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Best Fishing Hats Reviewed: Protecting More Than Just Your Eyes

Last Updated: October 24th, 2020
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A good fishing hat does more than keep the sun out of your eyes. It also offers protection for your face, neck, and ears, helping to lower your risk of skin cancer.

More and more anglers are aware of the long-term effects of not shielding their skin from the sun, and a simple hat with a dash of sunscreen isn’t enough.

A fishing hat is more than a ball cap. Picking the best fishing hat isn’t tricky, but it pays to do your homework before you find out that the model you picked isn’t up to snuff.  Below, you’ll find our buying advice, plus reviews of some of our favorites:

Quick glance at the best fishing hats:

Related: Best Fishing Sunglasses, Best Rain Gear For Fishing

Best Fishing Hats Reviewed

Ellewin Unstructured Fishing Cap - Best Fishing Cap

ELLEWIN Outdoor Fishing Flap Hat UPF50 Sun Cap Removable Mesh Face Neck Cover, D-khaki/ Mesh Neck Cover, M-L-XL

Amazon 

There’s really no need to review or recommend standard baseball caps; you know them, and love or hate, you probably own one, too!

But Ellewin takes the standard ball cap and upgrades it for anglers, offering a great alternative to fully-brimmed hats at a very reasonable price.

Ellewin’s fishing cap has an extra-long brim, providing more sun protection than a standard cap. As an added extra, some models also feature long, removable neck and face guards that provide 360-degree protection. If you don’t like the idea of a round-brimmed hat and like the ease-of-wear of a baseball cap, this might be the best pick for you.

Designed with plenty of mesh, it’s very cool-wearing.

Available in a single, but very adjustable size, virtually all anglers should find this cap a good fit.

It also comes with a removable chin strap, so heavy winds and long rides shouldn’t be an issue.

Pros:

  • Outstanding sun protection
  • Tough and durable
  • Very adjustable fit
  • Cinching chin strap
  • Cool-wearing

Cons:

  • ?

Wide-Brimmed Hats

Outdoor Research Seattle Sun Sombrero - Best Wide-brimmed Fishing Hat

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Black

Amazon 

Outdoor Research’s Seattle Sun Sombrero is a great choice for anglers who want excellent sun protection in an ultra-lightweight hat.

I own this hat myself, and it’s seen me through season after season of hard use.

The Seattle Sun Sombrero has a nice wide brim with a stiff wire along its edge. That keeps it in place in all but the heaviest wind, and I haven’t had a problem with sagging in the rain, either. That brim has also helped to keep bugs at bay, a nice touch if you’re fishing a salt flat in summer!

I’ve found it to be pretty cool-wearing and plenty tough.

Available in four sizes--small, medium, large, and extra-large--it features an adjustable drawcord at the back that allows you to get just the right fit. You’ll also find a cinching chin strap that’ll keep your hat where it belongs on a long boat ride.

Outdoor Research offers this hat in a rainbow of colors, but I definitely recommend the lighter options.

Pros:

  • Excellent sun protection
  • Tough and durable
  • Adjustable fit within sizes
  • Cinching chin strap
  • Cool-wearing

Cons:

  • Can be expensive

Cooltto Wide Brim Sun Hat

Cooltto Wide Brim Sun Hats with Waterproof Breathable for Fishing, Hiking, Camping

Amazon 

Cooltto’s wide-brim sun hat is a solid addition to any fishing trip, and if you’re on the hunt for a new fishing hat, you should definitely give this one a close look.

Constructed with a 4.6-inch brim, it offers excellent protection from the sun. With a bit of mesh venting, it’s pretty cool in the hot sun, too.

Available in four colors, it’s only offered in one size, albeit with an adjustable drawcord at the back. For people with hat sizes below 7, that may not be ideal, but most anglers will probably find the right fit with a touch of adjustment.

Tough enough for all your needs, this hat stands up well to abuse, especially for the price.

In the rain, especially with the brim fastened on both sides, drooping shouldn’t be an issue. And the included chin strap keeps this hat in place, no matter the wind.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed by this hat, especially the lighter-colored options.

Pros:

  • Excellent sun protection
  • Tough and durable
  • Cinching chin strap
  • Cool-wearing

Cons:

  • Only offered in a single size

KoolSoly Fishing Hat

Fishing Hat,Sun Cap with UPF 50+ Sun Protection and Neck Flap,for Man and Women Light Grey

Amazon 

KoolSoly’s fishing hat is designed to fight the harshest sun, making it an ideal choice for anglers who routinely face the heat and glare of sub-tropical summer days.

Glare can burn you just as surely as direct sunlight, as most of us have discovered by accident.

Koolsoly’s hat offers maximal protection: a wide brim (3.74-inch), a neck shield, and a face and throat cover that keep the sun off your skin. And while the shield and cover are removable, they make a lot of sense on the water.

Built with plenty of mesh and ultra-light fabric, this hat is cool-wearing and durable to boot.

One weakness of this hat, however, is that it lacks a stiff brim. I’ve never worn it in the rain, but I can see the brim drooping when wet.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in a single-non-adjustable size. It’ll fit the average angler pretty well but tends to run a tad large.

