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Difference Between a Safari and an Outback Hat

By Taylor James


Updated on

Both outback and safari hats are essential accessories for the outdoor-loving adventurer. The hats limit exposure to harsh elements such as UV rays, making it far more bearable and pleasant to spend a fun day under the sun.

Despite their similar function, they also have a few differences in their design and intended purpose – let’s take a look to see what they are!

The main differences between safari and outback hats are their shape and materials. While outback hats are more structured, have a wider brim, and are made from tougher, more durable materials, safari hats are more lightweight options with slightly rounder tops. 

This article will go more in depth into the differences between outback and safari hats, and how to choose the best option for you and your lifestyle. 

woman wearing safari hat
@robertson.juliamarie via Twenty20

Safari Hats: An Overview 

Safari hats have evolved since they were first developed. Originally, a lot of safari hats took on the style of more traditional hard helmets, thick and offering extreme protection from the sun during scalding summer months.

Today, while they are still essential items for many adventurers, they have become more comfortable and convenient versions of their predecessors. Though they come in a variety of different fabrics, a lot of safari hats are known for their softer canvas-like material, rounder tops, and chin strap such as this Janey and Rubblins hat on Amazon

Safari hats can be made out of cotton, rubber, and other sturdy man-made fabrics. 

Pros of Safari Hats

  • Comfortable: The softer materials and adjustable chin strap make this hat comfortable and easy to wear all day long
  • Lightweight: There’s no need to worry about lugging any extra baggage on your head during your outing.

Cons of Safari Hats

  • Not the best for harsher conditions: If you are going to be personally engaging in extreme physical activities, the safari hat might not hold up in the best way.
  • Not ideal for water: While a lot of safari hats are designed with water-proof materials, many don’t take rain into consideration. More breathable options can often fail to handle wet weather. 

Outback Hats: An Overview

Outback hats are very similar to the classic western hat style, with an added chin strap. Often getting mistaken for cowboy hats, they offer intense protection against the elements as you engage in outdoor physical activity. Within the outback hat family, styles differ in details like how curved they are at the brim and their materials. This very popular outback hat from Dorfman Pacific is a classic example. (Amazon).

Popular outback hats are made of materials like leathers, polyester, cotton, and the like. 

Pros of Outback Hats

  • Extremely durable: Their rough materials give these hats a long lifespan, and even more protection against the elements of the great outdoors.
  • Stylish: A classic look that can take your style with you even when you are out exploring.

Cons of the Outback Hat

  • Not as comfortable: harder materials can make it harder for this hat to take on the shape of your head. 
  • Can get hot: Though many outback hats are made to be breathable and absorb sweat, they will still be hotter options due to their materials.

Which One Should You Choose? 

At the end of the day, both outback and safari style hats come in endless variations to fit your specific needs – and style preferences! They can both offer you the ultimate functional details you need on a day of physical activity, while allowing you to express yourself through style at the same time. 

Carefully consider your lifestyle aspects – do you need a safari hat that will protect you against the sun as you walk and observe nature, or do you need something more durable to accompany you during your many explorations?

Final Thoughts

If you love being amongst nature, it’s safe to say both could contribute positively to your collection of accessories!

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.