7 Best Kayaking Hats: Stay Dry, Cool, & Sun-Safe While Paddling

by | Last updated Jul 10, 2024

Best Overall Sunday Afternoons
Sunday Afternoons

Ultimate sun protection with UPF 50+ fabric, wide brim, neck cape, and breathable design. Lifetime warranty.

Best Value NRS Kicker
NRS Kicker

Affordable, durable, quick-drying kayaking hat with UPF 50+ sun protection and a secure fit. Perfect for budget-minded paddlers.

Most Featured Kokatat Hydrus
Kokatat Hydrus

Durable, water-resistant, and breathable kayaking hat with a wide brim for maximum sun protection. Adjustable for a secure fit.

Kayaking Hat

Are you tired of sunburns and soggy hair ruining your kayaking adventures? The right hat is your shield against the elements and your style statement on the water.

We’ve paddled through countless reviews and tested dozens to find the seven absolute best options for every type of kayaker.

So, Ditch the discomfort and dive into our top picks!

What is the Best Kayaking Hat?

The answer depends on your paddling style and needs. Do you need sun protection, quick-drying fabric, or a wide brim? We’ve curated a list of the top 7 kayaking hats to make your decision easier. These hats will keep you dry, cool, and stylish on your next adventure.

1. Sunday Afternoons

This is the go-to hat for serious outdoor enthusiasts. It’s like a portable shade structure for your head and neck, with a huge brim and a breathable, lightweight design.

Sunday Afternoons

Our Take

0out of 10

The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is the ultimate in sun protection and comfort, earning a near-perfect score. It's a little pricey, but the lifetime warranty makes it a worthwhile investment for serious paddlers.

Key Benefits

  • Sun Protection: UPF 50+ fabric blocks 98% of harmful UV rays.
  • Quick-Drying: Made from a water-resistant nylon fabric that dries quickly.
  • Breathable: Mesh panels for excellent ventilation and moisture management.
  • Adjustable: Features a chin strap and adjustable sizing for a secure, custom fit.
  • Packable: Crushes down easily for convenient packing.
  • Warranty: A lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $34.99
Sunday Afternoons

Pros

  • Excellent sun protection
  • breathable
  • lightweight
  • comfortable
  • stylish
  • durable
  • lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Wide brim might be too bulky for some activities, and it is not the most affordable option

2. NRS Kicker

This hat is all about function and durability. It's designed for kayakers who need a hat that can handle anything the river throws at them, with a quick-drying design and a secure fit.

NRS Kicker

Our Take

0out of 10

The NRS Kicker Remix Hat is a reliable and affordable option for kayakers who prioritize function over fashion.

Key Benefits

  • Quick-Drying: Made from a 100% recycled nylon fabric that dries quickly.
  • Durable: Built to withstand tough conditions with reinforced stitching.
  • Secure Fit: An adjustable chin strap and internal drawcord are used for a custom fit.
  • Breathable: Mesh panels on the sides for added ventilation.
  • Sun Protection: Offers UPF 50+ sun protection.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $39.95
NRS Kicker

Pros

  • Durable
  • quick-drying
  • comfortable
  • good sun protection
  • affordable

Cons

  • Not as stylish as some other options
  • No brim for face protection

3. Patagonia Fitz

This stylish trucker hat is a favorite among kayakers and anglers alike. It's comfortable and breathable and features a classic design that always stays in style.

Patagonia Fitz Roy

Our Take

0out of 10

The Patagonia Fitz Roy Trout Trucker Hat is a solid choice for casual kayakers who want a stylish and comfortable hat. However, it needs some of the features of more technical hats.

Key Benefits

  • Breathable: Organic cotton front and mesh back panels for excellent ventilation.
  • Adjustable: Snapback closure for a custom fit.
  • Stylish: Classic trucker hat design with a Patagonia logo patch.
  • Sun Protection: Curved brim offers some protection from the sun.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $28.99
Patagonia Fitz Roy

Pros

  • Stylish
  • comfortable
  • breathable
  • fair price

Cons

  • It is not the best sun protection and not the most durable option.

