Best Sailing Hats of 2024: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing & Caring for Your Hat

Reviewed by Tim West

Updated:

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sailing hat

When it comes to sailing, a great sailing hat is your best ally. As a long-time sailor, I’ve tried everything from the sturdy Gill to the timeless Tilley.

Why are sailing hats crucial? They protect us from the sun, keep us cozy when it’s chilly, and add that extra touch to our sailing experience. But finding the right hat can be a journey in itself.

In this guide, we’ll explore different types of hats, highlight what to consider when picking your hat, and review some of the top picks. We’ll also dive into practical add-ons like hat clips and lanyards.

Ready? Let’s go.

Types of Sailing Hats

Sailing hats, they’re more than just a fashion statement. They serve as a sailor’s first line of defense against the sun, wind, rain, and even the unexpected spray of the sea. Crafted from a range of materials, sailing hats come in an array of colors and styles, each one tailor-made for different conditions and personal preferences.

Now, let’s dive into the main types of sailing hats you might come across…

  • Sailing Caps: Like a baseball cap, but made for the sea. Fits snug, but watch out for those winds! Some come with a clip to keep them secure.
  • Brim Sailing Hats: Think 360-degree sun protection. Stiff brim, usually with a chin cord to prevent any unexpected hat-overboard incidents.
  • Bucket Sailing Hats: Casual and comfortable. Less coverage than a brim hat but is a favorite for many sailors.
  • Beanies: Your answer to chilly sails. Snug, warm, and made from quick-dry material to combat sea spray or light rain.
  • Winter Sailing Hats: Full-on coverage for the colder and windier conditions. They typically have ear flaps to protect from the cold winds.
  • Visors: For those who want some breeze in their hair but need to shield their eyes. Ideal for hot, calm days at sea.
  • Yachting Caps: Classic white hat with a black bill, often worn by boat officers or sailing tradition enthusiasts.

Top Sailing Hats Reviewed

Ready to find your perfect sailing hat? Let’s dive into it! In this section, we’ll be reviewing some top picks that have made waves in the sailing world. From tried-and-true classics to newer entries, we’ve got something for every sailor. 

Best Sailing Caps For Men

Gill Marine Cap

Gill Marine Cap

Consider the Gill Marine Cap if you want a simple, practical cap that shields you from the sun and rain while on or around the water.

Pros

  • Perfect fit with non-corrosive rear metal adjustor
  • Classic design with embroidered logo and branded peak detail
  • Suitable for any activity on or around the water

Cons

  • No ventilation

I recently used the Gill Marine Cap while sailing and found it to be a great addition to my gear. The non-corrosive rear metal adjustor ensured a perfect fit, and the classic design with the embroidered logo and branded peak detail added a touch of style. It was suitable for any activity on or around the water, shielding me from the sun and rain.

The main downside for me, there is no ventilation, which can be uncomfortable on hot days.

Overall, the Gill Marine Cap is a great choice for anyone looking for a simple, practical cap for sailing or any other water activity.

Buy on


Musto Crew Cap

Musto Fast Dry Crew Cap Windproof and Breathable Navy

If you’re looking for a reliable sailing hat, the Musto Fast Dry Crew Cap is definitely worth considering.

Pros

  • The fast-drying polyester fabric keeps your head dry in rain and spray.
  • The retaining clip and fully adjustable metal tab ensure a secure and comfortable fit.

Cons

  • Metal tab that may rust after a few uses in saltwater.

Overall, I’m impressed with the Musto Fast Dry Crew Cap. It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear, and the six-panel design gives it a high-performance look. The peak effectively shields my eyes from the sun, and the retaining clip keeps the hat from flying off in high winds. The only downside is that it has a metal tab may rust in saltwater, but this can easily be prevented with proper care.

If you’re looking for a men’s sailing hat to keep your head dry and protected from the sun, the Musto Fast Dry Crew Cap is definitely worth considering. Its lightweight and breathable material makes it perfect for warm weather, and the adjustable tab ensures a comfortable and secure fit. Overall, I would highly recommend this hat to any sailor looking for a reliable and stylish accessory.

