If I’m outdoors, chances are I’m wearing wool. The WeatherWool Boonie™ is a hat to consider for cool, wet weather.
by Leon Pantenburg
I was sent this hat to review, and I will send it back after completing field testing. At the time of publication, WeatherWool™ has no sponsorship relationship with Survivalcommonsense.com.
Us follicle-challenged males who go outdoors become hat lovers. That’s my situation. I’m not completely bald – to my surprise – but with my DNA, a shiny head is inevitable.
So any time I go outside, I’m wearing some sort of head covering. In the fall and early winter that will probably mean a wool hat. I have a collection.
My most-used outdoor hat is a hunter orange Bailey. I got it in 1991 after starting hunting backcountry elk and deer in Idaho. That hat has been all over, and protected my head from rain, sleet, snow, hail and sun. It’s been folded, crumpled up in a tent, stepped on, wadded up and suffered serious use and abuse.
But I wore it in October on an Oregon deer hunt, and despite my wife’s persistent, ongoing campaign, have no plans to get rid of it.
A good wool hat is an investment for the outdoorsperson. My favorite style is a wide-brimmed hat, with a 2-1/2 to 4-inch brim. The 4-inch is best for rainy weather – it protects my glasses, and the back will drip off or hit the middle of my back on my rain gear. The shorter brim is great for urban settings, or when bow hunting in swampy, deciduous forests. (This wool hat fits the description and might work for you.)
So the 100 percent wool Weatherwool Boonie Hat™ has potential.
There are a lot of reasons for wearing wool clothing. (Here’s several.) But in a nutshell:
- Wool is very fire resistant. Polypropylene and other synthetics will melt when a spark from the campfire hits them.
- Wool is warm when wet, breathes well and insulates as well or better than just about anything.
- Wool can be an organic, renewable and sustainable material with a tiny carbon footprint. Synthetics and plastics use petroleum.
- Wool sweaters and pants can be cheap and they are easily available – check out your local surplus store for bargains. Look for wool sweaters at thrift stores and garage sales.
- Wool garments seldom need cleaning, and when they do, a simple hand wash with mild soap will generally do the job.
Here’s the good stuff about the WeatherWool Boonie:
Design: The Boonie is made completely of FullWeight Fabric.
I wore the Boonie to walk my dog one night when it was windy and in the low 20s. It kept my head warm enough, but my ears got cold. Obviously, those conditions required a full-blown arctic quality head covering. The Boonie should be great in cool fall and spring weather.
Style: The boonie hat has a shapeless, floppy brim, and many people, including some of our hardcore, elite military personnel, like it.
As my wife and daughter will verify, I don’t give a rip about what outdoor clothing looks like, as long as it does its job. (I have an ongoing struggle with my wife as she seeks to find and get rid of perfectly good outdoor clothing, just because it shows a little wear.)
But the floppy, Boonie style hat looks sloppy to me, and I look like a dork wearing one. After all, Gilligan wore a boonie with a 2-inch brim. I don’t like how the short, floppy brim can funnel water down my neck.
And Jed Clampett wore a floppy wide-brim hat, designed to make him look like a hillbilly.
Now, I’m OK with that hillbilly look. (Actually, Jed is one of my role models, and I admire his survival skills, wisdom and business acumen. Great time for a “Deliverance” joke…)
But I want a stiffer brim on that outdoor hat that will shed moisture and protect my head from the sun and rain. If I were investing in a hat, I would make sure it had a stiff brim. If necessary, the Boonie brim can be starched and stretched to make it stiffer.
Tall crown: The Boonie has a taller crown, designed to help keep your ears warm. It is possible to wear the hat high on your head. Then, if necessary, it can be pulled down to cover the tops of your ears to keep them warm. The idea is that the brim can also be pulled down along the sides to provide more protection.
That technique will work in cooler temperatures, but the Boonie is not a winter hat for cold weather.
Color: The Boonie comes in four different colors to blend in with various scenarios. I like the cammo pattern. It isn’t too radical, and it fits in well in urban situations. Get a solid black color if you are anticipating blending into an urban setting.
Quality: This is evident from looking at the tightness of the cloth weave, quality stitching, and overall design. WeatherWool makes quality products.
Made in the U.S.A: All WeatherWool products are made in the United States of American wool. Everybody in the wool production, manufacturing, sales and distribution chain makes a living wage, pays local, state and federal taxes, and contributes to their community. Buy American!
Do you need a WeatherWool Boonie?
Everyone needs some sort of head covering outdoors. There is tremendous heat loss through the head, and some sort of insulation on the head is needed to keep a person from getting sunstroke or overheated in hot sun.
IMHO, the popular baseball cap style is a miserable choice for protection from the elements. The rain or snow will drip down your neck, the brim is generally inadequate to block the sun or rain, and in general, the design is ineffective for hard use.
In hot weather, a baseball cap doesn’t shade your neck and cheeks, and sunburn is a given. But – you can wear one under a hood, so that may be a consideration.
To me, that rules out that style of hat.
Do you need a wool hat? Well, it is interesting that some companies famous for their synthetic outerwear that now recommend and sell wool base layers. And despite all the research and technology, many military forces in colder climates stick with wool winter wear.
Here’s my take: One size doesn’t fit all in anything outdoor-related. A hat I don’t care for may please you. And the hat that doesn’t meet my requirements may be just what you’re looking for.
If you’re considering a quality wool hat, take a look at the WeatherWool Boonie. The Boonie may become your go-to cool weather hat.