The Top 7 Sailing Hats for 2023

Last Updated on March 28, 2024 by admin

The best sailing hats are generally made from lightweight, quick-drying fabrics. Some have cords you can use to keep them from flying away in a breeze while others are made to float in water.

When you’ve packed all your gear for a day out sailing, don’t forget your hat! For many sailors, this is the single most important item required for a day on the water.

These sailing hats for men and women are not specifically for Laser sailing, but for sailing in general. So if you need a new sailing hat, make sure that you check out the ones listed below.

Our Picks Of The Best Sailing Hats For 2023

When you’re on the water, it’s always best to stay protected and safe. A good quality hat is a great way to do that. However, with so many options available, how do you know which one to choose? Well, we’ve taken some of the guesswork out. So take a look at some of our top hat picks for 2023…

Arntson Marine Tahoe Brim Sailing Hat

Arntson Marine Tahoe Brim Sailing Hat

The Tahoe Brim Sailing Hat is my personal favorite by far. It has lots of extra features that serious sailors will love. It fits your head nicely so is comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The brim is wide but not too wide. It’s also quite stiff so that it won’t flap about in the breeze. However, you can fold it up if you want (eg. if you’re trimming a spinnaker or a yacht, this is handy). It’s also quick-drying, flat-packable, and has a retaining strap. And, it floats!

I have done an in-depth review of the Tahoe Brim Sailing Hat. To see that article, click here.

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Gill Race Sailing Cap

Gill Race Sailing Cap
Gill Race Sailing Cap

Gill is a brand we like because they make a lot of excellent products that are designed specifically for sailing. Hats are one of them and the Gill Men’s Race Sailing Cap wins a place on our list because it is designed with a close-fitting shape that makes this hat stay put once you’ve put it on. It comes with a low-profile fit and is made with lightweight quick-drying fabric finished with a water-resistant outer shell.

In addition, there’s a cord that you can attach to your shirt collar, so if it does happen to get blown or knocked off your head, the hat won’t travel far from reach.

Check out the Gill Men’s Race Sailing Cap. Click the button below for more info.

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Helly Hansen Men’s Logo Cap

Helly Hansen Men’s Logo Cap
Helly Hansen Men’s Logo Cap

The next spot in our list of the top five sailing hats goes to the Helly Hansen Men’s Logo Cap.

This one’s made from 100% cotton fabric which makes it comfortable to wear and is also quick to dry when wet. It comes in a unisex, one-size-fits-all design so it is suitable for anyone to wear. Add to that the fact that it provides excellent UV protection from the sun and has a cool ‘HH’ logo and you have a top-notch choice when out on or around the water.

Click the button below to get more info and for the best price on a Helly Hansen Men’s Logo Cap.

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Gill Marine Cap

GILL Marine Cap
GILL Marine Cap

We can’t have a Gill product on this list without including their Marine Cap. This sailing hat was engineered for comfort and sun protection. It’s got a low-profile design with a good-sized peak to keep the sun off your face.

The headband is made of a wicking fabric that helps keep you cool, and it has just enough padding to keep it comfortable for long days on the water.

This sailing hat is designed without the top button to ensure a comfortable fit. It also comes in a range of colors.

Have a look at the Gill Marine Cap on Amazon – click the button below.

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Dorfman Pacific Men’s Boonie Hat

Dorfman Pacific Men's Boonie Hat
Dorfman Pacific Men’s Boonie Hat

Dorfman Pacific Men’s Boonie Hat is created with style, comfort, and function in mind.

Made from 80% nylon, this hat is lightweight but durable.

It is great for long days out in the sun and is rated UPF 50+, has a 3-inch brim, and provides excellent sun protection.

It also includes a chin cord, as well as a mesh-lined crown.

Make sure that you get the best price on the Dorfman Pacific Men’s Boonie Hat… check it out below.

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Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat

Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat
Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat

The final Best of the Best Sailing Hats goes to… Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat. It is well worth having on this list because it is designed for various uses.

