Fishing Apparel Reviews

Best Fishing Hats of 2023

Best Fishing Hats of 2023

A fishing hat is an invaluable piece of equipment that is often overlooked. I think a lot of skin cancer issues on guys faces could have been alleviated with a better hat. Not preaching here as I’m a visor guy 7 days a week. But I have taken in the last year or so to wearing a wide brim hat fishing in the summer months. And because I’ve become more conscious of it. I’ve also sampled a lot of fishing hats to come up with some helpful advice on finding the best fishing hat for you.

So as an intro to this piece let me say that this is a functional review of the best fishing hats. I’m not going to try to tell you who has the best fishing ball cap. Most companies are just printing their logo on a Richardson snap back and calling it good. If that’s your favorite, great. I wear a bunch too. But that’s not a true fishing hat to me. That’s just a ball cap.

I’m talking about a hat that serves multiple functions like sun protection, rain diversion and eyesight protection as well as ventilation and cooling features. A hat that not only keeps your face covered and protected but also helps you see into the water better. That keeps the water out of your face and your head dry and cool. That’s what a true fishing hat should do.


Aftco Cast Boonie Hat


Best Overall: AFTCO Cast Printed Boonie Hat

The AFTCO Cast Printed Boonie hat is their latest addition to the boonie hat collection that offers a lot of sun protection and shade while also featuring a micro-fiber design that dries quickly in a rain. Or better yet when I use what I call the fisherman’s AC. On those brutal 100-degree days, you can take the AFTCO boonie hat and scoop some water flush it down over your head and face and then take off down the lake. By the time you get to your next spot, your hat will be dry and you will be cooled off like you just stepped into the AC for a minute.

The Boonie Hat features a comfortable draw string so you can throw the hat on your back when you run or cinch it down under your chin when you take off. The brim is flexible but has enough rigidity to stay in the shape you like it. I flip the front brim back up when I run and it stays out of my face so I can see clearly while running.

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Simms Boonie hat

Best Packable Hat: SIMMS Boonie Camo

The Simms Boonie Camo Hat is one I wear a lot because it’s easy to pack and carry with me. It’s not a floppy style boonie hat so it can take being wadded up and still wear cleanly. It vents decently well but shades me very well and is comfortable on a big head like mine. I use the chin strap to throw it on my back when I run.

It’s a bit thicker polyester material but it’s still not too hot to wear on a sweltering summer day. It’s a very durable hat because of the material and design. This is one of those fishing hats that would be extremely hard to tear up and will survive a lot of wear and tear and a multitude of washes, rain storms and the like. Plus it looks really good on.

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Under Armor AV Fish Cap

Best Cooling Ball Cap: Under Armour Iso Chill AV Fish Cap

The Under Armor Iso-Chill one of the few ball caps we included in our fishing hat round-up because this hat actually can make your head feel cooler in the summer. That’s a big deal with long days on the water. The Iso-Chill cooling band resists sweat and cools your head while doing so. The ArmourVent Technology gives really great breathability while being stretchy, comfortable and durable. The hat actually wicks moisture which also makes it nice in the rain.

Again this is a multifunctional long lasting comfortable hat that serves more purposes than just being a good looking ball cap. The velcro adjustable stretchy strap gives you a comfortable fit for all size heads.

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simms solarvent ball cap

Best Venting Hat: Simms Solarvent Cap

This hat is not only made from a breathable material it’s also lined with micro perforations along the rear crown that lets air actually flow through the hat and cool your head. It’s a lot softer than most ball caps which makes it comfortable on long hot fishing days. An internal sweatband wicks away moisture and the underarm is purposely designed dark to reduce glare and reflection when peering into the water.

This is one of the more breathable hats we tested so if that’s an important feature for you, this is the ball cap to check out.

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realtree fishing packable boonie hat

Best Priced Sun Protecting Hat: Realtree Bucket Mouth Hat

This is the only hat we reviewed under $10 that was worth anything. If you are just looking for a cheap packable hat that will get the job done for not much money, this is the one. It’s made of a super soft nylon material that has a bit of stretch but fit comfortably on my head. It would be better suited for small to medium heads I think. It looked a little small on me.

It’s breathable and states it has a SPF 30+ sun protection rating. It has a thin drawstring and I’ve literally stuffed the hat in my pocket at times to take with me. Pretty tough to beat for the low cost.

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HUK Straw fishing hat

Best Straw Hat: HUK Fish & Flag Straw Hat

Straw hats are a lot like ball caps in my mind. Everyone has one, most of them have the same protection and issues. A straw hat is an incredible hat for sun protection but they are a bit higher maintenance as you can’t fold them or stuff them in a boat compartment without tearing them up. But I’m pretty fond of my HUK Fish & Flag Straw Hat. I wear it a lot out when bank fishing, fishing off the dock and will take it with me on fun days at the lake or pool. So it’s a great hat for providing maximum shade on your upper body.

It’s a good looking patriotic hat with a fishy flare. Mine was actually damaged when it was stuffed in the box by the retailer. So keep in mind you can’t stuff your straw hats into small spaces. You need to keep them somewhere they won’t get squished or the straw strands will break.

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Kast King Sol Air Boonie

Other Hat Recommendations

We also tested various other hats. A few others we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend would include the following:

What to look for in a fishing hat

When we want a good fishing hat, we are looking for a hat that keeps the sun off our face, neck, back and chest. We want it to keep the sun out of our eyes so we can see into the water a lot better. It’s easier to look into sunny areas from shaded areas than it is to look in direct sunny areas. We also want to keep our heads and faces cool and protected from the elements. So hats that are quick drying, moisture wicking and vented are also a big plus for fishermen who spend long days in the sun.

Best Fishing Hats for big heads

If you have a larger head, you want to look for hats are made out of materials that stretch like Nylon, spandex, or have adjustable cords, straps, etc. You also want hats that have wider brims. Hats with small brims tend to make guys with big heads look even bigger. So go with a wider brim and you’ll have the max protection and look better doing it.

Columbia Bora Bora Boonie Fishing Hat

Best Fishing Hats for Sun Protection

I think a straw hat probably offers the best sun protection because they have the widest brims and the newer models feature cloth undersides that further shade you. However they are a bit more maintenance. I personally like boonie hats because they offer a wide brim, are adjustable and flexible so I can throw them in a back or compartment and go. You can find them relatively cheap and get a lot of years of use out of the better models. Whereas a straw hat generally will last one season.

Fishing Hat Care

Hats get sweaty, get wet, get expose to long days in the sun. But generally a light soap and water wipe down and let them air out and dry and keeping them in open air places will avoid mildew build up. Don’t store them in boat compartments as they will eventually be covered in mildew. Let them air out after every use to keep them lasting a lot longer. Some guys will apply a waterproof spray to their hats but keep in mind this reduces their breathability most of the time.