Last Updated on 27/08/2023
What is the Best Bushcraft Hat?
In this guide to the best bushcraft hat, you will learn which hats will keep you warm and which will protect you from the sun and rain. We share practical tips and reviews to make sure you get a bushcraft hat that fits and can be worn all year round. We will try not to geek out over them too much.
All good bushcrafters know that one hat is better than two, and so most of this guide focuses on hats for bushcrafting you can wear year-round. These are typically wide-brimmed, and we explain the full reason why further down, but the key takeaway is that they protect you from sun and rain and are easy to pair with a warmer hat in winter.
There are times when you might want two bushcraft hats if the seasonal temperatures are drastically different. A bushcraft hat with a wide brim will protect you from the sun or rain, and a winter bushcraft hat will keep your head and ears warm when it’s cold. If you try and get one bushcraft hat to both insulate and protect, then you may end up with a hat that does neither particularly well.
Top 10 Best Bushcraft Hats
Tilley Wanderer Hat T3
- MATERIAL: 100% cotton duck with enzyme wash finish
- BRIM SIZE: Front & Back: 2 3/4 Inches; Sides: 2 3/8 Inches
- WEIGHT: 5.4 oz / 153 g
- PROTECTION: Sun, Wind, and Rain
The Tilley Wanderer Hat T3 is one of the best bushcraft hats around and really sets the standard for what to expect from your outdoor headwear. The cotton material is treated with a water-resistant finish that beads water straight off and has a hydrofil sweatband to wick moisture from the inside. This makes it ideal for wearing in the rain and snow as well as in the sun.
The brim is 2 3/4 inches on the front and back and 2 3/8 inches wide on the side, which provides all the sun protection you need for your face, ears, and neck. You have ventilation holes on either side which is great in summer, on a hike, or when getting a fire going. In addition to this, you also have a press stud beneath the vents which allows you to pin the sides up.
Inside the hat is a secret pocket where you can store small valuables or the drawcord when it’s not needed. Inside this pocket is a foam insert which has many benefits, one of which is the fact that this hat floats and won’t sink, which might be why boaters and fishermen like it so much too. Maintaining the waterproofing is easy and takes less than 5 minutes, and will last several months.
VERDICT: The Tilley T3 Wanderer is the Tilley Hat we would choose for bushcraft if we had to choose one of their many hat designs. The main reasons for this are the material, the features, the style, and the durability, which make it hard to beat. This is probably the world’s best cotton bushcraft hat, and it also ranked highly in our guide to Tilley hats.
Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero
- MATERIAL: GORE-TEX 3L Membrane, 70D 100% Nylon Shell, Polyester, and Tricot Lining
- BRIM SIZE: Front & Back: 3.75 Inches, Sides: 3 inches
- PROTECTION: Sun, Wind, and Rain
The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat is an awesome hat we have owned for many years and is the absolute best hat to wear when practicing bushcraft in the rain. You don’t even need a hood when you wear this hat, as water is dispersed over your shoulders. The Gore-Tex membrane makes this one of the most waterproof hats for bushcraft out there and certainly the most suited for rain.
The 3-inch wide brim is stiffened with foam and is perfect for dispersing rain away from you like an umbrella, and it also provides lots of sun protection. You can velcro the sides up, which gives the brim much more rigidity and keeps it out of the way if you are doing any activity where you lift your arms above your head.
You can get sizes small through to extra large and at least nine different color options that all look great and stand out amongst the green and brown bushcraft hats. I have the older version, which has an adjustable velcro strap on the inside, although this has now apparently been discontinued.
The inner lining is nice and soft, which adds some insulation beneath the membrane and the outer shell. This can be a good thing when it is cold out because it adds some warmth, but if you are wearing it as a sun hat, it can be quite sweaty. To counter this, I often end up wearing it balanced just on the back of my head when I’m hiking uphill or chopping wood.
VERDICT: If you want the best waterproof bushcraft hat to keep you dry without a hood, then this is number one. It is basically a hat made from the same material as a waterproof jacket and looks cool AF. The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero is best for rainy weather in spring, autumn, and winter. You can use it in summer, but for a sun hat, it lacks ventilation.