Buy on


Best Sailing Caps For Women

Helly-Hansen Unisex Crew Cap

Helly Hansen Unisex unisex Crew Cap

If you’re looking for a lightweight and breathable cap for sailing, this Helly Hansen Unisex Crew Cap might be a good option.

Pros

  • The washed finish gives it a stylish look.
  • The back adjustment ensures a comfortable fit.
  • No metal tab to worry about corrosion

Cons

  • Thin fabric may not provide much protection from the sun.
  • Some reviewers have complained about the small size of the cap.

I like the washed finish of this cap, which gives it a casual and stylish look. The back adjustment also ensures a comfortable and secure fit, which is important when sailing. The HH logo on the front is a nice touch for those who like branded gear.

However, some reviewers have noted that the fabric is quite thin, so it may not provide much protection from the sun. Additionally, some buyers have complained about the small size of the cap, so it may not fit everyone comfortably.

Overall, if you’re looking for a lightweight and stylish cap for sailing, this Helly Hansen option might be worth considering.

Buy on


Gill Regatta Cap

Gill Regatta Cap - Quick Drying with 50+ UV Sun Protection

If you’re looking for a reliable sailing hat that offers sun protection and moisture-wicking, the Gill Regatta Cap is a great option.

Pros

  • The moisture-wicking headband keeps you cool and comfortable even on hot days.
  • Corrosion-proof retainer clip ensures the hat stays in place, even in windy conditions.

Cons

  • No washable, the cap can only be wiped with damp cloth, which may be inconvenient for some.
  • The one-size-fits-most design may not be suitable for those with smaller or larger heads.
  • Made of 100% nylon, which may not be as breathable as other materials.

A crew member recently used the Gill Regatta Cap on a day sail and was impressed with its performance. The sun protection worked well, and she didn’t feel overheated even in direct sunlight. The moisture-wicking headband was a game-changer she said, “keeping the forehead dry and comfortable throughout the day. The retainer clip was also a nice touch, as it kept the hat securely in place even when the wind picked up”.

One downside to the cap is that you can not wash or dry clean it, Gill only recommends wiping it with a damp cloth, which may be inconvenient for those who prefer to wash their hats at home. Additionally, the one-size-fits-most design may not be suitable for those with smaller or larger heads.

Overall, the Gill Regatta Cap is a solid choice for anyone looking for a reliable sailing hat. The built-in sun protection, moisture-wicking headband, and retainer clip make it a great option for any outdoor activity on the water.

Buy on


Best Sailing Visors

Helly-Hansen Visor

Helly-Hansen Logo Visor

If you’re looking for a stylish and functional visor to protect yourself from the sun while sailing, the Helly-Hansen Visor is a great choice.

Pros

  • The washed finish gives it a trendy look.
  • The adjustable back ensures a comfortable fit for everyone.
  • The HH logo on the front adds a touch of branding.

Cons

  • Color may fade over time, as some reviewers have noted.
  • It may not fit well for people with larger head sizes.

The washed finish gives this visor a trendy look that pairs well with any sailing outfit. The adjustable back ensures a comfortable fit for everyone, and the HH logo on the front adds a touch of branding to those that appreciate this.

Overall, if you’re looking for a stylish and functional visor to protect yourself from the sun while sailing, the Helly-Hansen Logo Visor Navy is definitely worth considering.

Buy on


Gill Regatta Visor

Gill Regatta Visor- Quick Drying with 50+ UV Sun Protection

If you’re looking for a comfortable and protective sailing hat, the Gill Regatta Visor is a great choice.

Pros

  • The 50+ UV protection keeps your face and eyes safe from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • The moisture-wicking inner headband keeps you dry and comfortable all day long.
  • The corrosion-proof retainer clip ensures that the visor stays securely in place, even in windy conditions.

