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:
Table of Contents (clickable)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m looking for a few things from a good fishing hat:
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.
I also want my hat to help me stay cool, usually through a combination of evaporative cooling, shade, and ventilation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.