Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners

Welcome to our Best Running Hats guide which features 5 of the top technical running cap choices for trail runners and ultrarunners. It’s worth wearing a trail running hat while running rather than a regular hat for these reasons: they wick sweat away from your face and eyes, they keep your head/face/neck shaded from the sun (and also rain), and they look cool! When buying your next trail running hat there are a few essential features that you’ll want to look out for. For a trail running hat to be great, it must:

  • be comfortable to wear for long durations
  • be breathable to keep your head cool during intense exercise in the heat
  • provide sun protection for your head and especially the top of your head (sorry no large meshed caps here)
  • be moisture-wicking and quick-dry to prevent sweat dripping down your face
  • be lightweight (much lighter than a regular baseball cap, for example)
  • look good when worn forwards or backward.
  • be durable to take a heavy trail beating

All technical running caps in this list are for both men and women (unisex), and include the above 7 important design features that make a trail running hat one of the best running hats. With that said, either one of these running hats will be a great purchase and therefore your final decision will most likely come down to how it looks. This guide is regularly updated so remember to check back before buying your next trail running hat.

The 5 best running hats for trail and ultrarunners

1. BUFF Pack Run Cap (Best Running Hats WINNER!)

BUFF Pack Run Cap front best running hats trail and kale

The BUFF Pack Run Cap is a really innovative and versatile trail running hat. BUFF is already famous for its multifunctional headwear and headbands but it won’t be long before these hats are seen all over the trails.

BUFF Pack run cap flipped up peak best running hats trail and kale
Image courtesy of Buffusa.com – WINNER Best Running Hat

One of the clever features is that you can flip the bill up when running/hiking uphill allowing you to see further towards the horizon at the top of your climb, you can then flip it back down when running on the flat or downhill. It’s definitely a stylish hat with that much-loved European flair! I wore my UTMB special edition BUFF Pack Run Cap for my OCC race this year and it performed excellently for the entire 10.5 hours of mountain running!

This trail running hat also has a built-in sweatband that provides moisture control without the added bulk, and the polyester UPF protective materials wick away any perspiration and is quick-drying. The adjustable elastic cord at the rear is a nice touch to the overall minimalism, and it provides a secure fit that’s easy to adjust on the fly.

BUFF Pack Run Hat compressed stashed trail and kale 2

Adding to its minimalism, this running hat is highly compressible too, which means it can be stashed in even the smallest of your hydration pack pockets, and then when you’re ready to wear it again the crushable polyurethane brim snaps back to shape. See video above for a scrunch test.

The BUFF Pack Run Cap is a very comfortable hat due to the 4-way stretch fabric it’s built with; this fabric makes it super lightweight too (1 oz.).

US online stores:

UK online stores:

amazon.co.uk Amazon.co.uk £18.10
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Last Amazon price update was: 17th April 2021 7:01 pm

2. Nike Aerobill Tailwind (Best Running Hats RUNNER UP)!

Nike Trail aerobill tailwind best running hats trail and kale 2

The Nike Aerobill Tailwind Trail running cap is one of my current go-to running hats and one of the best running hats I’ve worn for a few reasons. Firstly, I love how effectively the Dri-Fit polyester wicks sweat away from your face, I know this because I have a tendency to sweat a lot while running at a high intensity.

I also like to wear my running cap backward while running and the adjustment strap on the Aerobill Tailwind from Nike Trail is all fabric with no plastic clasps, making it very comfortable on my forehead and fully sweat-wicking. This Nike trail hat has strategically placed laser perforations too which provides excellent breathability during hot summer runs.

Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
REI sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running

I personally love the design and multiple colorways available for this Nike running hat, looking good while out on the trails is something that matters to me, and this running cap looks just as good worn forwards as it does backward. The cap has a reflective trim (the “Dri-Fit” decal on the side) to help make sure you’re seen during the night. Lastly, it’s very lightweight and has mesh sides so you’ll hardly notice it’s on even if you’re running an all-day ultra marathon.

US online stores:

UK online stores:


3. Janji [Re]Run Running Cap

Janji Run Cap

The Janji [Re]Run Running Cap is lightweight, breathable, has a handy zip pocket, flip-up brim, and also features a reflective front-facing logo to help you stay visible while running at night.

This lightweight running hat is made from a perforated mesh for high breathability and with a packable brim that will retain its shape after being scrunched up or tossed around, has been designed for travel and performance. I love the cash/card/salt tablet/Venga CBD Gummies zippered pocket on the cap’s side panel too, it’s a super useful extra storage compartment.


4. On Running Lightweight Running Cap

On Lightweight Cap front best running hats trail and kale

I love the design of the On Running Lightweight Cap, not only does it look great but it also has all the essential features that make a great technical running hat. It’s lightweight, fast-drying, and very breathable due to the laser cut ventilation holes that run along the sides.

The On Lightweight Cap also comes with a reflective logo on the front to help you be seen while running in low light conditions. The cap’s fastening strap is fabric with a small plastic clip in the middle.

FULL REVIEW: On Lightweight Cap


5. Lululemon Running Hat (men’s and women’s)

Lululemon Race Kit Hat Running Cap 5 Best Running Hats for Trail Running Trail and Kale

This Lululemon hat is perfect for road and trail running, as well as other outdoor sports when you want a really lightweight, packable cap. This running cap is designed for men and women and comes in a regular black or a bright salmon / fluorescent color, which looks striking on the trails!

Lululemon Race Kit Hat Running Cap 3 Best Running Hats for Trail Running Trail and Kale

The fabric used to make this Lululemon hat is super lightweight, sweat-wicking and breathable – similar to the Buff Pack Run Cap above.

Although it doesn’t appear to be designed for you to flip the visor up like the Buff Cap, you can actually do it if the cap is snug on your head!

Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running
Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running
Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running
Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running

This Lulu cap also features perforation to help with breathability, attaches with a clip and fabric strap similar to the On Running cap above, and has reflective details for running in low light.

NOT IN THE US? If you can’t find these products in your country (e.g. you’re in the UK or Europe) this ‘MY US’ international package service (which we have used) can receive your US shopping and send it to you! You’ll save 20% on shipping on your first shipment – click here to learn more and get the discount.



Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Running Cap Choices for Trail & Ultrarunners 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
REI sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running

All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. We may earn money if you buy from a link.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. A nice article for all the sports lovers with a very nice and brief explanation. Reading your article it is clear that sportswear will never go out of fashion now. It has become an integral part of our daily wear.

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