Cons

  • The one-size-fits-most design may not be a perfect fit for people with larger or smaller heads.
  • The visor cannot be washed or tumble dried, and must be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

A crew member recently used the Gill Regatta Visor on a sailing trip and she was impressed with its performance. The 50+ UV protection keeps the face and eyes safe from the sun, and the moisture-wicking inner headband prevents sweat from dripping down. The retainer clip keeps the visor securely in place, even when the wind picks up.

However, the one-size-fits-most design was a bit snug on her head, and she had to adjust the volume adjustment to get the perfect fit. Additionally, the visor cannot be washed or tumble dried, which may be inconvenient for some users.

Overall, I would recommend the Gill Regatta Visor for anyone looking for a comfortable and protective sailing hat. It’s a great choice for sunny and windy conditions on the water.

Buy on


Sailing Neck Gaiter

Nextour Neck Gaiter Set

Headwear, Head Wrap, Neck Gaiter, Headband, Fishing Mask, Magic Scarf Face Bandana Mask Neck Tube Balaclava for Sport

If you’re looking for a versatile sports accessory that can be used in multiple ways, the Nextour Headwear is a great option.

Pros

  • Very affordable headwear can be used as a neck gaiter, headband and more, making it a versatile accessory for many outdoor activities.
  • Wicks away moisture faster to keep you dry, and it can protect your skin from the sun or dust in hot days.
  • Soft, breathable, and stretchy, making it comfortable to wear.
  • Multiple colors and patterns available.

Cons

  • Thin fabric, so it might not provide enough warmth in cold weather.

The Nextour headwear impresses with its versatility. Ideal for outdoor activities, it can be used as a headband, neck gaiter, or face mask, providing protection against the sun and wind. Its lightweight design ensures it’s convenient to carry in a backpack.

A point to note is that the headwear can roll up at the ends when worn to sleep, which could be uncomfortable. Also, its thin fabric may not offer sufficient warmth in colder climates. Yet, in mild weather, it serves as an effective extra layer for ears, nose, mouth, head, hand, and neck.

Buy on


Best Brim Sailing Hats

Tilley Ltm6 Airflo Brim Hat

Tilley Ltm6 Airflo Broad Brim Recycled

If you’re looking for a high-quality sailing hat, the Tilley Ltm6 Airflo Broad Brim hat is a great option.

Pros

  • The hat is rated UPF 50+ sun protection, making it perfect for sunny days out on the water.
  • The durable water-repellant finish means that the hat will keep you dry in wet conditions.
  • Made from recycled Nylon, making it a great choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Cons

  • The hat is a bit pricey compared to other sailing hats on the market.
  • Some users have noted that the Chinese-made version of the hat is not as high-quality as the old Canadian-made version.
  • The hat may not fit all head sizes comfortably.

This Tilley sailing hat is incredibly lightweight and breathable, which is essential on hot summer days. The brim is wide enough to provide ample sun protection, but not so wide that it gets in the way. The hat has historically been very durable, and I am still testing my new one, but so far no problems.

One thing to note is that the hat is a bit pricey compared to other sailing hats on the market. Overall, the Tilley Ltm6 Airflo will be a good choice for anyone in need of a good-quality sailing hat. It’s comfortable, durable, and provides ample sun protection, making it a great choice for any sailor.

Buy on


Gill Technical Marine Sun Hat

Gill Water Resistant Technical Marine Sun Hat with 50+ UV Sun Protection

If you’re looking for a sailing hat that provides excellent sun protection and is comfortable to wear, then the Gill Water Resistant Technical Marine Sun Hat is a great option.

Pros

  • The wide brim of the hat provides excellent protection from the sun.
  • The hat is made from a fabric that is both light in weight and resistant to water, making it comfortable to wear even on hot days.
  • The hat comes with a detachable chin strap and can be adjusted for a snug fit.

Cons

  • The brim of the hat is not as stiff as some users would prefer.
  • The brim can be too floppy on windy days, reducing its effectiveness as sun protection.

