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Which fishing hat is best?

Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors needs a hat. Baseball caps keep sun out of your eyes but have no protection for your neck, ears or the rest of your face. Bucket hats don’t provide much coverage, and cowboy hats don’t stay on your head when the wind blows.

People who fish are at higher risk because they are also exposed to the sun that reflects off the water, doubling their risk of harm from ultraviolet rays. If you’re looking for a fishing hat with a wide brim, vents and moisture-wicking technology, take a look at the Columbia Bora Bora Booney.

What to know before you buy a fishing hat

The best fishing hat is also a sun hat that not only provides protection from ultraviolet rays that burn your skin but is also comfortable to wear.

UVA and UVB rays

Sunlight is made up of visible and invisible rays. The ones that are the most damaging are called ultraviolet rays, named for their position on the color spectrum of light. There are two types of ultraviolet rays, named UVA and UVB.

  • UVA rays penetrate deeply and are most responsible for premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.
  • UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn. They also are the rays most responsible for skin cancers, including malignant melanoma.
  • The UV ray index is a scale you see in detailed weather reports online and on TV. It rates the strength of UV rays, your risk levels, suggested exposure times and precautions you should take.

Protection ratings

  • SPF stands for sun protection factor. It refers to a hat’s ability to prevent your skin from turning red due ultraviolet B radiation. A hat with an SPF rating of 50 means exposed skin can stay in the sun 50 times longer before reddening.
  • UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. Where SPF measures your hat’s ability to block ultraviolet B, a hat with UPF protection blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

The hat brim

Your hat’s brim is your primary defense against the sun. 

  • Width: The wider the brim, the more shade you get. The downside is that the wider the brim, the likelier it is to blow off your head in a stiff breeze.
  • Coverage: Brims that go all the way around shade the back and sides as well as the front. Baseball hats provide shade only in front and bucket hats have only a narrow brim that provides minimal shade.
  • Stiffness: Wide brims can be stiff or floppy. Stiff wide brims, like those on a cowboy hat, are unmanageable when the wind gets up. Floppy brims stay on your head, but may disturb you with the way they flap around in a breeze.

What to look for in a quality fishing hat


Scientists say most of the heat from our bodies escapes through the top of our heads just as most of a fireplace’s heat goes right up the chimney. When we wear hats, we are capping our chimneys. Look for a fishing hat with vents that let the heat from your head escape.


Wicking moisture away produces a cooling effect. Look for a hat with a wicking band that absorbs the moisture from your skin and transfers it to the air, making your head feel cooler.


Some fishing hats are made to provide extreme protection. Be aware that the more of these flaps you have, the more restricted your field of vision.

  • Rear: These have long flaps that extend from the rear to provide complete protection for the back of your neck. 
  • Side: Some have side flaps to keep the sun off your cheeks and the sides of your neck and face.
  • Front: A few fishing hats are made with breathable mesh flaps on the front that cover your face. 

How much you can expect to spend on a fishing hat

Most wide-brimmed fishing hats cost from $10-$30, depending on materials and design features.

Fishing hat FAQ

If I buy a good hat, do I still need sunscreen?

A. Yes. Always wear sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and always remember to reapply it as your perspiration washes it away. 

What colors are best for fishing hats?

A. Light colors reflect the sun’s rays more than dark colors do, deflecting some of the heat and keeping you cooler. But light colors also get dirty quicker, so if you want a hat that won’t show dirt and is easy to keep clean, choose a dark color.

What’s the best fishing hat to buy?

Top fishing hat

Best Columbia Bora Bora Booney

Columbia Bora Bora Booney

What you need to know: Moisture-wicking technology gives you a dry fit that keeps you cool and comfortable.

What you’ll love: This breathable, wide-brimmed mesh hat has a tight weave that’s great for yard work as well as fishing. It has built-in UPF shielding designed to block ultraviolet rays from every angle. Choose from 25 colors, all with adjustable chin straps and hat size adjustment cords.

What you should consider: Its brim is too floppy for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top fishing hat for the money

Best Home Prefer UPF 50+ Wide Brim Fishing Hat

Home Prefer UPF 50-plus Wide Brim Fishing Hat

What you need to know: This lightweight fishing hat blocks 98% of harmful ultraviolet rays.

What you’ll love: The mesh vents let cooling air through the crown and the kepi flap keeps your neck from being burned by the sun. The crown has a drawstring adjusting mechanism for a snug fit in breezy conditions,

What you should consider: It’s not waterproof and must be hand-washed only.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Einskey Waterproof Wide Brim Boonie Hat

Einskey Waterproof Wide Brim Boonie Hat

What you need to know: This fishing hat has one of the widest brims you can find.

What you’ll love: This polyester hat keeps the sun off while repelling water, too. The mesh panels allow air to circulate, the built-in sweatband keeps sweat out of your eyes and the elastic drawstring keeps your hat securely on your head on windy days.

What you should consider: Some buyers reported problems with the inner lining.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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