Hats may not be the first thing that new hikers think of purchasing but perhaps they should be. A good hiking hat can protect your head, face and neck from the sun. Wearing the wrong one can leave you with a wicked sunburn. I should know. I made that mistake once. A good hiking hat can also keep the sun and rain out of your eyes and the deer ticks out of your hair.
With that said, here's a quick look at some of the best hats available:
LTM6 AIRFLO Tilley Hat
Based on my experience, the LTM6 AIRFLO by Tilley is a superlative hat for summer hiking. Some of the hat's features that I found invaluable were the wind tie, the wide brim, the 3/4-inch ventilation mesh and the UPF 50+ rating. In the summer, I tend to hike a lot in the South. Therefore, those types of things are important to me. I found the hat to be lightweight and cool, even when I was hiking under direct sunlight. The only downside was that it needed to be washed often in order to keep it looking good. You can typically purchase one online for $79, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
I would also recommend that summer hikers consider the Sombriolet Sun Hat by Outdoor Research. It also has UPF 50+ protection, a wind tie, wide brim, and a built-in ventilation system. What I liked about the hat was its removable chinstrap. It also came with a mesh-lined crown and headband. The headband kept the sweat from dripping down behind my eye glasses during strenuous hikes. It was also cheaper than the Tilly hat. I paid $39 for it online.
Columbia Omni Shade Sun Goddess Booney
In my book, the Omni Shade Sun Goddess Booney by Columbia was a great hat for the money. I was able to pick one up online for $30. It didn't have as high a UPF factor as the others, but it did have a sweatband and an adjustable chin strap for blustery days. What attracted me to the hat was its brim. It had a 3-inch brim in the front and a 4-inch brim in the back. I like to wear my hair in a ponytail when I hike in the summer, so my neck is often exposed. The 4-inch rear brim gave me a bit more protection in that area than the other hats.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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