Stetson Waxed Cotton Flat Cap
- MATERIAL: 100% Waxed Cotton, Cotton Lining, Leather Visor
- PROTECTION: Bald Head Sun Protection and Rain
The Stetson Waxed Cotton Flat Cap is the bushcraft hat for anyone with a lack of hair on the top of their head who doesn’t want a big wide brim. This hat will sit comfortably on your head while you go about your bushcraft tasks like starting a fire, building a shelter, or setting traps. It never gets in the way of tasks or feels like a burden and will become a part of who you are.
The protection this hat offers isn’t great unless you have a bald head, in which case it is better than hair (joke). If you still have all your hair, then this waterproof flat cap is a great way to keep it dry. It adds a level of warmth that is appreciated in winter and is not a problem in summer. You can maintain its waterproofing by reapplying wax treatments, and this also adds to the patina, which improves over time.
VERDICT: If you are looking for the best flat cap for bushcraft, then Stetson is the place to start. There are dozens of different styles to choose from but we really like the waxed cotton flat cap or the Oily Timber Leather Ivy Cap which both offer some additional weather protection as well as being very durable.
Whitepeak Possumdown Blended Beanie
- MATERIAL: 55% Merino Wool, 30% Possumdown, and 15% Nylon
- PROTECTION: Cold
The Whitepeak Possumdown Blended Beanie is a bushcraft hat I first saw on an episode of Ray Mears Survival and then managed to pick up while in New Zealand back in 2015. Possum merino wool blend hats are perfect for bushcraft because they are completely natural as well as some of the warmest in the world.
The hollow fibers of possum fur are similar to polar bear fur in that they are crazy insulative. Blend that with merino wool, and you have a wool hat that will perform in all weather and is ten times better than any other beanie you have owned. The durability is great; however, if you snag it, you will need an experienced knitter to fix it.
VERDICT: Possumdown beanies are the wool hat of choice for bushcrafters in freezing cold weather. They don’t offer any kind of shade for your face, and rain will soak through, but they will always keep you warm and never let you down. If you are trying to imagine what Possumdown feels like, imagine a super lightweight, breathable, and fluffy cashmere/alpaca scarf wrapped around your head.
Outback Trading 1497 River Guide Hat
- MATERIAL: 100% Cotton Oilskin
- BRIM SIZE: 2.75 inches
- PROTECTION: Sun, Wind, and Rain
The Outback Trading 1497 River Guide Hat has a very similar shape and style to the Tilley Wanderer T3 but is just a little bit stiffer and holds its shape a little better. The brim is not quite as wide, and it doesn’t have the same rugged outdoor look, but it is very smart and will hold up just as well. You get two ventilation holes on each side as well as a pop stud clip to pin the sides up.
This hat is treasured by anglers because it floats in water and is completely waterproof if maintained regularly. You can completely scrunch it into a ball, and it will spring back to shape, unlike some other cotton hats, which will require some straightening. There is a stash pocket inside and an adjustable chin strap to keep your hat secure in strong winds.
VERDICT: The Outback Trading 1497 River Guide Hat is rugged and stylish with a bit of an Indiana Jones vibe about it. Its best quality is the rigid shape that it holds and springs back to every time without ever feeling floppy or scruffy. If you want a bushcraft hat for camping and outdoor work, then this is definitely a contender worth thinking about.
Fjallraven Helags Cap
- MATERIAL: G-1000 Original fabric: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
- BRIM SIZE: 3.5 inches
- PROTECTION: Sun and Rain
The Fjallraven Unisex Helags Cap is made from the renowned G-1000 fabric which is known to be some of the toughest materials for bushcraft. Properties of Fjallravens G-1000 include being hardwearing, breathable, and designed to be treated with Greenland Wax, which means you can control how waterproof it is.
The fit is adjustable and very comfy when wearing it, and the wax warms up, but when you put it on for the first time in the day, it often feels a little stiff – I like this as it really molds to the shape of your head for maximum comfort and grip so that it doesn’t fall off when you bend down.
