The Best Safari Hat for Travel

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Safari hats are a timeless trend that are great for all levels of exploration activities. Whether you are birdwatching, hiking, spending a day on the beach or snapping photos on your African safari these hats are the perfect accessory to provide protection and comfort while never sacrificing style.

Originally called the pith helmet and donned by European explorers in the mid-19th century, the safari hat has gone through many transformations through the years. The hard clam-like shell has given way to softer more flexible fabrics and the color selection has expanded.

However, the safari hats purpose has remained the same. To protect against the elements while exploring potentially harsh terrain. So, what makes the best safari hat? Here are a few key factors to consider.

Top 5 Best Safari Hats

Best Safari HatColumbia Sportswear Bora Bora
-Adjustable closure
-Hand Wash
-1" high
-13" wide
-UPF 50 sun protection
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Best Safari HatsCoolibar UPF 50+ Women's Marina Sun Hat
-UPF 50+ - blocks 98% of UV radiation
-Protective asymmetrical brim
-Circumference 22 1/2 inches
-Woven polyester shell
-Packable and Crushable
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Best Safari HatsEddie Bauer Women's Exploration UPF Wide Brim Hat
-100% polyester
-Adjustable chin strap holds
-Generous 3.5" brim shields eyes
-FreeShade UPF 50+ technology
-Moisture wicking
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Best Safari HatsConner Hats Men’s Bounty Hunter
-Chin cord with secure toggle
-UPF 50+
-Organic cotton sweatband
-Shapeable brim
-Water Resistant
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Best Safari HatsPistil Colton Hat
-Adjustable Closure
-UPF 50+ rating
-Mesh crown for breathability
-Adjustable chin cord
-Soft interior band for comfort
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Best Safari HatsPanama Jack Sun Hat
-Coolmax moisture wicking
-UPF 50+ sun protection
-Ultra lightweight mesh
-3" brim
-Durable and packable
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Quick Answer: The Best Safari Hat

How to Choose the Best Safari Hat

Walking Safari in Africa - Best Safari Hat

What to Look for in a Safari Hat

Safari hats come in a wide range of designs with a variety of potential accessories, but there are a few major components that all the best safari hats share.

Wide Brim

Now that we have become immensely aware of the ill effects of sun exposure, protecting our skin has become crucial. It is the pivotal purpose of a safari hat, so you want to make sure you get what you pay for.

The best safari hats are going to have a brim of at least 2.5 inches which will shade your neck, face, and ears even in the harsh suns of the African Sahara.


Obviously, you want anything you will be wearing all day to have a certain level of comfort. This is especially true for something you are wearing on your head.

If the hat is uncomfortable you run the risk of a headache ruining your fun. You want to make sure that the safari hat fits snug but not too tight. You also want to be sure there are no itchy or agitating material where the hat touches your skin.


It is important to stay cool when in high temperatures and direct sunlight. That is why the breath-ability of a safari hat is so important. You release most of your body heat through your head so without airflow, a hat can turn your crown into a sauna increasing your body temperature greatly.

The best safari hat will have some form of breath-ability whether that be through the fabric used or mesh windows.


Chances are if you are looking into a safari hat that you intend to travel with it somewhere. That is why the best safari hats will be “crushable”. This means that the hat can be packed down flat in your backpack or suitcase and will return to its original shape when you are ready to wear it.

This will help you conserve valuable luggage space without jeopardizing the integrity of the hat.

David Stock on safari in Zimbabwe


Each material for a safari hat is going to come with its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular material options.


Leather safari hats are long-lasting stylish options that give off the classic adventure Jurassic Park/Indiana Jones feel. They are durable and offer great protection against scrapes and tears.

Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive option on the market. Leather safari hats also lack airflow and can’t be crushed down into your suitcase like other options. These are a fashionable accessory but lack practical features.


Nylon is a popular material in the safari hat arena. They tend to be breathable, durable and affordable. These hats are lightweight and can be stuffed into a backpack or suitcase without losing their shape.

The bright colors also don’t get washed out in the sun. Yet, they are usually not as stylish as leather and are more susceptible to tearing.


