Some of the things I love most about gardening are feeling the dirt on my hands, the breeze on my face and the sun on my skin. But especially in the case of the sun, it doesn’t take long to veer into uncomfortable and even dangerous territory.
The most common forms of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) frequently occur on the head or neck, and sun over-exposure is often a contributing factor. Speaking as someone with a very light skin tone and a family history of skin cancer, I want to do everything I can to make my outdoor time safe.
Fortunately, according to SkinCancer.org, hats with tightly-woven fabric and a wide brim block UV rays and can cut your risk of skin cancer significantly.
What are the features that make for a good gardening sun hat? “The ideal gardening hat should provide maximum protection from exposure while also being comfortable enough that you forget you’re wearing it,” shares Chris Cook, avid gardener and founder of Happy Hydro Farm.
A hat’s brim does the physical work of blocking the sun’s rays from your face, ears and neck (and in some cases, shoulders). Brims that are at least 3 inches wide offer the best protection. And fabric matters, too. Chris adds, “Most gardening hats will have a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. This rating refers to the hat’s ability to block harmful rays. Look for a hat with at least a 50+ UPF rating.”
In this post, you’ll get a detailed look at my top choices for the best gardening sun hats for men, women and children along with lots of specialty styles. And I’ve also asked other experienced gardeners for their input and recommendations as well.
So let’s get going and find you a gardening sun hat!
Best Mens Gardening Hat
Einskey Sun Hat for Men
- Lightweight material
- Comfortable, roomy crown fit
- Wide brim offers great UV protection
- Waterproof polyester
Soft material, a wide brim and smart features make this option from Einskey our favorite gardening hat for men.
The brim perfectly strikes that tricky balance between being wide enough to fully shade your face and neck without getting into the “goofy” range. No worries here about your hat getting the way of your outdoor gardening or landscaping tasks!
The crown has a mesh panel on each side for ventilation, and the material is also thin and breathable. A fabric sweatband also helps you avoid a damp head.
NOTE: Although these materials are amazing for air flow and comfort, they may not provide enough sun protection for some people. If you’re bald or shave your head, you may want to apply sunscreen to your scalp as a precautionary measure.
Jamie Irwin, editor and Landscape Designer at Windproof Gazebos, also appreciates the waterproof factor of this hat. “Waterproof hats are fantastic for keeping your head dry during light showers or simply out in the garden with no shelter available when it rains.”
This hat tends to fit average size heads a little loosely, and an elastic drawstring at the crown lets you set the tension you prefer. The chin strap is also adjustable for comfort, and it eliminates the need to hold on to your hat if your garden jobs require you to bend over.
Best Womens Gardening Hat
Brook + Bay Women’s Sun Hat
- UPF 50 sun protection
- Completely shades your neck
- Comes in several material-style options
Brook + Bay really hit it out of the park when it comes to their line of gardening hats for women!
This style line comes in 12 neutral colors with a few choices for material type and design. The one pictured here is the “olive green” color, and it has a convenient opening in the back of the crown for a ponytail.
Some of your other style options include a drawstring crown or moisture-wicking fabric.
The ultralight material prevents the feeling of added weight on your head as you’re hard at work in the garden. And when the winds pick up, just tighten the adjustable chin strap to keep your hat right where it belongs.
Most wide-brimmed hats do a pretty good job of providing at least some shade for the back of your neck. But the rear fabric flap on this hat goes the extra mile to completely cover the delicate skin on the back and side of your neck.
What’s more, this hat provides UPF 50 sun protection. So you can get out in the garden even on those bright, sunny days!
Best Kids Sun Hat
Just like an adult, your little garden helper needs the protection and comfort a good hat offers.
In fact, they may need even more UV protection than adults. According to Stanford Children’s Health, sunburns can be particularly bad news for kids: Repeated or serious sunburns early in life raise a child’s risk of skin cancer later on.
So gardening hats with UV protection have a well-deserved spot in your child’s outdoor gear!
We’ve got a couple of hat options here- one style that’s perfect for younger kids and another that’s ideal for older kids/preteens:
Connectyle Kids UPF 50+ Sun Hat (for ages 2-6)
- UPF 50+ protection
- Bright, fun colors
- Adjustable fit
Besides being just cute, this hat from Connectyle Kids is packed with useful features.
