Which of these vintage hunting hats is your favorite?
It almost seems as if you can't be a hunter without having some form of head covering.
Hats come in many forms, shapes, and sizes, but some have more substance than others. Certain styles have such a broad following that they can't be denied.
We're could be talking about camouflage stocking hats, blaze orange beanies, or even those visor-style hats that golfers wear, but vintage is the name of the game for this list we've come up with. The quality, functionality, and good looks of these styles have kept them around for generations.
And honestly, they might just help us find success in the hunting woods.
No, we're serious here.
Hunting is more than just a pastime, and when we truly want to see our harvests through to the end, a proper vintage hunting hat can not only bring us luck, but also serve a vital purpose. Camouflage or blaze orange has obvious effects, shading your eyes from the sun can be critical, and breaking up your visual silhouette by topping it off with a hat can keep you hidden.
Heck, even Elmer Fudd wore a vintage hunting hat!
Here's our running list of vintage hunting hats that we're huge fans of for a variety of reasons. The main reason? We're still wearing them today!
1. The Deerstalker
Made of a high quality wool/poly blend in a great looking houndstooth pattern, this Sherlock is fully lined in satin with a grosgrain sweatband.
You'll probably recognize the deerstalker right away, but not as a hunting hat. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it on the map when he put it on the head of his fictional character Sherlock Holmes.
But in actuality, the deerstalker deer hunting cap was made famous by hunters across western Europe, especially Scotland, and eventually made its way to the U.S.
2. Bucket Hat
It might be better known as the Boonie, and there were a lot of military men that wore this camo hat in action. They then realized when they got home that it doubles quite well as a great, comfortable piece of hunting headgear that was easy to wear and broke up their silhouette as well.
The Boonie was created about the time of World War II and around 1967, the U.S. Army began issuing specific hats with insect nets made of cotton and wind-resistant poplin, in olive drab and a tigerstripe camo pattern.
Maybe one of the most typical and yet comfortably useful hats, the basic baseball hat with a mesh back is sometimes called the trucker hat. It has been worn by virtually every hunter at some time or another. It's the classic ones, with old school camo patterns and foundational brands that helped further cement our love for the outdoors.
Baseball hats have been around as long as, well, baseball, as a way to keep the sun out of the users' eyes and provide a better field of vision.
4. Trapper hat
It's quite possible that most of us saw those goofy ear flaps and immediately started to laugh. But once we put the darn thing on and realized how luxurious it felt around our heads, the benefits were clear.
The trapper hat probably originated around the 1600s across Asia and central Europe, but is now worn across North America, from the Appalachian Mountains and well into Canada.
5. Stormy Kromer
Here is one of the most long lived of the vintage hunting hats, in fact of any head gear that is warm and comfy. The Stormy Kromer has been around for more than a century and has had a front row seat to many a deer kill.
Sometimes made from rabbit and sometimes made from muskrat, the Ushanka hat is fiercely warm, especially in the coldest of temperatures. The Ushanka hat may be a little overly cumbersome for the walking hunter, but for sitting, it can be one of the best hats that you can wear.
This bulbous headgear was created in the Russian frontier from the best pelts that the fur bearing animals of the region had to offer. It is a great example of how to keep the head warm for at least 100 years.
7. Coonskin Cap
The connections to Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett are obvious, since it seems like every picture of either of these two famous American hunters shows them both adorned with a coonskin cap. But little did we know, most accounts say the style came from Native Americans.
According to American History, "Coonskin caps were originally worn by some American Indians as a traditional article of clothing; however, European pioneers that settled in the Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina regions in the 18th and 19th centuries adopted it as their own and wore them as hunting caps."
I bought a waterproof, insulated camouflage balaclava almost 30 years ago, and I still wear it everyday in my treestand. It can cover your entire head and face or be worn as a simple stocking cap. The style is said to have originated during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War of 1854.
9. Hawk Mesh
Said to have been born as a simple sun hat, the Hawk Mesh hat probably started as a way for pheasant and other bird hunters and dog trainers to cover their heads and keep cool during the earliest parts of the fall in areas where the hunt was on, but the sun was still hot.
10. Jones Cap
According to MollyJogger.com, "The original Jones Cap style was developed by the Jones Hat Company of St Joseph, Missouri established in 1881. Rugged cotton canvas, lined, and fold-down ear flaps. Designed for the fall and winter seasons."
It can be seen most notably by deer hunters wearing them in blaze orange to slowly walk through the woods and field edges to still hunt so that they can be seen by other hunters. Oh, and Red Green used to wear a Jones Hat.
Our Love for Hunting Hats
There's just something about wearing a hat while hunting that has become tradition out of requirement. Concealment, shade, protection from the cold and so much more, they've been part of our hunting apparel for a really, really long time.
Truth be told, the hunting hat was a male's thing to begin with, but all these "men's hats" can certainly be used in a unisex way now that women have increasingly taken part. There are women hunters everywhere, and marketing to them is becoming just as important in the hunting hat business.
Whether they are for waterfowl hunting, deer hunting, or dove hunting, vintage hunting caps are a great way to harken back to yesteryear. They come in a wide variety of patterns such as Realtree or simple plaid, but the common theme among them is that they have stood the test of time.
You may still have a camo bucket hat or a camo trucker hat, but as retro hunting hats go you'll have to decide on your own which one is your favorite: your vintage ducks unlimited hat, that vintage snapback hat, vintage trucker hat, vintage camo hunting one-size-fits-all duck hunting hat, or that one your grandmother made for you at Christmas that time.