You might think that with the functionality of something like a solar escape hat, surely the style and aesthetic would suffer. That might have been the case for the old and somewhat silly solar escape hats, but not anymore. These practical, unisex, hats look sharp and work hard to keep you comfortable while you’re in the sun on long summer days.
Whether your outside job is landscaping, farming, roofing, or something other, you’re going to find relief using a solar escape hat rather than just a standard hat to keep the sun from your eyes and the heat from your face and head. For the same reasons, solar hats are a must-have for just about any hunter, fisher, hiker, camper, golfer, or beachcomber.
Solar escape hats are specially designed to block UV rays that other materials do not typically block. If you’re planning to be soaking in the sun on a boat, or traveling to sunny tropical getaways, you need to bring your solar hat. Perfect for function but also an elegant yet casual statement for the experienced traveler or vacationer. These hats are usually made from all natural materials and have added features for breathability and moisture-wicking to keep you cool, comfortable, and dry in the blazing sun.
Your style will scream “smart and cool” with a solar escape hat on your next sunny adventure. Your body will scream “thank you for wearing a solar hat”! Here’s our list of the best sun hats that will protect you from the scorching heat and UV rays, but also allow you to maintain your sense of dignity.
Filson Unisex Summer Packer Hat
Sunday Afternoons Unisex Sun Hat
Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
Top Reviews for Solar Escape Hats in 2020
As with modern solar watches, you’re going to be surprised at how attractive the following five hats are, but combine the fact that they are highly functional for summer protection and you just can’t beat it. Unless it’s the sun. Our top picks have been selected based on need, primarily. We’ve select the best options for travelers, outdoor runners, workers, boat fishing, and adventurers. Keep reading to imagine which hat would work best for you.
- 0.1 1. Filson Unisex Summer Packer Hat
- 0.2 2. Sunday Afternoons Unisex Sun Hat
- 0.3 3. Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
- 0.4 4. Hiluckey Portable Solar
- 0.5 5. Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat
- 1 Features to Consider When Buying a Solar Escape Hat
1. Filson Unisex Summer Packer Hat
Pack your bags, Indiana Jones, and don’t forget your solar escape hat; you’re going to need it on your next adventure! If you’re looking for a stylish hat that’s more than just an accessory, here’s the one we recommend. The Filson Unisex Summer Packer hat is one of the most attractive sun protection hats you can find on the market. It holds up very well to folding and tucking and it’s made from strong and durable 100% cotton for breathability. The hat’s design intentionally fits perfectly with a large backpack or hiking pack, so it’s a great choice for longer trips outdoors.
This hat is so comfortable that you can wear it all day without taking it off. It’s well-ventilated materials and design include additional grommet holes for heat to escape and air to flow more easily. The material is lightweight and the hat features a cotton sweatband inside the hat to protect from unsightly sweatmarks.
Not only does this sun hat protect you from the heat and UV rays, it protects you from water. This hat features UPF 50+ UV protection and is water repellent. This hat is made in the USA and features an approximate 2-in brim to keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes.
- Super-stylish look
- High-quality materials and design
- Extremely durable for travel
- Non adjustable, but comes in multiple sizesv
- Only available in neutral olive green color
2. Sunday Afternoons Unisex Sun Hat
If you’re going on a high seas adventure or just motorboating around the lake for the summer, you’re going to want this Sunday Afternoons solar escape hat. On the water, protection from sunlight is even more serious because not only are you a target for UV rays from the sky, but the sun reflects off the water and back up to you. This sun hat has a UPF 50+ sun rating and its subtle and lightweight design is a perfect solution for keeping the sun’s damaging rays off of you. This hat is also water and stain resistant, making it, again, the perfect option for your watery odyssey.
The hat might seem a bit big at first glance, but the brim stops right before the ear. This actually balances coverage with visibility. The rim is rigid and remains firm when it’s windy, meaning that your face will be protected even during gusts.
Keep your sunglasses in place, too, with the special lock-on design. No waves are going to throw your sunglasses over. The chin strap is excellent for keeping your hat in place in windy situations, or as a strap to hold the hat over your shoulders and back effortlessly when not being worn. The chin strap and adjustable strap on the back make this the perfect fit for you to customize your size.
