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Paddling hat recommendations

I am in the market to replace current and "well experienced" paddling hat. The attributes I seek are broad brim for good sun coverage, not hot to wear, stays put in wind, brim does not flop over my eyes when wet/windy and machine washable. I tried on 2 Tilley models yesterday, LT5B lightweight nylon and LTM5 Airflow. The first one does not have what I think is a goofy looking, but likely functional, vented top like the second. However each brim seems floppy. Local store does not have the TWS1 Paddlers Hat which lacks a chin strap bit does promise a stiff brim.

What says the collective wisdom about any manufacture's head gear to keep the UV off and stay on my head? I am almost 60, so function exceeds form.

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Comments

  • I am on my second Tilley, provided under warranty when the first started dying from UV exposure.
    Both are the LTM5 model. Good protection in sun, wind, and rain. The brims seem floppy until they are on my head.
    You are aware of the number of pissing contests on here over Tilley's?

  • edited May 9

    I'm on my third Tilley replaced after the other two had bad experiences in the washing machine. Wife has the red Paddlers hat. Works good. Floats when it blows off the deck on those rare times when not on head. Stayed on head during the 30 mph gust that hit us on the last Matanzas paddle. Keeps the water off my glasses when raining. Keeps the sun off my ears.

    Hats , like paddles, are very personal choices.

  • If you are Ok looking like you are on the British expeditionary forces in Africa, one of Outdoor Research Sun Runner hats (https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/mens/mens-hats/sun-runner-cap/p/2434330603006) would be good. This is what I wear the most.

    If rain is more of an issue than sun, the OR Seattle Sombrero (https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/mens/mens-hats/seattle-sombrero/p/2435050001009) would be good.

  • edited May 9

    The best no-flop, large brim sun hat that I have found is the Shelta. The brim is very stable, won't budge in the wind. I like the Seahawk model, but they have a few models: https://www.sheltahats.com/ . Some people don't like the "boonie" look, works for me.

    My second favorite is the REI paddler's hat. Looks good, brim is pretty stable but it can't handle the wind that the Shelta can:
    https://www.rei.com/product/126628/rei-co-op-paddlers-hat

    I'm in Florida, so the hats need to not only be wind-stable, but not trap too much heat either. That's the reason I usually don't like sun-runners and other "neck cape hats". My head bakes in them. I prefer a brim that allows you to feel a breeze,

    Greg

  • I carry two hats when I paddle in Sarasota, Florida. Most of the year I wear my OR Sombriolet. It's the lightest, coolest (temperature wise), biggest brim hat I own (and I own two Tilley hats). I use the REI Paddlers hat or a Tilley when the wind kicks up. I personally find the Tilley's too thick and hot to be my primary paddling hat in Florida.
    I will admit that the Sombriolet is not a good hat in the wind or rain as the brim is not as rigid as a Tilley. But the REI Paddlers Hat works fine in both of those conditions. As stated earlier, it's a personal choice (as is boats to paddles to just about everything kayaking).
    https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/mens/mens-hats/mens-sun-hats/sombriolet-sun-hat/p/2434410008009
    https://www.rei.com/product/126628/rei-co-op-paddlers-hat

  • edited May 10

    I use the REI bucket hat. I like it because I don't like big wide brims (I don't like to see the brim when I'm wearing it), and I do like the look of it on my head (which I can't say for most hats). It is reasonably priced at $30 and although not billed as a floater, it has in my experience floated well enough for me to retrieve it the few times it has come off (I don't like strings or ropes dangling around and cut the chin strap off my hats - I have gotten them entangled in my strobe on my rear lashtab before). The only time it has come off though is during a roll and even then, it usually stays on. It retains its shape after being stuffed into my gear bag. https://rei.com/product/110955/rei-co-op-bucket-hat

    I'm gonna have to check out those Shelta hats though.

  • I have been on a quest for a full brim hat for a while and picked up the Sunday Afternoons Compass hat a couple months ago. Its one of my favorite hats so far.

