The 10 Best Men's Sun Hats
10. Adam's Headwear Extreme
- made from upf 45 fabric
- completely protects neck and ears
- design is not very stylish
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. Columbia Bonehead
- comes in two neutral colors
- extremely soft to the touch
- brim is floppy in the wind
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
8. Tilley Eco-Airflo
- choose from 5 colors
- soft sueded finish
- won't protect your neck from the sun
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
7. Columbia Bora Bora Booney II
- omni-wick sweat band
- dries quickly if it gets wet
- not stiff enough for strong winds
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
6. Sunday Afternoons
- ultra lightweight material
- lots of ventilation on the sides
- chin strap is too far forward
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. O'Neill Sonoma Straw Hat
- black cotton underside
- elastic band for added comfort
- does not return to shape if crushed
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
4. Henschel Breezer
- crushable so safe to pack
- stiff and needs to be broken-in
- runs a little small
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
3. Coolibar Crushable Canvas
- large 3-inch brim
- offers upf 50 sun protection
- requires hand washing
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Outdoor Research Sombriolet
- made with solarshield protection
- foam-stiffened brim
- available in 6 colors
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Ultrafino Authentic Aficionado
- tear-resistant reinforcements
- vintage braided band detailing
- designed to hold its shape when wet
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
A Man And His Sun Hat
The process of choosing a man's hat presents a unique intersection at the crossroads of form and function. Some men couldn't care less what their hat looks like, so long as it keeps the sun off of their necks and out of their eyes. Other men treat a hat as an extension of their overall sartorial style statement, and are primarily concerned with getting a hat that looks great. When you need a hat that will serve a purpose beyond style, as you tend to spend lots of time in the sun, it can be tricky to find the right combination of functional headwear that also fits with your style. A brief survey of a few traditional hat types can help to shed light on the conundrum.
The iconic American cowboy hat remains wildly popular today, specifically in southern and western states. The cowboy hat as we know it can trace its origins to the 19th century, though its specific provenance is impossible to glean. The hats worn by American men spending long hours riding under the sun were likely inspired by hats worn by Mexican Vaqueros. The first regularly produced cowboy hats -- and the hats to which much of the style's legacy is owed -- were made by John B. Stetson in 1865. The cowboy hat's broad brim helps to block the sun, and its high crown provides room for heat to rise away from a man's head. When a design has reached near to perfection, it is seldom changed, thus the cowboy hats of today look much like those worn out on the plains more than 150 years ago.
A Panama hat is the name rather broadly assigned to hats originally woven from the leaves of the toquilla palm but often made from straw, felt, or other materials. These hats have brims slightly narrower than cowboy hats, yet still wide enough to provide shade to the face and neck. They are renowned for being tough and durable, easily rolled up and packed away as needed. Panama hats actually originated in Ecuador, but acquired their name due to the fact that shipments of them would travel to Panama prior to being delivered all over the world.
Straw sun hats are commonly associated both with workers in an Asian rice paddy and with the Mexican sombrero. Straw is a lightweight, breathable, abundant, and affordable material, thus the popularity of these hats with workers spending hours toiling in the sun, often for meager wages. Even today, straw remains a superlative material for a sun hat thanks to the same properties that popularized its use in centuries past.
Choosing A Hat For Outdoor Adventures And Work
When selecting a sun hat you will use while hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, or any other activity that will see you spending long hours outdoors and potentially sweating heavily, make sure you opt for a hat that will serve three primary purposes: it should keep the*sun* out of your eyes and off your neck, it should breathe enough to keep your crown cool, and it should hold back the sweat that will otherwise run down your brow. An outdoorsman's hat need not look stylish -- you likely don't go for a trek into the wilderness hoping to meet a date -- it needs to perform.
The same is true if your work sees you spending long hours outside. A sun hat is part of your tool kit if you are a farmer, a surveyor (unless you're required to wear a helmet), a field researcher, or any other occupation with outdoor work as a major part of the job description. Again, consider plenty of sun protection, a sweat band, and a hat that can breathe either thanks to mesh, ventilation holes, or due to its material.
If you can choose a sun hat that's washable, so much the better. Chances are good that your sun hat is going to see its share of sweat, sunblock, and other liquids that can stain and saturate it, so choosing one that can go in the washing machine will keep it in better shape and keep you feeling fresher and ready to work each day.
Keep in mind that a sun hat is a purpose-built piece of clothing, and need not also keep you dry in the rain or warm at night. You'll need different headgear for that; the sun hat is only on duty while the sun is shining down on its owner. And remember, while you're out in the sun for hours on end, a sun hat is not a luxury, it's a necessity for your own safety and well-being.
Choosing A Hat For An Afternoon Out
If you're choosing a sun hat to keep the sunlight out of your eyes as you lounge by the pool, enjoy a sporting event, or stroll down city streets, then you have a bit more latitude in choosing your cap. A sun hat worn primarily during leisure time need not be as readily washable, as you won't likely be sweating as much as you would with a hike or a day working in the sun. These hats are also less likely to be exposed to mud, dust, paint, and so forth.
Your primary concern when choosing a stylish sun hat should indeed be how well it will block the sunlight that would otherwise shine into your eyes and onto your face and neck, but secondary considerations can involve appearance and portability. There are several great sun hats that can be packed away in a suitcase and come out holding their shape and looking great, and these are a fine choice for the summertime traveler.