4. Seattle Sombrero

This wide-brimmed hat is a popular choice for paddlers who need maximum sun protection. It's made from a breathable, water-resistant fabric and features a chin cord for a sure fit.

Seattle Sombrero

Our Take

0out of 10

The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero is a great choice for kayakers who need a hat that can handle sun, rain, and wind. The wide brim and water-resistant fabric make it a versatile option for any paddling adventure.

Key Benefits

  • Sun Protection: Wide brim offers excellent protection for your face and neck. UPF 50+ fabric.
  • Water-resistant: Treated with a DWR finish to shed light rain and spray.
  • Breathable: Mesh panels on the crown for ventilation.
  • Adjustable: Chin cord for a secure fit.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $61.54
Seattle Sombrero

Pros

  • Excellent sun protection
  • breathable
  • water-resistant
  • lightweight
  • comfortable

Cons

  • The wide brim might be too bulky for some activities
  • the chin cord can be annoying

5. Kokatat Hydrus

This is a technical paddling hat designed for kayakers who spend long hours on the water. It's made from a durable, water-resistant fabric and features a wide brim for sun protection.

Kokatat Hydrus

Our Take

0out of 10

The Kokatat Hydrus Seawester Hat is a reliable and functional choice for kayakers who prioritize performance over looks.

Key Benefits

  • Durable: Made from a tough nylon fabric that resists abrasion and tears.
  • Water-resistant: Treated with a DWR finish to shed water.
  • Sun Protection: Wide brim with a dark underbill to reduce glare.
  • Breathable: Mesh panels for ventilation.
  • Adjustable: Chin strap and adjustable sizing for a secure fit.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $99
Kokatat Hydrus

Pros

  • Durable
  • water-resistant
  • great sun protection
  • breathable
  • comfortable
  • adjustable

Cons

  • It is not the most stylish option, but it is pricey

6. Tilley LTM6

This iconic hat is known for its durability and classic style. It's made from a breathable, water-resistant fabric and features a lifetime guarantee.

Tilley LTM6

Our Take

0out of 10

The Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat is a classic for a reason. It's durable and functional and comes with a lifetime guarantee, making it a worthwhile investment for serious kayakers.

Key Benefits

  • Durable: Made from a tightly woven nylon fabric that resists tears and abrasion.
  • Water-resistant: Treated with a DWR finish to shed water.
  • Breathable: Mesh panels on the crown for ventilation.
  • Floatability: Built-in foam liner helps it float if it falls in the water.
  • Guarantee: Comes with a lifetime guarantee against wear and tear.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $63.31
Tilley LTM6

Pros

  • Durable
  • water-resistant
  • breathable
  • floats
  • lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not the most stylish option

7. Henschel Aussie

This is a budget-friendly option for kayakers who want a basic hat that will get the job done. It's made from a breathable mesh fabric and features a wide brim for sun protection.

Henschel Aussie

Our Take

0out of 10

The Henschel Aussie Breezer Hat is a good choice for casual kayakers on a budget. It's not the most technical hat out there, but it will keep you cool and protected from the sun at an affordable price.

Key Benefits

  • Breathable: Made from a lightweight mesh fabric that allows for airflow.
  • Sun Protection: Wide brim offers decent protection for your face and neck.
  • Affordable: One of the least expensive kayaking hats on the market.
  • Lightweight: Easy to pack and carry.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $33.50
Henschel Aussie

Pros

  • Affordable
  • breathable
  • lightweight
  • decent sun protection

Cons

  • It is not the most durable option
  • not water-resistant

What to Look for in a Kayaking Hat?

