Even if it’s a tad bigger than the (often seen on backpackers) military cap and though it takes a tad more space, a military-style sun hat (a.k.a. boonie) is a better, safer protection against dangerous UV rays. Why? Because the cap only protects your eyes and a part of your face while the hat will also bring shades to your ears, the back of your head and most of your neck (front, back, sides).
Pick a color that it not too dark (my personal favorites are sand, beige, light brown or light olive), so it’ll spare your head from the heat that a darker hat would attract (some of us PS travelers, especially me, sweat easily, so any possibility to escape some heat is welcome). If you plan on going on a boat excursion, animal riding or just a windy spot, opt for a version that has a lace (yes, like kids hats!) to pass under your chin. You will feel like you look completely dumb. But when all the other boat passengers will lose their toppers to a sudden wind burst or a speedy boat driver, you won’t regret that option! Some hats also include an elastic band around the head that will help secure it on your head. If you can, try to find one with ventilation “spots” (tiny circular metallic silver or golden grids that allow some air circulation in the top part of the hat).
You really don’t need to invest in a fancy and expensive Tilley hats. They are high-quality hats, but considering that it will be thrown around, stuffed in a daypack or backpack, that you will sweat in it and probably get it dirty, I personally think it would be kind of foolish to invest 70-80 $ in a single accessory… especially when you can walk into an Army Surplus store and get one that will be perfect and will cost 10-12 $, maybe less! Fabric choice is pretty limited, mostly sturdy cotton blends. It’ll take a bit of time to dry should you need to hand-wash it, that’s probably the only con.
I found that my boonie lacked a feminine/girly touch… so I added an embroidered flower patch to the front… changes everything! To give your hat an edge, you can also…
-tie a ribbon or bandana around it (post about the usefulness of bandanas!)
-cross-stitch patterns on it
-splash it with bleach droplets
-buff some areas with sand paper to give it a rugged look
-undo some thread to expose an unfinished end for another type of rugged look
-if there is not already a “system” to lift the sides to get that cowboy style, go to your favorite shoe maker/repairer and have snap-fasteners installed (a 5$ job) on the middle of each side of the floppy part so you can attach it upwards, but it’s less protection for your ears though! (check camo boonie picture here or above for more info!)
I would love to know your opinion!
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