Last Updated on June 29, 2023
Running in the desert can be an epic experience. The vast and unforgiving landscape, coupled with scorching temperatures, demands a meticulous approach to selecting the right clothing and gear to tackle the challenge.
On top of proper hydration and clothing, choosing the right headwear is essential for staying comfortable and safe during a desert run.
First of all, protection from the sun is crucial in the desert. The intense heat and direct sunlight can cause serious sunburn and even heat stroke.
Look for a hat that provides ample shade for your face, neck, and ears. A wide-brimmed hat, such as a classic cowboy hat, can provide excellent coverage from the sun’s rays. Alternatively, a baseball cap or a visor with a long brim can also offer protection while allowing for greater visibility.
Another key consideration is ventilation. The desert can be a hot and dry place, and wearing a hat that traps heat and sweat can quickly become uncomfortable.
Look for a hat with breathable fabric or mesh panels that allow for air circulation. Some hats even come with built-in cooling technology, such as evaporative fabric or gel inserts, which can help regulate body temperature and keep you comfortable during a long run.
One type of headwear that has gained popularity among desert runners in recent years is the keffiyeh or desert scarf.
Originally worn by Arab nomads to protect themselves from the harsh desert sun and sandstorms, these versatile headscarves can be wrapped around the head and neck in various ways to provide both sun protection and ventilation. They are also lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry in a backpack or pocket.
For desert marathons like the Marathon des Sables, which spans over 150 miles through the Sahara Desert, specialized headwear designed for extreme conditions is essential.
Best Sun Hats for Running in the Desert
The Columbia Unisex Schooner Bank™ Cachalot is a top-quality hat that provides UPF-50 protection from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. This is thanks to Columbia’s proprietary Omni-Shade technology, which is a combination of tightly woven fabric and chemical UV absorbers that work together to block the sun’s rays. It’s designed to keep you cool and comfortable, even in the hottest desert conditions, thanks to its integrated Omni-Wick sweatband that actively breathes and wicks sweat away from your brow.
This hat features an adjustable drawcord toggle sizing system that ensures a perfect fit, without the need for snaps or Velcro. The toggle is located on the back of the hat, which means it won’t interfere with a backpack or other gear. The Cachalot also has a long, wide brim that provides ample shade for your face, ears, and neck. The brim is stiffened with wire, which allows you to shape it to your liking.
The Columbia Unisex Schooner Bank™ Cachalot is a long-lasting and reliable piece of gear for any desert ultra-marathon. It’s made from high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship that is built to withstand the toughest conditions. The hat comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that suits your style.
The North Face Class V Sunshield Hat is another great option for desert running. This hat has been recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation for its effective UV protection for your face, neck, and eyes. It features sweat-wicking FlashDry fabric that dries quickly, so you don’t have to worry about sweat getting in your eyes.
The Class V Sunshield Hat also has UPF 40+ protection, making it a great choice for those long days in the desert sun. One of the standout features of this hat is the back loop that can be attached to your backpack when the clouds roll in, providing added convenience. The Class V Sunshield Hat is made from a partially-recycled nylon blend, which makes it an eco-friendly choice. This lightweight hat delivers durable sun protection, no matter what conditions you explore in.
The North Face Class V Sunshield Hat is available in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can choose the one that suits you best. It has a classic look that will complement any desert ultra-marathon outfit.
The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is a versatile and functional hat that has a removable, adjustable skirt that gives you shelter from harsh rays or can be removed when you just need ball-cap coverage.
The lightweight fabric provides UPF 30+ sun protection, and mesh side panels let air flow over the sides of your head. One of the best things about the Sun Runner Cap is its versatility. The removable skirt provides extra protection when you need it, but can be easily taken off and stowed away when you don’t. The hat also has a reflective logo on the front and back, which makes it easy to see in low-light conditions.
The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is perfect for desert running, with its ability to shield your face and neck from the sun’s rays, while still providing the breathability you need to stay comfortable in the heat. The cap is made from high-quality materials and is built to last, so you can rely on it for your next desert ultra-marathon.
The Sunday Afternoons Sport Hat is a stylish and practical option for desert running. It has a full brim and neck cape for complete sun protection, and it’s made from a lightweight and breathable fabric that helps keep you cool and comfortable. The hat also has a moisture-wicking sweatband to keep sweat out of your eyes, and a chin strap to keep the hat secure during windy conditions.
One of the standout features of this hat is its customizable fit. It has a unique sizing system that allows you to adjust the fit with a simple pull of a string, without any Velcro or snaps. This makes it easy to get a comfortable and secure fit, even when you’re on the move.
The Sunday Afternoons Sport Hat is available in a variety of colors and sizes, and its classic design makes it a great choice for any desert ultra-marathon outfit. It’s also easy to pack and store, which makes it a convenient option for travel.
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