It’s Memorial Day weekend so the weather is perfect for Pickleball. With that being said, I realized I needed a new hat since this will be the first time I play Pickleball exclusively outdoors over the next few months.  After checking my closet, I found a few old Nike ball caps I used a few years ago when playing tennis outside.  Unfortunately, these baseball hats don’t have an UPF sun protection.  So, I decided to see what else is available to provide better protection for my head and face.  Below is what I learned about the best sun protection hats for sports. 

But first here is a quick review of all of the sun protection hats to be covered in this review.   They range from a baseball cap style to bucket hats to skull caps and floppy hats.  I admit some of these may not be the best for the Pickleball court.  However, some are very useful when you are waiting to play.

Before you select one of the best sun protection hats for sports, here is a couple of things to keep in mind.

Brim

The brim refers to the part of the hat that’s sticking out from the crown to shield your eyes from the sun’s rays. You want to make sure you get a brim that’s large enough to protect your eyes, nose, and preferably your neck. However, it shouldn’t be so large that it obstructs your peripheral vision.

If you’re used to packing your hat for trips, a supple brim would be better as it can be easily stuffed into your bag. However, a stiff brim tends to stay out of your vision which helps to keep your eyes on what’s important.

UV Protection

Since you’re getting a sun protection hat, why not get one which offers UV protection as well? Spending long hours in the sun means prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.  But wearing material that actually protects you from UV radiation is beneficial to your health in the long run.

You want to ensure that your sun protection hat has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of at least 30. This blocks out almost 95% of ultraviolet radiation.

Ventilation

Wearing a sun protection hat that lacks ventilation can be agony during a hot summer day. Keeping your head cool in the midst of sports or outdoor activities is not just pleasurable. It is essential to make the most of your abilities.

You must ensure that your sun protection hat offers adequate ventilation and breathability for a more comfortable experience with the outdoors.

Originally I was going to write two separate posts on the best sun protection hats for sports.  One for men and a second for women.  I decided not to do this when looking at the options for hats since most are unisex and will fit women and men.

FitKicks Folding Cap

While I’ve never heard of the FitKicks brand, this hat has all of the features I like in a hat.  It is a baseball cap with a long brim.  So, it provides significant sun protection while I’m on the Pickleball courts.  The brim is also a trifold so it I can fold it up a put it in the side pocket of my bag for quick use.

The FitKicks folding hat has all of the sun protection I need at UPF 50+.  In other words, I will get far more protection than if I’m wearing my Nike hat.  The Fitkicks hat comes in 10 different colors and is also adjustable.  This works out great for me since I usually wear a women’s hat since they are smaller.  All and all I plan to purchase this hat as the style suits me and it offers sun protection.

Columbia Unisex Booney

The Columbia Unisex Booney is made using a nylon-poplin hybrid material. This weave keeps the hat durable and strong while still keeping it lightweight and easily foldable.  The Booney also features a sweat-wicking technology that helps to absorb moisture by capillary action. This helps to keep your head sweat-free and cool while you’re wearing the hat. It comes with an easily attachable drawstring closure that allows for a variety of head sizes.

The brim is large enough to protect your eyes and nose and yet not so large that it obstructs your vision. This hat comes with a UPF 50+ protection which ensures maximum protection from ultraviolet radiation.  In addition to these features, the booney also comes with a mesh vent on the crown. This vent allows for the entry of breeze and keeps your head aired and cool throughout the day.

Stevie Ultra Sun Hat

The Stevie Ultra, from Coolibar, comes with their trademark Light Fabric that’s breathable, soft, and lightweight; perfect for resting on your head.  This hat comes with a foldable neck drape at the back that can be unfastened to protect your neck and shoulders from the sun. So if it is really hot on the courts, this would be ideal!

In addition to the neck drape, the Stevie Ultra also comes with a removable face drape that can be attached to the front of the hat to shield your face. The face drape is ventilated to ensure maximum breathability.   I don’t see much use for this on the Pickleball court but thought I would still mention it.  All the material used comes with UPF 50+.

And unlike the chin straps on most sun protection hats, this one has a clip-on chin strap which is removable. Chin straps tend to get annoying when they’re not fastened, but with this hat you can take off the chin strap when it isn’t being used and quickly slip it back on when you need it.

The crown comes with an adjustable cord as well for a more comfortable fit.

