Other than boots, you’ll find few items as useful and as comfortable as your headgear.
Throughout my life, I’ve worn many: baseball caps, patrol caps, berets, knit caps, garrison caps – but none compare to my trusted boonie hat.
What is a boonie hat? It’s a a cross between a bucket hat and an Australian Bush Hat. It’s characterized by a somewhat rigid brim that surrounds the entire hat. It often has a strap to wear under your chin or to tie the sides upward. Boonies also tend to have a ring just above the brim to attach additional camouflage or at times, to adorn it with feathers or trinkets.
The boonie hat made its first appearance in the American Military during the Vietnam War. Special Forces Soldiers began incorporating them into their uniforms and found them invaluable to life in the bush.
I believe I had a boonie hat in grade school but I’m not certain what year. It was way too big for my child-sized head. But even then, I found myself wearing it whenever I played Army or trekked into the wilderness near my home. Even now, I wear it when fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, or just wasting time away in the woods. If you notice throughout SmoothingIt.com, in almost every picture of me, I’m proudly sporting my well-worn boonie.
Why the boonie? Well, there are a few hats that come close. A quality felt hat may work for some. A simple ball cap may work for others. But my money’s on the boonie. It provides some level of protection from rain in the spring. It’s fairly cool in the summer due to it’s venting and light weight material. It provides shade for your face and neck. It breaks up your silhouette for fall hunting. It even keeps snow from your face in the winter (although it doesn’t do much for keeping you warm.) It dries quickly, can be crumpled up and packed haphazardly, needs little care (I wash mine from time to time), can support vegetation and/or gillie suit making materials, and looks awfully damn cool.
If you’re looking for a great all-purpose woodsman’s hat, look no further than the boonie. I’m sure you’ll find it as versatile, comfortable, and “stylish” as I do.
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