    Large brim, light top color, dark under brim, chin strap, elastic cinch, floats, has convertible vents for hot days. Not waterproof, but water seems to roll off it pretty well, not soak in right away.

    I wore it for 4 hours in mid-day california sun a couple weeks ago with no sunblock on my face or neck and did not get burned at all. A+ in my book.

    https://www.sundayafternoons.com/p/compass-hat/

  • Am liking the Shelta options due to internal brim stiffener and configurable chin strap. The Firebird V2 is most similar to my existing Boonie style's brim which is slightly more wide than any Shelta models. Nearest dealers are in Charleston, a good 60 mile drive from lovely Beaufort. Will likely save the fuel and drive time with on-line order V2 and Sea Hawk and return less suitable one.

  • Hi, Andy,
    I've been using a Dorfman Pacific hat (Safari model) for more than 30 years. It's still going but looking rather beat up these days. I purchased another Safari hat several years ago to replace it. The hat has a nice wide full brim that is stiff enough to hold up pretty well on windy days but a gust will collapse the sides temporarily. A chin strap keeps it on my head in the wind. The sides are made of mesh so it's not a rain hat. (I use a baseball cap under my rain jacket hood for those days.) The mesh lets it breath well during hot weather but it's probably not a good hat if you don't have all your hair. The brim soaks up sweat and ends up getting stained even if you wash it. It looks a bit urban at first but takes on a lot of character over time, =)

  • I have an REI hat similar to the one in the link. But the cape folds into the back of the brim, and has a pocket in the top that I keep a seperate head net and buff stored when they aren't being used. since i almost always leave the cape down the one in the link might be able to store those two Items in the top also. Paddled in high winds and rain It has done passably well though the brim could be stiffer.
    https://www.rei.com/product/126630/rei-co-op-sahara-outback-cape-hat

  • Andy, the Shelta hats are available on Amazon. Customer service has been excellent. I had one hat that developed an issue (the steel mesh over the vent holes rusted) and they replaced the hat with no questions asked. The replacement is doing fine, one year later.

    I have tried both the looser fitting "boonie" crown and the form-fitting five panel (baseball cap style) crown. I prefer the "boonie" crown as it seems a little cooler but it's a subtle difference. That said the Firebird style wasn't available when I bought mine. I do like the option of a larger brim on the Firebird, but haven't had any issues with the brim coverage on the Seahawk.

  • edited May 10

    My wife loves her Tilley. She found it at a yard sale for "1 or 2 dollars". Brand new; never worn.
    I wouldn't wear one if somebody gave me a new one.
    If I want a hat to wear when it's raining; I wear an REI rain hat.
    If I want full coverage to save my face from UV wear & tear; I wear a straw hat, which I think cost me 25 or 30 bucks, and I look so damn good in it! :)
    Cloudy to partly sunny, no rain............ball cap.
    Cold days it's one of a variety of wool or fleece, stocking hats.



    BOB

    PS. I never pass up an opportunity to attempt to aggravate Tilley lovers. But if it works for you; go for it!

    "I love the way you wear that hat"!
    "You don't know nothing"!
    James Dickey's Deliverance dialogue.

  • I have a Seattle Sombrero for old rain.

  • I found a Watership on sale at West Marine years ago.
    It is my go-to paddling hat.
    I save my Tilley for date night....

  • @string said:
    I have a Seattle Sombrero for old rain.

    Cold rain

  • Recommendation: wear one regardless of brand with a full brim.
    Or have bad things burned or cut off your head every 6 months so they don't become really bad things.

  • @string said:
    Recommendation: wear one regardless of brand with a full brim.
    Or have bad things burned or cut off your head every 6 months so they don't become really bad things.

    I always hated hats... now they are cutting on me... now I wear hats...

  • Me too.

  • Spur of the moment purchase at a local outfitter a couple of summers ago. Wide brimmed Patagonia. It works.

  • String, love the Seattle Sombrero for rain and cold, but it doesn’t matter how “old” the rain is.