I recently used this Gill sailing hat on a passage and was impressed. The wide brim provided ample protection from the sun, and the hat was comfortable to wear even during long days on the water. The water repellent fabric worked well to keep me dry, and the hat’s 50+ UV protection gave me peace of mind that my skin was being protected.

However, I did find that the brim of the hat was not as stiff as I would have liked, and on windy days, it could be too floppy to effectively block the sun.

Overall, if you’re looking for a sailing hat that provides excellent sun protection and is comfortable to wear, then the Gill Water Resistant Technical Marine Sun Hat is a great option. Just be aware of its limitations on windy days.

Buy on


Furtalk Wide Brim Hat

FURTALK Sun Hats for Women Summer Wide Brim UV UPF 50+ Panama Fedora Foldable Packable Straw Beach Hat

If you’re looking for a stylish and practical women hat for your summer adventures, the FURTALK Sun Hats for Women is worth considering.

Pros

  • The hat is made of high-quality paper straw, which makes it lightweight and breathable.
  • The sweatband inside the hat keeps you cool, while the removable chin strap ensures the hat stays put even on windy days.
  • The hat is foldable and packable, making it easy to carry with you on vacations and holidays.

Cons

  • The hat is available in two sizes. Measure carefully before ordering.

One of my crew members volunteered to use this stylish hat for over a week of sailing, and she indicated the hat is well-made and comfortable to wear, thanks to the sweatband that keeps you cool and the detachable chin strap that ensures the hat stays put even on windy days. The hat is also stylish, with a braided leather strap outside that adds a touch of elegance to it.

One of the best things about this hat is that it is foldable and packable, making it easy to carry with you on vacations and holidays. The hat can be rolled up and tucked into your luggage, or stored within a hat travel tube in your suitcase. However, folding is not recommended for storage at home, so you’ll need to find a suitable place to keep it unfolded.

Something to be aware of is that the hat is available in two sizes, so measure carefully before ordering. If you’re looking for a stylish and practical hat for your summer adventures, the FURTALK Sun Hats for Women is definitely worth considering.

Buy on


Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat

Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat

If you’re looking for a versatile hat that offers full sun protection, the Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat is a great option.

Pros

  • The crushable brim design makes it easy to pack and take with you anywhere.
  • The down sloping brim design offers superior sun protection.
  • The chinstrap and cord lock keep the hat secure when the wind picks up.

Cons

  • The top part of the hat is thin and see-through, so it may not offer as much UPF protection as other hats.
  • The chinstrap is not removable, which could be a downside for some users.
  • Hand Wash Only

I recently got this hat for a sailing trip and it worked great. The crushable brim design made it easy to pack and the down sloping brim design offered great sun protection. I also appreciated the chinstrap and cord lock, which kept the hat secure when the wind picked up.

One downside is that the top part of the hat is thin and see-through, so it may not offer as much UPF protection as other hats, especially for those with limited hair, like me. Additionally, the chinstrap is not be removable, and from experience this could be a downside for some users. Finally, the hat is hand wash only, so be aware if you are used to put your sailing hats in the washer.

Overall, the Sunday Afternoons Solar Bucket Hat is a nice sailing hat and it worked well for me, so I would recommend the for anyone looking for a versatile hat that offers great sun protection.

Buy on


Best Winter Sailing Hats and Beanies

Gill Waterproof Beanie Hat

Gill Simple Rib Waterproof Beanie Hat Ideal for Casual Wear or Watersports Such as Paddlesboard, Kayaking & Sailing

If you’re looking for a warm and dry hat to wear on or around the water, the Gill Waterproof Beanie Hat is a great choice.

Pros

  • The rib construction outer and soft touch thermal fleece inner lining keep your head warm and dry in the coldest of conditions.
  • Made with 30% wool and 70% acrylic, this beanie regulates your head temperature perfectly.
  • One size fits most heads.

Cons

  • The beanie is not machine washable, so it requires hand washing and air drying.
  • The beanie is only available in one color, graphite.

I regularly use the Gill Waterproof Beanie Hat on a cold and windy day while sailing and it keeps my head warm and dry throughout the entire trip. The rib construction outer and soft touch thermal fleece inner lining are great features that make this hat perfect for cold weather activities.