This is the hat I bought for my son, and I can’t recommend it highly enough- both he and I love it! I got him one in blue, his favorite color:
This hat offers your little one’s delicate skin UPF 50+ sun protection with finely-woven polyester fabric and a wide brim. In my opinion, it’s a perfect balance between effectively blocking UV rays while still being light and breathable.
Connectyle offers this hat in a couple of different styles:
- A Velcro chin strap for young toddlers (featured in the product photo above)
- A toggle style for kids that are a little older- that’s the one I got for my son when he was 5 (shown in my photo above)
Your kids probably grow as fast as mine do- and thanks to an adjustable toggle around the crown, this hat can grow with your child. Connectyle recommends this hat for kids ages 2-6, so you can look forward to several years of use from a single purchase.
Available in 13 colors ranging from neutral to bold shades, your garden sidekick is sure to find one they like. I’ve also found that especially when you’re busy with garden tasks, it’s much easier to keep an eye on your child’s whereabouts if they’re wearing a brightly colored hat. This principle also holds true at the playground, the pool or almost anywhere.
As you can see from the photo above, we don’t just put on our hats when we work in the garden! My son also wears his hat to the park, playing in the yard, while fishing, on vacation…..
GearTOP Wide-Brim Sun Hat for Kids (for ages 5-13)
- 50+ UPF protection
- Great style for older kids
- Cooling mesh panel
For kids who are a little older and have outgrown the hat we just looked at, this one from GearTOP is the perfect next step. It comes in two child-sized color options:
- Beige (shown)
The brim measures 3 inches wide, which is the minimum recommended width for adults. So it’s sure to give your child’s face, ears and neck plenty of shade! If your child prefers, they can also clip the brim sides upwards with button snaps on the side of the crown.
Thanks to an elastic drawstring, you can tailor the crown fit to be comfortable for your child’s head. And there’s plenty of room for adjustment as your child grows.
The lightweight polyester material stays cool and comfortable, and a band of mesh paneling around the entire crown provides some much-needed airflow on those hot days in the garden. Also, the material is water-resistant, so your child won’t get soaked if a sudden shower materializes.
There’s also a chin strap to keep your child’s hat in place on windy days. But the sliding toggle adjuster looks much more grown-up than the Velcro breakaway style common in young children’s hats.
Best Straw Gardening Hat
When it comes to presenting our pick for the best straw gardening hats, we couldn’t stop at just one. The styles for men and women are just too different, and there are precious few that are truly unisex.
So we present to you two choices: One for the men and another for the ladies.
O’Neill Men’s Sonoma Print Straw Hat
- Classic straw-hat style
- Flexible but solid weaving
- Fabric on the brim’s underside completely blocks sun
One of the hallmarks of straw is that it’s incredibly lightweight, breathable and maintains its shape like a champ.
This Sonoma hat from O’Niell has all the well-loved features of a traditional straw hat, and it’s a classic for good reason.
The Sonoma hat features thin, flat sea straw as the main material. The straws are woven together in a criss-cross pattern, so the hat holds its shape well without slipping down on your head.
One issue some people have with straw hats is that the ends of individual straws can stick out and scratch or poke your forehead. Needless to say, that’s annoying. To prevent the scratching/poking problem, this hat has an elasticized band that serves as a shield for your skin. The band also ensures that the Sonoma both stays put and feels snug and comfy.
The Sonoma hat also has black fabric accents for the adjustable chin strap, brim edge and underside of the brim. Besides just adding a nice finishing touch, the fabric on the brim’s underside also blocks sunlight and adds extra stability. No floppy brims here!
Furtalk Women’s Wide Brim Sun Hat
- UPF 50+ protection
- Stylish fit
- Adjustable crown
This straw gardening hat for ladies has all the breeziness classic straw has to offer along with some stylish updates and sun protection.
Instead of woven, flat lengths of straw, this hat uses thin straw pieces braided together in rows. This construction lends the hat an interesting, textured look with an extra-tight weave.
Another pro to the tight braiding is that it does a great job of blocking the sun’s rays from reaching your face and neck. So you won’t have to deal with any annoying specks of sunlight distracting you while you’re hard at work.