    I use visors because even vented hats are too hot. If I decide to wear a sun hat due to needing more of a brim (for weeding), I bought a straw “lifeguard hat” from NRS. It is not what you might assume. It is almost as brimmy as a Mexican sombrero. Not waterproof, so I won’t use it for paddling.

  • Visors aren't much use if there is no hair on your head

  • @string said:
    Visors aren't much use if there is no hair on your head

    Like mine.

  • I recommend the Riverz Delta straw hat ("techstraw" = polypropylene). It's a C-crown fedora style, 3" brim holds up to wind well, good in the rain. Floats, washes clean (tar came off), has a chin strap, CoolMax sweatband, fairly well ventilated crown. Mine is 12 years old, might need to be replaced next year. Can be had in XXL, which is rare, has some style for a paddling hat, even more rare. There are a few other models, with up to a 5" brim: shop.sfhat.com/catalog/riverz-amphibious-hats

    This is it on the left:

  • @string said:
    Visors aren't much use if there is no hair on your head

    Sure they are. They help keep the sun out of your eyes.

  • @Rookie said:

    @string said:
    Visors aren't much use if there is no hair on your head

    Sure they are. They help keep the sun out of your eyes.

    I believe the subject had become UV skin damage but eyes are important.

  • Are we splitting hairs? :D

    Or hares? :o

  • edited May 13

    I've got a pile of wide brimmed paddling hats, because my wife goes to garage sales all the time. I thought her latest find would probably not be as practical as any of the others, but it felt right and for now it is my favorite. It's a J-hat from Denmark (Safari) and my guess is that it would be pretty spendy if store bought. I forget what my wife said she paid for it, but she's a tightwad when it comes to garage sales.

  • @pikabike said:
    Are we splitting hairs? :D

    Or hares? :o

    If we split hares, where do we put the guts?

  • If it's hot......and it usually is around here.....I dip the hat in the water and re-install it. Cools the head down.

  • My Tilley is good at that, as long as the water is clear.

  • Evaporative cooling.... I remember dessert bags that you would fill with water and hang them on the outside of your car to give you a supply of slightly cooled water should you need it..

  • Last time I needed a new hat I went to buy a Tilley, but was not impressed. The brims were too floppy and I was tired of paddling around with the brim pinned by the wind up against my forehead. I ended up buying a Sunny Day Charter hat.

    I've been under that hat a few years now and it shows little sign of wear. The brim has never been pinned up against my forehead by the wind. One little extra this hat offers is the glasses-holder slots that do a really good job of holding my sunglasses when I need a place to put 'em. That is a handy feature I've added to my hat requirements.

    ~~Chip

  • RexRex
    edited May 13

    This thread has been helpful to me. I bought an OR hat years ago; I guess it's the Seattle Sombrero; and set it on a shelf because the brim was way too wimpy in the wind. After reading this thread I took a hat inventory and realized the hat may be lousy for paddling but still make a fine, dry land, birding hat. Both sides of the hat can be easily velcroed up and away from the ears... all the better to hear the birds. When the rain starts or the sun gets mean just un-velcro. Thanks for the inspiration, y'all.

  • @carldelo said:
    I recommend the Riverz Delta straw hat ("techstraw" = polypropylene). It's a C-crown fedora style, 3" brim holds up to wind well, good in the rain. Floats, washes clean (tar came off), has a chin strap, CoolMax sweatband, fairly well ventilated crown. Mine is 12 years old, might need to be replaced next year. Can be had in XXL, which is rare, has some style for a paddling hat, even more rare. There are a few other models, with up to a 5" brim: shop.sfhat.com/catalog/riverz-amphibious-hats

    This is it on the left:

    My go to hat(s) are many like the one on the right.
    Always get them free, and they do a good , especially for swatting mosquitos and flys.
    if I lose one or wear one out, I just grab a new one from some salesman.

    When I am drinking "Pain Killers" with Grayhawk the night after paddling with him it is an absolute must that I wear my Pusser's British Rum hat compliments of him.

