Sunburn, heat exhaustion, freezing ears, or swarming insects are not things to take lightly, especially in the outdoors. A good hiking hat with the appropriate features (think wide brims, warm fleece, or insect nets) is essential to keep you safe from such problems.
In this guide, I’ll review the ten best hiking hats for women and explain how to choose the right head covering for your next trip.
My Review Process
When I started hiking, I had many incidents where my hiking partners or I suffered sunburns or frozen ears. Both of these could have been easily avoided with just a wide-brimmed straw hat or a beanie.
Since then, I always keep a weather-appropriate hiking hat with me whenever I’m out on the trails.
I’ve tried many different hats along the way and weighed the pros and cons of each hat before compiling this guide. For me, protection from the weather, breathability, and comfort are the top considerations when choosing a hiking hat. And funky colors are a bonus!
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at my top picks.
A safari hat that is versatile, and waterproof has to be my pick for the best overall women’s hiking hat.
The Tilley Wanderer is made from UPF 50 cotton duck material with a DWR water-repellent finish. The brim is foldable and can be snapped up on one or both sides. This hiking hat has other ‘cool’ features like ventilating grommets for hot and humid days.
The only consideration here is the price - the Tilley Wanderer is quite expensive. But if you want a hat that does it all, the Wanderer is the one to choose.
The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat offers excellent sun protection. The wide brim and the cape over the neck save you from sunburns while also shading your eyes from glare.
The Adventure Hat is super breathable, with mesh lining on the sides giving excellent ventilation. The nylon and polyester mix material keeps your head cool on the warmest of days.
This unisex hat is not the most durable and forms creases if not packed properly. But if you want something that will keep your head comfortable and protected in the backcountry, the Adventure Hat is hard to beat.
The Columbia Bundle Up Beanie is my choice for the best women’s hiking hat for winter. The Sherpa fleece liner on the inside feels luxurious and keeps your head toasty. The acrylic and polyester blend feels warm and cozy against the skin.
The classic design is simple and easy to use. The attached pompom on top can be a problem if you have to wear a helmet but it adds to the cuteness.
The Bundle Up beanie is hand-wash only, but that’s a small thing to do for such a cozy winter beanie.
The well-made KUHL Renegade Cap is the best waterproof hiking cap for women - especially if you have long hair. This baseball cap is made of an anti-abrasion, quick-dry material that weathers rough trails with ease and the DWR treatment protects you from water.
The Renegade cap has a quick-adjust strap system, providing space for your ponytail to hang out. Some women might find the top stitching a little uncomfortable in the new version. But the two-way stretch fabric boasts a comfortable fit for most.
If you need a no-fuss waterproof cap for the trail, the KUHL Renegade is your answer!
The TrailHeads Fleece Hat with a drop-down ear warmer is perfect for those chilly spring or autumn hikes. The ear warmer can be pulled down to cover your neck or folded up and away on mildly cold days.
This fleece hat has a visor that protects your eyes from the sunlight reflecting off the snow. It also has a ponytail flap at the back that helps keep hair out of your face.
My research shows that the fit is a bit tricky to nail. Despite that, its simple yet innovative design makes it the best warm hiking hat for women.
I love the simplicity of the Mission Cooling Performance Baseball Cap and how well it keeps you cool even in hot summer temperatures.
Just wet it with water, wring it and wave it to start the cooling. In less than 30 seconds, the cap cools down to 30 degrees below body temperature. The synthetic material gives it a cooling effect that lasts for up to 2 hours - longer than most other caps.
The white color reflects the sunlight away and helps in cooling. The fitting is comfortable for most heads and it packs away nicely when not in use.
The only drawback is the white color gathers dust and stains very quickly. However, it is machine washable so that’s not much of a problem. The Mission Cap shines as the best women’s hiking baseball cap.
With the Simplicity Straw Sun Visor, you can flaunt your style while the wide brim protects you from sunburns. This is one of the few straw hats that can be worn under a helmet comfortably. It also lets you wear your hair up when it’s hot outside.
The Simplicity Visor can be easily folded away when not in use. The straw material is super breathable and remains wrinkle-free. The size of the visor is easy to adjust with a velcro tab.
The only drawback is the floppy brim of the hat which can be a tad irritating. But if you are looking for a wide-brimmed hiking hat for women, this straw sun visor is a winner!
The Hurley is as functional a hat as it is stylish. The bucket style looks great while offering ample protection. It is reversible and comes in fun designs and colors.
