The four hats that are key to camping

In the interests of both being prepared AND packing minimally, I have optimized my camping hats down to just 4 essential hats that I take on nearly every camping trip and are also useful when not camping. Each has a particular purpose and a few good times to wear on each trip.

Hat 1: A crushable straw hat

This hat is good for keeping sun off my face and neck and for looking cute either with traditional camping gear or with a cute dress or outfit for a day or night in town. I wear it to walk and picnic anywhere we go along the way. This is also a hat I use a fair amount on other types of vacations and general spring/summer days because it is good for the city or the beach and always looks fresh.

Hat 2: A crushable hiking hat

This hat is also good for keeping away the sun from my face and neck and also helps to keep away the bugs. It has a strap that keeps it tight in the wind and I love to wear it boating and hiking. The strap can be looped into my life jacket when kayaking and into my pack when hiking, so it helps to keep it from blowing away if it gets REALLY windy. This hat is great at home when I’m gardening. It has SPF 50 sun protection built in.

Sombriolet Sun Hat

Hat 3: My foldable rain hat

This little hat has a brim that folds in half, to make it super useful to tuck into your pocket and whip out on a day when it suddenly rains. Even when I’m wearing my heavy raincoat with a hood, the brim helps keep the rain off my face.

Hat 4: A fleece hat with earflaps

This hat packs up small and is the perfect thing to have along to stay warm when the temps drop.

These 4 hats essentially can be stacked into one another to take up a minimal amount of space when packing and the combo of them can see me through any situation where I need a head covering. Three of them (all but the fleece) are from Outdoor Research, who make some of my favorite gear.