  • Sun Protection: A wide brim or neck cape offers crucial shade for your face and neck. Look for a UPF rating for maximum protection against harmful UV rays.
  • Quick-Drying Fabric: Choose hats made from materials like nylon or polyester that dry quickly if they get wet.
  • Breathability: Mesh panels or vents help keep your head cool and prevent overheating.
  • Chin Strap or Adjustable Cord: Essential for windy days to keep your hat from flying away.
  • Floatability: A bonus feature if you're worried about your hat sinking if it falls in the water.
  • Comfort: Look for hats with sweat-wicking bands and adjustable sizing for a comfortable fit.
  • Style: While function is key, you might as well look good on the water! Choose a hat that complements your paddling style.

How Can a Hat Benefit You?

A kayaking hat isn't just a fashion accessory; it's a practical piece of gear that can significantly enhance your paddling experience.

A man and lady kayaking together

First and foremost, a good kayaking hat shields you from the sun's harmful rays.

Sunburn and heatstroke are real concerns on the water, and a wide-brimmed hat like the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat or a full-brim hat like the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero provides excellent protection for your face, neck, and ears.

Sun hats aren't just about sun protection, though. They also help keep you cool by providing shade and allowing for airflow.

Some hats even feature mesh panels for extra ventilation.

Additionally, hats with chin straps or adjustable cords keep your hat securely on your head in windy conditions, so you don't have to chase it down the river.

Whether you opt for a straw hat for a leisurely paddle or two hats for different conditions, a kayaking hat is an investment in your comfort and safety on the water.

Buyer's Guide

When doing our research to find the best kayaking hats for water sports and hot days, we determined the winners using these factors:

A lady is kayaking
  • Pricing: We considered the price of each hat and how it compared to the features and benefits offered.
  • Features: We looked at the key features of each hat, such as sun protection, breathability, quick-drying fabric, adjustability, and durability.
  • Negatives: We identified any potential drawbacks or downsides to each hat, such as limited style options or lack of certain features.
  • Support or Refund: We looked into the manufacturer's warranty and return policies to see if they stood behind their products.
  • User Reviews: We scoured online reviews and forums to see what real kayakers had to say about their experiences with each hat.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right kayaking hat is a crucial step in ensuring a comfortable and safe paddling experience.

A man and lady kayaking together

With so many options available, it's important to consider your needs and preferences before confirming a purchase.

Whether you prioritize sun protection, breathability, or style, there's a kayaking hat out there for you.

Don't underestimate the impact of a good hat on your comfort level – it can make all the difference on a hot day or when the wind picks up. Some hats can even add warmth in colder conditions if you layer them.

Remember, investing in a quality kayaking hat is an investment in your enjoyment of the sport. So choose wisely, and happy paddling!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of hat is best for kayaking?

The best type of kayaking depends on your personal needs and the conditions in which you'll be paddling. A wide-brimmed hat like the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is excellent for sun protection, while a quick-drying option like the NRS Kicker Remix Hat is ideal for water sports.

Can I wear a regular baseball cap kayaking?

While you can wear a baseball cap, it might not offer the best sun protection or stay on your head in windy conditions. Consider hats specifically designed for kayaking with features like chin straps and wider brims.

Do I need to wear a kayaking hat if I wear sunscreen?

Yes, wearing a hat is still recommended, even if you wear sunscreen. A hat gives an extra layer of protection from the sun's harmful rays, especially for your face and neck.

What material is best for a kayaking hat?

Fast-drying materials like nylon or polyester are ideal for kayaking hats. They won't soak up water and will dry quickly if they get wet. Some hats also feature UPF-rated fabrics for additional sun protection.

Can I wear my kayaking hat for other outdoor activities?

Absolutely! Many kayaking hats are versatile enough to be worn for hiking, fishing, or any other outdoor activity where you need sun protection and comfort. If you previously wore a baseball cap for these activities, a kayaking hat can provide even better protection from the elements.

Fahim Joharder

Fahim Joharder

Author

An avid kayaker & fisherman, explores waterways globally, sharing his passion for water sports and conservation through captivating stories and tips.

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