- Easily foldable for efficient packing
- Design features holes for sunglasses and reflective tape
- Customizable size
- Requires hand washing
3. Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
Perfect for the runner who doesn’t miss a step rain or shine, this solar escape hat from Outdoor Research will protect you from both. This 100% supplex nylon design is lightweight and sun rated at UPF 30+. The easy snap-on/snap-off skirt will offer protection to the back of your head and neck in the sun or in the rain. Remove the skirt when it’s not needed.
This design incorporates the lightweight nylon material with a mesh material on the side for maximum ventilation. In the front, the hat features a brim to protect your eyes and face from the elements. This sun hat also comes with an adjustable size strap and a chin strap for maximum versatility. Available in a wide variety of bold colors, these stylish hats also have the added safety of a bright color while you’re running, for safety and visibility.
- Very affordable
- Variety of color options
- The hat packs down small
- Brim is a bit small
- Protective skirt is a bit short on some users
4. Hiluckey Portable Solar
The Arc’teryx Sinsola Hat is a stylish hat with a functional edge to back it up. Made from a unique polyester weave, this lightweight solar escape hat is air permeable and perfect protection for a long day in the sun. This sun hat boasts a sun rating of UPF 50+ and the synthetic fiber design is made to enhance performance. Inside the hat, you’ll find a polyester mesh to keep your head ventilated and wick away moisture. To enhance the cooling features, this hat includes 2 grommets on each side which help to increase air flow around the head and allow heat to escape.
This sun hat design includes an adjustable chin strap to fit you better, or hold your hat on your back when not in use. This hat is thin and flexible and can fit under a hardhat in a second if need be. It’s 100% polyester fibers means it’s easy to machine wash and dry. This hat will retain its general shape and can even be ironed to neaten it back up. This durable, flexible, design is just as important for the ease of packing; fold and tuck this hat into any spot it will fit. This hat can easily be folded to fit in the common pocket. Shake it loose and let it sit for a moment when you arrive. The hat is available in three unique but subtle colors; Black Sapphire, Cloudburst, and Continuum. Whether you’re tending the garden in your backyard or facing long hours of sun at work, consider the Arc’teryx Sinsola solar escape hat for the protection you need from UV rays.
- Lightweight, polyester design is comfortable
- Durable, easy to fold, roll, or tuck during packing
- It has a UPF 50+ rating
- Hat circumference is not adjustable
- Only two sizes
5. Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat
The Tilley Airflo solar hat is our pick for Best Traveler’s Hat, but it’s arguably the best hat on the list. Tilley hats are known as the absolute top-of-the-line in solar escape hats and similar items. Tilley is internationally recognized for being the best-made and the most practical amongst all hatmakers of this sort.
This hat has, by far, the most features of any solar hat on this list. The Tilley LTM6 Airflo hat is made from supplex nylon and mesh polyester and features a broad brim of about 3.5” in the front and back and about 2.5” in the sides. This unshrinkable hat is only 3 oz and incredibly durable and wrinkle resistant. It’s adjustable and includes a small bit of stretch in the materials. It also includes a tuck-away chin cord that works so well your hat will stay on even as you skydive from thousands of feet in the air. Of course this sun hat is rated at UPF 50+ for protection from UV rays, but it’s also water repellant and the brim is designed to channel water away from the eyes and face in inclimate weather. This hat has a built-in moisture wicking function but it goes a step beyond to also include British brass ventilation grommets that gain a rich and attractive patina in saltier climates.
Drop your hat in the water? No worries; it floats. The Tilley solar escape hat lasts a indefinitely, looks attractive, and is super soft and comfortable. Every detail has been considered and mastered in the making and design so that you can have the experience of a lifetime without giving a second thought to which hat to take. If the feature list isn’t long enough for you yet, this will win you over. The Tilley Airflo sun hat has an undetectable, built-in secret pocket, so you can stash your license, room key, or money and keep your hands free for adventure.
- Comes in a variety of classy colors and styles
- Features top of the line design
- Includes hidden pocket storage
- Requires hand wash, air dry
- On the expensive side
Features to Consider When Buying a Solar Escape Hat
As with solar backpacks, there are several points to consider when searching for the perfect solar escape hat for you or a friend. At first, some of the points may seem a bit obvious, but overlooking these smaller points can backfire in the long run. We’ve taken these important points into consideration when reviewing the most popular solar escape hats of 2019 and this is primarily why we chose our Top Picks based on purpose and not on other points like color or expense. Let’s take a moment and go back over the important considerations to make when selecting the ultimate sun hat for yourself so you’ll never need another one again.
