Detachable chin strap is adjustable for a better fit.
    • Brim width : 4″-4.7″ in length, is large enough to shade forehead, neck and cheeks from sun light. Sunscreen shawl, can help protect your neck from ultraviolet radiation.
    • Ponytail design. There is a small hole behind the hat for braid.

Vintage Sun Hats

In the 1940s and 1950s it was customary for women to wear hats as a fashion accessory and as a mark of status, though they were not worn necessarily because of climate or weather. Many styles of hats were popular including round pillbox hats. Brims were usually narrow. These styles of hats will offer the least sun protection, but look good! So you have to decide when the cap fits or doesn’t

Women’s Lace Band and Flower Vented Bucket Straw Vintage Style Hat

Product Description

  • 100% paper straw with polyester flower and lace
  • One size fits most
  • 22-inch opening circumference, 12 (W) x 10 (L) x 5.5 (H) inches
  • Durable construction

How to choose a Sun Hat

When choosing the best sun hat Sunsmart offers many sensible tips to follow.

      1. Firstly look for the quality of sun protection it offers.
      2. Look for a wide brim with at least a 7.5 cm brim for adults.
      3. A bucket brim hat suitable for outdoor pursuits should have a deep crown with an angled brim of at least 6 cm and sit low on the head)
      4. Wearing a hat with a brim that shades the eyes can also reduce UV radiation to the eyes.
      5. If you’re active or sporty then look for a  legionnaire hat which will have a flap that covers the neck and overlaps at the sides of the front peak. These hats can also be worn under helmets and hardhats. They are good for UV radiation protection.
      6. Check the material. What is the hat made from? A tighter fabric structure is better.
      7. Does the material let a lot of light through? Does it provide dark shade? A fabric with UPF 15 offers good protection while one that is UPF 50 offers much better protection.
      8. Is the hat cool and comfortable? If it’s not, you’re not so likely to want to wear it.
      9. Is the hat going to stay on? Do you need one with a chin strap?
      10. For sun safety always wear a hat that provides good shade to the scalp, face, eyes, ears and back of neck.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Life Images by Jill

    I am not really a hat person (I hate hat hair) but I go for the wider brim hat these days, but I oh so love the vintage sun hat Jo. I actually have one that looks a bit like that and I always get compliments about it. Time to drag it out again me thinks.

    • Johanna

      I know Jill, me too. I can just see you in a vintage sun hat though 🙂

    • Johanna

      I know what you mean about hat hair Jill. Me too, I really hate it.

  • Kooky chic

    My poor straw panama retired on the weekend. How timely your post is.

    • Johanna

      Hello Kooky chic, hope you find a nice new shady panama soon 🙂

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