The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

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The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by jkbarnes »

On a thread last week (I can’t recall which one) I made mention of my quest for the ultimate summer/beach hat. This elicited some interest from a few members and a bit of banter about hats, a lot of it tongue in cheek, I suppose. So for those of you who are interested, I present my illustrated history of my quest for the ultimate summer hat. At a minimum, this ought to provide plenty of ammo for jokes at my expense! :lol:

Some Background
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a home on Shelter Island, NY. We had to ride a ferry to get there, which I thought was the greatest thing. We caught the North Ferry from Greenport. This is an old fishing town that has slowly given way to being a tourist destination. At the time, there was this cool old marine supply store in town. This is where the journey starts with a pair of captain’s hats I acquired over two summers. These were four panel, low profile hats with a cool anchor and life ring patch on them. I first got a khaki one then the next summer a navy blue one. I was probably 10 or 11? The khaki is long since gone, but I still have the blue. It’s faded quite a bit over the last forty years, and believe it or not, I can still fit it on my head. I loved these hats. They were my summer hats of choice for years, until I grew too cool for a captain’s hat. I’ve been chasing after a hat like this ever since.


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“Old Blue”

The other reference hat is an old school tennis hat my dad had that my brother and I used to where. Picture the hat Gilligan wore or Gilligan’s Island. It was white canvas with a broad brim that was green on the underside. Don’t know what happened to my dad’s original tennis hat, but this quest started, in part, with a search for that hat.

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That’s my brother in the hat

The Initial Search
The quest for a tennis hat led me to The Vermont Country Store. They didn’t have a tennis had, but they did have what they called an “authentic cricket hat” that looked like it might fit the bill. It didn’t. It was nice enough, but it wasn’t white - more of an ecru. And the material was thin, no substance to it. On the plus side, the brim was wide enough to block sun and the underside was a dark green to reduce glare.

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“Authentic” cricket hat - swing and a miss

Shifting Gears
Fast forward a few years. With the disappointment in the cricket hat, I shifted gears. Maybe I could find a take on the beloved captain’s hat of my youth. I was getting ready for a trip to Istanbul with a coworker and desperately wanted to bring the right hat, or hats, for the trip. I figured sun blockage was essential. At an online store called Quaker Marine I came across what they called the Swordfish hat. It was a four panel style marine hat like Old Blue. It had a longer brim with a dark green underside - perfect for blocking the sun in Istanbul! And it had vent holes on the side to boot. Maybe this was it! It was not. It’s an incredibly functional hat, but outside of a beach or a wharf, it looks out of place - not good for what is supposed to be the ultimate summer hat.

I also picked up a second hat for that trip - a woven straw fedora. It’s a very cool hat, looking stylish with both the brim turned up or with the front turned down. I thought the straw material qualified it as a summer hat, but the short brim that didn’t offer enough decent sun blockage disqualified it. Back to the drawing board.

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The Swordfish
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More fashion than function


Be Careful What You Wish For
The next big find was to discover back over at Quaker Marine a hat they were describing as a standard sailing hat. This was the exact hat from my youth, my dad’s tennis hat that my brother and I wore. It was white. It had a wide brim that was green on the underside. The material had some heft to it. It even had eyelets for some ventilation. The problem? I looked ridiculous in it. This has become a strictly beach or pool hat. It is not the ultimate summer hat.

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Gilligan revisited


The Mrs. Takes a Swing
The next round came about compliments of my wife. As a gift one year she bought be a fedora style straw hat from Orvis. The crown’s not too deep, the brim is wide offering a lot of sun blockage, and it even has a draw cord. I love it and I wear it quite a bit. It’s perfect when working in the yard or sitting on the beach. But it comes up short as the ultimate summer hat because I just can’t wear it all the time as grab and go hat.

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Is This The One?
TL/DR: No, it is not…yet.

