The Best Hats for Camino de Santiago

Put on your pilgrim hat and head out for an adventure no matter the season!

A hat is one of those underrated pieces of gear that can make your Camino a whole lot more comfortable. With the blazing Spanish sun, intermittent rain bouts, and random snow storms to consider, we definitely recommend getting some quality protection for your head. Is anything technically “necessary” on the Camino de Santiago? Not at all. Will a hat increase the quality of your Camino and make it that little bit easier? Absolutely.

We have lovingly perused the multitude of hats out there to make this list for you! We looked for tough, well-made hats that can stand up to whatever weather conditions the Camino decides to throw at them. In other words, we hunted for low-maintenance hats that will have your back when the unexpected happens. As with every post on this site, we based our recommendations on our own experiences walking the Camino, and took into account factors such as durability, breathability, sun protection, weight, and comfort.

Top 10 Best Hats for Camino de Santiago

Best Overall:
Tilley Airflo Bucket Sun Hat

Best Budget:
Camo Coll Outdoor Boonie Sun Hat

Best for Men:
Dorfman Pacific Men’s Outback Hat

Best for Women:
Columbia Women’s Global Adventure Packable Hat

Best for Kids:
Columbia Youth Unisex Bora Bora Booney Hat

Best for Summer:
Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat

Best for Winter:
Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie

Best Waterproof:
Frogg Toggs Waterproof Boonie

Best Cap:
Outdoor Research Swift Cap

Best Foldable:
FitKicks Folding Adjustable Cap

Best Overall: Tilley Airflo Bucket Sun Hat

In a Nutshell:

  • Maximum UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Awesome airflow
  • Retains its shape even if it gets wet or you scrunch it up
  • Super durable and high quality
  • Extremely lightweight
  • 100% Nylon

The Tilley Airflo Bucket Sun Hat ticks all of the boxes for a long and unpredictable hiking trip! Whatever challenges you throw at this hat, it’s going to take it. It’s made from wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking material, while still being kind of stretchy with built in ventilation for ultimate comfort and functionality. You definitely need to factor rain into your Camino de Santiago calculations, too. This hat was originally created by and for sailors, so water is definitely not going to be a problem – oh, and it floats!  

As far as cons go, the color selection is very limited. If you were looking for a tough as nails hat to match your pink backpack, this hat may not be for you. That being said, we find the design quite cool looking both literally, and figuratively. It’s easy to see why this hat tops the list for best hats for Camino!

Best Budget: Camo Coll Outdoor Boonie Sun Hat

In a Nutshell:

  • Easy on the wallet
  • UPF50+ sun protection
  • 100% polyester for comfort moisture-wicking
  • Comes in an array of colours
  • Drawstring to stand up to windy days
  • Ventilation panel at the top of the hat

The Camo Coll Outdoor Boonie Sun Hat also ticks all of the boxes for an excellent outdoor-activity hat! It might not have all of the bells and whistles of some of the other hats on this list, but it is absolutely going to get the job done if you’re on a budget! It boasts maximum sun protection which is, afterall, the main purpose of a wide brimmed hat.

We also love a good chin drawstring feature for those windy days – that being said, some people hate them with a passion. So, definitely bear that in mind if you are going to choose this hat! It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t have any waterproofing, which isn’t ideal. Still, the 100% polyester design should mean that if it does get wet (or sweaty), this hat should still breathe well! For the price it really can’t be beaten. So much love.

Best for Men: Dorfman Pacific Men’s Outback Hat

In a Nutshell:

  • UPF50+ sun protection rating
  • 52% cotton and 48% polyester
  • Bendable brim to adjust where you want to provide shade on your face
  • Adjustable chin-strap
  • In-built brow-band to absorb sweat

The Dorfman Pacific Men’s Outback Hat is a hat for sweaty men. Just look at it – the design screams “man on a mission”! We really love that it is a combination of cotton and polyester – that means it’s not only breathable, but also durable for packing your backpack up in a pinch! We also love that it sports a built-in band to absorb sweat. That means you can sweat a river into your hat and still channel Indiana Jones with a chin drawstring (you know we love the chin drawstrings).