The 2 3/4 inch crushable down-sloping brim is what makes this hat stand out. Because of the lightweight one hundred percent nylon fabric that it is made from, and the ventilated construction, it is also capable of wicking away moisture.

The chin-strap harness keeps the hat in place when the wind picks up, and it will provide UPF 50+ sun protection. The sleek design makes it a perfect companion for racing, sailing, boarding, rafting, and just about any other sport or activity that requires water.

Have a look at the Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat…

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Gill Technical UV Sun Hat with Hat Retainer

Gill Technical UV Sun Sailing Hat with Hat Retainer
Gill Technical UV Sun Hat with Hat Retainer

Ok, as you may be able to tell, at Laser Sailing Tips we are a bit of a fan of Gill hats. So we couldn’t go without mentioning the Gill Technical UV Sun Hat with Hat Retainer.

I like this one because it has a stiffened brim, so it doesn’t fly up as easily in a breeze.

It’s also designed to wick away the moisture, so there is no need to get hot-headed when out and about.

And because it’s made by Gill, you know that the quality is going to be good.

Make sure that you have a closer look by clicking on the button below for more info.

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The Top Hat Accessory… Chums Hat Clip Cap Retainer

Chums Hat Clip
Chums Hat Clip

We can’t give you a list of the top five hats for sailing without including this handy little extra.

The Chums Hat Clip has saved many a hat from going overboard and ending up lost at sea. It is durable but tough. It is 9″ / 23cm in length, and is adjustable.

Definitely worth it if you want to keep your favorite hat from disappearing over the side while sailing.

This has to be one of the best value-for-money sailing accessories around.

Click the button below for more info on the Chums Hat Clip Cap Retainer.

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Here is a summary of our picks of the best sailing hats…

ImageTitleRatingMore Info
Arntson Marine Tahoe Brim Sailing HatArntson Marine Tahoe Brim Sailing Hat
5.0 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Gill Race CapGill Race Sailing Cap
4.8 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Helly Hansen Logo CapHelly Hansen Men’s Logo Cap
4.2 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
GILL Marine CapGILL Marine Cap
4.3 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Dorfman Pacific Men's Boonie HatDorfman Pacific Men’s Boonie Hat
4.6 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat
4.6 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Gill Technical UV Sun Hat with Hat RetainerGill Technical UV Sun Hat with Hat Retainer
4.6 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Chums Cap Eyewear RetainerChums Hat Clip Cap Retainer
4.5 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon

What Are The Different Types Of Sailing Hats?

Sailing hats aren’t worn just to look cool. They are worn to help protect sailors from the sun, wind, rain, and other elements. They’re made from different materials, come in different colors and styles, and are designed for different purposes.

There are a few main types of sailing hats:

Sailing Caps

Sailing caps are probably the most common type of hat. Similar to a baseball cap, they fit well on the head but don’t protect the ears or back of the neck. They can be blown off quite easily, so some come with a retaining clip.

Wide Brim Hats

Wide brim hats usually have a stiffened brim to protect the wearer from the sun on all sides. Often they have a chin cord to prevent it from flying off.

Bucket Hats

Bucket Hats are similar to wide-brim hats but their brim is not as stiff. They are comfortable to wear, but may not provide the same protection as the wide-brim versions.

Yachting Caps

Yachting caps are white with a black bill that has a black ribbon around the brim, and it is usually worn by officers on a boat or as a novelty captain’s cap.

Technical Performance Hats

As technology continues to advance, so do sailing hats. Technical performance hats are designed with cutting-edge materials and innovative features to meet the demands of keen sailors and competitive racers. These hats often combine lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics with specialized technologies for enhanced breathability and comfort.

Some technical performance hats may also incorporate antimicrobial properties to prevent odors during prolonged use. Additionally, they may have built-in ventilation systems to improve airflow and prevent overheating in hot weather.

These high-performance hats are favored by sailors who prioritize functionality and the latest advancements in materials.