While this doesn’t offer 360-degree protection from the sun and rain, you can rotate it in any direction so that the peak blocks the sun, which is why I often wear mine facing backward to protect my neck. The difference between this and a regular baseball or trucker cap is its waterproofing and durability which are more than one level up.
VERDICT: If you want a bushcraft cap instead of a full-brim hat or wool beanie, then the Fjallraven Helags Cap is our top recommendation. The fabric is highly resistant to being damaged, so you can make sure it lasts a long time. The inside doesn’t have any kind of insulation, which is great for year-round use so long as it isn’t too cold.
Columbia Bora Booney Hat
- MATERIAL: 50% Ripstop Nylon, 50% Cotton
- BRIM SIZE: 3 inches
- PROTECTION: Sun, Wind, and Heat
The Columbia Bora Booney is a classic hat style for hiking and fishing, but this is one of the best summer bushcraft hats due to its breathability and fast-drying fabric. The ventilation strip around the top still provides UPF 50+ protection while keeping your head as cool as can be. You can wear this hat in the water, while hiking, and at camp when taking care of the bushcraft duties like fire and shelter.
The adjustable design can be operated with one hand to tighten or loosen the hat around your head, so you don’t have to worry about any precise head measurements before you buy. You also get a toggle chin strap to make sure you never have to comically chase your hat in the wind.
VERDICT: When you put this hat on, your head feels instantly cooler, thanks to Columbia‘s Omni Shade technology. In bushcraft scenarios, this is what you want, as it means you can regulate your temperature and make better decisions. The Columbia Bora Booney is one of the few hats you can just throw in the washing machine with all your other bushcraft clothes.
SITKA Gear Incinerator GTX Hat Optifade Elevated II
- MATERIAL: 100% Polyester Shell, GTX Waterproof Membrane, High Loft Berber Fleece Lining
- PROTECTION: Cold, Sun, Wind, and Rain
The SITKA Gear Incinerator GTX Hat is mostly used by hunters because it is so adaptable. This makes it great for bushcrafters too. You can wear it like a cap to keep the sun or rain out of your eyes, you can roll down the side flaps to keep your ears warm or strap them up so that you can hear every sound. The material itself is silent also, just in case you are hunting and want to avoid spooking any prey.
The GTX waterproof lining makes this bushcraft hat 100% waterproof, like the Outdoor Research Sombrero above. The sherpa fleece lining is warm and comfortable for your ears on cold days and can be rolled up when not needed, The camo pattern helps you blend into the forest if you are trying to be stealthy, but it also looks really cool too.
VERDICT: If you are a bushcrafter that enjoys hunting, then this might be the hat for you. The SITKA Gear Incinerator GTX Hat is completely waterproof and will keep you warm as well as keep the sun and rain out of your eyes. Is it worth the money? You tell us.
Fjallraven Abisko Summer Hat
- MATERIAL: G-1000® Lite: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
- WEIGHT: 85 g
- BRIM SIZE: Front & Back: 3.75 Inches, Sides: 3 inches
- PROTECTION: Sun, Wind, and Rain
The Fjallraven Abisko Summer Hat is an awesome prepper and survival hat that bushcrafters seem to really love. It uses a slightly more lightweight version of the G-1000 fabric that is used on the Fjallraven Helags Cap, which is great for hot days. The hat is nice and cool to wear in direct sun but does not have any ventilation at the top, which is a shame.
You can pop the sides up using press studs and keep it firmly on your head using the chin strap, which is great in strong winds on top of mountains. The shape is similar to the Tilley Wanderer, but the top panel is less narrow so that the hat sits slightly deeper on your head. This is not a problem, though, as you can simply adjust the angle so that it sits how you like.
The hat is not very water-resistant from brand new, but with a little bit of Greenland Wax, you can soon make it completely waterproof. You may choose not to do this to preserve the breathability, but we think the pros outweigh the cons.
