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Best backpacking hat?
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christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Best backpacking hat? on 08/02/2011 15:16:28 MDT Print View

I've been looking for a replacement for my REI Taku baseball cap since it shrunk in the wash. I was sad to learn they don't exist anymore.
Waterproof, breathable, fit my head right, and was not black. (black hats make my head overheat in the sun).

I liked the waterproof breathable part mostly because it didn't absorb odors. You could dip it in the river for a quick rinse and it would be clean again.

What does everyone else use and why?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Best backpacking hat? on 08/02/2011 15:46:45 MDT Print View

If you like baseball-style hats, the Outdoor Research Sun Runner is a classic. The neck cape unsnaps.

The Nike Dri-FIT Featherlite cap is a good baseball style cap that works for hiking-- excellent wivking and comes in white.,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-87184/pgid-107068. I think I paid ~$12 for one.

If you want a neck cape, tie a cord to the corners of a white bandana and you'll have a poor man's Sun Runner. The cord stops on the bill of the cap. Adjust to suit.

But *real* hikers wear Tilleys. There is no other hat :)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Best backpacking hat? on 08/02/2011 15:52:31 MDT Print View

But *real* hikers wear Tilleys. There is no other hat :)

Ugh. Don't count me into that group. I'm a *real* hiker and wouldn't be caught dead in one. good if you want to look like a grandfather, or look like you are wearing his hat. Brim is too small for that SoCal sun.

Don't forget to look at the Sunday Afternoons hats either. Another fashion statement that has its cult of followers.

I do see a fair number of those OR Sun Runners too.

I have a super long billed baseball styled cap with a removable shade cape. Got it at a bait/gift shop in Florida.

Edited by kthompson on 08/02/2011 16:11:41 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Best backpacking hat? on 08/02/2011 15:55:21 MDT Print View

+1 on the Tilley!
Hey, you gotta have SOME style, lol.

Dennis Lloyd
(dennx) - MLife
ExOfficio Bugsaway Cape Hat on 08/02/2011 16:11:53 MDT Print View

I like my ExOfficio Bugsaway Cape Hat. It comes in light colors.

ExOfficio Bugsaway Hat

Edited by dennx on 08/02/2011 16:15:42 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
another sunrunner user on 08/02/2011 17:23:13 MDT Print View

I like the OR Sunrunner. Mine has a permanent reddish hue though thanks to the red rock in Utah. It started out white.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Best Backpacking Hat on 08/02/2011 18:17:13 MDT Print View

+1 for Sunday Afternoon Hat

Large Wide Brim
Dark Color Underneath the Hat
Back of Neck Protected from Sun and Bugs
2 oz!

Edited by Creachen on 08/02/2011 18:17:48 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Tilley on 08/02/2011 20:00:53 MDT Print View

>> good if you want to look like a grandfather, or look like you are wearing his hat.

It's true; I look terrible in a Tilley. But I like mine so much I don't care. After all, I don't have to look at myself on the trail. :P

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Boonie Hat on 08/02/2011 20:16:28 MDT Print View

I've been wearing my trusty boonie hat for years now. $10 at the surplus store. Keep the rain and sun off.

I admit it looks dorky. But I've embraced the dorkiness and call it my Dorky Sun Hat. :)

Jake Willits
(TrailSavvy) - MLife

Locale: Arkansas Ozarks
Best backpacking hat. on 08/03/2011 09:14:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the good ideas in this thread. I have always used different hats for different trips. I have made a gradual transition. The last cotton item to leave my gear list was a cotton ball cap. They just always felt comfortable. For summer trips I now use an OR Swift cap. 2.5 oz. Nylon, with mesh underneath the nylon upper shell. Nice and cool. After having to use my bandanna for nexk protection from UV and mosquitos, I'd consider an OR hat with a "cape".
For winter, I have been using a Marmot Precip, combined with a Terramar merino beanie. That way I can remove beanie as it warms up, or the "top hat".