This polyester hat is lightweight and packable which makes it the obvious choice for hot summer days.
The Hurley fits a little larger than advertised, which can be a problem for women with smaller head sizes. But for most women, it fits well and is my choice for the best hiking bucket hat.
For trekking in swampy, insect-infested areas, nothing beats the Outdoor Research Bug Helios Hat With Mesh Net.
This wide-brimmed hat has all the features of a good hiking hat with the addition of a mesh net to keep you free from insect bites. OR has added a band to store the mesh net when not in use, which lets you use the hat as a simple sun hat too. There’s also a removable drawstring cord that lets you adjust the fit easily.
I didn’t like the design of the hat - OR has simply added a mesh net over their popular Helios model - but its functionality is indisputable.
The Frogg Toggs Waterproof Boonie Hat is the best headwear you can choose for when there’s a chance of rain on your hike. It is waterproof while still maintaining good breathability. The internal band wicks away sweat nicely.
The Frogg Toggs hat is crushable and packs down to store in the smallest pocket of your backpack without losing shape.
Of course, you can’t have such fantastic features without compromising somewhere. With the Waterproof Boonie, Frogg Toggs makes you compromise on the style quotient. However, it works great as a waterproof head covering which is a good enough trade-off. For me, the Frogg Toggs is the best budget hiking hat for women.
Women's Hiking Hat Buying Guide
To avoid buying an inappropriate hat that might result in you ending up with frozen ears or sunburns, I’ve put together this guide for you.
Here are things to keep in mind when choosing a hiking hat.
When choosing a new hat, keep in mind the weather and the season you will be using it in.
In summer, choose lightweight hats with a wide brim, mesh panels, and a sweat-wicking fabric. They provide excellent sun protection while ensuring breathability and keeping you cool.
Winter hats should keep your head and ears warm and comfy. Choose hiking hats made from fleece or synthetic fiber as these materials trap heat very well.
Brim size plays a big role in protecting your face, head, and neck from the sun. Wide-brimmed hats, boonies, or safari hats with a neck covering offer the best protection.
The brim of the hat also needs to be perfectly stiff. A wide-brimmed hat that is floppy and keeps blocking your vision becomes annoying very quickly.
Having a mesh lining around the brim and breathable fabric is important too. Breathable materials like straw, nylon, and mesh prevent moisture from getting trapped close to the head. For winter, merino wool is an excellent moisture-wicking and warm fabric for hats.
Adjustable chin straps are a useful feature as they ensure your hiking hat doesn’t fly away when the breeze picks up.
Rivet holes might seem like a small thing, but those provide excellent ventilation and help to keep your head cool.
The main purpose of hiking hats is to protect you from the sun’s harmful glare. They do this by blocking the cancer-causing UV radiation (made of UVA and UVB rays).
The UPF (or Ultraviolet Protection Factor) number indicates how much of the sun’s radiation can penetrate fabric and reach your skin. For instance, UPF 50 allows only 1/50th of the radiation, or 2% to reach your skin.
Any hat with a UPF factor of 15 and above is a good choice.
Some hiking hats come with a DWR water-repellent coating, while some hats are made of a waterproof material like Gore-tex. These hats come in handy for rainy days or to keep snow from soaking your head in winter.
My overall winner for best woman’s hiking hat is the Tilley Wanderer Hat. For women hikers on a budget, the Frogg Toggs Waterproof Boonie Hat is the best option. For those who prefer a baseball cap over a hat, the Mission Cooling Performance Baseball Cap would be my pick.
Yes! A hiking hat is an indispensable part of your hiking gear, especially in the summer and winter months. It can protect you from sunburn, frozen ears, and even help cool you down.
Whichever hat you choose to wear on your hike should protect you from the weather.
Safari hats, straw hats with wide brims, and bucket hats are excellent choices for maximum sun protection.
In the winter, choose a hat that covers your ears fully and keeps your head snug and warm. Fleece, wool, and synthetic materials are great for cold weather.
The best way to choose a hiking hat is to consider the weather and season. Some hats are specifically designed to protect from harmful UV radiation. Others can keep you warm in cold and snowy weather.
Bucket hats are a great choice for hiking. They have a wide brim that protects your head and face from the sun.
The best colors for a hiking hat are ones that reflect and absorb the sun’s harmful rays. Choose white, off-white, or other neutral colors for the top. Dark colors like navy blue or gray are good for the brim as these colors help protect your face and eyes.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.