VERDICT: The Fjallraven Abisko Summer Hat would not be our first choice for bushcrafting for the simple reason that it is quite pricey, and I prefer to wear it at the lake or in the garden. That being said, I have dropped it onto the embers of fire before, and it didn’t have a mark on it, so I have no doubt it is durable enough.
Dorfman Pacific Outback Hat
- MATERIAL: 52% Cotton, 48% Polyester
- BRIM SIZE: 2.7 inches
- PROTECTION: Sun, Wind, and Rain
The Dorfman Pacific Outback Hat is a nice lightweight bushcraft hat that has the bushcraft look and rugged qualities we like to see. The cotton and polyester blend is rigid enough to easily hold its shape and is nice and breathable for hot weather. The material is water-resistant when you get it, but you will want to add some additional wax if you want it to stay dry.
The top panel of the hat is formed a bit like a donut, with a dip running around the rim and a raised mound center. This isn’t great for pooling rainwater, but so long as you apply a good layer of wax, it should keep you dry. The price is very reasonable in comparison to other bush hats, although for just a little more money, you can almost take your pick.
The newer model comes with a cotton cord with a wooden toggle, but the older version has a leather cord with a leather toggle. I have only tried the older model, so I cannot comment on the new one, although I am pretty sure everything else is the same, including the main fabric.
VERDICT: We have met many other bushcrafters who love the Dorfman Pacific Outback Hat, so we had to include it out of fear of the backlash from the bushcraft community. Joke, we know it’s actually a good hat, but I prefer my others, mostly because the material feels a bit rubbery but also because I am a bit biased on this one.
Different Types of Bushcraft Hats
There are loads of different types of hats you can wear for bushcraft, and there is no rulebook on what is and isn’t technically a bushcraft hat. Here are some of the different types of bushcraft hats and what makes them special:
Leather Bushcraft Hats
Leather bushcraft hats are naturally rugged and protective, as well as offering lots of other benefits for outdoors people. Cowboy hats around the world have long used leather for their hardwearing properties. Leather holds its shape very well and doesn’t require any additional wire to keep the brim in place. Leather gets better with age, both in looks and in how well it fits, as it can slowly stretch over time.
Waxed Cotton Buashcraft Hats
Waxed cotton hats for bushcraft are some of the better options if you want to stay dry. Waxed cotton is waterproof from new but can be improved and maintained using a special wax, which is a big plus. Waxed cotton is durable and lightweight as well as breathable and cheap, which is ideal for bushcrafters on a budget. The wax they use on waxed cotton has a very distinct smell which you will grow to appreciate, as well as the looks, which get better with age.
Wool Bushcraft Hats
The best type of wool for bushcraft hats is merino wool which offers the most benefits. You can also get merino wool possum blends that are even better but have to be specially made in New Zealand, and so cost a premium. Wool bushcraft hats are used in the winter to keep your ears from freezing and prevent heat loss through your head. Every bushcrafter should own at least one wooly hat, even if they only wear it for a couple of months out of the year.
Sun Protection Bushcraft Hats
Sun protection hats help to prevent sunburn on your forehead, nose, ears, neck, cheeks, lips, and even the top of your chest with a wide enough brim. All of the bushcrafting hats in this guide provide at least UPF 50+ and will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sun hats make much more sense than covering your face in sun cream, which then drips into your eyes when you sweat and sting. Sun hats also help to keep you cool, which is vital in extreme heat.
Waterproof Bushcraft Hats
Waterproof hats for bushcraft are what it is all about for us at Gear Assistant. We like a wide-brimmed hat made from waxed cotton or with a Gore-Tex membrane which works better than a hood and is more convenient than an umbrella. Rain simply bounces off your hat, which keeps it out of your face and stops it from running down the back of your jacket.
Bushcraft Flat Caps
Flat Caps are often associated with farmers and the countryside but have recently come back into style in the mainstream too. They don’t offer a large area of protection, but they are ideal for bald heads or as an alternative to a cap or beanie. They cover the top of your head and have a small brim at the front, which will keep rain and the sun out of your eyes most of the time. One benefit of flat-cap bushcraft hats is that you can wear them underneath a hood.