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
hats on 08/03/2011 09:38:37 MDT Print View

If your pack is small you can't beat a white straw Stetson.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Best Backpacking Hat on 08/03/2011 12:03:41 MDT Print View

This is an interesting question because there are many good hiking hats out there. I have to be careful to get adequate coverage from a hat because my grandparents were Irish and I inherited a very light skin. Let's face it, I glow in the dark. Another priority is being able to fold or roll it up for storage when I am not using it. The Tilley hat has great coverage, but I have two problems with it. It is too expensive and it can't be rolled up. In the summer I carry two hats; a Headsweats Racehat, which is a ball cap, and a cotton bucket style hat. The coverage of a ball cap in the sun is not adequate for me, so I only use it to wear under a hood when it rains. A person could go Foreign Legion and tie up a handkerchief and put the ball cap over it to shield the neck and face. The gardeners and field workers around here do that all the time, and they should know, because they're out in the hot California sun all day. I bought the bucket hat at the Santa Cruz Surf Museum, and appropriately it says "Santa Cruz Surf Museum" on it. Kind of cool even though I am not a surfer. It was cheap, is 100% cotton, has good coverage, and can be rolled up. There are many similar hats in Walmart and Target stores, and even REI. I like a light colored cotton hat in the summer. When I reach a stream, I dunk it in the water for the "swamp cooler" effect. Keep in mind this in my summer headgear. No way would I wear a cotton hat in the winter. Slainte! (Irish for cheers)

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Hats on 08/03/2011 12:18:57 MDT Print View

In summer or any warm weather, I wear the Tyvek painter's cap from Home Depot: $.97 and they hold up surprisingly well. They have a large plastic brim to keep the sun off.

Most other seasons, especially in winter, I wear a Buff with a brim, Evo 1, because it can be configured as a cap, a balaclava, an ear warmer, a headband, etc. Also, they are not made of cotton, so they wick extremely well. A standard Buff will do the same things, of course, but I like the brim.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Best backpacking hat? on 08/03/2011 12:35:38 MDT Print View

I use a full brimmed hat - Outdoor Research Helios. It provides enough coverage that I don't have to apply sunscreen to my face / ears nor to I need sunglasses. It dries really fast and is great for soaking up creek water and then wearing it to cool down. 2.3oz. YMMV.

Bryan Crook
(bcrook007) - F

Locale: Nebraska
+1 on the OR Helios Sun Hat on 08/03/2011 13:38:44 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of Outdoor Research hats. They have a lot of different types of hats to choose from and many different styles (ball caps, full brim, etc.)

Helios Sun Hat is a winner for me too. Seems to be my go-to hat for sunny day, three season hiking.

Wayne Wagner
(wagnerw) - F

Locale: NorCal
OR Coastal Sombrero on 08/03/2011 21:39:48 MDT Print View

The OR Coastal Sombrero is great. I think it was designed to mimic the OR Seattle Sombrero, but it is not as warm. So, it will work much better in warmer, hotter times and still function as a great rain hat in other times. The hat does not have the ability to fold the flaps up, but I will likely add some velcro to make that possible. Notably, it does seem to breathe well enough as well; it has a vent near the back of your head.

I also own the OR Sun Runner and like it just fine. The only drawback is that I don't like having fabric on my neck when it is hot. I'd much prefer the large brim of the Coastal Sombrero.


Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Another vote for OR Sunrunner on 08/03/2011 22:59:53 MDT Print View

Another vote for the OR Sunrunner - it's a ball cap when you want it to be and when you need the extra sun protection the sun skirt snaps on. Also it packs up very small and can go in your pack with no worries about damaging it. I've had mine for 5-6 years now and still in great shape with tons of use.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
best hat on 08/03/2011 23:07:19 MDT Print View

I just use a regular ball cap with a bandana tucked under to provide cover for my neck and ears. And it didn't cost me $30 like the OR hat I saw at REI.

billy goat
(billygoat) - F

Locale: West.
I like to call them "Birth Control Hats" on 08/03/2011 23:26:39 MDT Print View

I wear a Sun Runner. The rest I use for birth control. Try it - it works.

Edited by billygoat on 08/03/2011 23:28:46 MDT.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Best hat on 08/03/2011 23:38:37 MDT Print View

I love my Kavu Chilba hat.