If you’re the type of guy who pays close attention to Indiana Jones’ hat every time you watch the movie – you have a certain type of style. You’re a hat guy. Maybe you wear a baseball cap while working in the yard or fishing; this is different. An outdoorsman hat is much more than just a hat – it’s a lifestyle.
You may be on the fence about making such a bold fashion statement. What you may not know is a great outdoorsman hat is not only stylish, but has numerous tangible benefits. They keep you warm on cool winter nights, keep the sun from your face and shoulders during the summer and the snow from your brow. You don’t realize how much of a difference an outdoorsman hat makes until you put one on. It can literally feel like a twenty-degree difference in blazing heat or help minimize heat loss during the winter.
What Is an Outdoorsman Hat
Outdoorsman hats come in a wide variety of styles, materials and designs. The main feature they share is a brim that ranges in size and runs around the hat. Some people call them outdoorsman hats, safari hats, backpacking hat – the name isn’t important, but they each share similar features such as UV protection, ventilation and lightweight materials. Designed to keep the weather at bay while upgrading your style in any environment. You can get outdoor hats made from various materials such as felt, straw, polyester and leather. Felt is great for colder climates and straw brimmed hats and polyester outdoor hats with breathable mesh are perfect for warmer climates.
Tilley LTM6 Broad Brim Airflo
The Tilley Airflo has everything you could want in a safari hat and is specifically designed for every outdoor adventure. The mesh allows airflow to your head that will keep you cool during the summer and the top of the hat is slightly higher than most hats which gives you the advantage of it not sitting against the top of your head. We all know how uncomfortable it can be for your head to get sweaty while hiking or working outside. The Tilley Airflo is made from lightweight fabric so it will be comfortable all day and will protect you from rain, sun, wind and other environmental conditions. Certified UPF 50+ with 98% blockage of harmful UVA/UVB radiation. That type of protection is needed in most parts of the world. Guaranteed for life and machine washable makes this a durable hat that you can wear for years. It comes in multiple colors and designs to fit every need. This is one of the best outdoors hats you will find. You may pay a little extra for it, but you can’t put a price on quality. Not just for safaris, you can wear this hat to the beach, lake house, camp, horseback riding, backpacking, you name it!
Henschel Aussie Breezer Mesh Hat
If you often find yourself in the unforgiving heat and muggy climate – you may want to invest in a mesh safari hat like the Henschel Aussie Breezer. Made from 100% cotton mesh, this hat gives you ultimate breathability and will keep you from sweating around your scalp. These hats are heavy duty and will last through the toughest adventures. Wear them while working in the yard or taking a cruise – they are that versatile! Each Breezer hat comes equipped with a chin cord so it will stay secured on your head and it’s packable with a 1-inch band that keeps it together while traveling. This is one of those hats that looks great and does a great job at protecting your head and shoulders.
Dorfman Pacific Outdoors Solarweave Treated Cotton Hat
Perfect for backpacking and safaris – the Dorfman Pacific Solarweave can also serve as your everyday hat. Made with a 3” brim, breathable mesh sidewall and a chin cord to keep it from flying – this hat is everything. Made from a blend of 75% cotton and 25% nylon for comfort and durability, it also has features that will keep you dry during training, hiking and adventure. The Solarweave UV protection is made with a lightweight fabric with UPF 50+ that will keep you protected from harmful UV rays while out and about. It comes in 3 colors: camel, olive and oatmeal. We’re partial to olive.
Panama Jack Safari Hat
Incomparable style for those who are fashion conscious, but still want the benefits of a quality outdoorsman hat. You can wear this hat multiple ways to show off its cool factor: low on the eyes, tipped to one side and pulled to the back to show your hairline. Pair with a nice pair of sunglasses and you have yourself a winner. The great thing about this safari hat is that it looks great out on the town. Paired with a nice pair of slacks and boat shoes and you have yourself a nice look. Now to the functionality of this outdoorsman hat: the wide brim protects your face from sun rays, it’s teardrop pinched crown and air vents allows for comfort even in the warmest climates and it’s an all-season hat.
The Scala Classico Outback Hat – The Hat Every Man Wants
This is the hat that looks great around a campfire, a night out and sitting on the porch smoking cigars. Made from 100% wool felt with a 3” brim that gives it a suave style and amazing comfort. You can crush and roll this outback hat up to pack it for an adventure. Shake it out and it reforms to the original shape. Keeps you comfortable and cool in the heat by keeping the sun from your eyes, face, shoulders and neck. You don’t realize how much these hats protect you from the sun until you see the shadow it casts around your shoulders and upper back. It has a faux-leather band and feather accent to add to the coolness factor. The Scala Felt Outback Hat is not only a crushable outdoor sun hat – it also works when it’s wet and cold too. Water-repellant for those days you get caught in the rain or cross a stream and hand-washable for days when you really put it to the test.
