Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


Hello,I was interested to know what folks use for a hat when canoeing.I saw the Tilley hats but I need a brim that is not so wide l like around two inches.So are there any thoughts as to which you would like. Ravenwolf


  • Options
    Adjust your Tilley
    There is no better hat for on the water than a Tilley. I recommend you buy one, trim the brim as you see fit with pinking shears and then re-sew the edge to prevent fraying.
  • Options
    Yup: Tilley
    No question about it. They make a narrow brim model, which is what I bought. I've used it in all weathers, fishing and golf, for many years. They call them "Endurables" and boy are they! Worth every nickel. Here's mine:

  • Walmart
    Walmart has some excellent hats this year for just $10.
  • hats
    For warm weather I use a straw western hat with a stampede string.
  • Tilley or Filson
    Mac-T's fer hail storms.

  • columbia make some nice hats
  • Ball cap
    I get most of them free, and I have one old raggy one that is my favorite.
    When it is hot as hell, just dip it in the water and ladle some over your head to cool down.
    I also have a couple of open ones that have a built in sweat band.
    They are perfect for keeping rain off my glasses

    You can have one of those high buck silly tillys. I'll take my ball cap any day.

    Jack L
  • and
    for a fraction of the price, you can also get an attachment to the ballcap, that protects your neck from the sun.

    I have a synthetic fabric hat, white and mesh, and it's impressive at how little my head heats up when I wear it.
  • Polystraw
    -- Last Updated: May-30-13 11:30 PM EST --

    I have a polystraw that's lasted for seven seasons, a Riverz Delta:

    I prefer fedora style, wanted straw and can't abide the look of a Tilley (more importantly, neither can my wife). It's a fairly open weave, so cool, has a sweat-wicking band and is nearly indestructible. It can be dunked to cool down, washed with soapy water and a brush, sat on, shoved in a gear bag, etc.

    It does have a 3" brim - not sure why you'd want only a 2" brim, that doesn't offer much sun protection, especially on the back of the neck, ditto for ball caps unless you wear the curtain across the back.

    Orvis has a version that is a nice shape, but the brim is floppy compared to the Delta (which has a wire in the brim edge to retain its shape against wind). I have one that I use for hiking, it works well in the rain. The brim on this one is about 2.5", I think:

    PS polystreaws float, per the comments below....

  • boonie hat
    I like a military style boonie hat. Light weight, and crushable, with chin strap. About $12. Can't say for sure where to look; I live in a military town, and have several stores to choos from. Like this:
  • What's canoeing hat?
    Not clear to me why canoeing would involve some sort of different or special hat than any outdoor activity.

    That said, I think no hat is best most of the time. Just make sure you have white hair and keep it long. It reflects the sun and allows all breezes to freely circulate around your noggin.

    If you have the misfortune of not having long white hair, or if the sun is blazing hot, I like an 18th century narrow brim Panama straw hat, by far. As a second choice, I like the original mesh Patagonia duckbill cap from the 80's. In rain, I like a wide brim waterproof hat, which I keep rolled up in my vanity case. It's too hot to wear other than in rain.

    Tilley? It's heavy, hot, gimmicky and ugly. As a politically correct person, I'll leave it at that and not enumerate the Tilley's bad points.
  • Tilley floats
    kind of handy when you lose yours in the Gulf of Mexico under a blazing sun.

    Handy in the pouring rain when its relatively warm..yesterday noggins stayed dry with our T4s during a soggy paddle in Muscongus Bay..

    Yet if you soak it it will help you stay cool. Necessary while desert paddling. Wrap a bandana around the back strap.

    I dont think my 15 year old Tilley is tacky. Uh.. yes it is grungy!
  • actually, not quite
    Your head is subsceptible to skin cancer if you have hair. Which for some perverse reason make me feel not so bad.
  • my chainmail hat sinks like a stone
  • I've had three Tilleys, and they are
    very good, but careful shopping through cheaper selections can bring just as good a result.
  • Hats
    For me the Kokotat Hats can't be beat for kayaking: wide brim but not to wide, foam in the brim so it will float, chin cord for brezzzy days, black underside to reduce glare. My wife sometimes pins up the back of her kokotat hat if it is catching on her PFD. Worth the money for it!
  • Options
    Boonie hat
    Made by Columbia.
  • ball cap ....
    -- Last Updated: May-31-13 9:39 AM EST --

    ...... dirt cheap , excellent used ones around for a buck or two at flea markets , Goodwill stores , etc. .

    I like a thin corduroy in the winter .

    There was this one I guess it's called combat or bush style hat that I saw at a tackle shop that I wish I would have sprung the $25. for but didn't . It was the only really decent summer full wide brim that ever caught my interest . Flexable , floppy brim (yet kept it's shape well) , open mesh full around side riser (solid top) , and exremely light . Unfortunately that brand was replaced by another the following year and have never found another like it .