However, be aware the beanie does require hand washing and air drying, which can be a hassle for some people.

Overall, if you’re looking for a warm and dry sailing hat, the Gill Waterproof Beanie Hat is a great choice. It’s comfortable, fits well, and keeps your head warm in cold conditions.

Buy on


Gill Offshore Hat

Gill Offshore All Weather Protection Hat - Water & Stain Repellent

If you’re looking for a durable and eco-friendly sailing hat, the Gill Offshore All Weather Protection Hat is a great option.

Pros

  • The XPLORE 2-layer fabric and taped seam construction make this hat waterproof and breathable, perfect for harsh weather conditions.
  • The XPEL fabric finish offers water repellency, stain resistance, and odor control, keeping the hat clean and fresh.
  • The soft thermal fleece lining provides warmth and comfort, making it a great choice for long sailing trips.

Cons

  • The wired peak can be a bit stiff and difficult to adjust.
  • The hat may be a bit too warm in sunny days.
  • The drawstring closure may not be as secure as a buckle or snap closure.

I have also used this hat on a winter sailing trip and was impressed with its performance. The waterproof and breathable fabric kept my head dry and comfortable, even in heavy rain and wind. The XPEL fabric finish also worked well, repelling water and preventing stains from setting in.

The soft thermal fleece lining was a nice touch, keeping my head warm and cozy on chilly days.

The wired peak was a bit stiff at first, but I was able to adjust it to my liking. It helped deflect rain and water spray, improving my vision and keeping me safe on the boat.

Overall, I would recommend the Gill Offshore All Weather Protection Hat to anyone looking for a durable and eco-friendly sailing hat. Just keep in mind that it may be a bit too warm for sunny days.

Buy on


Sailing Hat Retainer Clip

Satinior Adjustable Hat Strap Clips

SATINIOR 2 Pieces Adjustable Hat Strap Clips Black Windproof Strap Clips Cap Anti-Lost Strap

If you’re someone who loves sailing or any other outdoor activities, you should definitely consider purchasing the these hat strap clips. It’s a simple yet effective accessory that can help keep your hat securely in place, even on windy days.

Pros

  • The sailing hat clips are easy to attach and detach, making it convenient to use.
  • The cord lock is designed with spring-loaded, which provides a firm grip and prevents the cord from slipping.
  • The strap is adjustable, allowing you to customize the length according to your preference.

Cons

  • The length of the strap may not be suitable for everyone.
  • The clips may feel a bit tight, which can be uncomfortable for some users.

I have tested this product and it worked wonders. The clips were easy to attach to my hat, and the strap held it securely in place throughout the entire day. The cord lock mechanism of this sailing hat lanyard is impressive, and it prevented the cord from slipping, which is a common issue with other hat clips.

The adjustable design is a great feature, as it allowed me to customize the length of the strap according to my preference. However, the length may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have a larger head.

The clips may feel a bit tight, which can be uncomfortable for some users. But this also means that the clips hold the strap in place firmly, so you don’t have to worry about your hat falling off.

Overall, if you’re someone who loves outdoor activities, I highly recommend these adjustable hat strap clips. It’s a great investment that can help keep your hat secure, even on windy days.

Buy on


How to Choose the Right Sailing Hat

When it comes to selecting the perfect sailing hat, it isn’t just about looks (though a snazzy hat never hurt anyone). There’s a bit more to it. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Comfort and Fit: The best sailing hat is the one that feels like it’s part of you. The hat should sit nicely on your head, neither too tight nor too loose. Try it on, give your head a good shake. If it stays put, you’re golden. And remember, comfort is key. If the hat’s not comfy, it’s not going to see much daylight.

Design and Preference: You’ve got to love your hat. If it’s not your style, chances are it’s going to end up collecting dust. So pick a design you love, whether that’s a classic yachting cap or a laid-back bucket hat.