Helmet-Style Sailing Hats

For sailors tackling extreme conditions, such as high-speed racing or when windsurfing or kiteboarding, helmet-style sailing hats offer unparalleled protection. These hats are more akin to protective headgear and feature a hard shell combined with impact-absorbing foam padding on the interior.

Helmet-style sailing hats provide critical head protection during aggressive maneuvers, collisions, or accidental falls. While they prioritize safety, they also include ventilation systems to ensure comfort and prevent overheating. While not typically used in recreational sailing, helmet-style hats are indispensable for professional racers and sailors pushing the limits of their sport.

How to Choose the Right Sailing Hat

We’re lucky that sailing hats come in many different styles. This means you should be able to find one that fits your needs and personal preference. Consider the following when shopping for a sailing hat:

  1. Comfort: A tight-fitting hat will become uncomfortable. A loose-fitting hat will require constant adjustments. A good sailing hat should fit properly and be comfortable enough to wear all day. It should sit so that it doesn’t pinch your ears or leave a mark on your forehead. It should be the right hat size to fit your head correctly.
  2. Protection: You will wear a sailing hat for extended periods in the sun, so it must provide excellent sun protection. A wide-brimmed hat serves as a good option, but the brim must hold its shape in windy conditions. The brim needs to be wide enough to cover your face and eyes, at a minimum.
  3. Material: The material the sailing hat is made from is an important factor to consider. It should be a lightweight, but strong material. There are sailing hats made from material that contains moisture-wicking properties. This can help to keep you cool if you sweat in the heat. It is also important to find a sailing hat made from material that breathes well as this will also help to keep your head cool on a hot, sunny day on the waves.
  4. Type of Sailing: The type of sailing you typically engage in will also be something to factor into your sailing hat choice. A sailing hat best suited for cruising on a yacht may not be the right choice for laser racing, for example.
  5. Color: Although the color or pattern on the sailing hat will mostly depend on personal preference, there are a few ways to look at this. One is to remember that a hat in a light color can help reflect sunlight which would assist in keeping your head from overheating.
  6. Retainer or Clip: Sailing hats tend to get blown around in windy conditions. If your sailing activities put you in these conditions regularly, you may want to look for a sailing hat with a retainer, clip, or chin strap to keep it securely with you at all times.
  7. Easy To Pack: You may want to factor in how easy the sailing hat is to pack around with you when it is not on your head. Big, bulky hats are good for such things as sun protection but are not as functional when you are carrying them around with you. A lighter sailing hat would be the better choice in this situation.
  8. Fashion: If you are interested in ensuring that you look sharp on the water, then fashion will be a concern. Fortunately, sailing hats come in various designs and patterns on them so you should be able to find one that suits your tastes.

Maintenance and Care for Sailing Hats

Cleaning and Washing Instructions

It is a good idea to clean your sailing hat regularly. Cleaning instructions will differ related to the material the sailing hat is made from. Proper maintenance ensures that your sailing hat remains functional and looking its best. Regular cleaning helps prevent odors, stains, and damage caused by exposure to saltwater, sun, and wind.

Also, sailing hats are not meant to be tossed into a washing machine, even set on a delicate cycle. The cleaning process of a washing machine will damage a sailing hat or cause unnecessary wear and tear reducing the lifespan of that hat.

Instead, follow the instructions below to clean your sailing hat.