Cotton is by far the most comfortable material used in safari hats. They are soft to the touch and don’t agitate the skin when you are sweating. Cotton safari hats are also affordable, breathable and lightweight making them exceptional across a range of outdoor adventures.

The biggest concern with cotton, however, is that it does not hold up well in heavy rains and can become soggy and deformed.


Wool safari hats are perfect for colder conditions. They have an impeccable ability to trap heat and maintain their shape even in the rain. On the flip side, they lack the breath-ability needed for warmer climates and take much longer to dry out if exposed to moisture.

Additionally, if you have ever worn a wool sweater, you know how itchy this fabric can be. If you do opt for wool make sure there is a comfortable band on the interior to prevent your forehead from chaffing.


Polyester is the most widely used material in safari hats. It covers all of the essentials by being resistant to shrinking, wrinkling and stretching. This durable long-lasting material helps your hat keeps its shape and color through years of use and is lightweight and comfortable.

The only downside of polyester is that it is slightly less breathable than cotton and tends to stick to perspiring skin.   

David Stock on a walking safari in Africa

Helpful additions

Now that you have a better idea of the basic elements of the best safari hats it is time to look into some helpful additions you may want to consider.

  • Chinstrap: this is a great feature displayed in many safari hats that keeps you from losing it in windy conditions.  
  • Mesh crown: besides choosing breathable material, a mesh crown or mesh ventilating windows give you the maximum about of airflow, keeping you cool in the hottest conditions.  
  • Moisture-wicking internal band: this feature will help to keep sweat from dripping down your face and into your eyes.
  • Water repellent: if you expect you may want to use your hat in rainy climates you may want to look for something that has some sort of water repellent coating to help keep your hat’s shape and allowing you to see.

Viewing elephants on foot in Africa

Insect Prevention

If you are going on an African safari it is important to be aware of and proactive about the insect-borne illnesses that you may come in contact with. Mosquitos, tsetse flies, and ticks can cause major problems as well as being a general nuisance.

So, safari hat manufacturers have come up with some prevented measures for these concerns.

Permethrin Treated Hats

Permethrin is an insect repellent that is helpful in fighting against mosquitoes. Having a permethrin-treated hat can reduce your risk of exposure to malaria-spreading mosquitoes but is of little assistance when it comes to ticks and tsetse flies.

It is always a good idea to take this added precaution if you will be in infested areas.

Roll Down Mesh

A roll down mesh picks up where permethrin leaves off. Having this mesh will not only protect against mosquitos but also prevent ticks and tsetse flies from taking a nibble.

A roll down mesh coupled with a permethrin treatment will keep your top half as protected as your Deet soaked bottom half while out in the wild. This mesh can become a feature attached to the safari hat or as an accessory that can be draped over the top.

Best Safari Hats: Our Recommendations

Panama Jack safari hat

Men’s Panama Jack Sun Hat  

Panama Jack Safari Sun Hat for men with 3″ brim, ventilated mesh sidewall, Coolmax sweatband can is comfortable, durable and packable. Perfect for the adventurer in you, the original Panama Jack castaway safari hat is rugged, lightweight and highly resilient!

Crafted from Supplex nylon mesh and Coolmax sweat-resistant materials, this packable men’s hat is designed with a nylon chin strap, adjustable toggle, and 3″ brim. With availability in fossil, ivory and navy colors and medium, large and x-large sizes, we will have you covered for your next journey.


  • Coolmax to keep you dry during workouts, adventure, and leisure
  • Coolmax sweatband 
  •  UPF of 50+ protection
  • Ultra-lightweight mesh
  • Supplex nylon
  • Soft touch of cotton with extra strength and durability  

Check Panama Jack Sun Hat price at Amazon

Pistil colton Safari Hat

Men’s Pistil Colton Hat 

Breathable enough for the outback but right at home in town, the Colton keeps you cool and covered. This men’s full-brim hat is made of rugged twill with a mesh crown for ventilation. The soft interior sweatband absorbs moisture.


