Even if you have no plans to go on an African safari, sporting a safari hat is a surefire way to mix up your wardrobe. Safari hats are a practical travel accessory, but they also afford anyone a look that is at once timeless and on trend.
Originally called a pith helmet because of the material with which it was made (a spongy plant material called sholapith), safari hats were first worn by European travelers and military in the mid-19th century. Since then, the use of materials has expanded from sholapith to cotton and leather, and the shape has evolved into a looser and more stylish version than its rigid, dome-like ancestor. However, one thing remains the same: Safari hats should effectively shade the head and face from the sun.
Find out what makes a great safari hat and then shop for the best safari hats for men and women whether you're trekking across East Africa or braving the urban jungle of the East Coast.
Safari Hat Must-Haves
Whether or not you're actually going on safari, wide-brim hats are essential for the most basic reason: sun protection. A quality hat with a three-inch brim or wider will effectively shield you from the sun's harmful rays much more than, say, a baseball cap. Even better, wide brims not only protect your face, but they also cover your ears and neck, which are areas that are often overlooked.
Safari hats are synonymous with adventure, so ease of packing is essential. Choose a hat that is crushable, meaning you can pack it flat and it will return to its original shape. This will ensure you can conserve valuable suitcase space, not to mention you won't have to worry about ruining the hat's shape even after lugging it around, shoving it in a backpack, or simply wearing it out in the elements.
When it comes to breathability, material is key. Cotton material and other natural fibers used in twill safari hats absorb moisture and allow airflow, which help dry out dampness and create an enjoyable hat-wearing experience.
Much like the mighty lion, comfort is king when it comes to choosing a safari hat. The perfect fit ensures that you'll enjoy the hat whether wearing it in your backyard on lazy Sunday afternoons or on an arduous hike across the African desert.
Safari Hat Nice-to-Haves
There's almost nothing more bothersome for hat wearers than the sensation that it’s about to fall off. Safari hats with a chin strap or cinch cord help keep your hat in place and allow the fit to be adjusted.
While not required, it's nice to have a safari hat that repels water. A fast-drying hat is especially handy when caught in wet weather such as a heavy rainfall.
Best Safari Hats for Men and Women
Richmond by Scala
When you’re on the hunt for the quintessential safari hat, look no further than Richmond by Scala. Crafted from crushable, water-repellent wool felt, this versatile headpiece features a 2 1/2-inch wide brim and feather-capped leather band. Available in black (seen), olive, and pecan.
Cod Father by Tommy Bahama
Go on your next outdoor adventure with this wide-brimmed, hand-woven panama hat by Tommy Bahama. Made in the USA, the Cod Father safari hat is equipped with a 3-inch brim, vented crown, and an elasticized COOLMAX® sweatband to ensure that you'll stay calm, cool, and collected, no matter how hot the day gets.
Montana by Stetson
A perennial favorite among travelers, this safari hat by Stetson is crushable, breathable, comfortable, and an effective shield against the sun thanks to The wide, sturdy brim protects against rain or sunshine whilethe moisture-wicking sweatband wipes away perspiration. Add the adjustable wind cord to keep the hat in place, and you have yourself a trusty travel companion.
Maltide by Scala
You know what to require from a safari hat, but don't be afraid to have fun with details. Enter this eye-catching women's straw hat by Scala featuring a leather band and tassel detail. The 4-inch brim is a reminder that this is indeed a sun hat intended to protect your face and neck. Plus, it's made of sustainable palm fiber and equipped with Adjustable Inner Velcro® to ensure a perfect fit.
Satipo by Indiana Jones Official®
A man of distinct style, that's what you are. This strikingly handsome wool felt safari by Indiana Jones is made in great quality and style. It's grosgrain band, leather sweatband, and satin lining proves that greatness is indeed in the details. Like cotton, leather is a natural fiber that works well in various temperatures and conforms to the wearer's head, making it as versatile as you are.
Astoria by Scala
Make the world remember you, whether at a festival or during another summer excursion. To ensure you leave your mark, bring this crushable straw safari hat by Scala along for the ride. Crushable and equipped with a UPF50+ sun protection rating, this hat is as functional as it is fashionable.
Go on a Safari
No matter where your travels take you — Botswana to Kenya, Bora Bora to Mexico, or across the U.S. — the right safari hat will be among your most treasured accessories to keep you comfortable and protected from the elements while complementing your own personal style. Take a look at the entire collection of mens safari hats and womens safari hats for your next adventure!