What Is a Boonie Hat, and What Are Its Benefits for Hunting?

Boonie hats are the most popular kind of hats used by hunters. They are pretty distinct from other types of hats due to their camouflage pattern. Still, their construction is quite similar to that of bucket hats. The only difference between the two is that boonie hats are much stiffer. These hats are also similar to giggle hats, primarily used in Australia. The only difference between the two is that the giggle hat has a thinner brim.

Although bonnie hats are used by hunters, they originated as military hats that protected soldiers from the harsh sun. If you are searching for a comfortable hat that allows you to blend into the vegetation while hunting, a boonie hat is perfect for you.

What Is a Boonie Hat?

Green military boonie hat

Hunting hats come in various styles and are considered essential hunting gear. It is especially if you hunt during the day when the sun is high up in the sky. Among the various types, boonie hats are pretty popular. They are floppy hats with wide brims that shield your face from all kinds of weather. Whether it be the hot sun or pouring rain, a boonie hat will help protect your face and hat.

Some boonie hats also come with a chin strap or some other kind of retention strap string to help keep it in place. You can also find boonie hats with insect nets that add to their protective nature. The design of such hats is perfect for hot and humid climates as it shields you from the sun and ensures air circulation. 

Most boonie hats also have fabric tape around the crown with branch loops. These can be used to store small things as well. 

History of the Boonie Hat

Police Officer Ready to Shoot

Boonie is a shortened version of boondocks, which means rough country filled with dense brush. The version of the hat you wear today was not created by one person, but it developed organically over a long period to become what it is now. The boonie hat was mainly used by the soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. It was not uncommon to see members of the US Special Forces wearing them. The reason for this popularity was that they were simple, flexible, and durable.

Even though everyone in the military wore these hats, they were not officially issued. Instead, they were made by local Vietnamese tailors, who used cloth salvaged from other items to make them. Due to their custom nature, all boonie hats varied, but they all had some standard features. All of these hats had a soft floppy brim and were made using either muted-solid color or camouflage fabric.  

After becoming popular amongst the military, the hat was also adopted by law enforcement, personnel, and civilians. Now, these hats are used mainly by hunters, fishermen, and hikers. They are primarily available in solid colors and camouflage, allowing them to blend in with the environment you are hunting. 

How To Wear a Boonie Hat

Close-up of a young man standing outside with wearing boonie hat and face mask during covid19 with looking at camera

Since a boonie hat is quite different from a ballcap, it is also worn differently. With retention strap strings, you may get confused about how to wear them. Here are a few ways that you can wear your boonie hat.

The first method is the front strap method, where the string of your boonie hat is worn loose in the front. This prevents the hat from blowing backward if wind blows in your face. On the other hand, if wind is blowing from the rear, it will blow your hat off.

The second method is the rear strap loose method. In this method, the retention string is left loose at the back of the hat. They hang at the back of your head and prevent the hat from falling off if the wind blows from the back. 

The third method is the rear strap-tied method. This method takes a bit of practice but is the most ideal. Here, you tie the strap at the back of your head. Ensure that it is not low enough to hit the back of your head. 

Benefits of the Boonie Hat for Hunting

US Army combat boots desert pattern with boonie hat

If you intend to go hunting and want a hat to wear, a boonie hat is your best choice. It provides many benefits, which is why it is so widely used. One of the biggest benefits of wearing Boonie hats is that they provide sun protection. Provided that you choose the right shape and size of boonie hat, your hat will effectively shield your face from the sun.

These hats are also highly portable. You can attach them to your backpack or vest and leave them there until you need them. Boonie hats are also very affordable. Even if you purchase the best boonie hats on the market, they rarely cost more than $10.

Another benefit of boonie hats is that they come in different patterns and colors. If you are in search of a specific kind of neutral, you will be able to find them. Due to their use in outdoor settings, they are widely available in neutral colors and camouflage. This is perfect when you are hunting and hiking during an extended camping trip because you can blend in with the greenery, making you almost invisible to prey.

How To Choose The Best Boonie Hat

Boonie hat isolated on white background

When purchasing boonie hats, it is essential that you choose the right one. If you do not pick one that you are comfortable with or one that does not fit you right, you will not be able to reap all its benefits. Additionally, if you are uncomfortable, you will not be able to focus on your activity. To avoid these issues, you should purchase a boonie hat that fits you and the activity you plan to do wearing it. 


One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a boonie hat is how they fit. Typically these hats have a wide brim, meaning they can get caught in the strong wind if you are not careful. If your hat does not fit snugly on your head, it is more likely to get blown away. 

To avoid such an issue, ensure that the hat fits well. It should not be too tight either; otherwise, you may get a headache. Although most boonie hats will advertise as one-size-fits-all, try it on before you purchase it to ensure you are comfortable with its fit.