  1. Check the Label: Before cleaning your sailing hat, check the manufacturer’s label for specific care instructions. Different materials and designs may have varying cleaning recommendations.
  2. Spot Cleaning: For minor stains, gently spot clean the affected areas using a soft cloth or sponge dampened with mild soapy water. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives that could damage the hat fabric.
  3. Hand Wash: If you own a hat made from natural fibers such as cotton or straw, often the best approach is to hand wash it. Begin by filling a basin with lukewarm water and adding a small quantity of mild detergent. For creating suds, gently stir the water.
  4. Submerge and Clean: Dip the hat into the soapy water and gently swirl it around. Use a soft brush or cloth to lightly scrub any heavily soiled areas. Avoid excessive rubbing to prevent distortion.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the hat with cold water until all soap residues are removed. It’s important to avoid wringing or twisting the hat, as this could alter its shape.
  6. Absorb Excess Water: Gently press the hat between a couple of clean towels to remove excess water. Do not squeeze or twist the hat.
  7. Reshape and Air Dry: If the hat is soft and flexible, reshape it to its original form. Place the hat on a clean towel or a hat form to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources, as they may cause the hat to fade or warp.
  8. Storage: Once the hat is completely dry, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. To help maintain its shape, fill the crown with tissue paper or a soft cloth.
  9. Special Care: For technical performance hats, follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some hats may be machine washable, while others may require specialized cleaning methods.
  10. Consider a Hat Protector: Using a fabric protector spray can help repel water, stains, and UV rays, which will help to extend the life of your hat.

Proper Storage Considerations

When you are not using your sailing hat, it is important to store it properly. This requires keeping it in a cool and dry place. The purpose of this is to prevent the sailing hat from developing mold and mildew which will cause damage to the structure of the sailing hat, thus shortening its useful life. Also, avoid storing your sailing hat where heavy objects may be placed on top of it. This will cause it to lose its shape.

To help your sailing hat to maintain its shape, be gentle when you use it. If for some reason it loses its shape, you can do one of two things. You can reshape your sailing hat with a hat form or when it is drying, stuff the crown of the hat with a clean cloth or tissue paper. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on the care and maintenance of your sailing hat as not all materials require the same type of attention.

Sailing Hats and Environmental Impact

Sustainable Materials and Eco-Friendly Options

The material a sailing hat is made from can influence the environmental impact of the product. Sustainable and eco-friendly materials have a considerably smaller environmental footprint than traditional product materials. To help you identify eco-friendly options compared to conventional, here is a short list of sustainable versus non-sustainable materials:

Sustainable Sailing Hat Materials:

  • Hemp
  • Natural straw
  • Organic cotton
  • Recycled or natural fibers
  • Bamboo

Non-sustainable Sailing Hat Materials:

  • Synthetic fabrics and plastics
  • Non-recyclable materials
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • Leather
  • Exotic Animal Skins
  • Non-Biodegradable Fabrics
  • Chemically Treated Fabrics

Other considerations to factor into the purchase of a sailing hat that can impact the environment include:

  • Transportation: Sailing hats that are manufactured in distant locations and shipped to various markets utilize several different transportation methods. Whether by air, sea, or land, each contributes to energy consumption and the release of greenhouse gases to the environment. The impact transportation methods have in the distribution of sailing hats can be reduced by seeking companies that rely on local or regional production facilities.
  • Packaging: The type of packaging typically used for shipping sailing hats and for putting them on display in retail outlets can contribute to pollution and excess waste. Single-use plastics are the main culprits in this equation. Opt for supporting companies that use either minimal or eco-friendly packaging materials.

Supporting Environmentally Conscious Brands

The production of sailing hats typically includes several different processes. They are sewing, weaving, printing, and finishing activities that result in a usable product. Manufacturers are shifting to sustainable production practices to reduce their carbon footprint. Some of these new systems include the reduction of chemical use, increasing water-efficient techniques, and the implementation of renewable energy sources all work to lessen the impact on the environment.

To support this production method, do some research on the companies that produce sailing hats and choose those that have adopted environmentally conscious production practices.

So What is the Best Type of Sailing Hat?

The best type of sailing hat ultimately depends on personal preference and the conditions in which the hat will be used.

Sailing caps provide good sun protection for the face and neck and are snug fitting, which makes them suitable for windy conditions.

Wide brim hats offer greater sun protection, including for the neck and ears, but may not be suitable in windy conditions as they can be easily blown off.