Oilskin Bushcraft Hats
You might be wondering what an Oilskin hat is. Oilskin was created in 1898 by a New Zealander who painted some fabric with linseed oil and wax. It was mainly used by sailors and today has been adopted by bushcrafters, survivalists, and preppers for different types of garments. Oilskin hats are fantastically waterproof and provide excellent durability in tough environments.
Camouflage Bushcraft Hats
Bushcraft hats with camouflage patterns are sought out by military and ex-military, as well as hunters and people who appreciate camo. Camo not only looks great and represents a call to the wild, but it also provides valuable benefits. There is no surprise that camo hats are much more discreet, and should you ever need to remain unseen, a tilted camo hat will completely hide your face and blend into the background.
Bug Out Hats
Bug-out hats are basically bushcraft hats you can keep in a bug-out bag ready to go in case the time ever comes. I personally like to keep my hat on top of my bag so that I can put it on right before I throw the backpack over my back and head for the front door. Again, I like to keep a wide-brim hat for sun and rain as well as a warm wool hat for winter.
Deer Stalker Hat
Deerstalker hats have a very specific style and design, which can only be described as double-brimmed hats. It looks like a cap with an extra peak at the back to block the sun from your face and your neck, which actually makes a lot of sense. It has traditionally been used by duck hunters and deerstalkers in the rural countryside and is not a common type of hat you will have seen.
Trapper hats were customarily made out of fur and used by hunters, trappers, outdoorsmen, and bushcrafters to keep warm in temperatures well below freezing. They commonly have two straps that attach under the chin for extra warmth and are still used to this day in places like Alaska. Nowadays, you get synthetic trapper hats that follow the design but with modern materials, including waterproof laminates and wool as opposed to fur.
Guide to Bushcraft Hats
So now that we know about most of the different types of bushcraft hats people use, it’s time to discover what makes a bushcraft hat the best for practical reasons. Here are some of the features and qualities we took into consideration when deciding which hats to include in this guide and which to leave out:
Getting the right fit for your bushcraft hat is important, but I think some people make it out to be more of a big deal than it is. Most reputable hat brands will have detailed instructions on how to measure your head and match those measurements to their sizing system. If they don’t, then having some kind of adjustability is a big advantage.
A well-fitted hat feels just like a pair of well-fitted shoes but for your head instead of your feet. It sits right, isn’t too big or too tight, and won’t fall off when you tip your head. My advice would be to go down to your local outdoor shop and try on a bunch of different-sized hats to find one that fits. Once you have found this, you can use those measurements to order any hat you like.
As we have mentioned multiple times throughout this guide, the type of material you choose will influence the type of protection you will get. Leather is malleable, tough, and improves over time, whereas cotton is softer and easier to wash. Waxed cotton, however, offers lots of benefits for bushcraft hats, but it won’t keep you warm as a wool hat will. Decide when and where you will most likely be using your hat and try and match the qualities to the specifications you need.
Waterproofing is really important for anyone who works and plays outdoors, so you can choose between a number of different options. Leather and waxed cotton are naturally waterproof but will need maintenance to keep up the protection over time. Waterproof fabrics require next to no maintenance, which is great until it degrades over time, and there is nothing you can do about it. I personally like both my Outdoor Research Gore-Tex Sombrero and my many waxed cotton hats, although I feel the Goretex has been more consistent.
Sun protection is another important feature of bushcraft hats and is one of the main reasons why so many outdoor folks choose a wide-brimmed hat. We have tried to include brim size as much as possible throughout this guide so that you can make an educated guess on the amount of shade that will be created.
Most fabrics are at least UPF 50+, and all the hats we recommend for bushcraft and survival meet this criterion. Your head will be noticeably cooler when wearing a hat in direct sun, and you will also save yourself from having to cover your face in sun cream. Suncream in your eyes stings, and a good bushcraft sun hat will stop this from ever happening.
