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#95375 - 05/23/07 03:41 PM Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
What is the best material, features and design for a hot weather hat? I'm looking for tips and recommendations.

- 100% cotton
- 60/40 poly-cotton
- nylon with waterproof breathable features
- leather (cowboy hats)

A brim that ideally extends beyond the tip of your nose when you fold it on your face (a way for measuring a well fitting hat for adequate protection against the tree branches) but shorter brimmed hats like bucket hats or military boonie hats also have their merits such as for accommodating a moskito head net and also look more low profile and are more compact. (I may end up with two hats)

So now I'm looking at $20 military type boonie hats (knockoffs made by different manufacturers such as Propper, Tru-Spec, Mil-Spex, Parklands, Rothco, to name a few...) I've seen 100% cotton rip stop and a combo 65% polyester / 35% cotton. Is it better 100% cotton?

Or for just a few more dollars, should I go with a Outdoor Research bucket hat (probably nylon) which has a UPF rating and a Coolmax headband such as these models?

Is it such an important feature to have a high UPF rating on a nylon hat? I know that a new t-shirt without UV treatment for example offers a UPF of about 15. And I'm keeping in mind that nylon or polyester is a melting plastic type of material.

A feature I'm also considering is that it should be crushable yet stiff enough to be used as a fanning device in hot and humid conditions or to help getting a a fire going. The Propper brand military boonie hat 100% cotton rip stop met this requirement.

A chin strap with adjustable slider or cordlock is obviously a must. I've seen $20 "mallwear" cotton bucket hats without a chin strap and the MEC ranger hat with a chin strap but without an adjustable leather slider or cordlock (although one can add it later). But their 100% cotton ranger hats weren't stiff enough for my taste.

I've seen dark brown oiled cotton hats. What is the function of oiled cotton? Is it for waterproofing the tissue? And what type of oil is used? It feels damp when you touch it. It also makes a heavier hat. It's probably a too specialized hat for what I'm looking for.

I'm aware the Outdoor Research Seattle sombrero have been recommended here. It would probably be the best rain hat but actually my first concern is protection from the sun in hot weather.

Canadian made Tilley hats have also been recommended here but they are just too expensive and I would feel guilty crushing them or fastening the front brim with a safety pin like the chef in the movie "Apocalypse Now" for instance.

Thank you

#95382 - 05/23/07 07:49 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Frankie]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Tilley is the way to go....they really are vastly superior to any boonie I have ever worn or seen, comfortable, protective and long long lasting so cheap in the long run.

Do not discount them....you would not be disappointed. My favorite is the T4. I do not like the unshaped standard T3 or shorter brimmed T5. They offer a hemp mocha T4 that will be my next Tilley. I also do not like the light nylon versions (T6) but my wife prefers them over the canvas models for sunny days.

They can take any degree of crushing, folding, wet or sun that you dish out. There are ebay dealers who offer decent prices and selection. Make sure you order it large enough...follow their measuring advice...a tight Tilley is the wrong size.

I do not recommend oiled cotton as it is relatively hot and a Tilley once wet sheds rain just fine without cooking your head in the sun like an oiled hat does mine.

In my view a Boonie is not even a hat.

#95389 - 05/23/07 08:09 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Frankie]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
One problem I run into with cheap boonie hats is once the brim gets wet it flops down into my face. I ended up spend a few bucks more for a boonie style with stiffening material in the brim to avoid the floppy problem

Blogging the Borderlands
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#95402 - 05/23/07 10:15 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Blast]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Yes I noticed some cotton hats have a wire in the brim allowing the wearer to bent it as desired.

#95404 - 05/23/07 10:50 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Schwert]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Yup, Tilley is the way to go, they are worth every penny. I wore one out, and got a replacement for $6.50. No one else that I am aware of offers their lifetime guarantee...

#95413 - 05/23/07 11:45 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: OldBaldGuy]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
I have a couple of OR hats and I love 'em. But I really wanted something for sun and rain so I ordered (and just got in the mail today) a Tilley TH4 Hemp hat. I chose hemp over cotton because I like the weave and its supposed to be more durable than cotton. So far it looks like a winner. As far as sizing goes, as someone already said, a little loose is good.

#95414 - 05/23/07 11:48 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Frankie]

Hi Frankie,

I would have to agree with most of the posts suggesting Tilley. They are excellent hats but a bit on the pricey side,

How about the hat at


#95440 - 05/24/07 02:49 AM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Frankie]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
If I was going to OR, I'd go with the Seattle Sombrero, it's worth it, and it is less expensive than the Tilleys. Another option is to look for an actual "diggers" hat, the Australian cover that inspired/"abandoned at the orphanage" the USGI boonie.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#95482 - 05/24/07 04:01 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: ironraven]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Thanks IronRaven. I'm looking for the Seattle but I didn't find it yet. I didn't know about the diggers hat and that it inspired the design of the boonie hat but I've found information about the history of this hat on the internet.


#95509 - 05/24/07 08:34 PM Re: Most versatile hot weather brimmed hat [Re: Frankie]
GrantC Offline

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 35
Just to add to the chorus: Tilley. Had mine for more than 10 years, and I have never felt guilty about abusing it! The only time I don't wear it is if I know I'm going to be out in wet weather for extended periods, when I switch to a Filson oilcloth hat.

As to the UV protection, may I be so bold as to suggest that your priorities are skewed? We're now learning (most recent data, according to my RN brother) that the danger of colon cancer from too little vitamin D (which the body makes when exposed to UV radiation) is greater than the risk of melanoma from too much sun exposure. (I won't even touch the subject of exposure to the chemicals used to provide UV protection in cloth...) It seems that the people who have been paranoid about avoiding sun exposure over the last couple of decades are contracting colon cancer at a much greater rate.

Just a thought....

-=[ Grant ]=-

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