The Top 10 Tactical Hats (Reviewed)

Do you have your favorite hat? Of course, you do! But unfortunately, it’s either seen better days and you need a new one. Or you just want to add to the collection. Whatever the case may be, we know your wife won’t mind you throwing away that old dingy cap for a better, cleaner version. And we definitely know she wouldn’t mind you adding to the collection—this may or may not be an accurate statement—especially if one of them happens to be for her.

No matter your reasoning, we’re here to help you pick out the best option for you with our 10 best tactical hats. But don’t worry, we aren’t stopping there. We’ll also give you the tools to help you determine what makes one tactical hat better than the other. Then we’ll dive even deeper and answer some of the most pressing question people have about tactical hats.

The 10 Best Tactical Hats

  1. RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap

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Pros

  • High-vis orange VS-17 Panel
  • FlexFit® w/ mesh backing
  • (2) 3.5 x 2 in. Embroidered velcro panels (front and back)
  • (2) 1 x 1 in. IR patch velcro panel (top and inside)

Cons

  • Only two sizes available (S/M and L/XL)
  • Patches not included

  1. Lightbird Tactical Hat

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Pros

  • Made of durable tactical fabric with 3 hook & loop panels for patches
  • Includes a sweatband

Cons

  • One size fits most, but not all
  • Ventilation holes are embroidered rather than secured with a metal eyelet
  1. Gadsden and Culpeper Operator Cap

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Pros

  • IR patch velcro panel included
  • Contains both a front velcro area for patches and a rear velcro area for name tapes

Cons

  • Not made in the USA
  • Ventilation holes are embroidered rather than secured with a metal eyelet
  1. Gadsden and Culpeper 5.11 Kryptek Typhon Tactical Cap

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Pros

  • Cool, lightweight comfort
  • Buckram lined for structure

Cons

  • Ventilation holes are embroidered rather than secured with a metal eyelet
  1. Blackhawk Men’s Tactical Cap

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Pros

  • Adjustable strap
  • Six-panel construction for maximum durability
  • No button on top for comfort while wearing ear protection

Cons

  • Ventilation holes are embroidered rather than secured with a metal eyelet
  1. The Hat Depot Low Profile Tactical Operator Mesh Cap

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Pros

  • Comfortable all-day wear, 6-panel construction, unstructured, low profile
  • Features a pre-curved bill with a loop patch area on the front

Cons

  • One size fits most-but does have an adjustable buckle closure
  1. KBETHOS Tactical Operator Military Cap

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Pros

  • Unconstructed Low Profile 6 Panel Baseball Cap
  • 100% Cotton Made. Lightweight / Durable / Smooth

Cons

  • One Size Adjustable Strapback Fits Most Sizes (but not all)
  1. Condor Outdoor Flex Mesh Cap

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Pros

  • Polyester/Cotton blend for breathability
  • 6 panel flexible fitted material
  • Mesh Back for breathability
  • 3 hook and loop panels for patches

Cons

  • Embroidered eyelets (Although extra stitching reinforcements are present, a metal eyelet typically provides better durability)
  1. Sox Market Camouflage Constructed Trucker Special Tactical Operator Forces

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Pros

  • 65% Cotton/ 35% Polyester
  • Removable velcro front allows patch customization
  • 6 Panel Cap W/ 4 mesh panels back

Cons

  • One size fits most, but it does have an adjustable Velcro Closure

10.Rothco Tactical Operator Cap

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Pros

  • Polyester/Cotton Blend
  • Complete with a Color Matching Polyester Adjustment Strap for the Perfect Fit
  • Enhanced Tactical Elements Including a Loop Patch On The Top For An IRMarker, A Loop Area On The Front Of The Cap Ideal For Flag

Cons

  • Made in USA OR Imported—unknown which one you’ll be getting
  • Features 4 Reinforced Air Vent Holes for Comfort and Performance, however, they are not metal eyelets

How to choose the best Tactical Hat

Choosing the perfect hat can be daunting. There are so many options out there, and if you choose the wrong one, you could be left completely unsatisfied. Not to mention, uncomfortable. Hats are meant to be worn, but if they don’t do their job, don’t last or simply don’t fit, you’re going to have problems. So, we’ve put together a short list of what to look for when picking out the best tactical hat for you.