The final hat in this saga was waiting for me today when I got home from my trip. I found a woman on Etsy who makes custom hats. She offers a hat called the “Quint Fishing Cap” which is a recreation of the hat worn by Robert Shaw’s character in Jaws. It’s the closest I’ve seen yet to “Old Blue.” I contacted the store owner to see about a custom order - khaki twill instead of waxed cotton, longer brim with green underside, and a single pocket on the crown instead of two. The hat is fantastic, exactly what I asked for. I like it, but I don’t love it. I’ll need to give it time to see if it can live up to the hope (or is it hype?) that I held out for this.

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The One?
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by atnits »

I'm on a similar quest! Apparently my head is the wrong size. Your options look good so far.
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by NationOfLaws »

This may not be the thread that definitively answers the “are we nerds?” question, but it certainly isn’t not that thread.
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by nburgess »

This thread has piqued my interest.
As someone who is follicly challenged, it's something I'm wanting to find more and more these days.
BUT, I have a head that just does not suit hats. Certainly not baseball caps, which tends to be my hat of choice and I've yet to find/settle on one which I think suits me. I've yet to purchase a fedora or cricket type hat, tried them on in shops, but again, they never suit me.
Off to Cyprus next week and will need to take something.
Oh the pressure 8-[
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by strapline »

I don't know if it's just me, but there's something of the Elma Thud about those long peaked baseball caps. Remember the guy from the Looney Toons cartoons that was always hotfooting after Bugs Bunny, "I'm off to shoot me a wabbit..." :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by Bahnstormer_vRS »

An interesting topic Andrew and quite a journey to find the right headgear.

I went through a similar, but not quite so convoluted, process some years ago as I was looking for a hat with a wide brim to keep sun / rain out of my eyes and off my neck and shoulders. Along with a full length raincoat, for work (at the time), I guess I was after the 'Indiana Jones' look.

After some extensive looking around, I settled on a full leather hat by Rouge from South Africa, brought into UK by Kendrick Imports.

It's going to last me a lifetime and I have several additional Rogue hats now as well in suede, leather and canvass.

Guy



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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by iain »

I like a hat I can shove in my bag and when I pull it out it isn’t all ruined and out of shape.

I tend to wear baseball caps and used them all the time when I used to run. They kept the sun out and in winter were used to reduce glare from car headlights as well as keeping rain out of my eyes.

I have a faded Red Sox cap I picked up in Boston, however when I last wore it while walking in the Lake District I stumbled on some Americans who assumed I was a big fan and talked to me about baseball for hours while walking alongside me. I was too polite to tell them they might as well have been speaking another language as I had no clue what they were talking about. After Babe Ruth I couldn’t name one baseball player and he played in black and white.

Here’s my current hat, it’s made by Jack Wolfskin and looks like a straw hat but is a polyester hat that rolls up so can fit in your luggage and returns to shape surprisingly well.

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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by jkbarnes »

nburgess wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 7:22 am I've yet to find/settle on one which I think suits me. I've yet to purchase a fedora or cricket type hat, tried them on in shops, but again, they never suit me.
I feel your pain. The challenge for me with a proper hat (as opposed to a cap) is I simply don’t know how to select a hat that works with my face and head shape. There’s a skill to properly pairing a hat, and it’s been lost by the average joe since a hat is no longer standard issue with a man’s wardrobe.

I’d love to find a proper hat store and have an expert walk me through style, crown size, and brim size to find the hat that’s right for me.
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by jkbarnes »

iain wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:28 am I tend to wear baseball caps
Same. A baseball cap is “daily driver” when wearing a hat.

iain wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:28 am I have a faded Red Sox cap I picked up in Boston, however when I last wore it while walking in the Lake District I stumbled on some Americans who assumed I was a big fan and talked to me about baseball for hours while walking alongside me.
That’s funny. Usually the hat I see overseas is a Yankees hat, and I hate the Yankees! Europeans tend to wear Yankees hats like Americans wear Manchester United stuff. It’s also funny they assumed you knew baseball just because of the hat. :lol:

iain wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:28 am Here’s my current hat, it’s made by Jack Wolfskin and looks like a straw hat but is a polyester hat that rolls up so can fit in your luggage and returns to shape surprisingly well.
Hmmm? Where have I seen that hat before? Oh, I know…