Etta Shapeable Suncatcher Hat

The Etta Shapeable Suncatcher Hat, as the name suggests, can be easily modified to make for a surprisingly comfortable fit.   The Lite Fabric technology used in its construction makes for a lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying sun hat. The crown of the hat has an elastic string running through it with a toggle at the center on the back of the hat for maximum adjustment. In addition, the brim can be easily shaped to suit your preferences.

To secure the hat, all you have to do is tighten the chin strap to where you’re comfortable and secure it in place using the locking toggle. It’s a simple yet highly customizeble hat, making it a pleasure to carry with you during outdoor activity.

Coolibar Reversible Bucket Hat

Coolibar makes a variety of sun protection hats and the reversible bucket hat is one of their ingenious designs. It’s got a UPF of 50+ which ensures extreme protection against ultraviolet radiation. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor, and a UPF of 50+ happens to block 97.5% of the ultraviolet radiation!

This hat is highly flexible in terms of size and uses a drawstring from the headband to secure the hat to a variety of head sizes.  It’s excellent for packing into your sports bag as the brim isn’t fixed but supple and can be easily folded to fit into tight spaces. The brim also happens to be fairly large, ensuring that your face is well protected as well.

The reversible bucket hat also offers excellent ventilation through air holes and perforated panels, helping to keep your head cool throughout the game.  And finally, this hat can be turned inside out and worn in two different styles.

Adam’s Headwear Extreme Condition Hat

Aside from the sleek bedouin-look, this hat also offers unparalleled protection from the sun’s rays.  It comes in 6 different colours and an elastic cord that can be attached to your shirt for added stability. This ensures that your hat doesn’t get in the way of any lunges, dives, or shots you’re going for during outdoor activity.

The hat comes with an attached ‘cape’ of sorts that is attached to the back of the hat and draped over your neck and upper back.   This helps to keep your head cool while also shielding your neck and ears from the sun’s rays. How’s that for UV ray protection?   In addition to this, the hat comes with a UPF 50+ rating and is stitched with several mesh panels running throughout. This ensures a cool head even during the warmest afternoons. The hat also has a low profile crown, unlike most sports protection hats which tend to obstruct our vision.

Under Armour Men’s Vent Bucket Hat

Made up of 84% polyester and 16% elastane, this vent bucket hat from Under Armour is both comfy and stylish to sport. It comes with a UPF of 30+.  This is less than the other hats on this list, but it still offers excellent protection from UV rays (blocks out 96%).

This hat uses Under Armour’s famous Armour Vent technology.   This means it has breathability through a light and stretchy fabric. This fabric is also fast-drying, which can be a real relief during long games in the sun when you start sweating excessively. The metal logos on the back of the hat are also arranged in a way to foster air flow, which further improves breathability of the hat.

This hat also comes with an adjustable drawstring, which you can tighten up during a game for stability, and loosen easily while you’re relaxing.  The brim of this hat is quite large and yet unobtrusive. It’s perfect for protecting your neck and ears, and yet small enough to not get in the way of a game.

Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

The Sombriolet sun hat is, by far, one of the best sun hats on the market today. The brim comes with enough stiffness to remain upright and yet feels light and airy.  The crown comes with venting on four sides to keep your head cool while on the courts. It also comes with an adjustable drawstring running through the base of the crown if you require a tighter fit. In addition to this, the hat also has a chin cord that can be tightened around the chin for an even more snug fit.

The underside of the brim is dark grey in color, which helps to reflect all that glare that’s reflected upward from the ground.  This hat comes in various sizes with a wide range of adjustment in each size. You can get this hat in either “Sand”, “Dusk Blue”, or “Pewter Grey” colors.   In addition to all of this, the Sombriolet sun hat has two neat loops sewn into the brim where you can remove and reattach the chin cord easily. And of course, this hat is rated UPF 50+.

Summary

Hopefully this review of the best sun protection hats for sports helps you to choose one that fits your needs.  As I mentioned earlier in the post, I plan to purchase the FitKicks folding cap.  I’m used to wearing a baseball hat so I think this will be comfortable for me.  Plus, I will get the needed sun protection I was missing from my baseball cap.

For others, I researched some different styles which may be appealing.  Some of these will be great for the Pickleball courts. Others of the best sun protection hats for sports will be better while you are waiting for your next game.

Get Notified About Pickleball Tournaments Near You. Sign Up Below:

 

Subscribe to the Pickleball Fire Podcast