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5 Panel Hat Buyer’s Guide: The Best Brands & Styles

How to find the best 5 panel hat

Finding the right 5 panel cap (my favorite kind of hat for outdoor activity) is all about knowing what you’re wearing it for. Because there are lots of options. Whether you’re shopping for adventure, activity, or leisure, this 5 panel hat buying guide lists all the best brands & styles.

So don’t worry about shopping around, I’ve got you covered.

I wear 5 panel caps for running, hiking, boating, beach going, kayaking…everything.

Why? They look good, they last forever (and many can be washed in a washing machine), and they’re versatile.

Without further ado…

All product opinions & recommendations are my own and are never influenced by brands, companies, or individuals. If you shop through links on this page, PineTreePoet.com may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for checking out my recommendations! Here’s my Affiliate Disclosure.

Jump Ahead!

Getting Sweaty: The best 5 panel hats for running, hiking, and being outdoors

This list is all about the best hats for being outside: whether it’s sunny or raining, whether you’re paddle boarding or walking in the woods, even if you’re running 100 miles, these hats all have you covered.

Here are a few requirements for a hat to be included on this Getting Sweaty list:

  • Super lightweight: Enough said. Most of these hats weigh under 2 ounces.

  • Packable: these 5 panel hats can all be smushed down to fit in a pack or pocket. Great for hiking, backpacking, and travel.

  • Made of performance materials: no cotton here. These hats are all made of performance materials (and some are made from recycled fibers). That means they’re built for activity so you can run, hike, kayak, play tennis, walk…okay you get the point. Moisture-wicking, dries quickly.
  • Flexible brim: the brims on these hats can be flipped up for shady trails, or on cloudy days when you still want to keep the sweat out of your eyes.
  • In short, the following 5 panel hats are the best you can buy for outdoor activities.

    1. Sprints 5 Panel Hat ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    My first recommendation for performance 5 panel hats is from the brand that you’ll see most at local run clubs, road races, and filling the shelves of your local running store: Sprints. Sprints’ motto is Sweat in Color, and their hats sure are colorful. Similar to TrailRunningHats.com, Sprints hats feature creative patterns and designs, often with animal themes.

    Their Sasquatch 5 panel hat is my favorite, but all their hats are awesome for hiking, running, going to the zoo, or whatever you’re doing outdoors. These hats make great gifts, and Sprints releases new patterns every couple months, making them a small company that is fun to support.

    While you’re shopping in Sprints’ store, check out their popular O.G. Running Hats.

    2. Alter Ego Running Cruiser Hat ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    • Ultra-lightweight, unstructured material
    • Water repellent
    • Glow in the dark stitching
    • Small, internal pocket for a key
    • Buy it for life, it’ll last forever

    Alter Ego is one of the hottest running hat companies, making a variety of fits and styles for runners. When a hat is good for running, it’s good for pretty much anything outdoors. The Cruiser is Alter Ego’s take on an unstructured, good-for-sweat 5 panel running and workout hat.

    Alter Ego hats are probably the highest quality hats on this list, so they come with a bit higher price tag than some of the others. The company was started by three ultra running brothers who wanted hats that could hold up to 100 mile runs, and also look stylish wearing around town.

    3. TrailRunningHats.com CrushCap ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    • Super packable
    • Look as good forward as they do backward
    • Machine washable
    • Flexible brim
    • Great names & patterns
    • Affordable
    • Buy it once, because they’ll last forever

    The name TrailRunningHats.com tells us everything we need to know. These hats are built and designed for running lots of miles and getting dirty, even if you’re on paved roads and trails.

    They call their 5 panel hat a ‘CrushCap’ because you can crush it down to fit in your pocket, fanny pack, or backpack, and you wear it when you crush trails.

    The designs are fantastic, the hats last forever, and they’re so comfortable you might forget you’re wearing it. Throw them right in the washing machine with your laundry, and they’ll even survive the dryer (though I recommend dunking them in a mountain stream and air drying, personally).

    My favorite designs are Bee Cool and Owl Bring the Headlamps. Great names, great hats, ready for great adventures. You really can take these hats anywhere. I’ve even worn mine under a cycling helmet (they’re very light and low profile) and I have friends who rock climb in them.

    Check out all their hats on Amazon.

    4. Wicked Trail Running 5 Panel UltraCap ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    • Packable for trail & ultra runners
    • Dunkable in mountain rivers
    • Machine washable
    • Flexible brim
    • Motivational mottos/phrases
    • Buy it once: these are built for thousands of adventures

    Wicked Trail Running makes 5 panel hats for ultra runners. That means long miles, lots of sweat and sunshine (and rain and snow…), and plenty of adventures.

    They’ve got hundreds of positive reviews across their site, and the hats have clean designs with cool mottos/phrases. For hiking and travel, I like Be Your Own Culture. If you’re wearing these hats for hard workouts (or getting uncomfortable), Comfort Is A Lie is their best-selling motto/phrase.

    Wicked Trail also makes a 5 panel hat that is mostly mesh for ultimate breathability in warmer environments. Tap here to check them out.

    Wicked Trail says these hats can be washed and dried with laundry, and I’ve done both with no issues.

    5. Tillak Wallowa Camp Hat ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    • Packable down to the profile of the brim
    • Adventure-ready water-shedding bill
    • Great for people who don’t like loud designs
    • Buy it once: Tillak hats have excellent quality

    Highly rated, clean & minimal design, cool colors, built for adventure: these are the reasons I like Tillak’s go-to 5 panel hats.