The biggest con for this hat is that the size isn’t adjustable to fit more or less securely to your head. That being said, if you take the time to measure your head beforehand you shouldn’t have any problems! It is going to take longer to dry, too, if you find yourself in a surprise rain situation thanks to its cotton fibers. That being said, the comfort and breathability that comes with cotton might make this hat worth it for you! 

Best for Women: Wallaroo Hat Company Women’s Victoria Sun Hat

In a Nutshell:

  • Huge variety of colours and styles to choose from
  • Wide up-turned brim for sun protection
  • Ultra lightweight and breezy being made from 100% polystraw
  • Adjustable size
  • Can get wet but not built specifically for heavy rain
  • Moderately packable, but requires some extra steps

Who says you can’t look cute while doing the Camino de Santiago? The Wallaroo Hat Company Women’s Victoria Sun Hat is an awesome blend of style and functionality. What we love about this hat is how tough and high quality it is, despite looking pretty! It’s even got a tie on the inside that you can use to make sure it stays put during those windy days! It’s super lightweight, and has a 3 ½ up-turned brim to protect your face from UV rays.

As far as cons go on this one, this hat doesn’t have an explicit UPF50+ sun rating, so definitely slather on the sunscreen! Also, in order to pack this hat so that it doesn’t lose its shape, there is a (minimal) extra step. You are meant to stuff your socks, clothes, etc. into the crown of the hat before shoving it into your backpack. Depending on your packing style and how you organize your backpack, this could be a nuisance for you.

Best for Kids: Columbia Youth Unisex Bora Bora Booney Hat

In a Nutshell:

  • Wide brim – UPF50+ sun protection
  • 100% nylon – super lightweight, moisture-wicking and comfortable
  • Built-in ventilation window
  • Includes omni-wick sweatband
  • Super fun bright colors available 
  • Adjustable

Conquering the Camino with kids is an additional feat in itself, huge kudos to you! For those souls brave enough to attempt this, we’ve found the perfect low-maintenance hat for fussy kids on the Camino. Your kids can wear the Columbia Youth Unisex Bora Bora Booney Hat for over a month straight in rain or shine, with no problem. It has the necessary maximum sun protection, and is super comfortable due to its soft Nylon composition and generous built-in ventilation. One of our favourite features is that it’ll keep your little ones’ heads nice and dry while they are wreaking havoc with its moisture-wicking technology!

We actually really love that this hat doesn’t have a chin drawstring. Yep, you heard us correctly! That’s high praise coming from our chin drawstring-loving-writers. Instead of a chin drawstring (which kids tend to complain about), it has a cord built into the crown that can be tightened. 

From a practical standpoint, buying a hat in a bright color makes it harder for the kids to lose, and easier to find when starting the morning in a pitch-black albergue!

Best for Summer: Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat

In a Nutshell:

  • UPF50+ sun protection rating with neck protection
  • Built in sunglasses lock
  • Folds up for easy packing
  • Size is adjustable with the external strap
  • Excellent ventilation and moisture wicking 
  • Water and stain resistant

When doing the Camino in Summer, public enemy number one is the sun! That’s why you can’t go past the Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat. No other hat on our list offers better sun protection with its super wide brim and neck flap! Chances are you will be sporting eye-protection on the Camino during those Summer months, which is why we especially love the super unique sunglasses lock detail!

You’ll no doubt be sweating up a storm hiking across Spain in 30 degree weather. Luckily for you, this hat was built with summer in mind. Made from 88% nylon, it is extremely light, has excellent ventilation, and moisture wicking properties. 

They really thought of everything with this one! Again, for the fashion-conscience, the neck flap design might not be for you. In the true spirit of the Camino, each to their own!

