Jul 09, 2023
The 11 Best Sun Hats for Men of 2023
Don’t underestimate the value of some good sun protection — and style. Jump to a Section We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may
Don’t underestimate the value of some good sun protection — and style.
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We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.
Travel + Leisure / Alli Waataja
Overexposure to sun rays causes superficial harm like premature signs of aging and, worst of all, DNA damage that affects our skin on a cellular level. So yes, there’s something to be said about the benefits of feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces, but there's certainly such a thing as too much of a good thing.
That’s why it’s so important to get the right protective sun hat for travel, whether you’re in need of something made from straw to accompany you on your next beach vacation, a cap well-suited for the golf links, or a hat that provides maximum breathability for high-exertion activities such as hiking.
While nothing is going to truly prevent sun damage quite like some good old SPF, our picks of the best sun hats for men do a pretty good job of helping out.
It provides reliable sun protection and is lightweight, machine washable, and versatile.
It’s treated with permethrin, a synthetic analog of a chemical naturally produced by daisies, to repel insects.
If L.L. Bean makes it, you know it’s going to be reliable. We were initially drawn to this baseball cap because it doesn’t have the overwrought look that sun hats often have (big floppy brim, grandpa vibes, etc.). Instead, it has a versatile look that we’d style with jeans and a T-shirt for an outdoor brunch date or with athleisure for our next walk in the woods.
But don’t be fooled by this hat’s streamlined appearance — it’s packed with functionality. It’s made from a lightweight nylon that dries lightning-fast whether soaked through with rain or with sweat, and the fabric itself has been treated with permethrin to keep biting insects away. There’s also a hidden interior sweatband that keeps sweat out of your eyes, and an adjustable back strap for the perfect fit. Throw in UPF 50+ protection that keeps out 98 percent of the sun’s most harmful rays, and you’ve got yourself a hat that’s ready for any adventure.
Price at time of publish: $25
The Details: One size | 71 percent nylon, 29 percent polyester
It’s a classic silhouette with timeless appeal.
It’s not packable.
If you’re a hat lover, a quintessential straw hat belongs in your arsenal — and every detail on this Orvis straw hat hits the mark. It’s handwoven in Ecuador (the gold standard for straw hats), has a gently sloping brim that telegraphs style and substance without being overly floppy, and is finished with a genuine leather band with beautiful stitching and a (subtle) Orvis pin. We also love that this one comes in four distinct sizes, so it’s easy to find the perfect fit.
Price at time of publish: $149
The Details: Medium to XX-large | Straw
It’s a classic, quintessential piece of golf apparel.
You probably won’t be the only one on the fairways rocking this hat.
Few golf brands have reached the same iconic status as Titleist, which is worn by most of the world’s leading players. As such, every detail of this hat is designed to complement your golf game: from an internal sweatband to control perspiration and reduce odor, to a structured front panel and bill that are reliably stiff, to UPF 50+ protection so you can swing all day without the sun getting in your eyes.
Price at time of publish: $33
The Details: One size | Performance
Squish it, scrunch it, pack it in a bag — this hat always bounces back.
Not everyone loves the look of packable hats.
If anyone knows about living in the sunshine, it’s the Australian brand Solbari. This Traveller sun hat is designed for sun-soaked adventures of all kinds, whether you’re exploring deep inside the Outback or just opting for a beach day a little closer to home. The broad brim shape provides excellent coverage for your face, eyes, and neck, and the hat itself is lightweight and designed to be packed deep in your luggage for the most long-haul journeys. Pull it out of your baggage, give it a shake, and this hat is ready to go.
Price at time of publish: $55
The Details: S-L/XL | Nylon
It’s a sleek, high-performing take on the bucket hat trend.
It’s made from a performance four-way stretch material.
Ride the bucket hat trend with this sleek style from Lululemon, which offers the high functionality you expect from this brand: a lightweight, stretchy fabric that’s sweat-wicking and quick-drying, a just-right brim that’s neither too big nor too small, and a design profile that makes a statement without feeling overly trendy. We love that this hat is reversible so you can easily turn it inside out for a completely different look.
Price at time of publish: $48
The Details: S/M, M/L, L/XL | 86 percent recycled polyester, 14 percent elastane
It’s a quintessential style, perfectly executed and finished with luxe details.
It may be too much of an investment for your more rough-and-tumble activities.
Every inch of this sophisticated hat is the best of the best. It’s handcrafted by artisans in Ecuador from toquilla straw, prized for its long-lasting quality, and designed with a generous brim that provides excellent protection from the sun. It’s finished with a dramatic band — which is offered in about ten different colors — that exudes elegance and timelessness. If you’re looking to invest in a hat that offers as much of a fashion statement as it does protection from the sun, this is your best bet.
Price at time of publish: $265
The Details: 55-61 | Ecuadorian straw
It’s built tough and built to last.
It’s a little more expensive than similar shaped hats we’ve seen.
Keep the sun, the rain, and all the elements at bay with this sturdy bush hat. It’s made from a lightweight, durable waxed cotton that keeps not only the sun out of your face with UPF 50+ protection, but the rain and wind out of your eyes. Waxed cotton isn’t typically the most high-performing material, so that’s why this one is made from a cotton/nylon blend that allows for more breathability. Plus it’s finished with a hidden interior sweatband that’s designed to optimize airflow, keep sweat out of your eyes, and make sure your scalp remains cool and comfortable throughout your hiking journey.
Price at time of publish: $75
The Details: S/M, L/XL | 67 percent cotton, 33 percent nylon
The brand’s “million mile” lifetime guarantee makes this a sound investment.