The four most common forms of protection offered from solar escape hats are protection from heat, UV rays, moisture, and water. To protect you from heat, solar hats generally include features to allow heat to escape from your head while still being protected by a hat. For example, the hat is typically made from very breathable fibers, often natural fibers like cotton. It may also include mesh sides which allow for a maximum heat escape, or it may include side grommets which still allows for some ventilation but doesn’t compromise the overall coverage of the hat.
To protect from UV rays, a hat is usually made from UV-blocking materials, similar to that found in a solar telescope or solar binoculars, and is given a rating that can range from UPF 30+ to UPF 50+ and gradually protects better as the rating increases; UPF 50+ being the highest rating a hat can have. Standard hats may help to minimally keep sun from your eyes and face, but it isn’t blocking UV rays from beating down on your head and face and neck all day in the sun. UV rays can penetrate many materials and to truly protect yourself, your sun hat should be made from UV blocking materials with a guaranteed rating.
To protect from moisture and sweat, most solar hats include moisture-wicking material built into the design somewhere, most usually the crown of the hat. The design may also include a sweatband protector around the inner brim of the hat. This not only helps to pull away sweat and moisture from the forehead and eye area, but it works double duty to protect its appearance and stop sweat marks from forming and staining your hat on the outside.
Some, but not all, solar escape hats are water repellant. This can be an important feature to someone often caught outside in light rains, or to someone fishing or relaxing on a boat or beach. Some hats even go the extra mile to design a water-channeling brim with durable stitching or weaving to direct water away from the eyes and your line of vision.
Solar hats are typically made from lightweight, all natural fibers like cotton, or from highly synthesized fibers like polyester and nylon. One is not necessarily better than the other; it just depends on the preference, or in some cases if an individual is allergic to one fiber over another. The materials used to make a solar hat are usually very easy and quick to clean and dry because upkeep is important for a hat that gets so much exposure and wear. Consider the breathability of the materials and whether the weave is tight or loose. This will affect how comfortable or well-protected you are from sun and rain or water.
Solar hats often come with additional features to adjust the fit of the hat. Hats are available in a variety of general sizes, but these features allow you to customize the fit even better. This is usually accomplished by use of an adjuster to set the perfect circumference size, and a chin cord to hold the hat in place on the head better. Some hats do not include one or the other, so if this is important to you, make sure you’ve got the right size and adjustability features.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation of Australia, the brim of your hat should be at least three inches wide. This is just enough to protect your face, ears, and neck. It’s generally accepted that you want as wide a brim in the front and back as you can get, without the hat becoming cumbersome or blocking your sight. The brim on the sides is important but it can stand to be a bit shorter by about an inch. Check the brim size of the solar escape hat you purchase to make sure you get regulation coverage and don’t get stuck with a brim that doesn’t offer enough protection or one that blocks your line of sight.
Durability and Care
Can you rough-house this hat? Can you throw it and kick it? Can you stomp on it and fold it; roll it and bend it? Some hats can suffer irreparable damage if you caused them such abuse. But solar eclipse hats are often among the most rugged and durable. Made to be able to be folded, tucked, rolled, and packed, but to still retain its shape upon unpacking. These hats are usually quite easy to care for and clean. Most of them are compatible with machine washers and dryers, or need a simple hand wash or spot wash from time to time and will dry quickly in the air.
When selecting a color for your solar escape hat, ask yourself three substantial questions besides just whether you like the color. First, ask yourself if the color of your hat is going to attract or reflect light and heat. Depending on the environments you plan on exploring, you may want a darker or lighter color material. Second, ask yourself if the color should offer safety, like a bright fluorescent color to signal your presence to drivers or hunters. And third, ask yourself if the color of your hat will be compatible with your other items of clothing and conducive to the events you have planned.
Consider the up front cost of the hat in comparison to the long term protection you will benefit from. You may pay a bit more for a top-of-the-line solar hat, but you will be getting a high quality hat that will serve you in fashion and function for a lifetime.
If you’re going to spend a significant amount of money on your ultimate solar adventure hat, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve carefully weighed each of these points and considered all the features and functionality before you make your choice. If you get the right one once, and take care of it, you may never need another solar adventure hat again. This is a wise investment. Add a solar escape hat to your wardrobe now and you will protect yourself from heat and harmful UV rays for the rest of your long and scenic life. (Want to learn more about solar energy generally? Check out our pros and cons of solar energy article!)