Breathability is vital for bushcraft hats in the summertime or when you are exerting yourself to levels of perspiration. You need somewhere for the heat to escape. Otherwise, you will start to sweat which uses precious minerals that will need to be replaced. Sweating in cold weather can be even more dangerous as it cools and chills you from the inside out.
Both the material itself and the presence of ventilation panels or holes impact the breathability of a hat, so if you plan on hiking in it, then be sure to look at both these things. The only types of bushcraft hats I have found that suffer from a lack of breathability are those with a waterproof membrane and some that don’t have any ventilation.
If you are looking for a winter bushcraft hat that is insulated, then we recommend either the trapper style hat or a wool hat that covers your ears and prevents heat loss. You can, of course, use a neck buff under a wide-brimmed hat to keep your ears warm, but it’s often better to combine your hood with a beanie. As the cold months typically only last a quarter of the year, we think investing in a summer hat to be the bigger decision.
Windproofing can mean two things when we are discussing survival hats; wind-blocking protection and wind resistance to stay on your head. Most hats for preppers will do a fine job of blocking wind, and even though wool can let wind through, it still protects you from getting cold. Not all hats will have a chin strap which leaves them vulnerable to a wind attack.
Getting a well-fitted hat will add a good level of wind protection and so will have an adjustable headband that you can tighten in strong winds. A chin strap is the best way to ensure your hat doesn’t blow off, and you don’t always have to wear it up to your chin. You can just let it hang around your neck or even tuck it out of the way until you actually need it.
Not all bushcrafters hats are created the same, and so if you have some kind of natural material like cotton or leather, then you will need to maintain it over time to retain its qualities. Qualities like waterproofing, suppleness, and patina can be maintained indefinitely and even improved upon if you know what you’re doing. Fjallraven has their Greenland Wax, but there are plenty of products out there, like NikWax, you can use to maintain your hat’s benefits.
How to Measure your Head for Bushcraft Hats
The most reliable way to measure your head before buying a bushcraft hat is to use a tape measure. Place the tape measure so that the bottom touches your eyebrows and travels just above your ear in a straight line. Try not to come down at an angle at the back, and once you have gone all the way around, record the length on paper or a digital document.
For additional peace of mind, repeat the process again to make sure the numbers add up. Once you have done this, you should have a good average size to work with. Just for curiosities sake, put on a hat and measure your head at the angle your hat sits. If it is significantly larger, you can then add a little bit to your average to balance it out.
Wide Brimmed Hat Vs Bushcraft Cap
The decision between a wide-brimmed hat, a cap, or a beanie can be tough if you like them all. Wide-brimmed hats block lots of sun and rain as well as are ideal for hanging a bug head net over. Caps are much more convenient and compact, which makes them more practical for most bushcrafters. It all comes down to a matter of preference at the end of the day, so you have to weigh all the pros and cons when deciding between a wide-brim hat vs a cap for bushcraft.
What is the Best Type of Hat for Bushcraft?
The bushcraft hat that offers the most benefits for the longest amount of time throughout the year is a full-brim hat that is waterproof and breathable with a good fit. If you live in a place where it is cold for seven months of the year, then a wooly hat might be the best type, or if you live in the desert, then no doubt a sun-blocking hat with large vents and a chin strap will be best. Decide what you need first and then match the different types of hats to meet your expectations.
You don’t want a hat that will catch fire easily, or that cannot be repaired with some simple tools. A rugged outdoor hat made from dark colors to hide any marks is one place to start. Another way to go is to make one yourself using your bushcraft skills.
What is the Best Type of Hat for Survival and Prepping?
When recommending a survival hat for a bug-out bag, we weigh heavily on a few qualities that, include camouflage, durability, and practicality. If we had to pick just one prepper’s hat from this guide, it would probably be the trusty Tilley, followed by the Fjallraven Abisko in second place. The reason for these choices is that I know they will last a very long time with a little bit of care and attention. Just for the sake of argument, I would also grab a wooly hat in case the temperatures drop or for later in the year.
We hope you found this guide to the best bushcraft hat useful and entertaining. We know it went on a bit, but we just wanted to share all the useful information we have. Let us know your thoughts by getting in touch.