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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 sun hat review
Credit: REI Co-op
Price:  $30 List
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Sam Schild ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2021
  • Protection - 30% 5.0
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Breathability - 15% 7.0
  • Durability - 15% 7.0
  • Style - 15% 5.0
RELATED: Best Sun Hat

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.
Brim can be folded up
No cinch cord
Not very stylish
REI discontinued this version of the Bucket Hat.

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 sun hat review - 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.
Credit: Sam Schild


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.

rei co-op bucket hat sun hat review - 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.
Credit: Sam Schild


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.

rei co-op bucket hat sun hat review - 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.
Credit: 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.


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.


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.

rei co-op bucket hat sun hat review - 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.
Credit: Sam Schild


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.


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.


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.

rei co-op bucket hat sun hat review - a couple of bucket hats walk down the trail...
A couple of bucket hats walk down the trail...
Credit: Sam Schild

Sam Schild
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