    I've always worn the type with the stand up front panal (maybe called farmer , truck driver style ??) , which are becoming more and more difficult to find now a days . Seems like "all" the new ones today are the round tops and have sponsor logos or weird color patterns I don't favor . Come to think about it , baseball "league" caps have probably always been the round tops (not the stand up front panals) .

    When it's raining hard enough I slip on my lightweight breathable rain gear , the hood fits perfectly over the ball cap ... try that with most other hat styles and it's either impossible or very uncomfortable .

    The last thing I'd want to be doing is worrying where my $100.-$200. hat has gone off to ... just like expensive sun glasses . Oh sure , quality has it's place , but not at the expense of carrying a ball and chain around with you .

    Hat "advise/help" , tap into the knowledge (hard to think anyone could need it though) , but decent enough topic for discussion ... guess it's just a sign of the times :-)

  • flap cap
    I tend to use one of the caps with a bill and a ear/neck flap.
  • My Favs
    I'm always buying new kayaking hats, looking for the perfect one.

    My current hands-down favorite, for fitness kayaking and racing, is the OR ventilated "swift caps" or the "sun runner" with the neck cape: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/or-gear/hats/sun-runner-cap.html

    For touring, my favorite is the large brim REI Paddler's hat at http://www.rei.com/product/847874/rei-paddlers-hat. It has good ventilation and a stiff-brim that can stand-up to a stiff breeze.

    Tilley's are made well, but unfortunately I just can't escape looking like an (old) dork in mine. The REI hat actually makes me look good, which is quite amazing, actually... :^)

    One issue with the REI hat is that instead of many sizes, they offer only two: S/M and L/XL. On my noggin, one is slightly too tight and the other is slightly too big, even with the hat adjustments. I went with the S/M and keep the hat in a hat-stretcher to stretch/maintain a comfortable fit.

    Here in the deep south the Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat (http://www.sundayafternoons.com/adventure-hat.html) is very popular. It works well, but being basically a sun bonnet, it looks more flattering on women than men, IMO. If vanity is not a deal-breaker, it's a great hat.

    Of course, if you're a Nigel Foster fan, you will want one of these: http://windagainstcurrent.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/noname.jpg

    Greg Stamer
  • Hat
    I have been using an old cotton baseball type hat for years. It has a extra long brim that really shades my eyes. Since I always have a bandana around my neck, I don't worry about sunburn back there. I think cotton is key as it breaths and if you soak it then put it on, it will keep you cool. Some cheap hats use cardboard to stiffen the brim - not good! I remember an episode of Survivorman where he cooked some roots by adding hot stones to the water in his Tiley (I think) - pretty cool.
  • self-confessed hat freak
    I admit to 40 year obsession with finding the perfect outdoor hat, with the parameters getting ever more specific as I've gotten more into paddling both canoes and kayaks. Probably gone through several dozen, some of which were 90% what I wanted but each needed improvement.

    But I think I found the perfect one last week, The only problem could be locating another one as backup (or to recommend to others.) I stumbled upon it in a Tractor Supply store in a rural town along the Susquehanna. At $12.99 there was little to lose. It resembles the REI boonie that Greg favors with a couple of nifty options. Not only is the brim just the right width and reinforced with flotation material (so it isn't floppy -- a fault I have found with most Columbias), they added the float/insulation to the crown. The perimeter of the crown is solid skeeter mesh, but stiffer than that found in most ventilated boonies so the crown doesn't rest against your scalp, but it is still crushable. The brim has a narrow reflective tape sewn around the edge and the underside is dark green to shade the eyes and prevent off-water reflection (a problem I have had with white hats. The rest of the hat is khaki tan except that they lined the crown piece with International Orange which makes it easy to spot if it blows off. They also installed a velcro secured pocket inside the crown that would fit ID, a spare car key and some folding cash. It has a generous "French Foreign Legion" back neck gaiter flap that folds up handily into a pocket inside the back of the brim rather than into the crown, so the band size is not affected. The inside sweat band is generous and soft absorbent material. The chin strap is sturdier cord than most, soft tubular nylon that goes through a pair of wide spaced grommets on both sides of the crown so that you can secure it both behind your neck and under your chin. I could not have designed a more perfect noggin bucket.

    It looks great but the best part is all the features work splendidly. It's the most comfortable, cool and secure hat I've ever used. Took it on its maiden voyage on Memorial Day down the Class I and II (and one Class IV that nearly ate me backwards when I missed the line) Red Moshannon Creek in gusty winds -- it didn't budge and my head didn't get sweaty at all. The brim is the perfect depth for eye shading without blocking vision. I water tested it and it floats like styrofoam.

    The maker is the ubiquitous Dorfman Pacific and the model seems to be DE-108. At least that seems to be the closest one I could find "leafing" through the PDF of their 100 page hat catalog.