Best for Winter: Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie

In a Nutshell:

  • 100% merino wool
  • Will for sure keep your head warm
  • Super lightweight and packable
  • Moisture wicking and anti-odour
  • Couldn’t really be used during other seasons
  • Minimal sun protection

Facing the Camino during the severe winter months is an entirely different beast, and the gear you bring will look completely different! That being said, the Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie should definitely make it into your backpack. It is as low-maintenance as beanies come due to its 100% merino wool constitution, which we love! Merino is fabulous for hikes because it is super warm, yet breathable. The best part is that merino just doesn’t stink as easily as other materials! On the Camino, you are sure to experience pretty much everything you own smelling bad at one point, so having a fresh beanie you can count on is definitely a plus for the winter pilgrim!

The only real downside to this beanie is that it is cold-weather-specific – we definitely wouldn’t recommend this bad boy in summer! That being said, it might not be a bad idea packing this guy in Spring and Autumn. We recently walked the Camino in April and got snow, which we were not prepared for – better to be safe than sorry!

Best Waterproof: Frogg Toggs Waterproof Boonie

In a Nutshell:

  • 100% waterproof!
  • Breathable
  • Chin drawstring
  • Crushable so you can stuff it in your backpack
  • Provides sun protection as well!

Rain, rain, go away! A little (or a lot) of rain is inevitable when hiking the Camino. Believe us when we say there is nothing that makes slogging through a 30km day worse than having wet gear. Enter, the Frogg Toggs Waterproof Boonie! While this hat’s main feature is that it is 100% waterproof, what we really love is its versatility in different weather conditions! It is super breathable and has a wide brim hat for sun protection. For windy weather, it has a drawstring to make sure it stays put on your head! Weather on the Camino can be extremely unpredictable, so having an all-rounder hat like this one could definitely prove to be super valuable!

Best Cap: Foldable Sun Protection Baseball Cap

In a Nutshell:

  • UPF50+ sun protection
  • 100% polyester
  • Can be scrunched up and packed
  • Size is adjustable through closure on the back
  • Mesh ventilation on the sides
  • Doesn’t protect your entire face and neck

Searching for the best cap for Camino is a different beast entirely. If a cap is more your style, check out the Foldable Sun Protection Baseball Cap. It looks like a regular cap, but it’s been mindfully made for outdoor activities! For the areas of your face that it does cover, it gets the highest sun protection rating possible, while still being breathable and well ventilated. What we love about this cap the most for Camino, though, is that it has no rigid structure. That means you can fold it down to a really small size and stuff it right into your pocket, or your backpack!

Of course, you should definitely keep in mind that a lot more of your skin will be exposed if you decide to go for the cap-route, instead of a full brimmed hat. That being said, caps are super comfortable and no fuss. On Camino, what’s most important is to strike a balance and work out what is right for you specifically.

Best Foldable: FitKicks Folding Adjustable Cap

In a Nutshell:

  • Super packable with crunch-resistance feature
  • 100% polyester
  • Feels really sporty and light
  • UPF50+ sun protection
  • Quick dry
  • Still not as protective as a full-brimmed hat

This hat is super similar to our best cap recommendation, but the FitKicks Folding Adjustable Cap won out in this category due to its crunch-resistance! Yep, it is the ultimate folding hat. You can scrunch it up any way you want, and it will still look completely intact the next time you wear it! Whoa! Depending on your packing and travelling style on the Camino, it might be that you are hard-pressed for space and need to stuff all of your belongings into your backpack in a pinch. It’s in moments like that we are super grateful for hats like this! 

Although this cap does have a super long bill for maximum sun protection, parts of your face and neck will still be exposed to the sun.

What to Look for When Buying Hats for Camino de Santiago

Not all hats are created equal – especially when you’re walking the Camino! It’s especially important to consider what you need your hat to do for you depending on the weather, the season, and your personal needs. Here are the top features you should be looking out for when buying a hat for the Camino.

