8 Best Hats For Kayaking – Rain & Sun Protection for Your Head

By purchasing a product, via a link on this page, we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.

It can be a good idea to consider comfort and usability while shopping for the best kayak hat. And anyway, you'll be wearing it while paddling, and you don't want to have to constantly adjust it.

With some advice about what you might want to do and what you desire, we have put together this brief guide to assist you to choose your new paddling hat.

What type of hat should you wear for kayaking?

Three different types of head-wear are required for kayakers. Sun hats, rain hats, and scull caps are among the most common types of head-wear. When practicing kayak rolling and rescue, scull caps are ideal, and they can be used under other head-wear to enhance warmth when kayaking/paddling.

Top 8 Hats For Kayaking: At A Glance

  • Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat
  • Tilley Paddler’s Hat
  • Sunday Afternoons Shade Goddess Hat
  • Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat
  • Sunday Afternoons Sun Guide Cap
  • The North Face Class V Brimmer Hat
  • KastKing Sol Armis UPF 50 Boonie Hat
  • Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

My Top Picks:

  • Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat (best overall)
  • Tilley Paddler’s Hat (best runner-up)
  • Sunday Afternoons Shade Goddess Hat (best for women)
  • Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat (best budget)

8 Best Kayak Hats Reviews for 2021

1. Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat (best overall)

Best Kayak Hat for Sun & Rain Paddling
  • Head Circumference: 22 to 24 inches
  • Brim Width: 3 inches
  • Fabric: Cotton/Polyester

Best Sporty Sun Hat for Kayaking: This Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is a unisex hat meant to give a high level of protection against the sun (using UPF 50+ fabric) and to be wearing in comfort. It features a broad, folding brim and a neck cape of 6", which provides additional protection. 

It also includes water and stain resistance and a winding sweatband for perspiration. It features ventilation on the top and even has rooms to attach your sunglasses safely on the brim.


  • Water resistant - keeps you dry in rain
  • UPF 50+ - maximum sun protection level
  • Folding brim - easy to stow

This can be perfect for hiking and paddling in the hot sun or rain. It is one of the best kayak hats for sun & rain paddling.

2. Tilley Paddler’s Hat (best runner-up)

Best Hat For Kayaking
  • Head Circumference: 22 to 23 ⅞ inches
  • Brim Width: 2.75 inches (2.375 inches at sides)
  • Fabric: Polyester/Polyurethane
  • The Tilley Paddler has been constructed to reduce the blink with the green cloth under the edge. This unisex hat is available in a variety of sizes and has a cinched ribbon to alter the shape and secure it during winding. 

    A good thing about this paddling hat is that it's floating since it is mounted with foam. The luminous yarn, plus the fabric has a 50+ UPF rating for extra protection from the sun, is also an important feature. 

    It also includes a sweater band to wipe wetness and snaps on the sides.


    • Moisture wicking - keeps you dry and comfortable
    • UPF 50+ - maximum sun protection
    • Reduces glare - less strain on your eyes

    It's ideal for paddling in the severe sunshine and breeze. It is one of the best kayak sun hats.

    3. Sunday Afternoons Shade Goddess Hat (best for women)

    best kayak hat for sun
  • Head Circumference: 23 inches
  • Brim Width: 4 inches
  • Fabric: Nylon/Polyester
  • The Sunday Afternoons Shade Goddess Hat is meant to be developed for women and goes towards a conventional sun hat appearance, with a broader 4" border, than some other paddling hats. But this women's kayaking hat also offers the additional value of a 7-inch collar cape and lightweight UPF 50+ to defend you from sunlight, despite its fashionable attractiveness.  

    The crown is ventilated so that you remain cool and there is even a space behind you to make it easier if you use a ponytail. 

    There is also a moisture wicking sweatband, slots for your sunglasses and you can just fold away your sunglasses.


    • Wide brim - shields more of your face
    • Stylish design - more appealing to wear
    • Accommodates a ponytail - more comfortable if you wear your hair in a ponytail

    It's for women seeking a more fashionable, functional and versatile hat. It is one of the best women’s kayak hats.

