I need to choose a hat for long-term use anywhere, including one of the hottest places on the equator, UAE. I'm currently assuming these things are effective:

  • wide-brim
  • white hat

Some people use a black umbrella to reduce heat from the sun. Black doesn't touch the body, and it seems sometimes it has silver on the inner side to reflect light (onto the floor and away I guess).

For a hat, it would touch the body so I'm assuming white would be most effective to reduce heat since it reflects light. Right?

I found What kind of hat to wear for business in India? but it's about business.

The goal is about reducing heat.

  • 3
    The UAE may indeed be hot, but it's nowhere near the equator, and locals rely on air conditioning, not hats! Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 23:55
  • 1
    Maybe buy a Tilley hat ?
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 1:22
  • * when you're outside, how do hot places reduce heat? @jpatokal
    – ambw
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 5:14

2 Answers 2


Panama Hats is known for being breathable, light and durable while providing a decent shade. Despite the name, Panama Hats are from Ecuador but became widely popular in Panama and used all around the Caribbean.

Real Panama hats are available here in Ecuador for as little as $15 USD but are sold in many airports around the Americas for about $45. They last quite a long time and have the nice property that they do keep their shape after being rolled and unrolled.

Recently I had one last for 80 days of daily use around the world, including these:

  • the Dubai (UAE) where it reached a dry 42C
  • Vietnam where it exceeded 38C with high humidity.

When in the shade, I took it off to let the breeze dry my hair since one eventually is going to sweat no matter what.

Colombia makes cheap knocks-off, available for around $6 USD which are pretty good at providing a bit of shade but do not last long at all. The one I bought there got completely destroyed in 4 days. Still, as a disposable expense, it was worth it. The difference is the straw used which is brittle and breaks.

  • 1
    it's a good answer, everyone needs a good handmade "panama" (from Ecuador!)
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 1:23
  • what material makes them good? what's the best hat to reduce heat?
    – ambw
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 5:00
  • 1
    They are made plaited leaves of the toquilla palm with a special weave that lets some air pass through which means they don't get as sweaty and feel as hot as other hats. Hats don't reduce heat, they slow down warming up though by providing shade, reflecting light and letting evaporation go through. The leaves used for Panama hats are just off white which reflects more light than most fabrics.
    – Itai
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 15:04
  • if they let air through, then they also let light through? why do you reflect more light than most fabrics? what fabrics are best that reflects the most light? 'they slow down warming up though by providing shade, reflecting light and letting evaporation go through' means it's reducing the heat that's coming to you, so it's good it reduces heat. any other best suggestions for good weaves?
    – ambw
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 2:28
  • 1
    It's not a mesh but a weave, so it's pretty much opaque but the lateral gaps between leaves allows some air flow. Lighter colors reflect more light which is why the asker suggests the hat should be white. Panama hats are just off-white but the dried toquilla leaves are still somewhat shiny, so more reflective than other fabrics, particularly matte ones.
    – Itai
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 3:03

I like a Jackaroo. With the screen wire. Australian made hat. Not cheap. Philippines. Like a western cowboy hat wide brim. You can wet them down. 2nd place. While in America I found some hats at W Mart. Screen wire in them round wide brim. The head band held them a little out from the head. Canvas material. You could wet down. Made in China. 3rd your old stile straw hats. Non coated just wove. You can wet them also. Do not last long. But are very cheap native made hats. 4 Your Vietnam stile reed cone hats. Noncoated dampen down. The thing is venting the hat & can it take being wet down. Not looks or cost. If out & about. Ball caps closed hats are the worst. So wide brim vented hats. I picked up some very cheap wove cloth derbies at UniTop a while back, Worked well but fell apart fast in use. With no liner in them.

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