Sun Protection Clothing SunAWARE

Choosing the Perfect Sun Hat

 With so many sun hats to choose from, how do you narrow it down to the perfect one? The three most important factors to consider are: brim size and shape, material, and the activity for use.

Brim size is a fundamental factor in the level of UV protection provided by a sun hat. Most physicians recommend a minimum brim of 3 inches or greater. Coolibar sun protection hats range from 3 inches to 8 inches in brim size. Brim size is most important for blocking direct UV rays.  

The shape of the sun hat and brim also impacts the hat’s UV blocking ability. In some environments, there may be significant dispersed or reflected UV. This dispersed UV can bounce up underneath the brim of the sun hat and will often strike areas lower on your face such as your chin and cheeks. In general, brims that curve down and sit closer to your face will provide better protection against this reflected UV. For complete sun protection, it is best to also use sunscreen on your lower face area while wearing a sun hat.

Another approach to protecting against reflected UV is to wear a flap hat. Sun hats with flaps can almost completely protect your skin from reflected UV where the fabric lies on your skin – such as your ears and neck. Some sunblock hats with flaps have an extended neck flap that can wrap all the way around to the front of your face and provide excellent protection for your chin and cheeks.

The second key factor for UV protection is the material used to make the sun protection hat. Look for a hat constructed from material rated UPF 50+, meaning it will block 98% of the direct UVA and UVB falling on it. Cotton canvas typically provides good to excellent sun protection. Straw hats with a tightweave or fabric lining under the brim will keep your face shaded too.

One other factor that has a modest affect on sun protection is the color of the underbrim. A sun hat with a dark underbrim will absorb more reflected UV that could bounce down on to your face and thus provide more protection for your skin as well as help minimize UV and glare on your eyes.  

Finally, consider what you’ll be doing outdoors while wearing the hat. If you’ll be in a windy environment, opt for a hat with a locking chin strap. For water or other physical activities, look for a wicking or chlorine resistant hat material. And of course, for an outdoor wedding, picnic or other fashionable occasion go for the oversize brim that will provide excellent coverage and a stunning look.

If you consider these factors in selecting a sun protection hat, you can be confident your choice will provide excellent sun protection.  

Shapeable Pooliside Hat
Sun Hats for Women
Shapeable Wide Brim Hat
Sun Hats for Men
Girl's Chlorine Resistant Bucket Hat
Sun Hats for Kids


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July 20, 2012
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July 20, 2012


  • Mary Aparicio

    Why aren’t women’s hats offered in varying sizes like the men’s? I take an extra-large hat size so I don’t end up buying your hats. The women’s styles are lovely but…

    • aoberg

      Hi Mary,
      Here is a list of all Coolibar hats that we offer with a circumference of 23″ or greater:
      02559W Sun Hat 24″
      02249 Sun Shade Visor 23″
      02287 Wide Brim Sun Catcher Hat 23″
      02253 Tropicana Sun Hat 23″
      02252 Shapeable Travel Hat 23″
      02341 Everyday Sun Hat 23 1/4″
      02556W Reversible Bucket Hat 24″ (for the L/XL)
      02544W Beach Comber Sun Hat 24″ (for the L/XL)
      02284 Summer Sun Hat 23 1/4″
      02200 Everyday Cotton Hat 23″
      02251 Ruffle Edge Ribbon Hat 23″
      02523W Fairway Golf Hat 23 1/4 (for the L/XL); 24″ (for the XXL)
      02503W Straw Beach Hat 24″ (for the L/XL)
      02538W Discovery Wide Brim Hat 24″ (for the L/XL); 24 7/8″ (for the XXL)
      02532W Adventure Hat 24″ (for the L/XL); 24 7/8″ (for the XXL)
      02558 Featherweight Bucket Hat 23 5/8″
      02521W Chlorine Resitant Bucket Hat 24″ (for the L/XL)

      Also for more protection, we provide:
      02541W Lite Super Sport Hat 24″
      02552W Ultra Sport Hat 24 3/4″
      02553W All Sport Hat 24 3/8″
      02520W Chlorine Resistant All Sport Hat 24 3/8″
      02512W Chlorine Resistant Ultra Sport Hat 24 3/8″

      I hope this helps!

  • Bobbi J

    I, on the other hand would love to buy Coolibar hats, however, the women’s hat size do not go small enough to fit my head. I had bought a couple of white girl hats in Large/Extra large, but would prefer the styles that are offered for women.

  • Liz

    I also have a larger head.
    You listed the 02253 Tropicana Sun Hat, but in the description, it says a 22 1/4 cirm. Is there another model? It’s a very cute hat and would love to find one that fists.

    • aoberg

      Hi Liz,
      Thanks for asking. I would call our Coolibar customer service team between 7:30am and 6:00pm CST and inquire. They’re a very helpful group of gals! 1.800.926.6509.

  • Meredith

    It seems my head circumference is 21 3/4. Is there a woman’s style that will work, or a list I can see of the hat sizes for the packable hat or the regular sun hat?

    • aoberg

      Hi Meredith,

      For women, hat circumferences should be listed in the highlights next to the product image. Try our Shapeable Travel Hat perhaps? You should have a little extra space.

      Please let us know if you need any other suggestions!


  • Sarah

    I’m also in the camp of needing an XL women’s hat. I really wanted to purchase one of your hats, but I’d need one 26″.

  • Martin

    I believe we all need some knowledge about protection from the sun, specialy now, when summer started

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