    4. Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat (best budget)

    Best Kayaking Hat
  • Head Circumference: 21 to 23.5 inches
  • Brim Width: 3 inches
  • Fabric: Nylon/Polyester
  • The Bora Bora Booney II is a one-size-fits-all, inexpensive unisex hat. It has an adjustable drawcord with a toggle on the back of your head, allowing you to attach the hat. A chin strap is included to assist you keep it in place. 

    The nylon fabric offers a UPF 50+ sun protection rating, and the Polyester mesh coating ensures that the hat remains breathable and moist in the hot weather. The crown is ventilated also, so that you can remain cool.


    • One size - adjustable band to fit different sized heads
    • UPF 50+ - provides sun protection
    • Vented crown - to improve air flow

    This is for budget-conscious paddlers seeking a one-size-fits-all hat. It is one of the best hats for sun protection.

    5. Sunday Afternoons Sun Guide Cap

    Best Kayak Sun Hat
  • Head Circumference: 21.5 to 23.5 inches/22.5 to 24.5 inches
  • Brim Width: 3.25 inches
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • If you don't like the boonie style hat, the Sunday Afternoons Sun Guide Cap can be the best option.  

    This lightweight hat features a 3 ¼ inch long brim that can be folded to make packaging easier and benefits from an easily removable 9 ½ inch neck cape. The hat's cape and crown are ventilated, which makes you cool in the hot weather.  

    The polyester fabric is fast drying with a sun protection rating of UPF 50+.


    • Cap style - for comfort
    • Removable neck cape - detaches when not required
    • Breathable - ventilation keeps you cool

    This is a lightweight cap for paddlers who are seeking for a handy baseball cap design. It is one of the best hats for hot weather.

    6. The North Face Class V Brimmer Hat

    Best Sporty Sun Hat for kayaking
  • Head Circumference: 21 to 22.5 inches/22.5 to 23.5 inches
  • Brim Width: 2 inches
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • The North Face Class V Brimmer Hat is a rapid drying unisex hat with a chin strap and a string lock which helps to keep it safe in different situations on your head.  

    The brim of this hat is shorter than any other hat, that's preferable if you'd like a smaller profile hat. One convenient feature of this is to provide flotation to the brim which is useful for many water activities/sports.  

    The smooth FlashDry sweatband technology helping to wipe perspiration away from your head is another wonderful feature.


    • Low profile brim - less bulky
    • FlashDry sweatband - keeps you cool and dry
    • Cord lock chin strap - to keep it secure on your head

    For a range of watersports this kayaking hat can be fantastic.

    7. KastKing Sol Armis UPF 50 Boonie Hat

    Explore hats for kayaking
    • Head Circumference: 22.8 inches
    • Brim Width: 3 inches
    • Breathable Mesh & PE Fabric

    This super-breathable mesh fishing hat helps to protect your head from sunshine & rain. 

    This KastKing Boonie Unisex Hat offers UVA and UVB protection to keep your face & head safe. 

    For the first time on the market, this fishing hat offers sun protection as well as cooling and comfort. The hat is made of a lightweight, permeable material that allows air to easily flow through it. 

    This hat is ideal for fishing, but it may be used for a variety of other outdoor activities as well. This hat will protect you from the sunburn, whether you're at the beach, hiking, or going on safari. 

    The bottom of the brim is covered with a dark material that absorbs light reflected from the brim. Thus, you will be able to see well when you are catching some carp. 

    This hat is entirely adjustable, so there's no need to worry about sizing. Pull the elastic drawstring within the headband until it is the ideal fit, and then secure it with the toggle button on the back. 

    A range of colors and patterns are available for this hat.


    • Moisture wicking head band to keep sweat out of your eyes
    • UPF 50+ Sun protection
    • Dark unerside of brim reduces reflected light

    If you like to visit the beach, It's a nice collection for you. It is one of the best explore hats for kayaking, rowing, hiking, fishing & paddling.

