Which features does the ideal bushwalking hat need for Australia? Do you need more than one hat? What are the types of hats available?My ideal hat would have the following features
- breathable and cool
- easily folded to fit the lid of my pack without damage
- easily cleaned
- provides protection all round from the sun
- large brim at the front to ward off branches and keep rain off my face
- can be worn under a rain jacket hood
- not damaged by rain
- chin cord to stop it blowing away
- allows me to tilt my head back without hitting my pack lid
- warm and covers the ears
Well I've yet to find ONE single hat that will do all of these things. I think that for Australia we need at least TWO hats, one for cold, wet winters and one for hot, sunny summers.
What are the options?
The most popular are:
Baseball Hats: these can be bought with a long rigid peak which is waterproof and fit under a rain jacket hood. Their limitations are lack of warmth and usually little sun protection to the sides and rear. Neck protection can often be added with a velcroed flap. They can be bought made of oilskin which makes them waterproof for winter but usually too hot for summer. Breathability can be increased by using mesh side panels. Most give away versions lack durability, especially the peak which is often cardboard, but have the advantage they can be cheaply replaced.
Beanies: these are warm, usually cover the ears, lightweight and can be worn under a rain jacket hood or even to bed. While wool has served this purpose well in the past, many bushwalkers are using synthetic fleece which is lighter and often warmer. A bean with a draw cord keeps it from slipping down over your eyes.
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