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REI Co-op Bucket Hat Review

This no-frills, inexpensive hat gets the job done without straying from the traditional bucket hat design
REI Co-op Bucket Hat
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $30 List
Pros:  Comfortable, durable, protective, brim can be folded up
Cons:  No cinch cord, not very stylish
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Sam Schild ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2021
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#17 of 17
  • Protection - 30% 5
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Breathability - 15% 7
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Style - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Bucket Hat is exactly what it claims to be: a bucket hat. This is your classic workhorse hat. It's not fancy or super stylish, but it doesn't try to be. It's inexpensive, comfortable, fairly breathable, and durable enough for a variety of uses. Though it doesn't have the widest brim, it will keep the sun out of your eyes and won't get in the way of your vision too much. This hat will work well for most low-intensity outdoor activities. And, it looks just as likely to have been made in the 1980s as today. For those looking for a classic bucket hat with no frills, this is a good choice.

Compare to Similar Products

 
REI Co-op Bucket Hat
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $30 ListCheck Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
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Compare at 2 sellers
$39 List
Check Price at REI
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, durable, protective, brim can be folded upExcellent protection, removable cape, good in the wind, good valueGreat protection all around, especially on the back; brim is angled for longer protection, good ventilation, comfortableComfortable, very breathable, good color, great valueProtective, breathable, packable, unique, stylish
Cons No cinch cord, not very stylishLooks a little funny, can get hot on the back of your neckNot stylish, brim is not crushable, shows stains easilyNot very stylish, brim could be widerOnly one size, cinch cord could work better
Bottom Line This no-frills, inexpensive hat gets the job done without straying from the traditional bucket hat designThis super protective hat is lightweight, versatile, and an excellent value, winning our Best Buy AwardThis hat has great coverage and is a good choice for any sunny activity, although it is not the most stylishOne of our top choices for a full brim hat that is extremely comfortable and breathable and a great valueA very breathable sun hat with a neck cape, sunlight reflecting material, and unique style
Rating Categories REI Co-op Bucket Hat Sun Runner Cap Adventure Hat Horizon Breeze Brimmer Alchemi Labs Desert...
Protection (30%)
5.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
8.0
Comfort (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Breathability (15%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Style (15%)
5.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Bucket Hat Sun Runner Cap Adventure Hat Horizon Breeze Brimmer Alchemi Labs Desert...
Weight (ounces) 3.1 oz 2.8 oz 2.6 oz 2.9 oz 3.0 oz
UPF rating 30 50+ 50+ 40+ 50+
Size of Brim (inches) 2.5" 2.75 brim, 7.25" neck cape 3.75", 7.25" neck cape 2.9" 2.5", 8" neck cape
Material Nylon 100% Supplex nylon 100% nylon with 100% polyester mesh insets Nylon Ripstop, 97% recycled polyester mesh lined 80% nylon/20% polyester
Cinch Cord Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Packable/compressible Yes Yes No - do not fold or compress the brim. Packs Flat Yes Yes
Size tested L/XL L M 21" - 23" L/XL OS

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Bucket Hat does everything a simple and affordable hat should do. It doesn't try to be revolutionary or stand out in any way. But, this workhorse is quite comfortable, breathable, and durable. It isn't particularly stylish. In fact, unless you're going for the unassuming hiker look, it's not stylish at all. But, this product doesn't try to look cool. It's too busy doing the job of keeping the sun off of your head.

Performance Comparison


REI Co-op Bucket hat down on the floor of the Grand Canyon.
REI Co-op Bucket hat down on the floor of the Grand Canyon.
Photo: Sam Schild

Protection


The Bucket Hat doesn't stand out in sun protection compared to the other hats in our test lineup. With a relatively narrow 2.5-inch brim all the way around, it will keep the sun out of your eyes. But, you'll still want to put sunscreen on your face and neck. The stated 30 UPF rating is a lower sun protection rating than many hats that we tested.

The chin strap will keep the hat securely fastened to your head. And, the small bill doesn't get in the way while you're taking in the views.

While the relatively narrow 2.5-inch brim doesn't provide as much...
While the relatively narrow 2.5-inch brim doesn't provide as much protection as some other hats, it also doesn't obstruct your vision, especially when you're taking in the view.
Photo: Sam Schild

Comfort


Our testers wore the REI Bucket Hat all day and often forgot it was there. It is very comfortable, with soft material and a mesh sweatband that feels good on the forehead, even in the sweltering heat.

Hanging out at camp with the REI Bucket Hat. This hat is comfortable...
Hanging out at camp with the REI Bucket Hat. This hat is comfortable enough to wear all day and barely notice that it's there.
Photo: Sam Schild

It doesn't have a cinch cord to adjust the fit around your head, but it does come in two different sizes. And, the chin strap allowed us to secure this to our heads when we needed to in high winds.

Breathability


The Bucket Hat has a breathable mesh fabric that wraps around the entire crown. This allowed enough air circulation to keep our heads cool. The main body material isn't very thin, but it also isn't too thick. We didn't notice we were wearing this hat most of the time. So, that means the material breathes well enough.

Durability


The Bucket Hat is very durable. It crushes easily and unpacks looking just like it did before. The material is durable and can stand up well to sharp edges, too. This hat did very well on a week-long backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. But, it's worth noting that its light color shows dirt stains more than other colors would.

The Bucket Hat's beige color doesn't attract sunlight, but it does...
The Bucket Hat's beige color doesn't attract sunlight, but it does attract dirt.
Photo: Sam Schild

Style


In our opinion, the REI Bucket Hat is not so stylish. This is what you wear when you don't want to stand out in a crowd of hikers. That being said, it has a classic appeal that is undeniable. Bucket hats like this one are very popular, and outdoor gear doesn't need to be stylish to get the job done.

Value


This is one of the least expensive hats we tested. And, for the price, it is a great value. The Bucket Hat performs nearly as well and has many of the same features as others like it, but it costs less. We think this is great value for someone looking for an inexpensive bucket hat for any low-intensity outdoor activities.

Conclusion


While unassuming in its looks, the REI Bucket Hat does its job and does it well. It is a very good value purchase. And, it's very comfortable, breathable, and durable. This doesn't redefine the bucket hat, but it doesn't try to.

A couple of bucket hats walk down the trail...
A couple of bucket hats walk down the trail...
Photo: Sam Schild

Sam Schild