Voyager Caps have kept heads warm for hundreds of years and work just as well today as back then.
I have a habit of buying unusual things as birthday presents to myself. Last year I ordered a Voyager cap from Jas Townsend & Son to wear for muzzle loading videos, future reenacting, but foremost as a cold weather cap while out at the range, on the water, or in the woods.
Let’s face it but if your head, hands, and feet get cold while out in the field, your performance and enjoyment of your pursuit is sapped. I have worn baseball caps, beanies, ski masks, and even flap-covered hats but none give me the comfort on a cold day better than the old voyager cap.
What is a Voyager Cap?
Voyager caps are head garments knit from wool or a similar material and have a distinguished tail end that drapes to the side as the hat is worn on the head. These caps afford excellent cold weather protection for your head compared to other hats and caps of the old days.
My cap also suffered none of the moisture-related problems of the tricorn hat which warped easily in the sun and rain. Voyager caps were often homespun creations but various fur companies competing in the North America in the 18th and 19th centuries had them in their inventories. The Voyager cap later evolved into the stocking cap we are familiar with in 19th and early 20th century sleepware.
Jas Townsend & Son Caps
Jas Townsend & Son out of Pierceton, Ind. specializes in reproduction clothing, cookware, and accessories from the 18th and 19th centuries. I was attracted to their voyager caps as being the most practical and warm, while still having that 18th century flare I like. Their voyager caps come in a variety of sizes and colors and are made to order either by hand or machine with the price of a machine knit cap costing $24 and the hand-knit version coming out to $50. There is even a blaze orange version available for added safety while you are out and about during hunting season.
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You might be asking yourself why would I pay for a cap that looks so funny? The simple answer is because it works better than anything I have tried before. Jas Townsend caps are knit tightly with 100 percent wool yarn. While dated, wool remains competitive with even the latest fabrics in cold weather protection. I have worn my own cap at cold and warm day range sessions, as well as in temperatures of 10-30 degrees F.
In my experience, I get a cold head within thirty minutes even with the best protection. But my trust voyager cap worn over my ears keeps me alert and comfortable. While the tail end of the voyager might look a bit silly, this extra length allows you to unfold your cap and wrap it over your neck as you wear it.
Despite that wool is not a friend of extreme heat, working in 60-70 degree weather keeps the sun off my head and the tail can bend over the eyes like a modern visor. The cap proved to be breathable and not uncomfortable at all in this sort of weather.
Jas Townsend & Son’s caps most certainly do not look tactical, yet despite advances in warming headgear, they are a winner in my book. The voyager cap made out of old fashioned wool keeps me sane on my outdoor adventures and it goes to show that sometimes the old way of doing things is best.