  • Adjustable closure
  • Hand Wash
  • Full brim provides sun protection
  • UPF rating of 50+
  • Brim fabric is a smooth but rugged twill
  • Mesh crown for breath-ability
  • Adjustable chin cord with bead
  • Brim length: 3″
  • Soft interior band for comfort

Check Pistil Colton Hat price at Amazon

Conner Bounty Hunter Hat

Men’s Conner Bounty Hunter Hats  

The Bounty Hunter hat is made with water-resistant cotton-poly blend and has a distressed look like leather. Features a shapeable brim so you can create your own style and a chin cord for windy days. 2.75″ brim. 5″ crown height.

Shapeable brim. UPF 50+. Chin cord with secure toggle. Organic cotton sweatband. Organic cotton inner pouch with care instructions.

What is weathered cotton? It’s a mixture of cotton and polyester that gives the hat a leather-like look and feel, as well as water-resistant capabilities.


  • Organic Cotton
  • Chin cord with a secure toggle
  • Water-Resistant
  • UPF 50+
  • Shapeable Brim
  • Organic cotton sweatband
  • Organic cotton inner pouch with care instructions

Check Conner Bounty Hunter Hats price at Amazon

Eddie Bauer Hat

Women’s Eddie Bauer Exploration UPF Wide Brim Hat 

Bring this hat to the beach, on hikes, boating adventures, or anywhere else you’re exposed to the sun. FreeShade® UPF 50+ technology helps shield your head and face from sunburn.

The lightweight polyester is moisture-wicking, and it floats.


  • Moisture Wicking
  • UPF 50+
  • Adjustable chin cord
  • 3.5″ wide brim
  • 100% Polyester

Check Eddie Bauer Exploration UPF Wide Brim Hat price at Amazon

Columbia hat

Women’s Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora  

This Booney-style hat features an adjustable chin strap to keep the hat in place, whether it’s on your head or against the back of your neck. Either way, UPF 50 protection with Omni-Shade keeps harmful rays at bay.

Made for the fishing enthusiast, this sun hat features built-in UPF 50, an ultra-sweat-wicking headband, and a mesh vent panel for days on the water. Be sure to bring the Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Hat along when you head out in sunny climates.

The wide brim and UPF fabric protect you from the sun. Be safe and protected. Omni-Shade blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburns and long-term skin damage. The tight weave construction with UV absorbent yarns block the full spectrum of harmful UV rays.


  • Adjustable closure
  • Hand Wash
  • 1″ high
  • 13″ wide
  • Signature wicking fabric with sweat-wicking capabilities
  • UPF 50+ 
  • Mesh breeze-inducing vent
  • Omni-Wick quickly removes moisture

Check Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora price at Columbia.

Coolibar Hat

Women’s Coolibar UPF 50+ Marina Sun Hat  

We believe everyone deserves the right to an active, outdoor lifestyle in the sun, so we promise Coolibar clothing and accessories are UPF 50+. Sun protection is our sole purpose. That’s why we custom design, produce and offer technically elegant styles in proprietary fabrics that block 98% of UV rays.

As trusted experts in sun safety, we know the more you’re covered, the more you’re protected, and the more you’ll enjoy a carefree life outside. We’ll never compromise on protection. We’ll never skimp on quality.

We’ll always test our fabrics for UPF 50+ protection like your life depends on it – because it does. Welcome to health, happiness, and Coolibar life in the sun.


  • UPF 50+
  • Protective asymmetrical brim
  • Circumference: 22 1/2 inches
  • Woven polyester shell
  • Moisture-wicking internal headband
  • Travel-friendly
  • Packable and crushable
  • Recommended for everyday use

Check Coolibar UPF 50+ Marina Sun Hat price on Amazon

Walking safari in Africa

Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our favorite places to go shopping for travel gear.

  • Shop Columbia – The industry leader in outdoor apparel and products; You can find anything from great jackets, gloves, hats, shirts, and travel pants.
  • Shop REI – They offer some of the best outdoor gear around. We love REI since they have a year Love it or hate it no questions guarantee.
  • Shop Moosejaw – Has a huge selection of outdoor gear at killer prices.

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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