Bucket hats also provide excellent sun protection and work well in wet conditions, keeping rain off your face and neck.

No matter what hat type you select, consider adding a retainer to prevent your favorite hat from blowing off in a gust.

So, select the hat style that fulfills your specific needs and personal preferences, including protection level, wind resistance, comfort, and style.

Sailing Hat FAQs

Is there a difference between a sailing hat and a regular sun hat?

Compared to normal hats, sailing hats are typically designed to block out more sun and be firmly held on your head in gusty conditions. They often have a wide brim and a chin strap or drawstring. Often they’re made out of lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying materials. In comparison, a common sun hat will have elements that provide sun protection but may not be as stable in windy weather like sailing hats are.

How do I find the best sailing hat?

If you want the best sailing hat, then consider:

The Fabric: a sailing hat made of lightweight, high-quality, and breathable material is ideal;
Brim Size and Shape: a wide brim is preferable as it will offer the most defense from the sun for the face and neck;
Fit: the sailing hat should have a snug fit that is not too tight or too loose;
Water-Resistant: since it will be worn on the water, it is critical that the hat is either water-resistant or made of quick-drying material;
Style; the practical features of a sailing hat are essential, but it should also have a style that is appealing; and
Brand/Quality; quality sailing hats are usually the products of well-known brands.

What are some popular brands of sailing hats?

Here are some of the most popular brands of sailing hats:

Gill: This brand is very popular within the sailing community. Gill produces a full range of hats that are suitable for sailing.
Helly Hansen: This is a brand that is well-known for the production of various pieces of sailing gear. It also has a line of sailing hats.
Musto: This is a high-end brand. Musto produces a full line of sailing clothing and accessories, which includes sailing hats.
Rooster: This is another popular brand amongst sailors. They have a vast selection of sailing hats, visors, and beanies in their product line.
Patagonia: Although this is not specifically a sailing brand, Patagonia produces various pieces of outdoor gear including hats suitable for sailing.

Are there sailing hats with added features such as UPF protection or a neck flap?

Many sailing hats have added features including UPF protection and neck flaps. They include:

Columbia Bora Bora Booney Hat: This hat has UPF 50+ sun protection, a wide brim, a drawcord and toggle at the back to help with the fit, and a neck flap for extra sun protection.
Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat: This hat has UPF 50+ sun protection and a wide 4-inch brim. There is also a neck flap and a chin strap to keep the hat securely in place.
Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap: This hat also has UPF 50+ sun protection. It also has a removable sun skirt that provides extra sun protection for your neck and ears. There is a mesh panel for ventilation and a moisture-wicking headband.
Tilly LTM6 Airflo Hat: This hat has UPF 50+ sun protection, a wide brim, a mesh panel for ventilation, a moisture-wicking sweatband, and a chin strap to hold it in place.

What Others Are Saying About Sailing Hats…

General feedback and reviews of all these sailing hats mentioned above are positive. Features are usually what gets mentioned with added extras such as retaining cords or moisture-wicking capability getting much praise. Price and material also receive a lot of feedback. Essentially, each of these featured hats for sailing is the best available.

Comments posted by owners of these products verify our own thoughts and findings that price, construction, and function are all important elements in designing the perfect hats for sailing, and that’s why we have chosen these best sailing hats as our top picks.

Choosing the right sailing hat can make a world of difference for your day on the water. It protects you from the elements and ensures maximum fun. Check out more of our favorite options for men’s and women’s sailing hats here.

So what’s your favorite sailing hat? We all have a favorite, so what features are the must-haves on your sailing hat list? Let us know in the comments below…

About Brendan

Brendan has over 30 years experience sailing dinghies, yachts, and windsurfers, but has recently started Laser sailing. "I found it difficult to find all the information that I needed when I started sailing my Laser, and I am sure that others have had the same problem. So I combined all the information I could into this website to help other Laser sailors get the most out of this sport. If you have any questions or comments, let me know... I will get back to you as soon as I can."

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