    They’ve got the great-for-activity Wallowa Camp Hat, and the refined Trail Hat with some mesh ventilation on the sides. Both are great for anything outdoors, or sweaty and sunny.

    All you’ve got to do is ask whether you want solid side panels or mesh side panels, and then you’ve got yourself a beautiful, rugged, go-anywhere-do-anything 100% nylon 5 panel hat.

    6. Coal Provo Tech Outdoor 5 Panel Cap ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    • UPF 50+ polyester to protect your from the sun
    • Drawcord toggle closure for a snug, secure fit
    • Laser cut perforations on the side panels for breathability
    • Reflective logo on front
    • Soft brim that floats in water
    • Buy it once, because Coal makes durable hats

    Coal has been making hats since 2002. Their Provo Tech hat is a top-notch 5 panel hat that is super intentional in its design. It’s got ventilation for breathability, it’s lightweight and sleek, the logo is reflective, and it’s got UPF 50+ sun protection built in.

    Coal makes hats for every style/color preference; some are plain and others a bit more fun.

    In short, Coal is all about “quality headwear for active lifestyles that fits well and lasts.”

    The finest threads
    we can dress ourselves with
    are the words we pass
    in the wild places
    to those who dare to come with us

    10/24/21 by PineTreePoet

    A sweaty hat
    dunked in a mountain river
    solves quite a few problems

    8/14/21 by PineTreePoet

    🌲Read more hiking poems!

Hangin’ Around: Best Casual & Stylish 5 Panel Hats

Maybe you’re looking for something more casual, less performance-oriented.

Or maybe you’re on the hunt for a casual 5 panel hat because you like your 5 panel running hat so much, but need something for daily wear.

Well, here are the best casual, hangin’ around, stylish 5 panel hats available. They might not be perfect for taking into mountainous backcountry (stick with synthetic materials up there), and they might not be as flashy as some of the above options, but these hats sure do look fresh and feel comfortable.

1. Parks Project 5 Panel Hat ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

These are the best 5 panel hats I believe you can buy–for good reason. Parks Project was born in 2014 to address a lack of funding in pressing environmental education, advocacy, and action programs to keep National Parks as beautiful and pristine as they’ve always been.

National Parks see more and more traffic every year. Combine all these people with environmental & climate concerns, and lower-than-needed funding, and you can imagine how important it is for all of us National Park lovers to get on board. Parks Project makes it easy. Rock the gear (especially these 5 panel hats), read the Parks Project story, and see if their Volunteer Alliance strikes your fancy.

Parks Project has a 5 panel hat for everyone: different materials, colors, and designs for every wardrobe. Tap here to check them out!

2. United By Blue 5 Panel Hats ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“We’ve always been a little obsessed with trash.”

United By Blue creates sustainable apparel products and removes one pound of trash from the environment for every single product you buy. They’ve cleaned up millions of pounds of trash.

Their 5 panel hats are organic and/or recycled, so these caps are as sustainable as they come. The designs and patterns are simple and inspired by the outdoors. Perfect for anyone who loves wild places and needs a casual 5 panel hat.

PS…United By Blue also makes bucket hats, my go-to style in the summer for keeping the sun off my face and neck.

3. Shop Backcountry.com for the best 5 panel hat selection ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Backcountry.com is a massive online retailer for outdoor gear. It’s like if REI only cared about what happened way, way out there. In addition to adventure gear, they’ve got a good selection of 5 panel caps from a variety of trustworthy brands, so you can browse a strong selection on one website.

On Backcountry, you’ll find brands like Smartwool, Coal, Patagonia, Burton, Kavu, Outdoor Research…the list goes on and on. Grab a 5 panel hat, and anything else on your wish list of outdoorsy gear and accessories.

Tap here to browse 5 panel hats on Backcountry.com.

4. Hatphile Geo Pattern 5 Panel Hat ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hatphile was created in 2014 with the sole mission to create quality headwear. Mission accomplished.

These 5 panel camper hats (with unique patterns and designs) are highly rated and affordable. They look good and have colors and designs unlike any other hats on this list, and they’ve got an adjustable strap to fit most head shapes and sizes.

Tap here to check out Hatphile 5 panel hats on Amazon.

5. Blackskies 5 Panel Hat ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

For cool designs and affordability I’ve included Blackskies 5 panel hats on this list (check out the available styles here). Blackskies is a bit different than other brands on this list: they create “premium streetwear for modern fashion lovers.” Their hats are inspired by music, architecture, and urban living.

Blackskies is putting time and thought into sustainability, making sure their products are buy it for life.

They look good, feel good, and buying a 5 panel hat from Blackskies supports a streetwear company with heart.

Tap here to check out their many reviews on Amazon.

6. Wookles Etsy Shop ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wookles is a small business out of Denver, CO. They do limited edition, outdoorsy-inspired apparel, including 5 panel hats. Check out their Etsy shop right here. You won’t regret it. Wookles hats are a little eccentric, and that’s what makes them awesome.

Shopping Around: Tips & Tricks

When you’re shopping around for a 5 panel hat, remember to pick something that will last a long time. Buy it once is all about saving you money, consuming less, and supporting companies that build great products. Remember, too, to pick something you’ll wear with a variety of outfits and on a variety of adventures. And when you’re done with your hat, when it’s seen just a few too many sunny or rainy days, recycle or donate it.

When we consume less (AKA purchase and waste less), our lives become more aligned with the wild adventures we crave. Here’s to the future!

George Callahan is the creator of Pine Tree Poet. He is an author of fantasy stories and an adventure poet. He prefers mountains and pine trees to most other things, and usually takes his dog Cowboy along for the ride.

Adventure Poems

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