One of the best things about the summer is the opportunity to strut your stuff in your chic floppy hat. When you want to try your hand at a water sport, you have to leave your fashion-forward finds at home. When it comes to kayaking gear, it’s all about utility. Many of the hats that kayakers wear are the same ones that anglers wear, which can help broaden your options.

Hat Brim

The brim is one of the most important features on a sun hat, especially when you’re out on the water. The best brims are those that will keep their shape so that you can see where you’re going as you paddle. When it comes to rim size, think of a lifeguard- or gardener-style hat. The brims on those types of hats are oversized, full and help keep the sun off your face and neck. As you shop for hats, look for one that has a dark color on the underside of the brim because it will help reduce the glare from the water.


Chinstraps on a hat are usually not hot. However, if you want to keep your hat on during your kayaking trip, a chinstrap is a must-have. You never know if you’ll experience strong gusts of wind, a bumpy ride or a tipped kayak. The chinstrap on a kayak hat should be adjustable and feel comfortable. Some of the more comfy chinstraps are made out of leather.


The straw sun hat from your favorite department store is cute, but it can start to fall apart if it doesn’t have a waterproof outer shell. The better sun hats have an outer shell made from a synthetic, wicking material and an interior lining made out of cotton twill. These materials dry quickly when wet or if you break into a sweat. A waterproof kayak hat is also less likely to sink if you accidentally drop it into the water.


During the summer, the sun can be brutal. While a hat with a neck cape may not be your first choice, you might wish you had one if your neck feels like it’s under a heat lamp. The best sun hats come with a hidden neck cape that you can tuck up into the top of the hat and hide when you don’t need it. If you need somewhere to stash a bit of cash or lip gloss, look for a kayaking sun hat that has a hidden pocket. If you plan to use your hat frequently, choose one that is mildew resistant to help keep it from smelling and falling apart prematurely.


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