Einskey Wide Brim Sun Hat
This is your workhorse hat, your fishing hat, your working in the rain hat, your landscaping hat and your adventure in hot climate hat. I wear this hat every time I go outside. Why? It covers most of my upper body and protects from the harsh sun. Plus, it’s breathable, lightweight, sun protectant and water repellent. It dips in the water while I swim laps, but it’s an honest trade to not get sun burnt or worse, skin cancer. Adjustable chin cord secures your hat in place and it has a sweatband to keep sweat from your face and ruining your vision while working. This is one of the best wide brim sun hats you can find and it’s only about $15.
Dorfman Pacific Men’s Outback Hat with Chin Cord
If you like the Outback look, then this is the sun hat for you. Designed for function and still looks great! Made for breathability and protection against the scorching heat. This hat is 52% cotton and 48% polyester which gives it strength and resistance, which is exactly what you want in an outdoorsman hat. If you live in a warm climate, you know the UPF 5climate, you know the UPF 50+ rating will come in handy when stepping out into the field. The lining and brow band absorbs sweat and moisture so you know your hat won’t be soaking wet at the end of a tough day outside. The 2.7” shapeable brim gives you just enough shade to keep you from getting sunburn around your neck and shoulders. You can bend the material to divert protection to various parts of your ears, neck and face. The adjustable chin strap ensures this hat won’t leave you with a gust of wind.
Stetson Men’s Mesh Covered Hat
Everyone knows Stetson makes quality hats. This mesh safari hat is perfect for the great outdoors. It sits 12” wide and 5” high and made from 100% nylon. You can hand wash this hat and the 100% nylon gives maximum protection while maintaining superior ventilation through the mesh sides. The mesh sidewall is perfect for hot climates and working in the field and the brim is 2 ¾” which gives just enough coverage without looking too large on your head. The chin cord comes in handy when riding a horse or in the pack of a pick-up truck.
Dorfman Pacific Men’s Twill Outback Hat
You can finally be the explorer you knew you would be when you were a kid with the Dorfman Twill Outback Hat. With a shapeable 3” brim and faux leather sweatband – you can traverse the blistering heat while looking cool at the same time. Made from 100% garment-washed twill – the Dorfman Twill Hat gives you maximum comfort without sparing breathability. This isn’t just an ordinary sun hat; it provides style and a little extra comfort that cheaper hats may lack. UV Protection is a must where I’m from and this hat provides a UPF 50+ to protect your noggin from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn, cancer and premature wrinkles.
How to Choose a Safari Hat
When choosing a great outdoors hat – you want one with a brim to keep the elements from your face, neck and shoulders. Working in the sun can cause skin cancer, but a quality hat can protect you from the harshest climates. Take into account where you live and the time of year you spend the most time outside. For example, our friends in the Southern U.S. would do well with a felt hat in the winter and a straw brimmed hat in the summer. Also, a good western style hat can be worn year-round, but you may not want to expose it to harsh work conditions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best safari hat:
- Environment: Take into account where you will be and how you will use your new safari hat. Hot climates may require different specifications than cold climates. For example, mesh sidewalls may be better fitted for hot and muggy climates.
- Brim: You will want to get a hat with a wide brim. This is where your sun protection comes into play. A short brim won’t cover as much, but a wide brim will cover not only your face and ears, but your shoulders and part of your back as well.
- Chin Strap: Most outdoorsman hats come with a handy chinstrap, but not all do. My hat was saved from gusts of wind three times while installing a pool. Needless to say, it would have been in my neighbors’ field had it not had one. However, if I’m wearing a hat on a day out in town; I probably won’t need a chin strap and would go for a classy look.
- Breathability and Comfort: All hats give your head protection, but you may need to keep the air moving through your hair and scalp. Many hats have mesh walls that allow maximum air flow, but if that’s not your style, many still have holes that allow some air to flow. This will keep you cool as a cucumber and not stagnant and constantly having to remove your hat to let your head breathe.
- Material: As discussed earlier, there are multiple types of material you can purchase: mesh, leather, felt, oilskin, cotton, polyester, nylon and many different combinations of each. Think about what you desire in a hat before making your choice. Each material has pros and cons and none are perfect. For example: hats with mesh walls provide max breathability, but may not protect your head from rain drops, whereas, felt and leather lock in tight and will keep you dry. You can also get a nylon and polyester blend that falls somewhere in the middle.
You can also do as I do and purchase multiple hats for different occasions and environments as each has areas where they excel.
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.