Some people like to wear outdoor hats no matter what the weather, or the occasion.  Before leaving the house the search includes keys, money, wallet, mobile/cellphone & hat, not always in that order.

A group of people standing around the campsite, some wearing hats and caps

If you are one of the people who always wears a cap or a hat you will have your favourite types.  You may or may not tend to ring the changes depending on the type of prevailing, or expected, weather conditions.

If you do not habitually wear a hat or cap you will have on occasion grabbed one and popped it on you head, possibly when going outdoors during extremes of heat, rain or cold.

Caravanners, campers and RV owners of course spend a great deal of their leisure time out and about.  Whether they are exploring the local landscape, piloting their boat, cycling or just popping into the local town for a look around, conditions may determine that outdoor headgear is required.

A Versatile Tilley Hat

If the rain is coming down one of my favourite hats is the old reliable cotton duck Tilley.  This, as the name indicates, is made from cotton duck, a tried and trusted fabric used in the past to make sails for ships.  The word comes from the dutch Doek meaning Fabric or Cotton.  The fact that this fabric has helped to move ships around the oceans says something for its integrity and durability.  Mine has a wide brim that throws off rain and also keeps me nice and cool in warm conditions.  It is now twelve years old and as good as the day I bought it in Kemah, Texas.  Since then it has traveled with me everywhere and has seen service on three continents in all kinds of conditions.  An interesting feature of this hat is the fact that it incorporates a pocket in the crown where you can keep an emergency supply of whatever it is that you feel you cannot travel without.  If you see me anywhere & I happen to be wearing mine just tell me that you know I have three bills in there, each one a twenty.  Should you do this I will retrieve at least one of the notes, Sterling, Euro or US Dollars and buy you a pint.  If you spot me outside of the places where these are legal tender you can rest assured that I will have a bill big enough in there in the local currency for a couple of pints of whatever is on offer.

When choosing a rain hat I suppose it is obvious that it should be waterproof.  I find however that the ability of the hat to allow water to flow off a wide brim away from your jacket and even you shoulders is the most useful attribute you will find.

A wide-brimmed hat suitable for all outdoor weathers

A wide brim again is useful in the sunshine and if you are caravanning or camping in sunny conditions choose one that has a close weave.  Hats with a lose weave, like your big old stray number, can often leave a good deal of sunshine through resulting in a kind of mottled sun-burnt effect, especially if you decide to snooze outdoors using it to cover your face.

In sunny conditions your standard baseball cap is very useful for keeping the sun out of your eyes.  I use them when walking, playing games or simply when doing jobs around the pitch.  Use these in combination with an efficient sunblock if you are going out in bright sunshine.  While the peak obviously will provide some protection to your face it won’t do much for you neck, ears or the sides of your face.

One of my other favourite hats is the Extreme Outdoor Cap which has a substantial peak and a large flap which covers the back of you neck.  Mine is made from a light cotton close weave fabric and is especially useful in sunny conditions.  You can get some of these that have been treated to reflect UV rays, be stain resistant and to offer waterproofing.  It took me a little time to get over the feeling of looking slightly daft when wearing this thing.  The results are worth it because while all around me other caravanners fry to a crisp I remain cool and just become slightly pinker than normal.

There are a range of hats available for cold weather including your standard beanie, the probably less than cool knitted hat and a number of others including ones that have ear-flaps nicely lined with synthetic fur to keep you nice and warm.  Whatever kind of hat you choose to take with you on your next caravan trip do make sure that it is large enough to cover your ears.

Hats are very versatile things & only those lacking in imagination will confine themselves to putting them on their heads. Some of the more unusual things that I have seen hats used for are:

  • To clean and dry seats before sitting down
  • As rather inefficient cushions
  • As a shopping bag for small items
  • As a hand-towel
  • To collect eggs
  • As a container for golf balls
  • As a means of expression; throwing them in the air in celebration or slinging them to the ground in anger and frustration

What is your favourite hat?  Do you have any unusual uses for your hat or have you seen one been used for an inventive, unintended purpose?  Pop over to twitter and let me know at @insurecamp or drop me a line here.

Campers With Hats By: Mike Baird

All Weather Hat By: Greg Habstritt

A Very Versatile Tilley Hat By: Pete Birkinshaw