What’s the Best Type of Hat for Sun Protection?

What’s the Best Type of Hat for Sun Protection?

When it comes to picking the best hat for sun protection, you want to consider two key factors: the material it’s made from, and the coverage it provides. 

The ideal sun hat will block as much of the sun’s UV rays as possible, while also keeping you covered, and the sun off your face.

Go for a UPF 50+ rated sun hat

First up, look for a sun hat that’s rated UPF 50+ for sun protection. This is the highest UPF rating available, and means only 2% or less of the sun’s UV rays are able to cut through the fabric. 

Fabrics can be treated to give them UPF protection, but there are some qualities that mean some materials naturally offer better protection than others. Darker, looser fabrics tend to protect better than light and tight clothing (the darker colours are better at absorbing UV rays). And silk, polyester and other synthetic fabrics, and bamboo are generally better at reflecting UV rays away from the skin than looser, natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Thicker materials also protect better than thinner ones, as a general rule. 

But choosing an officially-rated sun hat takes all the guesswork out of assessing its UPF protection, so we’d always recommend seeking these out where possible. 

☀️ And yes, all of our sun hats are rated UPF 50+ for sun protection! They’re also lightweight, designed to keep your head cool and dry. Take a look at the full range here.

The best sun hat styles for sun protection

So now we know what type of material to look out for, it’s time to pick the most protective style. 

Now any sun hat is better than no sun hat – but when it comes to coverage, some styles do a much better job at protecting you than others.  

🥇 High protection: caped hats & wide brim sun hats

We’ve all been there: you spend a day out in the sun, carefully applying sun cream and diligently wearing your hat, only to come back with a strip of red across the back of your neck, or the tip of your left ear glowing a warm pink. 

That’s why wide brim sun hats offer the best sun protection; they shade your neck and ears, as well as more of your face than other styles.

For even more coverage, go for a wide brim option with a neck flap, or neck cape, like our signature Adventure Hat, which keeps your whole neck completely covered. Neck cape options are especially useful if you’re heading out for a long day of hiking or fishing, or taking on an endurance race; basically any activity where you’ll have your head tipped slightly forward.

Or for a more classic and stylish beachside option, pick up a floppy wide brim straw sun hat.  

🥈 Medium protection: mid brim & bucket sun hats

Looking for a sun hat that’s a bit smaller, but still offers high protection? Go for a medium brim style, like a traditional fedora, or a trusty bucket sun hat.   

You can trace the original bucket hat back to Irish farmers and fishermen in the early 1900s, with a cotton version later issued to the US army during the Vietnam War. And it’s easy to see why this practical shape was so popular; it offers great all-round coverage, without restricting your peripheral vision. 

Now, however, it’s not just a practical option – it’s a fashionable one. Bucket hats have experienced something of a renaissance, becoming a favourite among young festival goers and holidaymakers alike. Stylish and practical? You can’t go wrong with a bucket sun hat for everyday use.

Looking to make more of a statement with your sun hat? The iconic fedora silhouette can turn sun protection into something of a signature look. A felt fedora is a great option for sun protection in the colder months, as the felt gives an insulating effect. 

🥈 Mid-lower protection: caps and truckers

Your sun hat needs to work for your day. If you’re heading out for a run, or for a game of tennis, you still want to keep the sun off your face, but you want something small that won’t get in the way. 

A cap is the natural sporty choice, having been literally designed for that purpose (it’s not called a baseball cap for nothing!). Just remember to layer up the sun cream on the back of your neck and your ears, as these areas won’t be protected.

Trucker caps aren’t as great for sports but are still a really popular ‘chuck on’ style, perfect for keeping the sun out of your eyes. They also come with mesh panels which make them a super lightweight and breathable option, and give you a better chance of avoiding hat hair. 

🥉 Lower protection: visors

Like caps, visors are effective at shielding your face and keeping the sun out of your eyes – but they do leave your neck, ears, and in this case, the crown of your head, uncovered. 

As sun protection options go, visors aren’t the most effective style. But if you’re looking for something quick to slip on, they’re of course much better than nothing. And they’re also able to work around hair styles, like high ponytails, in a way that other hats can’t.

Other factors to take into consideration

Choosing the best hat for sun protection is only the start; you also need to make sure you go for an option that actually works for what you need to make sure you get the most wear out of it.

So when you’re choosing the best sun hat for you, also take into account the following factors: 

Packability and crushability

If you’re buying a sun hat to take on holiday, you’ll either want a hat that will happily cram into a suitcase (without getting damaged), or that you’re prepared to wear on the journey over. 

On the flip side, if you need your sun hat for weekend camping trips or endurance races, you probably need something extra lightweight that packs down super small. 

Look and feel

Looks aren’t everything – but if you like how you look in your sun hat, and it’s comfortable to wear, of course you’ll find yourself reaching for it more often.

And the same goes when choosing a sun hat for your kids; we love it when parents tell us that their kids actually ask to wear their Sunday Afternoons hats, removing one small battle from their day! 

We’ve made our sun hats adjustable wherever possible, and you can use our Hat Size Guide to make sure you scoop up the right size for your head, avoiding any ‘hat headaches’. 


The right sun hat should be built to last, guaranteeing you protection wear after wear, year after year. That’s why all of our sun hats are covered by our Lifetime Guarantee; we’ll stand by them for as long as you stand under them.

Sun hat FAQs

Is a dark or light sun hat better for sun protection? 

While light colours may feel cooler when you’re out in the sun, darker colours are actually better at protecting you because they absorb the sun’s UV rays, naturally preventing them from getting through to your skin. But if you find a sun hat with UPF 50+ sun protection, you can be sure you’re getting the best possible protection, no matter the hat’s colour.

Do I need to wear sun cream if I’m wearing a sun hat?

For maximum protection, we’d always recommend wearing sun cream as well as your sun hat. This will mean you’re totally covered from all angles, at all times. 

Does wearing a sun hat stop you from getting sunstroke? 

While it won’t ‘stop’ you from getting sunstroke, wearing a wide brim sun hat certainly helps lower your chances of getting sun stroke, as it will help keep your head cool.

Is a straw hat good for sun protection? 

It depends. Straw provides good natural protection from the sun, but if the hat has a wider weave, this can leave gaps that compromise its overall level of sun protection, so always try to go for a UPF rated straw hat where possible, or one with a close weave. All our straw hats are rated UPF 50+ for sun protection.

Browse our popular collections: UPF 50+ Sun Hats for Men, UPF 50+ Sun Hats for Women, UPF 50+ Sun Hats for Kids