Want to know why we made the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap? Click here to find out.

Patch Area

We’re listing patch area first because, let’s be honest, for most people the patch is what attracts the buyer. Why? Because we like personalizing our hats. So, when you go looking for a tactical hat, the patch area may very well be the most important part of your hat.

So, what is it you want to look for when it comes to the patch area. Well, first off, quality. Sadly, the patch area can be, umm…well…cheap. Now, we aren’t saying the hat itself should be expensive, but the velcro section should not be so cheap in terms of quality that patches won’t stick to the area.

Also, there are some tactical hats out there made so poorly that the velcro section isn’t even sewn on properly, and now you’re looking—better yet, everyone else is looking—at a crooked patch, and no one wants that.

With that being said, make sure the material is made well enough that your personalized patch will stick and look good. The last thing you want is to be walking around with a patch hanging off or losing your patch altogether.

Sun Protection

Okay, this should really go without saying, but hats should offer protection from the sun. Some hats, of course, provide more protection than others, but if they aren’t at least providing your eyes with protection from the sun, you’re either wearing it backward or you have a really crappy hat.

I don’t think we need to elaborate on this section too much, but if your hat isn’t providing that basic protection, then you need to look into buying a different one.

Breathability

We’re going to get more into this later, but know, breathability is important. Too often, a hat makes you hotter, makes you sweat more, and in turn, makes you more uncomfortable than anything. Yes, it protects your eyes from the sun, but if you feel like you’re having a heatstroke while wearing the thing, is it really a good hat—no.

A good tactical hat should let your head breath. Typically, you can find this in a few formats. Some tactical hats will have mesh material, this way air flows to your head. Some have ventilation holes or eyelets. With the eyelets, you’re looking for quality. You’ll find the best ones are made with a small metal ring. This ensures there isn’t any fraying around the holes. The last thing you want is for your intentional ventilation hole to fray and make one giant hole. So, make sure the material which makes up that area is made with quality.

Another option some tactical hats may have to offer breathability is a sweatband built inside. This band helps wick away the moisture, meaning it won’t feel like a puddle is building up around your head while standing in the hot sun. Also, it helps prevent sweat from dripping onto your eyes—which could prove fatal if you’re shooting at terrorists.

Finally, a good, breathable tactical hat will be made of specific material. The material is usually cotton or a polyester/cotton blend. Both of these materials help your head breath. And if you’re out in the desert heat, trust us, you want breathability.

Construction

Construction refers to the quality of the hat. Your hat may look cool when it comes out of the box, but if it’s falling apart after a few wears, then the quality sucks, and you should find yourself a new one.

Because how well your hat is constructed will determine how long it will last. You want a hat that can stand up to the elements—sun included—not just everyday wear. Which leads to the next point, hats are meant to be worn. If wearing your hat means it’s going to start falling apart before its time, then it’s poorly constructed.

You want a hat that is made with strong material. And unless you’re going for that intentional frayed look, you want one that strings aren’t coming out all over the place. Otherwise, next thing you know, it looks like your hat got into a pistol war and lost, and then the thing is falling off your head because it won’t stay in one piece.

Proper Fit

Proper fit, is the most important aspect of any hat that you buy. It could look cool, offer all the protection you want, be made of the highest quality and offer the ultimate breathability. However, if the hat doesn’t fit, it’s not the hat for you.

If your hat is too small, wearing it for an extended period of time, or even a short period of time will cause you a lot of discomfort. This is because it will restrict blood flow, and you’ll most likely be left with an ugly hatband when you take it off and a killer headache. Both of which, we can assure you don’t want.

If your hat is too big for your head, well, it’s going to fall over your eyes and you won’t have the visibility you need for say, shooting at the enemy. Also, your hat could fall off with a gust of wind. And that means, your eyes won’t get any protection And instead of being blinded from your hat falling over your eyes, you’ll be blinded from the sun. Both of which won’t do you any good.

With all that being said, you’re going to want to find a hat that actually fits your head. And if you don’t fit into that “one size fits all” category, there will be a few others you can select from. There’s the velcro strap option—easily adjustable—buckle option, which typically provides a secure fit, and if you’re really cool, a snapback. All of these options let you adjust the size of your hat, which is great for those of us with abnormally small or large heads.

FAQs

Q: What is a tactical hat?

A: Maybe you’ve heard the phrase thrown around, “tactical hat” or “operator hat,” but do you actually know what makes a hat tactical? Of course, they tend to have a few extra features, or maybe they look “tacticool,” but what specifically makes them stand out from the rest of the hats on the market?

Well, worry no more my friend, let us answer that question for you. The entire point of the word tactical is meaning it has functionality. Yes, all hats should at least provide basic sun protection (tactical hats are no exception), but unlike the standard baseball cap, they also should provide a significant level of comfort (let’s be honest, everyone wants this in any item they are planning to wear) and protection against the harsh elements—including wind in some cases. Again, these are all pretty standard for most hats.

The first main difference is in the velcro patch—we’ll discuss the why here in a moment—and the second main difference is ventilation. Yes, other caps offer ventilation—who wants to wear a hat where your head can’t breath—but tactical hats typically make a point of having this feature, because chances are, you’re going to be wearing this cap all day long.

Q: Why do tactical hats have a velcro patch?

A: Okay, so now that you know tactical hats have that nice velcro hat on the front—you know, to attach your cool American flag—but is that really why the velcro is there? The answer, is well, basically, yes. The patch on the front is meant to help you personalize your hat. Some even come with a velcro strip on the back for a nametape and an IR patch velcro panel on top.

If you’ve ever spent any time in the military, one of the ways that you could add personality was through patches. Patches are huge in the military culture—whether that be on your bag or hat—and the patches you use(d) say a lot about your personality. So, why would we want to change that culture just because it’s your day off, or just because you’ve left the military scene?

Q: Do tactical hats keep you cool?

A: We’ve pretty much already addressed this question, but the short answer is, yes. If a tactical hat is doing its job, it should have proper ventilation, meaning it should be keeping you cool. Typically this is done through mesh material. However, there are other ways of going about obtaining ventilation. For example, the cotton or polyester/cotton blend will keep your head a little cooler. Also, like most hats on the market, there may be ventilation holes for breathability.

Of course, if you’re referring to cool as in, does it make you look like the badass that you think you are? Well, we’d like to think so.

Q: How do you clean a tactical hat?

A: Okay, let’s face it, most men aren’t good at washing anything (yes, we’re stereotyping) unless that something is their hat—okay, we’re kidding here, the only time your hat has been washed was that one time your wife did laundry while you slept, because the thing stunk so bad she wouldn’t come near you.

In all honesty though, if you want to wash your hat, you can. Just know, there is a specific way to wash it. Preferably, we recommend you wash it by hand—this is the best way to ensure your hat lasts as long as possible. When you wash it, and this should be common sense, but we know that’s not a thing anymore, do so without bleach or any harsh chemicals.

If, for some reason, you choose to forgo the handwashing, use a cap washer—a funny looking thing that looks like you’ve caged your hat in—and then toss it in the wash (gentle cycle) but without anything that will bleed new and unwanted colors onto your precious hat.

And we cannot stress this final tip enough, DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT put your hat in the dryer. Trust us, it will shrink! So, if it is the perfect fit, it won’t be when it comes out. Also, it’s going to add to the wear of your hat, meaning it won’t last near as long as it should.

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