D9851B96-016D-42BD-A58B-801BA6A1FE2A.jpeg
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Well, I’m a Panama man, but I don’t buy the expensive fine woven type that look like something from Death on the Nile or A Room with a View. They look fantastic when new but sweat and sun cream are not their best friends. So I buy inexpensive straw ones and usually get a year or so, or a few holidays, out of them. This one came to Zante last year and Egypt this year, and is now defunct with a hole in the point of the crown. You can see it starting to fray. Still, they get shoved into OH lockers or down by my feet on the plane.


Image

Last time I had a moderately expensive Panama I was in Lanzarote a few years ago, and a few of us were returning to our hotel after a nice lunch. The wind had got up and a sudden gust lifted my lovely hat from my head and carried it over a chain link fence into a building site, where it immediately disappeared down a huge hole! It was Easter weekend and the site was locked and deserted. So I had to buy a cheap one from a shop down the road!

If it’s windy or I’m going to the beach or fast walking I tend to wear a baseball style cap. I wore the Panama in the Valley of the Kings but it was windy at Abu Simbel…and a floppy hat belonging to one of the ladies disappeared into Lake Nasser!

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I also like hats with a brim in winter, and my winter hats are generally better than my summer ones. I’ve had my Tilley (seen below in Cyprus) for years, and it goes to the dry cleaners in the summer. I also have a lovely brown Ayacucho Fedora.


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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by jkbarnes »

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 1:36 pm If it’s windy or I’m going to the beach or fast walking I tend to wear a baseball style cap. I wore the Panama in the Valley of the Kings but it was windy at Abu Simbel…and a floppy hat belonging to one of the ladies disappeared into Lake Nasser!
Many years ago while on an afternoon sailing cruise, I came across this handy little bit of kit. The skipper of the boat made them himself. I use this in the car with the top down - one clip on the hat, the other on my collar. It does the trick!

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Amor Vincit Omnia wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 1:36 pm I also like hats with a brim in winter, and my winter hats are generally better than my summer ones.
Don’t get me started! That’s a whole other quest still unresolved, although I’ve got a new hat in my sights. While reminiscing about my late father-in-law over photos with the family, I came across a photo of him on a student trip to the UK. He was wearing the most intriguing wool hat! Research ensued, and I discovered it was a deerstalker ghillie hat (not the Sherlock Holmes style with the ear flaps). It’s perfect for a walk while it’s snowing. I’m now on the hunt, but it appears to be hard to find in the US. I found a place in England where I can custom order one.
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by iain »

jkbarnes wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 1:34 pm That’s funny. Usually the hat I see overseas is a Yankees hat, and I hate the Yankees! Europeans tend to wear Yankees hats like Americans wear Manchester United stuff. It’s also funny they assumed you knew baseball just because of the hat. :lol:
And that’s why I don’t wear a Yankees hat, my other baseball caps from American Sports teams are a Mets cap, A St Louis Blues cap and a North Carolina Tar Heels cap.
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by Murphy20 »

I do like that Jack Wolfskin hat, I might have to pick one of those up if still available.

+1 for Tilley also 👍
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by missF »

ATTENTION ALL HAT PEOPLE...
Please take care!
If you find the perfect summer hat please try and choose one from a well established company that will have a long production run.
To find the perfect summer hat, wear it out through continued use, then not be able to replace it like for like would be DISASTER! :D
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Re: The Perfect Summer Hat ***NERD ALERT***

Post by rkovars »

missF wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 3:18 pm ATTENTION ALL HAT PEOPLE...
Please take care!
If you find the perfect summer hat please try and choose one from a well established company that will have a long production run.
To find the perfect summer hat, wear it out through continued use, then not be able to replace it like for like would be DISASTER! :D
That is why when you find a good one you buy two or three! A couple for backup!
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