The crown has an inner sizing strap with a Velcro closure, so it’s beyond easy to adjust your hat to just the perfect fit. Another adjustable feature is the black fabric chin strap that gives a nice snug fit no matter the wind speed.
Furtalk offers this hat style in five neutral colors, and we’ve pictured the “khaki” color here. You can choose from lighter shades of beige and one with strands of black mixed in.
Best Gardening Hat with Mesh
USHAKE Head Net Hat
- Excellent at keeping bugs away from your face
- Mesh rolls up when not in use
- Rated at 50+ UPF
Ugh, bugs. There’s plenty of information about what to do when insects attack your plants, but what about when they attack you?
Some regions of the country are plagued with bothersome insects, including mosquitoes, black flies and gnats. Dousing yourself in bug spray is one option, but if you’re looking to go chemical-free, why not let your garden hat help out?
This hat from USHAKE features a layer of fine mesh net hanging from the brim. The netting fully encircles your head to protect your face and neck.
Even though the netting is fine enough to keep bugs out, you can still feel the wind on your face and breathe easily. A drawstring closure lets you get a custom, snug fit that keeps pesky intruders from making their way into your bug-free zone. Also, it keeps your netting from getting in your way while you’re hard at work.
Have the bugs finally retreated? (Even if only temporarily!) For those blessed moments, just tuck the mesh netting up into the hidden pockets on the crown. Done!
Besides being a fortress against bugs, this is also a great gardening sun hat thanks to the wide brim and lightweight fabric.
Best Cute Gardening Hat
Mifulgoo Women’s Mesh Sun Hat
- Attractive style and pretty color options
- Shapeable brim
- Wide brim offers plenty of shade
Looking to add a little fashion to your outdoor wardrobe with a cute gardening sun hat?
This fun style from Mifulgoo has several lovely decorative elements to offer, along with a few functional features to boot.
One of the first things you may notice about this hat is the bold color in 6 options:
- Orange-red (shown above)
A wide band of mesh around the crown lets you catch the passing breezes and allows for moisture evaporation. There’s also a thin fabric sweatband to help you stay dry.
The wide brim provides excellent shade for your entire face, as well as the back and sides of your neck.
This hat is designed to fit a bit loosely for comfort. But thanks to two handy interior ribbons, you also have the option to get a customized crown fit.
Contrasting floral fabric on the brim’s underside is another fun touch. If you want to show the fabric off, just bend the wired edge of the brim to upwards (or in any shape you like!)
Best Cooling Garden Hat
Ontel Arctic Hat
- Genius design for maximum cooling
- Reflective surface provides great sun protection
- Adjustable fit
If you live in a warm climate or an area with hot summers, you’ve probably felt uncomfortably warm while working in the garden a time or two.
For those who feel that I’ve just made a profound understatement, the Arctic Hat from Ontel could bring some welcome relief!
The hat works to keep you cool in a few ways.
First of all, the wide brim provides excellent shade for your face and neck.
Next, both the top of the hat and the brim have a reflective surface that directs the sun’s rays away from your body. Mesh panels also stretch across the length of the crown, so you’ll get better airflow and ventilation.
But the inner layer of the hat is where things get really unique!
When you dampen the Arctic Hat with water, special absorbent material holds water and releases it little by little while you wear the hat. Ontel claims that this cooling feature can keep your head up to 20 degrees F cooler than the ambient air!
Finally, just for good measure, the Arctic Hat also has a drawstring fit adjustor and an adjustable chin strap.
Best Quick-Dry Garden Hat
GearTOP Navigator Sun Hat
- Thin material dries quickly
- Broad brim provides fantastic shade
- 50+ UPF rating
For those of us who tend to work up a sweat easily, a gardening hat may get uncomfortably wet long before the gardening or landscaping chores are through. Not only that, but a damp hat can also quickly take on an unpleasant odor.
What to do? Thankfully, the GearTOP Navigator hat dries in a flash. What’s more, this hat also has a few features that help you stay cooler (and maybe drier) in the first place.
First, let’s talk about the quick-dry aspect. GearTOP used ultra-thin polyester material for the hat’s crown. If your hat gets wet, just lay it in full sun for a few minutes while you rest in the shade. When break time’s over, you can get back to work with a dry hat!
