Anatomy of a Great Sun Hat for Kids

by Shelly Rivoli
Great travel hats for kids taking on the Florida Everglades

Many are the sun hats with good intentions, yet precious are the few truly built for travel. When it comes to sun hats for traveling kids it’s especially important to note the differences between the two.

Here are some quick points to consider when shopping for a great travel hat for your child that will serve well on several types of adventures and, if you choose well, also through  years of growth.


Adjustable Lanyard

“Hat overboard!” is just not good news ever. Especially not on Day 1 of your rafting trip. An adjustable lanyard (under-chin strap) can do more than just help keep hat on head, however. It will also help keep hat with kid even when he decides to take it off mid-activity.


Wide Brim–On All Sides

Creative kids play at every angle on the beach. So instead of caps with a bill, or even camel-jockey-style hats with a neck flap added to the back, go with a wide brim that encircles the head sombrero-style. It stops sun from sneaking down the back collar as well as from scorching the nose, cheeks, and delicate ears.

Outdoor Research Women's Rambler Sombrero

The Outdoor Research women’s Rambler Sombrero has a generous brim, runs small, and fits my 10-year-old great using its adjustable crown bungee.

Moisture-Wicking Headband

You’d notice the difference in your own travel hat, so don’t overlook this important feature in the one you choose for your child. The headband that keeps your kid ‘comfortablest’ in hot climates or on a hilly hike is sure to stay put longer than one that beleaguers a sweaty brow.


Adjustable Bungee Drawstring in the Crown

An adjustable drawcord in the crowd for years of adventure and growth.

An adjustable drawcord in the crowd for years of adventure and growth.

This is where you will get the greatest longevity and, therefore, best value from your child’s travel hat investment. It’s a beautiful thing when, for several years in a row, you get the hat out to find, “It still fits!” Case in point: That happy orange hat in the lead photo (Florida Everglades) made its inaugural trip when my son had just turned 2 years (Costa Rica!).

This is him wearing it two years later at Dinosaur National Monument. He is still wearing the same hat on our adventures at just-turned-7 years (Baja!), and it’s still available and highly rated by customers at Amazon–click here for size details and customer reviews).


Added Bonus: Built-In Insect Repellent

Kids Outdoor Research Sentinel Hat with lanyard and built-in insect repellent.

Kids Outdoor Research Sentinel Hat with lanyard and built-in insect repellent.

When I found my eldest daughter’s travel hat (the same shown here), I loved that it had built-in insect repellent (Insect Shield) to help fend off mosquitoes and deter troublesome ticks. The insect protection lasts up to 70 washings.

Outdoor Research offers several hats with the same built-in insect repellent for grownups and kids alike. Or you can treat a hat without it by applying permethrin spray for clothing (just always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions to use it safely).

Once again, I bought the hat in child’s size Large and took advantage of the adjustable bungee drawstring in the crown. She’s worn it on virtually every trip for 5 years now and has not outgrown it yet.

Click here for more recommendations of great gadgets and gear for family travel. And for travel with kids 5 years and younger, don’t miss the Travel Toys and Pack This! recommendations at our sister site Travels with Baby.

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Review of the Lumix DMC-TS25 Waterproof Digital Camera

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