    8. Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

    Kayak, rafting and paddling hat
    • Head Circumference: 21.5-24 inches
    • Brim Width: 3 inches
    • Fabric: 89% nylon and 11% polyester

    The Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat is one of the best men's sun hats for kayaking & canoeing. When you paddle on the calm water in the hot summer season, this men's wide brim sun hat can be used to protect your head & face from the sun. Featuring 11 gorgeous shades, this paddle hat is constructed of 14% polyester and 86% nylon. Sweat-wicking nylon is used for the under-brim material. So, this paddlers hat is very comfortable to wear on the head.

    There are also four different size options, so you can find the perfect fit no matter how big or little your head is.


    • Moisture-wicking
    • Stiffened foam construction
    • Safe headband for better fitting
    • Mesh in the crown for proper ventilation

    This hat is excellent for kayaking, fishing, and paddling because it is lightweight and has a UPF protection value of 50.

    Why Do You Need To Wear A Kayaking / Canoeing Hat?

    You should wear a kayak / canoe hat to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. The sun's rays UV radiation that can cause skin cancer and burn your skin. There's an additional risk of sunburn and skin cancer when kayaking, even on a cloudy day, due to the sun's reflection off the water.  

    In addition to sunscreen, a hat can provide an extra layer of protection from dangerous UV radiation. The sun's ultraviolet rays may penetrate hats, therefore you should still use sunscreen when wearing a hat.

    Features of Kayak Hats

    Adjustable Strap

    It can provide you more security and protect it from flying off your head as you're paddling. 

    If your hat does not have a strap, a leash or anything that can tie your hat to your PFD or clothes might be helpful.


    Based on your activities, the fabric you choose might be quite essential. Cotton is wonderful for hot sun since it is breathable, but it is not as good at repelling water, so it might get heavy and may not float if dropped.

    Because of their durability, breathability and water resistance, polyester and nylon are commonly seen on paddling caps. Sun and rain-resistant, these materials dry quickly.

    All of these fabrics are fast to dry, sun & rain-resistant.


    Floating hats can actually be useful when kayaking. Then, if you manage to lose it, you should be able to easily recover it if it's floating close by. Some hats may be constructed with foam inserts to improve buoyancy.

    Water Resistant

    It’s a useful feature that helps you to stay dry in the rain and protect yourself from UV radiation.

    It can also come in handy if you unexpectedly drop it over the corner of your boat.

    UPF Rating

    The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is used to determine how much UV radiation a cloth/fabric can block. This differs from SPF (Sun Protection Factor) values seen on sunscreen, which indicate how long the product will safeguard your skin. 

    More UVA and UVB rays can be blocked by a fabric with a higher rating. The higher the rating, the greater the sun protection it can provide. As much as 98 percent of sunlight is blocked by clothes with a UPF 50 rating. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends fabrics with a UPF 30 or higher rating.

    Brim Width

    As the width of the brim determines how much shade the hat can give, it's vital to pay attention to this aspect. The width of brim is generally three to four inches, however this might vary according to style and producers. 

    If the brim is larger, it can give greater protection to your face and neck, since it can shelter more of your face and neck. Kayaking is not always suitable for a broad brim hat, the wind might seize the brim and you may lose it. 

    Hats with flaps or capes can give additional shade in the summertime sun.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. Is it possible to fold a kayak hat?

    A. Most of the kayak hats are constructed such that they can be folded easily for convenience. The brims of many hats are built to bounce back into shape after being bent.

    Q. Do Kayak Hats Protect From The Sun And Rain?

    A. Not a rule of thumb, although most of them are constructed to protect against the sun or rain. If you want to know how much sun protection your hat gives, check the UPF rating and make sure it's water-resistant. 

    Q. Are all kayak hats considered "Boonies"?

    A. While most of the kayaking hats are boonies, some feature a baseball cap-style shape, sometimes with a neck flap for additional sun protection. 

    Final Verdict

    Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is the best kayaking hat in our judgment since it has a high UPF rating and can be great in the sun and rain. In addition, it is effortlessly adjustable and foldable.

    There's no denying that the Tilley Paddler's Hat is a close second. It features foam inserts that help to float it and are perfect to wear in all weathers.

    Remember to consider the environmental conditions where you intend to paddle, such as if it will be rainy, windy, or extremely hot.

    You Might Be Interested In: