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Excessive sun exposure can make you look old before your time, and it is a major cause of skin cancer. About 33% of skin cancers are facial, so it is easy to see that protecting your face from the rays of the sun is a very smart idea.
About 33% of skin cancers are facial, so it is easy to see that protecting your face from the rays of the sun is a very smart idea.
Gardeners naturally spend a great deal of time in the sun and good protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays is essential. That’s why it really pays to invest in a high-quality sun hat this this one, but how do you choose?
In this article, we will explore the subject of selecting just the right sun hat for gardening. We will also present a thorough list of vital considerations to help you make the best choice.
Characteristics Of A Great Sun Hat
The hat you choose must be comfortable, well ventilated, lightweight and effective. It should also have a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. This is an excellent indicator of sun hat effectiveness. It is determined in part by the material from which a hat or garment is made, but other factors come into play.
The various qualities of sun hats help determine the UPF rating. For example, the amount of mesh ventilation will affect the rating. The more sunlight this area allows in, the lower the rating.
The size of the brim also affects UPF rating. A broad hat brim can provide a great deal of protection from the rays of the sun, and it’s important to understand a wide brim sun hat sloping downward is much more effective than one that stands out around the sides of your head.
Style and comfort are also important considerations which contribute to the sun protection effectiveness of a hat. With all of these considerations in play, it is clear that there are many a number of points you should keep in mind while making your gardening hat selection.
Seek These Important Qualities
Being able to machine wash your gardening hat is a real convenience. If you cannot toss it in the washer, at least look for a hat you can hose down and hang out to dry.
Choose a hat that has a chin-strap that you can use as needed and tuck away when it is not needed. This will make your hat more versatile for use on both still and windy days. A chinstrap will also help keep your hat in place when you are doing a lot of stooping and bending.
For safety’s sake, be sure your hat does not obstruct your vision. Think about the way you garden and the way that you need to move your head. If you need to look up frequently, you don’t want a hat that’s going to catch on the back of your neck and flip off your head. If you need your peripheral vision quite a bit, you don’t want to have a hat that causes you to have to turn your whole body to see what’s beside you.
Having a garden hat that will also keep the rain off is handy. This will allow you to work in variable weather conditions.
Any hat you choose should possess these basic qualities. There are also many specific features to choose from in selecting just the right hat for you. Some rain hats upogalso work as sun hats.
10 Important Features To Consider Wearing The Right Sun Hat For Gardening
Good Ventilation Helps You Stay Cool!
Breathability is a very important aspect of comfort. Choose a light fabric that provides good ventilation so that your head does not become too hot.
When working in a hot environment, you need to be sure that you can vent heat. If you have thick hair that can protect the top of your head, a sun visor can be a good choice for keeping the sun off your face and out of your eyes while still allowing good air circulation and cooling properties.
If your hair is thinning or if you are naturally bald or shave your head, you will need to look for a hat that offers you a greater degree of protection. In this case, a brim hat with mesh on the sides of the crown is a good choice.
Choose The Correct Brim Size
What width of brim will be most comfortable for you? A wider brim offers the greatest protection, but if you would be uncomfortable wearing a wide-brimmed hat then that is not the best choice for you because you will be unlikely to wear it consistently.
The smallest brim that will offer good, all around protection is a 3″ brim. This will fully prevent exposing your ears and your face to UV rays. Keep in mind that the angle and intensity of the sun varies throughout the day. A 4″ brim will give you more protection, and an angled brim is even better.
Choose The Right Brim Shape
As the sun makes its way across the sky, it shines its rays at varying angles. A hat with a downward sloping brim will provide consistent protection as the position of the sun changes. A hat with a level brim will provide maximum protection at high noon and less protection in the morning and afternoon hours.
Remember that UV rays don’t always come directly from the sun. They are also bounced off surfaces. This is why you can get a “snow-burn” from the reflected glare of the sun. Reflected UV rays will bounce beneath the brim of your hat and come in contact with your face, so a curving brim that is positioned closer to your face will provide you with more protection.
Cape style hats that fully cover the sides and back of your neck and shield the sides of your face provide the best protection. This type of hat can give you complete protection from the sun around your face and over your neck and shoulders.
A cape style can be ideal for a hot, dry climate; however, it might be stifling and unbearable in a humid climate. If you have both punishing sun-rays and high humidity, you need to be certain that your hat provides both ample shade and good ventilation.
Choose The Right Material
Finding a hat that is made of a material that dries quickly is a good idea. This helps provide evaporative cooling. If it is very hot, you can drench your hat, put it on and be cooled by the natural process of evaporation.
Sun hats come in a wide variety of materials including:
The UPF rating system measures how much ultraviolet radiation is admitted through fabric. If the hat you are considering has a UPF sun protection rating of 30+, that means it blocks approximately 96% of UV radiation. A hat with a rating of 50+ blocks out about 99% of ultraviolet rays.
If you are considering a hat that is not labeled, you can judge it for yourself by holding it up to light. Don’t select a hat that allows light to shine through.
In addition to the type of fabric, the color of the fabric you choose will make a difference in temperature. Remember that dark colors absorb heat and light colors deflect it. A hat in a light beige, tan or off-white is a nice choice that will keep you cool without showing dirt too badly.
Color Is More Than A Fashion Statement
The color of your hat can affect your comfort and your overall appearance. A light colored hat will keep you cooler, but it may also make you look grubby because dirt and stains will show more easily.
You can compromise by choosing a hat that is very light on the top and slightly darker on the sides and brim. This will help keep the top of your head cool while presenting a potentially better appearance.
Additionally, you may want to look for a hat that has a darker lining. This will also help keep your head and face cool because the dark color will absorb UV rays that bounce up from surfaces.
Protect Your Hair & Scalp
Remember that your hair can protect your scalp against UV radiation, but if you are balding or if you shave your head, you will need more protection. If your hair is very short, you need to be sure to get a hat that protects the back of your neck. I hat with a cape may be the ideal choice for you.
If your hair is color treated, permed or otherwise chemically treated you should not count on it to protect your scalp. In fact you will need to protect it against damage caused by UV rays. If your hair could be easily damaged, be sure to get a hat with a cape that will cover all of your hair and/or is capacious enough to contain all of your hair if you wear it up.
Buy The Right Size Hat
It’s better to have a hat that is little too big than one that is too small. A small hat will hurt your head and give you a headache. A large hat can always be adjusted with sizing tape and/or held on with a chinstrap.
Get A Comfortable, Good-Looking Hat
The factor you must always come back to is whether or not you will be comfortable with a hat. There are a number of ways in which a hat might make you feel uncomfortable. Among them are:
- Poor Fit: If your hat is too loose or too tight, you will be constantly fidgeting with it and you’ll be much more likely to take it off and set it aside than to wear it.
- Hampered Vision: If you cannot see, or your hat makes you feel claustrophobic, you will be unlikely to wear it.
- Too Hot or Heavy: If your hat makes you uncomfortable because of its weight or it makes you too hot, naturally you will not want to wear it.
- Strange Appearance: In terms of skin coverage, a hat with a cape will definitely provide you the best protection. Unfortunately, some of these hats are rather comical looking. No matter how effective or well-made your hat may be, if you look ridiculous and it you will probably leave it hanging on the hat rack when you step outside.
- Difficult to carry along: As you may need to carry other tools for gardening, you may need something that you can carry easily from one place to another. A lightweight, foldable sun hat will do.
- Does not fit your style: Ladies can wear a woman sun hat.
Luckily, there are some good choices available, though. It is possible to find a sun hat that offers good coverage and a modicum of style as well.
To be sure that you look good in your hat, don’t just trust your own eyes. Ask a friend or relation to give you a second opinion. All too often, we look in the mirror and see what we want to see rather than what really is!
What About Classic Straw Hats?
A plain straw hat will let UV rays filter in. For full sun protection, straw hats must be very closely woven, or they must be cloth lined. If your hair is thick and in good condition, an unlined, loosely woven straw hat might be alright. It would allow good air circulation to keep you cool.
Durability is often an issue with straw hats. A favorite hat that gets daily wear can really take a beating. It’s very important that your hat be durable so that you can get your money’s worth.
A long-wearing hat is able to pass a “crush” test: It will spring back to its original shape even if it is crushed for half an hour or longer. There is nary a straw hat that can pass this test! Although straw hats are classic, they can fall apart quite easily. A well-made hat fashioned of a durable, modern material such as nylon can last many seasons.
Of course, you may prefer to change your hat every season or even more often. If this is the case, a classic woven straw sun hat may be a good answer for you. Some gardeners swear by old-fashioned straw hats and go through several every summer.
There are advantages to this approach. Straw hats do offer a lot of ventilation, and if they become drenched in sweat during the day they will dry out easily overnight and be ready for another day’s adventure. Changing your hat frequently ensures that you always have a fresh hat. On the other hand, durable nylon hats are usually washable, and you can keep them fresh.
Some modern straw hats are treated with the insecticide called permethrin. This is a natural insect repellent that is distilled from chrysanthemums. This feature gives you some protection against a number of different garden pests such as:
If you like inexpensive straw hats, you can change your look several times a season for not too much money. If you like a classic, western style straw hat, you’ll spend a significant amount of money; however, you will also get an effective and durable hat.
Practice Smart Sun Habits
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the perfect hat. When you put all these factors together, you should be able to choose just the right sun hat for you. Even so, it’s important to practice smart sun habits to be certain that your skin does not get burned.
Now that we know that excessive exposure to the sun can cause damage to the eyes, premature aging and even skin cancer, it is of the utmost importance that you choose effective sun protection when gardening. One of the best ways to prevent overexposure to ultraviolet rays is the use of a carefully selected sun hat, but no hat does it all. Follow these 9 good habits to stay safe while gardening in the summertime.
Even with a good sun hat, you should have a light coat of sun block on your face. This will help protect you from reflected UV rays. It is also very smart to use UV blocking lip balm.
Use sunscreen liberally on areas that you know are not covered by your hat. It is also a good idea to apply sunscreen in areas that you do think are protected. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and more protection against ultraviolet rays is always a smart choice.
Wear Good sunglasses
Shades that have good UV protection will help you protect your vision and the delicate skin around your eyes.
Find The Right Time
Time your work hours for cooler times of day such as early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Monitor the UV index scale and time your activities so that you are not in the sun between the hours of ten in the morning and four in the afternoon. These are the times when UV rays are most dangerous.
When you are outside, be cognizant of ambient conditions. If you notice that your shadow is blunted (shorter than your actual height) you are probably getting too much sun. Move your activities into partial shade or make your own shade by setting up a beach umbrella in the area where you are working.
Be sure to drink plenty of water both before and after gardening and keep a thermos of cool water at your side.
Work for short periods of time, and take frequent breaks.
Take Care Of Indoor Chores Whenever Possible
Extremely hot days give you a good opportunity to stay inside and take care of little tasks such as making your own disposable newspaper pots for seedlings or creating attractive hypertufa planters.
Weeding is a hot and heavy job, so be sure to take steps to prevent having to do it. Mulch your veggie and flower beds well to prevent the encroachment of weeds. This will also help hold moisture in and reduce your watering chores.
Water Smarter Not Harder!
Be sure to make good use of soaker hoses and irrigation systems to reduce the amount of backbreaking labor you must perform.
Take Care Of Little Tasks As Soon As You See Them
For example, if you happen to notice a few little weeds when you do your early-morning survey of your garden, pluck them immediately! If you give them a day or two to sink their roots deeper, your job will just be that much harder.
Developing smart sun habits is an excellent way to extend both the length and the quality of your life.
It Isn’t Simple
Clearly there are many points to consider when choosing just the right hat for gardening. A good hat should do its job and protect you from the sun, but if you take the time to choose carefully and are blessed with a bit of luck, a good hat can be a good companion. Follow the advice presented here to find just the right sun hat to keep you company on pleasant days in the garden.