Choosing a Shady Beach Hat to Wear
on a Picnic

A Shady Sun Hat

Looking for a perfect beach hat to wear on a  picnic?

Don't just buy any old hat you see.

There are some fabulous sun hats to buy but a good one must not only look good it must protect you from the strong ultraviolet light as well. Wearing a hat for sun protection is particularly important on the beach where ultraviolet light is very strong. The sun and the sand reflect heat and glare where there is often no natural shade.

If you will be involved in any out-door activity for sometime like fishing, hiking, boating or just lying in the sun a good hat is essential.

Wearing a hat can help prevent skin cancer by protecting your face and neck from the sun. Find out more about skin cancer at the Cancer Council web site here. Your hat should also help to keep you cool by shading your eyes and face as well as helping to prevent headaches and eye strain.

When you are choosing a hat think of the protection it will give you as well as when and where you are going to wear it.

There are beach hats designed for every member of the family. You will find pages with ideas for choosing sun hats for men, women and children.

Discover the best hat for you.

Sun Hats for Children

Sun Hats for Men

Sun Hats for Women

The Brim of a Beach Hat

  •  Look for a wide brim that shades your eyes and the back of your neck.
  • A brim at least 3" (7.5 cm) wide will  give you the best sun protection.
  • One that can be angled downwards will shield your face for more hours of the day.
  • Sports caps are very popular especially with men but they do nothing to protect your neck or your ears. A prime target for developing skin cancers later in life.
  • Sun hats for women can include some with glamorous, extra large brims. If you are considering one of these remember that the brim can easily catch the wind so you may have to compromise a bit.
  • If you will be standing in the sun all day a hat with neck flaps will give extra protection to your neck as well as your head. These are great for fishermen, walkers or boaties and anyone sensitive to the sun especially babies and young children.

The Fabric of a Beach Hat

When you are choosing a hat look for the best fabric

  • Beach hats in a cool, breathable fabric with good ventilation keep your eyes shaded and your head cool. Straw or raffia hats have been popular though the ages for this reason but are not very durable and crush easily.
  • Good modern hats are made from a fabric rated with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor. Fabric that has UPF rating of 50+ will give you maximum protection and is now used for swimwear as well as sun hats so look out for this rating. This is particularly important for children. Babies and children have delicate sensitive skin. They burn easily and can also be sensitive to sun protective creams. It is quick and easy to protect their heads and faces with a hat.
  • Some hats have a mesh panel for ventilation in the sides of the crown. This may be an added bonus but beware if you are bald or shave your head. The gaps in the mesh may let in the solar rays ad burn your scalp.
  •  Many hats are soft and flexible. They can be  folded easily and stuffed in a bag but come out fresh and ready to go when you want them. Pack them in a suitcase or rucksack when you are traveling to the beach.
  • Pale colours are popular for beach hats but a white hat can get very dirty so cream or buff may be a better choice.
  • If you are buying a fabric hat make sure it is easy to wash and dries quickly. Sun hats for children particularly often need to be worn in the water. On a very hot day it is useful to be able to wet your hat for a really cool head. Find out more about sun hats for children here.

Spend a little extra money to buy a quality beach hat and it will last for years. It will mold itself to your head, maybe get a bit battered and worn but will become part of your personality.

Other Helpful Pages

Picnic Games

Picnic Tips

Picnic Sandwiches

Picnic Drinks