A Simple Guide to Hats for All-Weather Hiking


Whether you’re new to hiking or a seasoned adventurer, having the right hat for exploring the outdoors is a must. But what features should you look for when it comes to the perfect all-weather hiking hat? We’ve got everything you need to know.

Hiking hats: the basics

When it comes to hiking gear, the right boots, socks and clothing are all part of a great foundation. But equally as key is having the right hiking hat

From protecting you from the sun’s rays to keeping you dry in an unexpected downpour, the perfect hat for hiking makes sure you’re protected, whatever the weather.

So when you’re putting together your gear for your next outdoor adventure, make sure you’ve got the right hat for the job. Here’s a look at some of the best types of hats, to make sure you’re well-protected no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

Summer hats: Keeping cool and protected

In summer, the sun’s rays can get pretty harsh, even on days when the temperatures aren’t soaring. A great summer hiking hat will protect you from sunburn, and keep the top of your head cool. At the same time, it won’t allow sweat to build up inside the hat.

To find the perfect option, keep an eye out for lightweight, breathable fabrics like nylon or polyester that offer an Ultraviolet Protection Factor. Vented designs are also ideal for allowing air circulation.

Naturally, wide-brim hats and sun shield hats are a classic summer hat choice. But caps can work well too, particularly on shorter hikes. Just make sure the back of your neck is protected with SPF, a bandana, or both.


Waterproof hats: Your ally in the rain

A waterproof hat is indispensable for unpredictable weather. When it comes to materials, look out for options such as GORE-TEX, which are both water-resistant and breathable. On styles, a wide brim is a big help for keeping water off the face and neck.

Extras to consider include neck shields which help the rain sheet off. Under-chin straps can also help keep the hat in place if the wind kicks up along with the rain.

Winter hats: warmth and comfort 

Temperatures starting to drop? You’ll want to be on the lookout for winter hats that help lock in heat, but not sweat. Breathable materials like wool and fleece are top choices.

When it comes to fit, a good winter hat should cover your ears and be snug enough to stay put if there’s wind. A waterproof outer layer on the hat can be a big plus too, offering light snow and rain protection.

Best hiking hats for all weather

Looking for that perfect all-rounder? One option here is a convertible hat with a removable neck cape or face shield. Hats with moisture-wicking liners are excellent for keeping sweat at bay and keeping you dry during long hikes.

If you’re looking for quality hiking hats for men, durability and functionality should be top of the list. Keep an eye out for styles with reinforced stitching and rugged materials. And when it comes to hiking hats for women, the same rules apply. Adjustable bands can also be handy, helping make room for different hairstyles, from ponytails to braids.

Tips for choosing the right hiking hat for you

If you’re browsing hats for hiking, here are some key tips to bear in mind. Also, take some time to think about whether you’re going on short hikes or multi-day treks. Do you tend to hike in a certain season of the year? Factors like these can help guide you to your perfect choice.

Fit and comfort 

A good hiking hat should fit snugly without being too tight. Adjustable straps or bands can be a big help in getting the perfect size.


In general, choose materials based on the season. Breathable fabrics for summer, waterproof for rainy days, and insulated fabrics for winter.

Brim size

 A wider brim means a boost to sun protection. Essential for mid-summer treks, but wise all year round.


Lighter colours reflect sunlight, so they’re cooler in summer. Darker colours are better for hiding dirt and stains.


Consider how easily the hat can be packed. Some hats can be folded or rolled without losing their shape, making them ideal for backpacking.


Look for hats that are easy to clean and quick to dry. They’re likely to get sweaty and dirty quickly when you’re out on the trails.

Caring for your hiking hat

Keeping your hat in top condition means giving it the care it needs. Here’s how to keep your hiking hat looking great.


Check for a care label and follow the instructions. Some hats can be machine washed, while others need a lighter hand washing. Use mild detergents and avoid harsh chemicals. Always rinse well.


After a wash, air dry your hat away from direct sunlight. Heat can degrade certain materials and alter the hat's shape if it’s wet. 


Store your hat in a cool, dry place when you’re not using it. If your hat is foldable, you can roll it loosely to avoid permanent creases. For structured hats, use a hatbox or pop it on a high shelf, where it won’t get crushed by other clothing.


Minor damages like a torn seam or a loose strap can often be fixed quite easily at home. For bigger repairs, consider the services of a professional tailor. Many dry cleaners are also able to help.

Get your perfect hiking hat

Whether you're trekking through valleys, scaling mountain sides or exploring snowy peaks, there's a perfect hat for every adventure.

At The North Face, we’ve got a wide variety of men’s and women’s hiking hats to choose from. Plus, check out the rest of our hiking gear and hiking boots to make sure you’ve got everything you need for your next big outdoor adventure.