Different hats for different weather and some of this might depend on where you are walking and also how you might feel.

I am not a great hat person. I love wide brimmed hats for weddings, but most winter hats make me look like ‘Bill and Ben’ – showing my age there!! I wish I could wear beanie type hats, but I really don’t suit them. However, there are times when I don’t care what I look like.

Hats are there when walking mainly for protection. Whatever type of hat, they protect your scalp and hair from the elements and also keep your body temperature steady, adding heat to your head in the winter and keeping you cooler in the summer.

Whatever the weather though, because they are on your head, your hair might not look the same after. Mine usually ends up flattened.


In winter you want a hat that will come down over your ears, woollen hats are good here – the beanies that I mentioned earlier and also the colourful hats that are often worn in some of the South American countries that have the ear flaps and often also tie under your chin. Often these and other woollen hats are fleecy inside adding that extra layer and cosiness.

If you also wear a buff round your neck, and you can get these in cotton, jersey, merino wool and fleece for all seasons, then you can pull that up over your ears and mouth too so that it and the hat form near balaclava coverage. This is when you start to not care how you look. Then as you warm up you can strip off whatever layer you wish. Some people use a buff as a hat in different seasons and this can be very versatile. As it also works as a head band and is light and easy to pack, it is a really good piece of equipment to have.

In summer, and generally warm weather or if you are doing your walking elsewhere, most people will opt for a hat with a brim as this protects your scalp and hair, as mentioned earlier, but also your eyes, skin and back of your neck, all of which are really important. You still need sunscreen, and you need that for winter sun too.

In the summer some people choose to wear a sun visor, again good for keeping the sun out of your eyes but doesn’t protect the top of your head or neck and a baseball cap, although it also has a peak, will not help the back of the neck.

Finally, what about a cover for your head when it rains? Well, some people don’t care about getting their head wet. I do, I don’t want to be dripping with water running into my eyes and neither do I want the rain running off my head and down the back of my neck soaking my clothes. However, I don’t love rain hoods as they tend to make you feel you are in a tunnel with very limited viewing space. When you turn your head, the hood may not do so. However, it does keep your head dry especially when in heavy rain. On long distance walks I wear my cover all poncho and the hood moves with me more.

If the rain isn’t heavy then a hat may keep enough wet off you and of course walking in a city or other more built up area you might be happy with your umbrella. Some of my walking ladies bring their brollies with them.

At the end of the day there is choice, so what works for you?

Suitable headwear is always included in our packing lists which you receive when you join a Walk Experience or Retreat. You can find out more by clicking below…

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