Hat Features: Ever had a hat fly off into the sea? Not fun. Look for practical features like a chinstrap or a hat clip. They keep your hat secure, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

Weather Suitability: Consider where you’ll be sailing. For hot, sunny days, brim hats or visors offer great sun protection. For colder weather, nothing beats a beanie or a winter sailing hat.

Lastly, the Sunglasses Test: If you can, try on your prospective hat with your sunglasses. They’re going to be teaming up to protect you from the sun, after all. So it’s good to check if they play well together.

One more thing before I sign off – don’t be shy to get more than one hat. Different days call for different hats. So having a few options on hand is always a good move.

And there you have it. Now you’re all set to find your perfect sailing hat. 

Caring for Your Sailing Hat

You’ve found your perfect sailing hat. Now, how do you make sure it stays in shipshape for as long as possible? From my years on the water, here’s what I’ve learned:

Rinse Regularly: Salty sea air has a sneaky way of creeping into everything, including your beloved hat. Give it a rinse in fresh water after your trips to keep the salt from damaging it.

Gentle Cleaning: Every now and then, your hat will need a good clean. Stick to mild soap and warm water. Remember, it’s a gentle touch that does the trick. Scrubbing too hard can damage the fabric and color.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: This isn’t the place for bleach or other harsh chemicals. They can do a number on your hat, ruining both the color and material.

Air-Dry: Let Mother Nature do her thing. Air-drying helps maintain the hat’s shape and integrity. Avoid direct sunlight if you can, as it can fade color over time.

Storage: When your hat’s not in use, store it in a cool, dry place. If it’s a brim hat or cap, do your best to avoid crushing it to maintain its shape.

Just like a good ship, your sailing hat needs regular TLC. In return, it’ll serve you well on countless adventures. Now, that’s a friendship worth investing in!

Final Words On Finding The Right Sailing Hat

Choosing the right sailing hat doesn’t have to be a complicated process. With the tips we’ve shared, you’re now well-equipped to find a hat that’s as ready for adventure as you are. 

Remember, the best sailing hat isn’t just about protection, it’s about comfort, fit, and style. It’s about finding a hat that feels like part of your crew.

This hat will be with you through the calm and the storms, becoming a part of your sailing story. Take care of it and it’ll take care of you, making every journey that much better.

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on sailing hats, why not explore more? We’ve got other sailing guides that you might find interesting:

FAQ

What is a sailing hat?

A sailing hat is a type of headgear specially designed for sailors. They are built to protect against the sun, wind, and rain while providing comfort and functionality. They come in different styles like sailing caps, wide-brim hats, bucket hats, beanies, and yachting caps.

Are straw hats good for sailing?

Straw hats can be a good choice for sailing due to their breathability and wide brims for sun protection. However, they may not be as durable or secure as hats designed specifically for sailing. Also, they can be difficult to secure in windy conditions.

What can I use to keep my hat on when sailing?

There are a few methods to keep your hat in place when sailing. Many sailing hats come with a chinstrap or a hat clip to prevent them from flying off. Alternatively, you can also use a hat lanyard, which can be clipped to your shirt or jacket.

What kind of hat do women wear when sailing?

Women can wear any type of sailing hat that suits their needs and personal style. This can range from a stylish wide-brim hat for sun protection to a snug-fitting beanie for colder conditions. The most important factors are comfort, protection, and personal preference.

Is there any difference between a sailing hat and a standard hat?

Yes, a sailing hat is often designed with specific features that make it suitable for sailing. These can include UV protection, a chinstrap or clip for securing the hat, quick-drying materials, and wider brims for enhanced sun protection.

What are the most popular sailing hat brands?

There are several popular brands known for producing high-quality sailing hats. These include Gill, Tilley, Helly Hansen, and Musto. However, the best brand for you may depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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AUTHOR

Hi I am Peter, I absolutely love being out on the water and I have a deep passion for all things nautical. Sailing has been a huge part of my life and I plan to continue doing it for as long as I can. When I'm not out sailing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading a good book, and listening to music.