Sun Blocking Hats: Essential Sun Safety Gear

Rayward Apparel

Key Highlights

  • Sun hats are an essential accessory for sun protection, offering full coverage for your head neck, and even shoulders.
  • Wide brim hats provide the best protection, but baseball caps can also offer some UV protection.
  • Look for hats with a high UPF rating to ensure maximum UV protection.
  • Breathability is important to keep you cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
  • Adjustable fit, packability, and durability are key factors to consider when choosing a hat.
  • Sun protection is crucial to reduce the risk of skin cancer and other harmful effects of UV rays.


Sun protection is of utmost importance, especially during the warmer seasons. Harmful ultraviolet rays can cause sunburn, premature aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer - the most diagnosed cancer in America. While sunscreen is essential, it's not enough on its own. Sun hats are your first line of defense against the sun's harmful rays. They provide full coverage for your head, neck, and even shoulders, shielding you from direct UV exposure. In this blog, we will explore the key features and benefits of UV blocking hats, helping you choose the perfect hat for your next outdoor adventure.

What To Look For in a Sun Blocking Hat

When choosing a sun blocking hat, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, opt for a hat specifically designed for UV protection, such as a wide brim hat and a hat with a high UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. A wide brim hat provides more coverage, protecting your face, neck, ears, and shoulders from direct sunlight. Additionally, look for a hat that offers breathability, with features like ventilation or lightweight materials. It's also important to consider the hat's adjustability, packability, and durability for added convenience and longevity. By selecting a sun protection hat that meets these criteria, you can enjoy long days outdoors with peace of mind. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter and use the 10% coupon code at checkout for additional savings on your purchase!

Wide Brim vs. Baseball Cap: Which Style is Best for You?

Guy sitting on a rock wearing baseball hat

When it comes to sun protection hats, there are two main styles to consider: wide brim hats and baseball caps. Both offer some level of UV protection, but they have different strengths and limitations. Here's a comparison to help you choose the best style for your needs:

  • Wide brim hats: These hats have a broad brim that provides excellent coverage for your face, neck, ears, and shoulders. They offer maximum protection against ultraviolet radiation and are great for outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, or spending long days at the beach.
  • Baseball caps: While they don't provide as much coverage as wide brim hats, baseball caps can still offer some UV protection. They are more compact and convenient for everyday wear, making them a popular choice for casual outings or sports activities. However, they may not protect your neck and ears as effectively as wide brim hats.

Ultimately, the best style for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize maximum sun protection, a wide brim hat is the way to go. If you prefer a more compact and versatile option, a baseball cap can still provide some level UV protection, and anything is better than nothing!

Lightweight Breathability: Staying Cool and Protected in the Summer Heat

Breathability is an important factor to consider when choosing a sun blocking hat, especially during the hot summer months. Look for lightweight hats that feature ventilation, such as mesh paneling or breathable fabrics. These features allow air to flow through the hat, keeping your head cool and preventing excessive sweating. Lightweight materials are also beneficial for comfort in the heat. Hats made from materials like nylon or polyester are often lightweight and provide a good balance between UV protection and breathability.

UPF Rating: Understanding the Sun Protection Factor of Sun Block Hats

The UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating is a measure of a fabric's ability to block ultraviolet rays. When it comes to UV blocking hats, a higher UPF rating indicates greater protection. Look for hats with a UPF rating of 50+, which offers excellent protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Hats with a high UPF rating ensure that only a minimal amount of UV rays penetrate through the fabric, reducing the risk of sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer. By understanding the significance of UPF ratings, you can confidently choose a bucket hat that provides effective UV protection and promotes long-term skin health.

Packability: Convenient Hats for Travel and Outdoor Adventures

Two people on a dock with suitcases

For those who love to travel or engage in outdoor adventures, packability is an essential feature to consider in a sun blocking hat. Packable hats can be easily folded or rolled up, making them compact and convenient for storage and transportation without losing their shape. They are ideal for fitting into suitcases, backpacks, or beach bags without taking up much space. Additionally, look for hats that retain their shape when unpacked, ensuring that they offer the same level of protection even after being stored. With a packable hat, you can enjoy its versatility and convenience no matter where your adventures take you.