    Before I take this hat out again I'm going to take a Sharpie pen and write my contact ID and "$50 reward for return" on the inside. And now I'll have to check every Tractor Supply I spot in our travels to find another one (or two) in case of loss.

    BTW, I've tried both Tilley and Filson Tin hats. Neither was my cup of tea. I have too much hair and they were beastly hot. I do think a Filson gives a guy a bit of Indiana Jones panache (in fact our chief investigator at the last archaeology dig I volunteered at wore one all the time) but Tilleys make every guy look like Tim Allen's neighbor Wilson (or Detective Provenza on "The Closer").

  • Options
    I 2nd the boonie
    You can pick them up from any military surplus store. You often can find them in many different colors and camo paterns as well. I used to have one that was orange camo a log time ago. Rocking the navy digi and a white camo one right now.
  • dang
    Looks like DPC dumped that perfect boonie hat I found -- I don't see the model in their 2012 or 2013 catalogs. That's what I get for falling for stuff scrounged off the clearance racks in backwater stores. Might have to up the "reward for return" on that label.
  • Is this it?
    -- Last Updated: May-31-13 12:22 PM EST --


    It's currently available at Sierra Trading Post for $22 - if this is the one, you should buy out your size (I'm a hatophile as well, still kicking myself for not buying a certain polystraw I saw a couple of years ago which was discontinued...)


  • That's it!
    Carl, you're my hero! Just ordered two from Sierra Trading, since I know my sweetie is going to covet it -- in fact he already uses several of my castoff hats. Good thing we have the same fat heads.
  • Cool, glad to help, nm
  • Similar...
    ...to what I use.


    The straps keep it down on windy days or the occasional swim.
  • Great Replys
    Thanks, I will use info. and go from there. Best to you all; Ravenwolf;
  • protect nose and ears
    Sun is cool but vicious. Tilleys will help protect against sun-borne cancers and work very well in soothing the eyes in bright sunlight and poring rain, especially if you wear glasses. I'm on my second Tilley (first one still going strong). Good stuff, expensive, but good, expensive, but last a long time. Highly recommend one.
  • Floating is best feature
    When you're hot, just drop it on the water, roll, pick it up and continue on your merry way.
  • Hats Experience
    On the water a full brim hat is more than a fashion statement, it is a necessity. My father drummed this into me as a young child, and I've always worn a full brim whether lounging on the beach or in a power boat. I've even been mocked for it though they seem more popular now. Of course, the habit continued when I became addicted to paddle sports.

    As for the hat, any hat is better than none. However, full coverage is essential. Ball caps with only a bill do not protect ears. I've worn many military surplus and cheap knock offs over the years all of which served me well.

    However, the Tilley is the best I've experienced.
    Mine is 8 years old and looks like an ancient relic from the salt and sun exposure. It is still as good as new though.
  • cost to lost consideration
    Another hesitancy I have about costly hats like Tilleys is the gear price corollary of Murphy's Law -- the chance of your losing a hat in any given season is directly proportional to the cost of said hat. I've lost several $25 to $40 hats, some within weeks of purchase. The one I've kept longest is a quite ugly cotton twill boonie I picked up at a convenience store clearance bin for $1.99 five years ago.

    This corollary also applies to umbrellas. When I used to commute on public transport a good bumbershoot was essential for long walks to stops and long waits for weather delayed buses. I lost nice umbrellas regularly. Then, caught in an unexpected downpour, I dashed into a junk shop downtown and grabbed a $2 umbrella that was the ugliest thing you ever saw -- bilious yellow vinyl printed with black roses and the handle was a plastic fake wood duck's head with red rhinestone eyes. I had that thing for close to ten years, until it was so bent, faded and shredded it had to be discarded. I couldn't lose the thing if I tried. If I accidently left it behind in a restaurant or bus, people would run after me to see I got it back. As in "please get this hideous thing out of my sight."
  • tilley
    I have to say that as much as I hate the look of the tilley and generally wait until away from shore to put in on...its an awesome hat for paddling. I use mine mostly for kayaking. It will stay on my head when I roll, I can stash it under my deck lines when rolling a lot and it will stayput better than a ball cap, it provides protection to the neck on a sunny day, it will not blow off my head in 20 knot wiends, and it floats. Hate the way it looks but it sure is practical.

    Not quite to the point where I will wear socks with sandles but am becomming less concerned about appearances as I get older.


  • I have several
    have several, including a Tilley Air Flow that looks like it's been to my mother in law's and back (hint hint).

    Last your I picked up an ExOfficio BugsAway® Adventure Hat, and it is my new favorite for paddling. It's light weight and not a big sail, yet offers excellent sun protection. It looks better in person than in the picture too. http://www.exofficio.com/products/details/bugsaway-adventure-hat-f12
  • Yep.
    I'm just not vain enough to avoid such a wonderfully functional hat for mere aesthetic reasons
Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!