So, about those cooling features:
- A mesh panel wraps all around the crown, allowing more air to reach your skin and more moisture to evaporate.
- The crown has a layer of netting that prevents moisture from getting trapped within the hat.
- The wide brim shades your face and the back of your neck, so it does a great job of keeping the sun’s rays from beating directly on your skin.
Stacie Krljanovic, advisor at Patio Products and groundskeeper in sunny Houston, Texas, also recommends this hat for outdoor work. “I like this hat because it offers full coverage from the sun and you don’t have to worry about it falling off because you can secure it under your chin.”
Bonus: The polyester weave also provides SPF50+ sun protection!
Best Convertible Garden Hat
USHAKE Sun Cap with Neck and Face Flaps
- Great multi-function design
- UPF 50+ protection for head, face and neck
- Doubles as a dust shield
Does the ability to customize your hat to the current weather and the day’s agenda sound good to you?
If so, you’ll probably appreciate the convertible features that the USHAKE sun hat has to offer. This hat actually comes as a four-piece set that includes:
- Polyester cap
- Breathable mesh neck flap
- Breathable mesh face flap
- Adjustable chin strap
You can wear the basic baseball cap when all you want is to keep those early morning sun rays out of your eyes. The mesh sides of the cap allow for comfortable airflow, and the polyester fabric provides UPF 50+ protection.
But maybe you’re going to be working outside all day and don’t feel like dealing with a painful sunburn on the back of your neck. After all, who does?
The mesh neck flap wraps part of the way around your head, so the back and sides of your neck stay shaded. Thanks to the snap and Velcro closures, it’s easy to attach the neck flap.
For an extra measure of protection, you can also attach a face flap that protects your nose, cheeks, lips and chin. In addition to sun protection, the face flap can also be helpful to keep dust or other small particles out.
Finally, you can also snap on an adjustable chin strap to keep your hat in place on those windy days.
Best Outdoor Bucket Hat
CHOK.LIDS Unisex Cotton Bucket Hat
- Cotton material
- Great color selection
- Machine washable
Do you prefer hats made from natural materials? If you do, this cotton hat from CHOK.LIDS offers a comfortable style and a variety of color options.
As a natural material, this hat is also machine washable!
Thanks to the classic bucket shape, this hat shades your eyes and upper neck while also leaving a smaller footprint.
One concern some gardeners may have with cotton hats is that they can retain heat and feel heavy, and it’s true that cotton will never be as light as polyester, nylon or straw.
But this hat uses a thin, lightweight material that offers as good a level of breathability as you’ll find in cotton. Also, four ventilation holes in the crown allow for extra airflow.
These hats come in 14 color options, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one you like. But keep in mind that darker colors like black or navy can absorb more heat, so you may want to stick with white if you spend time in direct sunlight.
Best Wide Brim Gardening Hat
Leotruny Super-Wide Brim Sun Hat
- Super-wide brim
- Offers 50+ UPF protection
- Lightweight, waterproof material
Common sun-safety advice is to avoid being outdoors between the hours of 10AM and 2PM, when the sun’s rays are at their harshest.
But sometimes schedules or other things prevent us from working in the garden in our preferred hours. And for those days when you need ultimate sun shade from your hat, this one from Leotruny delivers.
The 5.9-inch ultra-wide brim gives your face, ears, neck and shoulders all the protection they need. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a hat with a larger brim on the market, and honestly, 5.9 inches is probably about the limit of what you can comfortably and conveniently wear.
While the brim’s busy keeping the sun out of your eyes, a mesh crown panel lets the air flow through freely to cool your head. For a truly custom fit, use the elastic drawstring to adjust the crown to your preference.
Polyester material stays cool and won’t add any unnecessary weight while you’re hard at work, and an elastic sweatband absorbs moisture before it can drip into your eyes. As a final bonus, the fabric has waterproof protection, so no need to fear a sudden summer rain shower.
Gardening sun hats can go a long way towards making your time in the garden safer and more comfortable.
Best of all, there’s a myriad of fun styles and cool features to choose from. So make today the day that you find the gardening hat that’s right for you, then go out and enjoy the outdoors!
How about you? Do you always wear a gardening hat, or are you looking for your first one? What style or features do you like best? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!