Adjustable Fit: Finding the Perfect Size and Comfort for Your Head

Finding the perfect fit is crucial for both comfort and protection when it comes to sun blocking hats. Look for products that offer an adjustable fit, whether through a drawstring, an elastic band, or a chin strap, or hats that come in various sizes such as S/M or L/XL to make sure you are getting a hat that will fit properly. Adjustable hats allow you to customize the fit to suit your head size and shape, ensuring a snug and secure fit. A chin strap can also help keep the hat in place on windy days or when engaging in active outdoor activities - especially when fishing where it may blow off of your head.

Material Matters: Choosing the Right Fabric for Your UV Sun Block Hat

The material of a sun blocking hat plays a significant role in its UV protection and overall comfort. Look for products made from fabrics with sun-protective properties, such as nylon or other UPF-rated materials. However, in regards to UV protection as long as the hat is UPF rated any material will work just fine. Fabrics like nylon and polyester are designed to block UV rays and provide effective sun protection, but the best way to know for sure it to make sure the hat has a UPF rating listed. Additionally, consider the weight of the fabric. Lightweight materials are ideal for hot and sunny conditions, as they allow for breathability and prevent overheating.

Durability: Investing in a Hat That Will Last You Multiple Summers

When investing in hats to block the sun, durability is an important factor to consider. Look for sun blocking hats made from high-quality materials and with excellent craftsmanship and from a brand that you trust. A well-made hat will withstand regular use and last you multiple summers. While the initial cost may be a bit higher, investing in a durable hat is cost-effective in the long run, as you won't need to replace it frequently. Additionally, consider the hat's regular price compared to its durability. It's worth paying a little more for a hat that is designed to withstand the elements and provide reliable UV protection year after year. By choosing a durable product, you can enjoy long-term sun safety and avoid the hassle of frequent replacements.

Why UV Protection Matters: Beyond the Hats

UV protection goes beyond just wearing sun blocking hats. It is a crucial step in reducing the risk of skin cancer and other harmful effects of UV radiation. Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the US, and UV exposure is one of the leading causes. By practicing sun safety measures, such as wearing sun sun blocking hats, applying sunscreen, seeking shade, and wearing UPF clothing, you can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer. It's important to prioritize UV protection and make it a part of your daily routine, especially in the middle of the summer when the UV radiation is the most intense.

Understanding UPF Ratings: What They Mean for Your Skin

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings are an important consideration when choosing sun blocking hats. The UPF rating indicates how effectively a fabric blocks UV radiation. A higher UPF rating means greater UV protection. For example, a product with a UPF 50+ rating blocks at least 98% of UV rays allowing only 1/50th of the UV light to pass through (hence the 50 rating), reducing the risk of sunburn and skin damage. Understanding UPF ratings allows you to select sun blocking hats that provide adequate protection for your skin type and outdoor activities. By choosing hats with high UPF ratings, you can ensure that your skin is well-protected from harmful UV radiation.

The Science of Sun Damage: How UV Rays Affect Us

Protect yourself with black skin cancer ribbon

UV (Ultraviolet) radiation from the sun has both immediate and long-term effects on our skin. In the short term, excessive exposure can cause sunburn, which is a visible sign of skin damage. Over time, cumulative exposure to UV radiation can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Ultraviolet rays can penetrate deep into the skin, damaging DNA and causing mutations that can lead to skin cancer. It's essential to protect our skin from UV radiation by keeping your skin protected - especially for those that are often outdoors. By understanding the science behind skin damage, we can take proactive steps to protect our skin and maintain its health and vitality.

The dangers UV exposure and skin cancer risk

As mentioned in the previous section - UV exposure, particularly to harmful UV rays, poses several dangers to our skin and overall health. Overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation can lead to sunburns, premature aging, eye damage, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, with millions of cases diagnosed globally each year. It is primarily caused by the cumulative effects of UV radiation on the skin, however very few people invest in the quality of UV protective products they should be wearing when outdoors.

By wearing sun blocking hats and adopting other UV protection measures, we can significantly reduce our risk of skin cancer and other sun-related health issues. This is important for everyone regardless of age or skin color, but even more important for people who are at high risk for skin cancer.

