When the weather gods throw in the occasional shower or downpour, the hoods on our rain jackets can disappoint. Even the best hoods can fail to keep rainfall out of your eyes when it’s coming sideways or stick to your head like an expensive piece of shrink wrap. The solution? Supplement your rain gear with a hiking rain hat. It not only keeps your head dry and water out of your eyes, but also prevents water from dripping down your neck into your jacket.
We tried and tested the top-ranked rain hats in the outdoor industry, with the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero winning our editor’s choice title, and the REI Co-op Waterproof Brimmed Hat, Sunday Afternoons Storm Bucket Hat, Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Storm, and the Frogg Toggs Waterproof Breathable Boonie Hat also highly recommended.
To help you decide which type of hat is best we’ve provided buying advice including looking for features such as waterproofing, style, and UPF protection.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Best Waterproof Hats For Hiking?
- What To Look For When Buying Waterproof Hiking Hats?
What Are The Best Waterproof Hats For Hiking?
We found the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero to be the best waterproof hat for wet-weather hikes, with the other contenders listed below.
- Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero
- REI Co-op Waterproof Brimmed Hat
- Sunday Afternoons Storm Bucket Hat
- Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Storm
- Frogg Toggs Waterproof Breathable Boonie Hat
Outdoor Research Seattle SombreroEditors Choice
The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero is our top choice for the best hiking rain hat, thanks to its waterproof membrane, extensive coverage, and comfortable design.
This is a hardshell hat made for the heaviest of downpours, boasting fully taped seams and a three-layer, waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex membrane. It also uses a 70D plain weave crown that’s tightly knitted for added leak-resistance and a wide, PU-coated polyester brim.
It uses a brushed tricot-lined crown that feels comfortable around your forehead and wicks away any perspiration like a champ. Meanwhile, the “floating foam” brim helps to ensure the material isn’t flapping in your eyes and rainwater is funneled well clear of your face and neck.
Other endearing features include a brim hook, loop adjustment, and a removable chin cord for when it’s not windy. It also weighs in at a mere 3.2 ounces, has a UPF 50+ rating, and folds easily for packing. The sides of the brim are designed to fold up and attach by velcro when you don’t need the extra coverage.
- 3-layer membrane
- Wide brim
- 9 color options
- Velcro fold up
Bottom-Line: It may be pricey, but the OR Seattle goes the extra mile in terms of providing the protection you need in really wet weather.
REI Co-op Waterproof Brimmed HatBest Value
The REI Co-Op Waterproof Brimmed Hat is great value for money.
With a 4-panel design, assembled with a low-profile soft crown and 3-inch brim made from 89% polyester and 11% spandex for greater packability. It’s still designed with REI’s very own 2.5-layer laminate along with fully taped seams.
Features include a cool mesh lining for wicking and comfort, and a removable leash for when the wind isn’t blowing too fiercely. And when the wet weather abates, the brim can be folded up and secured with small metal snaps on each side.
The REI Brimmed Hat has a UPF rating of 50 to protect your face and neck from unwanted UV rays on cloudy days.
Unfortunately, REI does not specify whether this hat is lined with a DWR coating, so you may need to do a little extra proofing on your own. And REI only offers it in one color, alloy grey.
- Easy to pack
- Side snaps
- Bluesign® certified
- Brim soaks up water
- Only comes in one color
Bottom-Line: The REI Waterproof Brimmed Hat ticks all the boxes for buyers in search of a low-cost, comfortable, and practical hiking hat for all but the heaviest downpours.
Sunday Afternoons Storm Bucket HatBest All Weather
The Sunday Afternoons Storm Bucket Hat is highly popular and a great choice for using in all weather conditions.
Made of 100% polyester, the Storm Bucket includes Sunday Afternoons’ very own breathable H20Shield. This fabric sheds water quickly whilst also preventing the buildup of sweat inside.
Other non-standard features that make the Storm Bucket a winner for varied weather conditions include a 3-inch downsloping brim that ensures all H20 drips off well clear of your face and collar, and a UPF 50+ rating.
The Storm Bucket includes internal adjustable sizing and a comfortable mesh wicking sweatband. The chin cord is also adjustable, so it will stay on if conditions happen to take a turn for the blustery.
At just 2.5 ounces, the Storm Bucket is one of the lightest lightweights on our list, and also folds up neatly to be stuffed in the corner of your pack or even a pocket. While the color choices are limited, the blue, sequoia, and mulberry options available should cover most tastes.
- Simple design
- Easy to pack
- Downsloping brim
- Runs true to size
- No adjustability
- Not many color variations available
Bottom-Line: The Storm Bucket is a true all-rounder, performing just as well on sultry sunny days as it does when the weather’s doing its absolute worst.
