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What is a Good Hat for Climbing Kilimanjaro?

What is a good hat for climbing Kilimanjaro?

You have booked your Kilimanjaro climb and are going through the gear list. On it, there is a list of recommended headwear to pack. But what type of headwear should you bring? With so many choices out there, it can be confusing. 

Below are our recommendations for the appropriate headwear to bring with you on your Kilimanjaro climb. Keep in mind, that headwear should be more functional than fashionable. 

You’ll want to have a few items in your duffel and daypack so you can grab them easily to shade your head from the sun and rain. You’ll also want a warm hat for the cold evenings, to sleep in on cold nights, and as you ascend higher on the mountain.

First, below is what we recommend bringing on our gear list:

HEADWEAR

  • Wide Brimmed Hat or Cap
  • Warm Hat or Beanie
  • Balaclava or Buff
  • Bandana

WIDE BRIMMED HAT

What exactly is a wide-brimmed hat? You may be picturing the Man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George, but that is 1. silly and 2. a cartoon, so that isn’t what you should wear.

By a wide-brimmed hat, we mean something more like the following From REIPatagonia, or Prana. They should be packable, lightweight, and provide sun protection both for your face and ears.

If Wide Brimmed hats aren’t your thing, then a baseball type cap can be worn. They aren’t as good at covering your face and ears, but they are still better than not wearing one at all. We recommend caps like the following from Outdoor ResearchArcteryxPatagonia.

WARM HAT OR BEANIE

Furthermore, now that we have covered wide-brimmed hats, what do you wear when your head gets cold?

The first thing to remember is you’ll want a hat that keeps your head warm like a beanie or knit cap. Get one that covers your ears. Try to get ones that are a traditional style, not something like a slouchy hat. Because you will want to look back at your photos years from now and you’re going to ask why someone didn’t tell you how dumb that hat looked (Think huge shoulder pads or MC Hammer pants?). In other words, bring a practical hat versus a fashion now hat. 

Here are a couple of styles of hats we recommend to keep your head warm. They are from Mountain HardwearOutdoor Research, and Arc’Teryx.

BALACLAVA OR BUFF

Another important piece of headwear to pack with you is a Balaclava or Buff. The Balaclava is not as adaptable as the buff. Its basic function is to shield your face from the cold and wind.

Comparatively, the buff can be used to cover your neck when it is sunny and face when cold. Additionally, you can use it on safari to cover your nose and mouth on the dusty roads. It can also be used as a headband.

Another popular face covering—which originated in the Middle East and has been adopted by the military—is the Shemagh. It can be tied in several ways to protect your face, neck, ears, and mouth. It is also large enough to be used as a towel.

You can see examples below of items from AmazonBuff USA, and Lockhart Tactical.

BANDANA

Finally, a bandana is a versatile piece of your gear. You can use a bandana to cover your face when cold, You can tie it on your head if you don’t want to wear a hat. You can use it to wipe the sweat off your face. It can be used as a camp towel or to clean your sunglasses. And lastly, it can be used to wipe your dripping nose.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this has made your hat for climbing Kilimanjaro buying experience easier. Just remember, just like the rest of your body, you want to have several options so you can adapt to the changing elevation and temperatures as you ascend the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.