Choosing a Coon Hunting Cap (Soft vs. Hard Cap)

Ray Conrad

Posted on February 28 2022

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If you’re a raccoon hunter, you know how important it is to have a good quality coon hunting light. While you can choose a handheld or belt light, cap lights are your best option. You’ll be trekking through the woods, leading dogs, carrying your gun, and more, so having a hands-free light source is essential.

Coon hunting lights can be mounted on a hard bump cap or soft cap. Whether you’re new to coon hunting or you’ve always used one type of cap, you may be wondering what the differences are between the two.

Let’s talk about some things you’ll want to consider when choosing a cap and how each type fares in these categories.


When you’re trying to decide which kind of cap to buy, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is which one will fit you best. The size and shape of your head can play a big role when choosing your cap.

Hard caps have an inner headband that’s fully adjustable, so it’s much easier to get the right sizing with this type of hat. This is especially true if you have a larger or round head.

Soft caps usually are a little more form-fitting. While you may be able to adjust them a little bit, they typically don’t have as much range as a hard cap. However, this may not be an issue if you have a small or narrow head.

Hybrid caps are also an option. These caps look like a soft cap, but have a foam insert for added protection. As far as sizing, these are very similar to the soft cap and don’t have as much adjustability as a bump cap.


When you’re hiking in the wilderness, a cap light can add a lot of extra weight to your head. This can be brutal if you’ve picked out a heavier light, and you might feel some neck strain.

Bump caps are typically the heavier of the two options. However, they offer enough structure and support to balance out the weight of the light across your entire head. The inner headband can be sized perfectly to support the weight and keep the light from moving around while you walk.

Soft caps are lighter, similar to a baseball cap. If the soft cap fits your head properly, this may be the better option. Unfortunately, they lack structure, so the front of the hat will feel heavier. This can cause it to constantly slide down, which is pretty annoying. This is even more of an issue for hunters who wear glasses, since the cap could start pushing on them.

Thanks to the heavy insert, hybrid caps are actually slightly heavier than the bump caps. However, they balance out the weight better than the regular soft cap.


Since you’ll be wearing your cap light for long periods of time, you certainly want it to feel comfortable. You’ll need to consider how it feels on your head, how it fits, and what the weather will be like when you’re hunting in it.

We’ve already covered sizing, so make sure you choose the cap that fits the best, since that will significantly affect how comfortable you feel in it.

Hard caps are secured to your head with a headband, which isn’t always the most comfortable feeling. The good news is that they’re much more breathable, allowing more air flow to your head and keeping you cool in the summer months. In the winter, your head may get pretty cold, though.

Generally, soft caps are pretty comfortable. They fit just like a baseball hat and conform to your head. However, they hold in the heat, causing you to sweat. They’ll also soak up your sweat, which keeps your head feeling wet. In the winter, they’ll keep your head a little warmer and they’re also much easier to layer or throw a hood over than the larger bump cap.

Hybrid hats are the worst for holding in heat, but they are more form-fitting, which feels more comfortable to most people. However, they usually sit up a little higher on the head due to the insert, which may or may not feel comfortable to you.


You’ll also need to consider how functional each type of cap is for you. This is the most subjective category.

Hard caps offer better protection for your head. Low branches and debris falling from trees are a few of the hazards you might see while coon hunting. If you’re worried about head injuries, this cap will shield you the best. However, bump caps have a much shorter brim, which doesn’t give you as much of a handle when you need to lift it off your head, whether you’re wiping off sweat or taking it off at the end of the trip.

Soft caps won’t offer much protection if you happen to hit your head. The thin material won’t be enough to keep you from getting hurt. However, the longer brim gives you more room to grip when you’re taking off the cap.

This is where hybrids really excel. They’re the perfect compromise between the two. The foam insert offers protection from minor bumps, but the baseball hat style brim makes them much easier to hold with one hand.

Is a Hard Cap or Soft Cap Better for Coon Hunting?

As you can probably tell, the best coon hunting hat varies from person to person. There is no one right answer. Every hunter has their own opinion on which type of cap is the best. In the end, you’ll have to make this decision for yourself. Fortunately, the caps themselves are very affordable, so you could easily get one of each to test them out.

Bright Eyes Lights offers all three caps options for our coon hunting lights. Each one is already set up with a mount, so you can easily attach or transfer your light between them. If you have any questions, give us a call. We’re always happy to chat and can help steer you towards the right coon hunting cap for you.

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