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure StormBest Coverage
The Ultra Adventure Storm by Sunday Afternoons is designed for wet-weather adventurers seeking maximum coverage.
This 100% waterproof, legionnaire-style hat has a 3¼-inch Reverse Split Brim that’s reinforced with three wired panels to ensure in-your-face fabric flapping is kept to a minimum. And to protect your neck from the elements, it also features a 6-inch-long neck cape. This add-on may look like a mullet for hats, but it’s super handy to have in both sunny and stormy conditions.
The materials in the Storm are 100% waterproof, using taped 2-layer nylon in combination with polyester bluesign fabric. It also includes reflective strips on the back of the crown, which is perfect for visibility on dark cloudy days or night hikes, and boasts a UPF rating of 50+.
The only thing Sunday Afternoons neglected to include in the Ultra Adventure Storm is a roll-up feature for the neck cape. This small omission aside, however, the Storm’s a great choice for those who prioritize protection over appearances.
- Reinforced brim
- Extra coverage on the back of the neck
- Reflective details for night hikes
- Bluesign polyester fabric
- Weighs just 2.9 oz.
- No side fold-up snaps or velcro
- No fold-up snap for the neck cape
Bottom-Line: An ultra-light and uber-practical accessory that’s ideal for those who want added protection and plenty of trail-specific features.
Frogg Toggs Waterproof Breathable Boonie HatBest Budget
The Frogg Toggs Waterproof Breathable Boonie is a budget-friendly choice with a simple design.
But hidden behind this 100% waterproof boonie’s humble outward appearance is a highly sophisticated multi-layering system. One that, importantly, performs just as well in wet weather as those used on hats with far less favorable price tags.
The outer layer of the Boonie consists of a non-woven fabric blend that offers excellent wind resistance, breathability, and comfort, while the DriPore Gen 2 waterproof film middle layer does a great job of blocking precipitation.
The Boonie is also among the most portable budget models on the market, crushing down into a tiny bundle and weighing just 3.1 ounces.
And the downsides?
Well, the slightly quirky sizing (which runs small) aside, the Boonie has no other faults or flaws of note. Not bad for a budget-priced product, right?
- Very affordable
- Simple design
- One size fits all doesn’t fit all
- Runs small
- Slightly papery feel
Bottom-Line: A lightweight, affordable hat that lacks some of the bells and whistles of pricier models but is an outstanding choice for buyers who prioritize functionality over frills.
What To Look For When Buying Waterproof Hiking Hats?
Compact and, in some cases, weighing only slightly more than a granola bar, a waterproof hiking hat is a valuable addition to your kit. To assist you in selecting the best option, we’ve outlined the key features to consider in the list below.
- UPF Protection
Hiking rain hats are quick-drying and designed with waterproof materials such as nylon or polyester. Furthermore, taped and sealed seams prevent water from leaking through. Waterproof rain hats also feature a breathable laminate or membrane in the central layer of the material for an additional layer of waterproofing and wind resistance.
A thin layer known as a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating is also applied to the outside layer of the hat’s material to increase the level of water resistance. DWR helps the moisture bead up and roll off the outer fabric, thus providing a “first line of defense” against saturation.
Design features like a wide brim or a cape can effectively shield your eyes from rain and prevent water from running down your back. Ideally, your hat should have at least a 2-inch-wide brim for adequate eye protection.
A rain hat is also great during snowy conditions. Snow can soak through cotton hats or beanies quickly. In freezing conditions, this can spell serious trouble because you can lose 7 to 10 percent of body heat through your head and water can also conduct heat from your body up to 25 times faster than air.
There are various styles of rain hats to choose between, each offering something different. We have listed the most popular styles along with their features below.
- Boonie – Similar in shape to a sun hats, these feature a wide, 360-degree brim.
- Baseball cap – Great for keeping rain out of your eyes; poor coverage otherwise.
- Bucket-style – A low-profile version of the boonie, using a shorter brim.
- Floppy – Similar to the boonie but, as the name suggests, with less rigid material.
- Outback – The true Indian Jones-style, featuring a wide, fedora-like brim.
- Winter hats – Lined with fleece or flannel for insulation.
- Legionnaire-style – Usually styled like a boonie, but adds a “cape” in the rear to cover the neck.
A waterproof cap often comes with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. The UPF sun protection rating indicates the amount of UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin. A fabric with a UPF 50 rating blocks 98% of the sun’s rays, allowing only 2% (1/50th) to pass through to your skin.
Why is UV protection important when it is raining? On partly cloudy days, the “broken cloud effect” can occur. When it does, it can expose you to higher UV levels than on a day without clouds.
When hiking at higher elevations, moreover, you can be exposed to 25% more ultraviolet radiation compared to at sea levels. So a great hat with UPF protection is key on days when you haven’t applied sunscreen.