Boonie Hat

This entry was posted by on Sunday, 24 October, 2010 at

There ya have it, a review of a boonie hat. This type of hat has several benefits which are also found in more bulky hats, yet without compromise to weight and mobility. I bought my first boonie quite a while ago, and it has served me well for many years.

My boonie hat

Its original colour was black, but extensive (daily) use has bleached this hat. Like most booniehats (I also have a couple of other ones) it is made of heavy cotton canvas. An adjustable chinstrap helps keep the hat in place.

On the sides are four meshed ventilation holes. It is this ventilation which allows use of this hat even under warm conditions. The wide brim helps keep the sun out of your eyes (and also protects your ears from sunburn, a problem often encountered with baseball-style caps). Besides sun, it is also effective against rain and glare, allowing optimal vision under all conditions.

The hat features a foliage ring, clearly visible in the picture because (in this model) it is made from a synthetic material which does not bleach. This can be used to attach camouflage or carry small items.

On both sides are snaps to fold up the rim on both sides. I am not sure if this was originally intended, but it makes the whole hat stiffer (especially when wet) and also less prone to wind. I see the latter as a particular benefit, since I often use this hat on a bike or in an open vehicle.

The cotton is ‘water repellent’, yet not waterproof. This means it will absorb water and become soggy and a bit heavier. But once you get into a good rain, a wet hat is not really the first thing you care about. Nevertheless, it remains functional; it keeps the rain out of your eyes.

When compared to baseball caps, the all-around rim is a great benefit. The strap keeps the thing in place. Compared to larger hats (say a traditional leather cowboy hat) it has a few very large benefits: it is lightweight, rugged, and above all: flexible. You can easily fold it up and tuck it into a pocket. Now show me a hat which is this versatile!

Have a look at for some history.

Note: The particular boonie shown in the picture has some internal modifications, as I added webbing to insert a sheet of padding. This adds a bit of extra protection against falling objects while you’re out bushwhacking. Strange enough, I have not yet seen any commercially available boonies which hybrid some tactical helmet features.

There are several companies that produce boonie hats, some geared towards the military and some for (civilian) outdoor use. The one shown here – made by Fostex – complies with MIL-H-44105 and is available at prices below 10 Euros.

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