Expect four color choices, each wearing a cinching chin strap to retain the hat.

Pros:

  • Unbeatable sun protection
  • Tough and durable
  • Cinching chin strap
  • Cool-wearing

Cons:

  • Only offered in a single size
  • The brim isn’t very stiff

Boonie Hats

KastKing Sol Armis UPF 50 Boonie Hat - Best Boonie Hat for Fishing

KastKing Sol Armis UPF 50 Boonie Hat - Sun Protection Hat, Fishing Hat - Breathable Fabric - Comfortable - Prym1 Camo,Silver Mist

Amazon 

KastKing’s Sol Armis Boonie is pretty much ideal for fishermen who prefer this style hat.

Built from tough material, it’ll really hold up to abuse, and since it’s soft and pliable, it’s easy to fold, crush, and store.

One thing that I like about the Sol Armis Boonie is ample mesh. This hat wears cool while still providing good sun protection that rivals a wide-brim hat.

Available in a single adjustable size, KastKing’s boonie will comfortably fit most anglers, and it comes with a chin strap to keep it in place.

But like all boonie hats, expect the brim to droop when thoroughly wet, and it’ll fold up or down in heavy wind or during long boat rides.

Offered in a range of cool camo designs, I’d opt for the lighter choices.

Pros:

  • Excellent sun protection
  • Tough and durable
  • Cinching chin strap
  • Very cool-wearing
  • Easy to store

Cons:

  • Only offered in a single size
  • Expect the brim to flop in the rain or high wind

Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney

Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat, Moisture Wicking Fabric, UV Sun Protection

Amazon 

Columbia’s Bora Bora Booney is a great alternative to the KastKing Sol Armis for anglers who want a more traditional look.

Constructed with a reasonable wide brim, I’d give the edge to the KastKing for sun protection. And though it’s built with a fair amount of mesh, the Sol Armis is probably a bit more ventilated.

That said, the Bora Bora is made from lighter-weight material and may well wear a tad cooler.

Available in a single adjustable size, expect the typical chin strap to keep this hat from ending up in the water.

Soft and pliable, this hat is easy to store.

Two colors are available, and both stand up to seasons in the sun.

Pros:

  • Good sun protection
  • Tough and durable
  • Cinching chin strap
  • Very cool-wearing
  • Easy to store

Cons:

  • Only offered in a single size
  • Expect the brim to flop in the rain or high wind

What We Look For When Selecting a Hat for Fishing

I’m looking for a few things from a good fishing hat:

Sun protection

At the top of my list, you’ll find sun protection.

Even though I wear sunscreen, I want to minimize direct sun exposure on my head and face. As Dr. Garrett T. Bayrd, a dermatologist and outdoorsman, warns, always, always wear a hat!

Skin cancer is no joke, and anglers put themselves at substantial risk over their lifetimes.

“Always remember when you’re working on the water, you’re also working on cancer,” says Dr. William Burke, Chief of the Division of Dermatology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Cooling

I also want my hat to help me stay cool, usually through a combination of evaporative cooling, shade, and ventilation.

Durability

A good hat can take a beating, and from constant sun and sweat, to fish slime and blood, I expect my hats to shrug-off abuse for years.

Fit

A hat that’s too loose will end up in the water, but one that’s too tight will eventually give you a headache.

I like hats that offer some possibility for adjustment, and for long boat rides, some kind of retention device.

Bugs

Finally, I’ve found that flying insects tend to circle at the distance of the brim of my hat--whatever it’s size. Larger brims keep them just a bit further from my face, which is always a good thing when you get into the middle of a cloud of no-see-ums.

Hat Styles

Baseball caps

baseball caps

Baseball caps are super popular because they’re easy to find, easy to wear, and keep the sun out of your eyes.

They won’t bump against the headrest of the seat in your car or truck, and while they don’t offer protection for your neck, ears, or much of your face, in conjunction with a good pair of sunglasses, they will shade your eyes pretty effectively.

Pros:

  • Easy to wear while in your car or truck
  • Easy to find--sold pretty much everywhere
  • Works well to keep the sun out of your eyes
  • The brim won’t fold or flop in wind or rain

Cons:

  • Minimal protection from the sun

Boonie Hats

boonie hats

Boonie hats sport short, round brims, offering more protection than baseball caps. Soft and foldable, they’re easy to stow and store.

The downside is that the soft brim can fold down in the wind, and when wet, tends to sag into your line of sight.

Pros:

  • Decent sun protection
  • Easy to store and stow

Cons:

  • The brim will sag when wet
  • The brim can cover your eyes in the wind

Wide-brimmed Hats

wide-brimmed hats

Wide-brimmed hats are so-named because they offer bigger brims and more sun protection. Typically, they’ll have some stiffness to their brims, holding up better in the rain and wind than boonie hats.

Pros:

  • Excellent sun protection
  • The brim is usually fairly stiff and won’t sag when wet or in the wind

Cons:

  • Hard to wear while driving your car or truck

Final Thoughts

If you’re not covering up, you’re putting yourself at risk--it’s that simple.

I hope that this article has helped reinforce the need for a good hat--and helped you pick the product that’s right for you.

If it has, we’d love to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below.

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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