When you are hunting or doing any other activity during the day, it is natural that you will sweat, and your hat must take that into account. When purchasing a boonie hat, ensure that it offers excellent breathability. When your hat promotes airflow, you will remain cool no matter how much you sweat. If it is not breathable, your sweat will accumulate within your hat and mess up your hair. This can also give rise to bad odor, which no one wants. 

Materials such as mesh offer excellent breathability and keep you ventilated during your trip.


Since hunting and hiking are demanding activities out in the wilderness, it is vital that your hat is durable and can withstand wear and tear. When purchasing a boonie hat, professionals suggest you crush it and see if it retains its original shape. If it does not, the hat is most likely not durable. 

The boonie hat you purchase should be able to handle all kinds of environments and weather conditions. Hunters, hikers, and fishermen are often out in snow, rain, and wind, which is why the hat should be able to withstand any climate. You should always focus on two things: the material it is made of and its construction. 

One way to check the durability of a boonie hat is to pull it. If it pulls apart the seams, it is not made to last and will most likely fall apart after a few uses. In terms of materials, cotton blends are the best since they are durable, washable, and provide adequate airflow. It is also a good idea to check the straps and snaps to ensure they are made to withstand wear and tear. 


Another essential consideration when picking a boonie hat is how comfortable it is. If the hat is well-shaped and well-fitted, you will feel comfortable wearing it. If it is not, you will spend more time tugging at it or making sure it stays in place. This can reduce your experience hunting or fishing, so you should always try on the hat before purchasing it. 

Boonie hats are made using a variety of materials. Most of them are synthetic, but you can also find ones blended with cotton. The best material to purchase is cotton because it breathes better and ensures ventilation. Cotton is also better equipped to absorb sweat and does not shrink in the wash.

You can opt for synthetic materials for your boonie hat, but you may get too hot if they do not have adequate ventilation. Some synthetic materials don’t allow any breathability, which will cause you to sweat more. 

Nylon is an excellent material for wicking away moisture, so it is a safe choice. A polyester boonie hat is another good option because it is lightweight and holds its shape but tends to get a bit hot. 

UV Ray Protection

One of the most significant advantages of a boonie hat is that it protects you from the sun. The sun will most likely shine bright when you are hunting and hiking during the day. At such times, the sun emits UV rays, which are pretty harmful. To protect yourself from such rays, it is essential that you have a boonie hat with wide brims. 

Good quality boonie hats are designed to protect you from the sun in multiple ways. They have a wide brim that protects your face and a neck flap that protects your neck from exposure. Neck flaps are long pieces of cloth hanging on the hat’s back. These flaps can also be used to protect you from insects, making them highly versatile. 

Some boonie hats also offer a UPF rating, which stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor.

How It’s Secured

When purchasing a boonie hat, it is essential to consider how it is secured. Ideally, it would be best to buy a hat with a chin strap and snaps. These will help keep the hat on your head despite the weather and stop it from blowing away. A chip strap enables you to keep your hat on your head so that it does not fly away if a strong gust of wind blows. 

Pros and Cons of Boonie Hats

Although boonie hats are handy, like all other hats, they have pros and cons, which you should be aware of before buying one. 

Pros Cons
They protect you from the sun.  They have a wide brim, which can obstruct your vision.
They are portable. Due to the size of the brim, it can sag.
These hats are incredibly affordable.
They come in various patterns and colors.


What is the point of boonie hats?

Boonie hats are designed to be used in hot and humid conditions when the sun is out in full force. These hats are designed to keep rain and sun off your face and help prevent moisture loss through sweating. If you own an excellent boonie hat, your hat will be breathable and keep your head ventilated and cool. 

What is the best hat for hunting?

If you are searching for a hat for hunting, you should choose one that is brimmed, such as a boonie hat. These hats are designed to protect you from the sun with their wide brims. Ensure that the hat you choose provides excellent ventilation and sweat-wicking properties. 

Do boonie hats protect the neck?

There are many different kinds of boonie hats available on the market. The primary marker for these is their wide brims, which extend out to protect your face from the sun. 

Some hats also come with neck flaps, which are cloth pieces hanging from the back of the hat and covering your neck. Not only do these flaps protect you from getting sunburned, but they also protect your neck from getting bitten by insects. 


Boonie hats have been popular since the Vietnam war. However, their benefits are noteworthy enough that they are still being used by hunters, hikers, and fishermen. To avail all the benefits of this hat, you must choose one that fits you best. Some factors to keep in mind are the fit, durability, ventilation, and more. By keeping these in mind, you can purchase a boonie hat that fits you well and protects you from the sun.