Other ways to protect yourself from the sun, in addition to hats

While sun blocking hats are an essential part of UV protection, there are other measures you can take to further protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Here are some additional ways to stay safe:

  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to all exposed skin.
  • Seek shade during the peak hours, typically between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Wear sun protective clothing, such as long-sleeved UPF shirts, pants, and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Use lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from damage.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water while spending time outdoors.

Practical Tips for Bucket Hat Care and Maintenance

Wringing out a sponge with pink glove on

Taking care of your wide brim hat is essential to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Here are some practical tips for care and maintenance:

  • Cleaning: It is recommended to hand wash your sun hat using mild soap and cold water. Gently scrub the hat and rinse thoroughly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the fabric and affect the UV protection factor (UPF) rating.
  • Drying: After washing, reshape the hat and allow it to air dry in a shaded area. Avoid wringing or squeezing as it may lose its shape. Do not use a dryer or expose it to direct sunlight as it can cause shrinkage or fading.
  • Storing: When not in use, store your hat in a cool, dry place to prevent any moisture buildup. Avoid folding or crushing it as it may damage the brim. If your hat has a chin strap, secure it to prevent it from tangling or getting lost.
  • Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your hat for any wear and tear, such as loose threads or frayed edges. If you notice any damage, repair it promptly to maintain the hat's sun protection effectiveness.


Sun blocking hats are not just stylish accessories but vital tools in your sun safety arsenal. From wide brims to UPF ratings, these hats offer more than just shade. Understanding the importance of protecting your skin and choosing the right hat based on durability, fit, and material can elevate your sun-safe experience. Remember, protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is a year-round commitment, not just a seasonal concern. So, invest in a quality sun blocking hat, care for it diligently, and shield yourself from the sun's damaging effects with style and substance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes a Sun Hat "UPF-rated" and Why Is It Important?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates the level of UV protection provided by a fabric. Hats that block the sun with a high UPF rating offers greater protection, blocking out a significant amount of UVA and UVB rays. The UPF rating is established through lab testing, it's not something a company can simply publish without scientific proof. Choosing a bucket hat with a high UPF rating is important for ensuring your skin is adequately shielded from harmful UV radiation. Rayward's sun hats are UPF50+ rated, providing excellent protection at a regular price.

Can I Wear Sun Blocking Hats in Water?

While some sun blocking hats may be water-resistant, it's important to check the specific hat's features and materials. Hats made from polyester or other water-resistant fabrics are more suitable for water activities. However, prolonged submersion or exposure to chlorinated water may affect the hat's durability and UV protection capabilities.

How Often Should I Replace My Sun Hat for Optimal Protection?

The frequency of replacing your sun hat depends on its durability and the amount of wear and tear it experiences. As a general guideline, it's recommended to replace your hat every 2-3 years or sooner if you notice significant signs of damage. Regularly inspect your hat for any wear or decrease in UPF rating to ensure optimal UV protection.

How Do I Choose the Right Size Sun Hat?

Choosing the right size sun hat is crucial for comfort and UV protection. Measure the circumference of your head and refer to the hat's size chart for guidance. Opt for hats with adjustable fits or chin straps for a secure and comfortable fit. Trying the hat on before purchasing is also recommended to ensure the perfect size.

Can Sun Hats Be Folded Without Damaging Them?

Some hats for blocking the sun are designed to be foldable and packable, making them convenient for travel. However, it's important to follow the hat's manufacturer instructions for folding to prevent any damage to the brim or structure. Folding the hat along the natural creases and storing it in a suitable travel bag or container can help maintain its shape.

Is It Necessary to Wear Sunscreen If I Have a UV Blocking Sun Hat?

While wearing a high UPF hat provides excellent UV protection for your face, neck, and shoulders, it's still important to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Sunscreen helps protect against UV rays that may bounce off surfaces and reach your skin from different angles. Using both a high UPF hat and sunscreen ensures comprehensive sun protection.

How Can I Tell If My Sun Blocker Hat Provides Adequate UV Protection?

To determine if your hat provides adequate UV protection, look for its UPF rating. A hat with a UPF rating of 50+ offers excellent UV protection by blocking out at least 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, look for hats made from tightly woven fabrics and wide brims to ensure proper coverage and protection.