    I even have a camo one that I won in a canoe race. I guess I am supposed to wear that if I am paddling in enemy territory, but normally wear it out in the woods when I am using my chain saw. That way I can be one of the "Real Mountain men" !

    But my absolute favorites are several of my Adirondack 90 miler hats. If i die of skin cancer I want to be buried or cremated with the blue one on

  • RexRex
    edited May 13

    Glad you said something, Jack. I’da put this on your head:

  • In the warmer seasons especially, I like this Academy Boonie hat. It's cotton so I can dunk it and it stays wet for a while. The 3 inch brim (I don't like less here in Texas) has foam inside, which makes it float and provides stiffness. If you button up the sides in the wind, the front brim gets even stiffer. I maschine washed mine before. And it's only 20 bucks. Mine's olive, a color I don't see right now on their website:

    https://tinyurl.com/y5z7ukg9

  • @Rex said:
    Glad you said something, Jack. I’da put this on your head:

    Up hwy 80...…….you the man.

  • RexRex
    edited May 14

    Hey Overstreet, I hope you're saying JACK is the man. He's the real mountain man as far as I'm concerned. If I'm not mistaken he completed the Assault 17 times. A very appropriate paddling/pedaling hat to be buried in I think.

  • edited May 14

    I was there three weeks ago. Plenty of climbing turns on a narrow hwy with the likes of me in my big truck loaded with sea kayaks, being passed by sporty cars that must go twice the speed limit. Brave if nothing else. But quite impressive.

    Only pic I have of summit in this phone.

  • I use two different hats. On calm days I use the Columbia Breezer Two. They don't last as long as Tilleys but are cooler. The three inch brim is rather floppy.

    I also have a Cabela's flats cap. It is a long billed cap with a cape on the back. The oddly placed mesh panels actually work well and the cape is good for keeping the sun off of you ears and neck. The bill doesn't fold down on windy days or in the fast boat. The cape can also roll up and store in a pocket in the hat, when not needed.

    What hat depends on your paddling venue and water time. Tampa has a need for a larger amount of sun protection and coolness than most places.

  • I’m a big fan of the “Real Deal Brazil” hats. They look good, are almost indestructible and are cheap. They have cool history too.
    The addition of a cord for wind would be a good add on. One thing bad is that they don’t float.

  • edited May 16

    Tilley needs to put the stiff brim in their regular hats OR keep the double strap in their paddling hat model. Why would they do something so stupid? They built their company on a hat that sailors could use with dual straps for windy conditions. Then they take their paddling hat, add the stiff brim that has been needed for years, and then REMOVE the double strap? Gawd.

    I emailed them about this, they did not seem interested.

  • Timely discussion! I had been leaning towards a Tilley but was having problems finding one locally that was big enough (need size 8). Saw the comments about the floppy brim in the wind and decided to look at other options. Learned about the Shelta's from this thread and found a local dealer so I could check them out. Ended up getting a Shelta Seahawk, no way that brim is going to get blown around and the XXL fits just right.

  • The reason I wear a Tilly is because a size 8 fits me and I couldn't find an off the rack hat that did, except the Seattle Sombrero and it isn't a summer hat.

  • The Sombreros come in a nylon lined version that works OK for summer (I have one of each, the nylon for warm weather and the fuzzy-lined for cooler,) So far they have been my favorited paddling hat but I must admit that Shelta Seahawk looks pretty good, especially the venting grommets. Though the 3" brim on the Shelta is an inch narrower than the 4" newer Sombreros (my first Sombrero, 8 years ago, was 3" and I prefer the wider one).

  • I recently purchased an Outdoor Research Sun Runner. Most expensive hat I've ever purchased, at about $CAD 40. Though it should cost less for what it is, I really like it. I just got back from paddling 5 days of open water hot sun. Wearing this hat I didn't feel "baked" at day's end.

  • Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero. Decent brim, waterproof, wears hard and it floats.

  • I just got my Grandson an OR Sun Runner for his BD. He wanted a Tilley , but they are a bit pricey for someone with a growing head.

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