The largest heads might have a hard time squeezing into this one.
Discover what all the hype is about with this much-loved running hat, perfect for sun protection on quick jogs and long runs alike. Breathable, featherweight mesh as well as strategically placed air holes mean that the sun’s harmful rays will be kept away, but you’ll never have to compromise ventilation. It’s lightweight, offers some high-visibility reflective finishes for added safety, and (best of all, we think), is super machine washable, so you can keep it fresh and clean and remain confident that it won’t break down over time. This hat comes in a wide range of fun and funky colors and patterns, and every one is backed by the brand’s “million-mile” lifetime guarantee.
Price at time of publish: $45
The Details: One size | Recycled performance fiber
It provides unbeatable neck coverage, plus a small zippered pocket for storing things like credit cards and keys.
It’s only offered in black, which can feel pretty warm in the sunniest climates.
Is there anywhere this hat can’t go? It’s made from a premium, expensive-feeling, water-resistant stretch fabric that provides unparalleled neck coverage and even comes with a detachable face covering just in case you’re looking for absolute maximum protection from the sun, the elements, bugs, and so forth. The hat comes with a cobra buckle in the back so you can adjust for a perfect fit, and it also has — try to find another hat with this! — a small zippered pocket to carry your essentials on the go. It’s a lot of look for an everyday sun hat, but if you’re in need of absolute maximum coverage, this one is unmatched.
Price at time of publish: $140
The Details: One size | Nylon/spandex
This is a reliable hat with undeniable surfer vibes.
It doesn’t have the stylistic versatility of other sun hats — you may not want to wear this one to brunch, for example.
The problem with most sun hats is that as soon as you start to do anything really active — such as water sports — they tend to fly off, or they require an uncomfortable chin strap that can chafe. Not the case with this Quiksilver hat. It’s a trucker at heart, which has a reliable brim to keep the sun out of your eyes and a breathable mesh panel that dries quickly. But you won’t find an uncomfortable chin strap here — it’s finished with an adjustable buckle and made from a poly-microfiber reminiscent of wetsuit material, so it comfortably hugs your chin and keeps the hat secure when you’re shredding even the gnarliest gnar.
Price at time of publish: $28
The Details: S/M, LXL | Polyester microfiber
It’s an adjustable “sunthing” face covering with a breathable, loose fit.
You can move the attached bandana to only cover the back of your neck, but it cannot be removed from the hat.
People who frequent the sunniest locales don’t mess around with sun protection — after all, up to 50 percent of light can be reflected off the ground, whether it’s sand, snow, or cement — and damage our faces and necks. If you’re looking for a sun hat with added neck protection, this Seirus option is a great place to start. It comes with an attached “sunthing” face covering with a breathable, loose fit so you won’t feel stifled, and it features a built-in adjustable toggle so you can find the perfect fit. Not interested in the full-coverage look? The Sunthing can be flipped over your head and draped down just the back side of your neck, so you can still enjoy protection from up to 96 percent of harmful UV rays.
Price at time of publish: $35
The Details: SM/MD, LG/XL | 4-way stretch polyester
In the sunniest weather, people aren’t really going to be judging you for your fashion sense. Investing in a good sun hat often means choosing in function over form. In other words, we suggest you prioritize UV protection — which is a combination of both literal fabric coverage of your head and neck and also the UPF properties of the hat’s fabric itself. This information is usually apparent from reviewing a retailer’s product pages, or by examining the individual product’s tag.
The conundrum of pinpointing the perfect sun hat is finding something that offers high quality protection from harmful UV rays but is also breathable for warmer climates. Some styles offer adjustable neck coverings and built-in grommets for increased airflow, but the fact of the matter is that you’re still likely to sweat if you’re wearing one of these things in the sun for any length of time. That’s why you should prioritize moisture-wicking fabrics — typically poly-blends — that are woven in such a way that they naturally pull moisture particles away from your skin and to the outside of the hat for quick (and odor-free) evaporation.
It depends on the hat. Some hats are designed to withstand the rigors and pressure of being crumpled up in your luggage. Other sun hats, such as baseball caps, might not take so well to getting crushed, and you might end up with a creased bill that’s difficult to repair. First step: check if the manufacturer has indicated anywhere that this hat in particular is “packable.” If it’s made from a lightweight material such as nylon, chances are that it is. If your hat has a little more structure to it, however, consider folding up some socks or T-shirts within the crown of the cap, and gently layering it in your luggage so that your other packed items support — as opposed to squish — the hat’s natural shape.
Ask any dermatologist and they’ll say the best sun protection is to avoid the sun altogether. So when it comes to sun huts, the most protection comes from ones that offer the most coverage, which more often than not means extensive neck coverings. While these are a solid option for tropical fishing guides, people who frequent sunny deserts, and those who spend a lot of time on safari, they tend to be quite the fashion statement. For something a little more wearable, you’ll have to settle for a little less coverage, such as a bucket hat or a floppy-brim hat.
The density and weave of a given fabric are the most important factors when determining its sun protectiveness, and synthetic fibers have been shown to offer more protection than natural fibers, but another important factor is color. Studies have shown that fabrics with darker or more saturated colors tend to have better UV protection. For example, a dark navy blue shirt will offer superior UV protection to a pale blue shirt, which in turn will offer superior protection than a plain white shirt. It’s also worth noting that newer condition clothes offer more UV protection than worn-in, frayed, and faded garments; so when your favorite shade of forest green starts to look a little more seafoam, it might be time for a replacement.
For this story, travel writer Todd Plummer combed through market research, referenced product descriptions, and touched on his own personal experience to create a comprehensive roundup of the best sun hats for men.
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