UPF50+ sun protection

Sunburn is never fun – and neither is sun cancer! The last thing you need on the Camino is to be in excruciating pain somewhere other than your feet! That’s why we think protecting yourself from the sun and its UV rays should be your top priority when looking out for the best hat for Camino de Santiago. UPF50+ is the highest sun protection rating possible, so definitely look out for hats that have this rating. 

When selecting which hat to buy, remember that looks can be deceiving – just because a hat looks like it’s going to protect you from the sun, it doesn’t mean that it actually will! The only way to guarantee that you are safe is that nifty UPF50+ rating. Then you can rest assured that you are saving your skin from the unrelenting Spanish sun.

Even if you are planning to walk the Camino in other seasons, it’s worth remembering that you can still get sunburnt in cloudy or overcast weather.

Moisture-wicking features

If you’re going to walk the Camino, it’s extremely likely you will be sweating buckets every day into the same hat (we’re not even exaggerating). To escalate matters, sometimes hot water and showers are in short supply. So, maximizing any way to stay fresher and cleaner for longer, should also be a priority. A simple way to do this is by seeking out hats with a moisture-wicking feature. Looking for hats made from polyester, or cotton, should do the trick nicely!

Hats without any kind of moisture-wicking will no-doubt result in your head feeling hotter, and, you guessed it, more sweat. Believe us, we’ve been there! Oh, and a huge bonus for moisture-wicking hats is that they also help stave off unpleasant odours by keeping things dry up there! The main places we sweat from are our underarms, our palms, and our head. On Camino where washing machines are limited and the sweat is plentiful, moisture-wicking hats should be your best friend!

Packability/shape-retention

On the Camino, maximizing space, and being able to pack up your gear quickly and easily is invaluable. That’s why any hat that folds down nicely and compactly is going to be a contender for the best hat for Camino!

It’s true that you will probably be wearing your hat most of the time, and it should spend more time on your head than in your backpack. What about those moments you are walking and don’t want to wear your hat – where will you put it then? In your backpack, of course! Being able to scrunch up your hat and stuff it into your backpack without worrying about damaging anything is seriously comforting.

It can feel like you are constantly packing and unpacking your backpack when you aren’t walking, so why not make this as easy as possible?

Avoid high-maintenance hats made from stiff materials that are not flexible, don’t have shape-retention, or do not pack/fold down. 

Tips for Buying and Using Hats for Camino de Santiago

  • Figure out in advance which season you will be walking the Camino, that will help you pick the right hat for you!
  • Take the time to actually measure your head before buying a hat to make sure it fits correctly – a looser fit for summer may be better than in winter, when a tighter fit is favorable!
  • Consider your budget, and factor in buying a hat that suits your needs at the top of your list!

The Benefits of Buying and Using a Hat for Camino de Santiago

  • Avoid sunburn and protect your skin.
  • Minimize discomfort so you can get more out of the Camino.
  • If you end up taking a hat and not needing it, you can always give it to another pilgrim for good karma points!

FAQ’s

How do I improvise a sun hat for hiking?

Tie a bandana around your head so that it covers your neck. Then, put on a baseball cap to secure the bandana.

Why should you wear a hat on Camino de Santiago?

You will be in direct sunlight for most of the year. Even in the cloudy months, sun damage still occurs.

Do straw hats provide UV protection?

Yes! The level of UV protection depends on the tightness of the weave.

Do I need sunscreen if I wear a hat?

Yes! While hats offer a lot of protection, your skin is still exposed to UV rays – just far less.

Heads up, this post might contain affiliate links. This means we get a tiny commission that goes straight back into site up-keep if you decide to make a purchase by clicking the link at no cost to you. All of our opinions are our own. 

Rica Ehlers

Rica is a travel enthusiast, teacher, and a writer. She enjoys blogging about health, wellness, and travel. You can find her on LinkedIn as /in/rica-ehlers and Instagram as @katie.ehlers.

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