As late summer unfurls its full glory, the call to head outdoors becomes irresistible. But before you venture out, it's crucial to consider the sun's intensity, no matter what your activity of choice is. Trusty sun protection hats are your best friend and one of the most crucial accessories you'll want to add to your wardrobe..

From style to function, join us as we take a look at how to choose the best hats for sun protection. We'll discuss the best sun hats from Free Fly, why sun protection hats are essential, and the most important things to remember when purchasing your next hat.

Why Is It Essential To Wear a Hat for Sun Protection?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the features you need to look out for, it's essential to first talk about why you need a hat in the first place. 

While the sun may not always be blazing hot, you can still end up with a nasty sunburn on a cloudy day. That's because the sun's ultraviolet rays can penetrate clouds and harm your skin and hair, even when you least expect it.

Sun protection hats keep you protected whether it’s cloudy or sunny by blocking harmful UV rays and preventing direct sunlight from reaching the most sensitive parts of your head.

Features to Look for in the Best Hat for Sun Protection

When scouting for the best hat for sun protection, it's crucial to remember that not all hats are cut from the same cloth. Apart from ensuring the hat's material is durable enough not to fray or disintegrate just when you need it the most, here are a few key features to look out for:


While sporting a large, floppy hat isn't always practical or necessary (unless you're aiming to turn heads at the beach), you'll want a hat with a brim that's broad enough to provide ample cover but not so wide that it hinders your activities. A brim that extends about 3 inches outward or sideways typically provides enough coverage for the most sun-sensitive areas—your neck, face, and ears.

UPF Rating

Some designers or manufacturers don't include a UPF rating for their hats, as they believe it may not always be necessary. Of course, a hat's primary purpose is to block out the sun, but you can still suffer the effects of UV rays and get sunburned through clothing that isn't optimized. Choosing the best UPF clothing comes down to the rating.

A rating of 40, for example, only lets in 1/40th of the sun's rays—in other words, it is 97.5% effective at keeping you safe.


Hats are meant to be your sidekick, even during the most strenuous activities. If you're setting off on a fishing trip, you'll need a sun protection hat that not only shields you from the sun but also stays dry. Your ideal sun hat should boast moisture-wicking properties, helping you stay cool, dry, and comfortable throughout.


The best sun hats are maximized for performance, meaning they need to conform to your activity and the shape of your head. Multi-panel hats, especially 5-panel hats, are designed so that each section covers a specific portion of your head.

The flexibility offered by a 5-panel hat helps it provide more cover while staying in place, whereas a one-panel hat would be more likely to fly off at each minor weather change.

Adjustable Closure

Once you have chosen a hat that incorporates all of the above elements, an adjustable closure strap is like icing on the cake, allowing you to adjust the tightness of your cap as desired.

Get the Best Hat for Sun Protection from Free Fly

Remember, not all hats are created equally. Sure, you could walk into any store and buy a hat that fits, but if you're on the hunt for a hat that ticks all the sun protection boxes we've chatted about, then you'll want to seek out hats purpose-built for sun protection. Let's have a look at our favorite sun protection hat:

Free Fly's Wave 5-Panel Hat

Man holding a fish wearing the Free Fly Wave 5-Panel Sun Hat

The Wave 5-Panel Hat is the ultimate companion that elevates your style and comfort. The Free Fly brand was created by outdoor enthusiasts, making it a brand for the people and by the people. Whether boating, fishing, or enjoying a day in the water, we have you covered.

With a UPF rating of 40, you can enjoy maximum protection, as the sun's UV rays will nearly fully cover you. The hat helps you safeguard your skin while also being small and lightweight enough so that it doesn't interfere with whatever you are doing.

The quick-dry nylon fabric helps you stay comfortable and relaxed even on the warmest days, keeping your head fresh, dry, and cool. Say goodbye to sweat-soaked hats that ruin your day.

The 5-panel and adjustable fit is designed to help keep the hat in place so it doesn't fly off when you're cruising a mile a minute. Investing in a high-quality and flexible hat will pay dividends in the long run for your enjoyment and healthcare.

Does Color Matter?

So, you're thinking, "Does the color of my hat matter when the sun's blazing?" Well, it's common knowledge that darker shades draw in light and heat while lighter ones reflect it. And yes, that's accurate. But here's the twist: darker hues soak up heat and more harmful UV rays.

When wearing UPF clothing, you might want to lean towards those darker shades over the light, reflective ones. Blacks, browns, grays, blues, dark greens, and reds are the most practical when it comes to choosing a hat for sun protection.

On a scorching and sunny day, you'll want to ditch those bright white and yellow hats in favor of something darker to maximize your protection from harmful rays.

Wrapping it Up: Complete Sun Protection with Free Fly

Choosing the best sun protection hats is a breeze when you know what to look for. Hats are some of the best and most notable accessories which complete any outfit while offering you the protection you need from the elements.

Keeping your eyes peeled for a hat with a multi-panel, adjustable design, max sun protection, and breathable, quick-dry fabric can make a world of difference. And while hats are a nifty addition, they're just one part of your sun-safe ensemble when the rays are out to play.

Browse through Free Fly's range of women's sun protection apparel or men's sun protection apparel to complete your wardrobe with everything you need to face sunny days with confidence and style. From long-sleeved shirts and breathable shorts to sun masks, we've literally got you covered.