It’s safe to say I wear a lot of camping hats.
I’m not talking about the trip planning hat, the meal planning hat, the packing the RV hat, or any other metaphorical hat that comes with organizing a camping trip.
I’m talking about actual hats for camping activities. The last trip we took I looked at the assorted hats my family packed for camping… I think there were at least 8 in the back of our SUV – when we take the RV I’m sure there are more!
While we could, undoubtedly, each make do with a single hat, we have found the best hat for lounging at a pool is not the best hat for hiking. And the best hat for kayaking may not be the best hat for an afternoon wandering historic Main Streets.
It’s quite a lot like shoes, if you think about it. You wouldn't go hiking in a flip flop, would you?
My Thanks to Tenth Street Hats for inspiring this article & sending a couple of crushable hats for us to try!
The Best Hats for Camping
If we’re camping you can bet my hair is tied in a ponytail or a messy knot and I’ve put on some sort of hat to hide the fact that I probably haven’t run a comb through my hair since I left my house.
Best Hats at the Campsite
When we're hanging out at our campsite a plain ol' ball cap is usually the easiest hat to throw on, and it does the trick quite nicely, keeping my hair back and my husband's eyes shaded as the sun sets below the camper awning.
Another favorite for relaxing outside is the Camden by Scala. I adore the floppy brim and the casual look of this hat. But what sold me on this hat is that is it crushable. Yes- you can travel with this hat and not worry about it getting ruined!
Best Camping Hats for Water Activities
We love water activities! Kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and white water rafting are our favorite aqua adventures. Our girls also love to swim, so if we are at a campground with a pool it's a fair assumption that we can be found cooling off in the water or lounging near by.
For most water activities my husband defaults to a basic ball cap, while I prefer a sun visor. Why a visor? I like to have my hair off my neck when there is the possibility of it getting wet. Also- if I am lounging poolside I won't be laying on a ponytail!
Best Camping Hats for Hiking & Horseback Riding
We do a lot of hiking when we camp, and a bit of horseback riding when we can. For these two activities we prefer a hat with sun protection as well as a strap, in case of a strong breeze or a brisk ride.
My husband has two safari hats, both with mesh sides to allow air flow. His Aussie Breezer hat by Henschel Hat Co (below) is packable. He also has a less expensive mesh safari hat by J Hats that is crushable.
In the first photo in this article my daughters are each wearing a hat by Sunday Afternoons. Both have a UPF 50+ sun rating, a chin strap, have flexible brims, and are packable. My eldest is wearing the Sunset Hat and my youngest has the Lily Hat.
When my eldest steals my Sunset Hat (as she usually does) I default to my favorite Scala Straw Cowboy Hat. I've had this hat for years and absolutely love it. It is not crushable. so I have to be a bit more careful with it than my other hats, but it is one hat that I never go camping without.
Best Hats for Wandering
Though my family will often forego hats when we head into towns, I still want the sun protection. Depending on where we are I will default to my Scala Straw Cowboy Hat or the fun and floppy Camden hat.
But if I'm feeling especially fancy I'll put on my big brim New Port hat by Scala. It's definitely a statement piece, but it's also crushable with UPF 50, so even the sunniest days don't keep me in the shade.