One of the things you need to carry with you at all times is a hat. This is a good tool to protect you from the various elements.

I never used to wear a hat. Sure, I wore them in the military but as a civilian I never found anything that looked cool to me. If we didn’t choose hats based on the coolness factor, we’d wear Pith helmets and Kepi Blancs everywhere we walked. Love them or hate them, Kepi Blancs were the uniform cover for the Legionnaires and the dress cover had to be immaculately white.

As a military we are more able to have more function over less pomp and we can choose better gear for ourselves, especially for users who are given huge responsibilities. Hat of choice for most? The Baseball cap.

With the creation of online buying it’s now easier for buyers to make a pick. If you’re like me, I dislike logos, patterns and too much busyness that brings a lot of attention. In the end, what you choose is up to you. My recommendation in picking one is to choose a hat that gives you the best protection, while allowing for comfort, tactical sensibility and cool factor. And if you can use it along with a bandana, shemagh or a scarf, you’ll be very protected.

Here are some choices.

Baseball Caps-Baseball caps don’t protect the tops of the ears or the back of the neck. But they do protect your scalp and top of your nose. Some protection is better than none. This is my choice for everyday wear.  I’m certainly not going to wear a Foreign Legion Kepi with neck cloth around my neighborhood unless it was in Djibouti. Today you have plenty of choices for colors and fabrics. I recommend going with a polyester model like the Under Armour Stretch Fit Cap that I wear. It has a stretchy fabric, sturdy brim and fits snugly on your head; especially if you like a tighter fit. I prefer this to models that have buckles or adjustable straps because they can loosen and don’t fit on me as well.

The poly fabric allows it to breathe. I wear this when I’m running and I do a lot of miles in the sun and cold winds. It has held up over time and if it gets smelly, I throw it under the shower, scrub with soap and a toothbrush and it’s ready for another wear. Personalizing your cap with your call sign is a nice touch. In the end, whether you go with a baseball team or military colors, be sure to find something made of a durable material. If your prefer more air circulation, pick a mesh-back, such as the trucker baseball models.gray_athletic_mesh_sport_cap_baseball_hat-300x225


Stetson Hats-Also known as the cowboy hat. A tried and true hat and a large part of Americana. Select only those made of leather, straw or felt for a natural feel and to avoid getting rashes. Generally has a tall, rounded crown and flat brim.This will protect your forehead, scalp and portion of your ears and nose but not the top of your neck. Either way, cowboy hats are versatile. Some come with hat bands or strings. You can also affix a bandana around the outside brim for later use.  Highly recommended for the outdoors.0181MU.SANTA_.FE-01-300x234


Carver Hats-If you want a hat that is excellent for keeping warm, this is the type to go with. Thick cut fabric protects your head and ears from the elements. Some models offer fur on the drop-down ear-flaps. This is a good choice for winter wear.images-1


Straw Hat-These are popular because they have a lighter material that breathes well. Be sure to find a model that has tightly woven cloth fabric inside its brim or you won’t get the sun protection you need. Can be used with a bandanna.15050_TEA_LG-300x193


Flap Hat-This is essentially a baseball cap with cloth affixed to the back-end. Great for protecting your ears, cheeks and neck. This is one of the best for sun protection but you’re going to draw a lot of stares. But if the world ends does it really matter that you’re not in the Foreign Legion? Jokes aside, the French Foreign Legion have been wearing these for a very long time and it’s not just because they’re following tradition. The hats work. Available in soft-shell and hard shell models.418jxysyfGL._SX342_-300x300


Wide-Brimmed-One of the better models for keeping out the sun. The wider the brim the better. This is my recommendation if you’re out in the hot elements. You won’t win any hat contests, but if the world ends, at least you’ll be protected.1-0009-HEN-2-300x226


Boonie Hat-Similar to the wide-brimmed but usually available in a heavy cotton or heavy fabric. You can turn up the brim for better lighting to see over your rifle sights better. Available in many colors and patterns. Good for putting extra gear like shotgun shells or holding twigs or cat-tails for camouflage in the brush.5827_BIG1-300x205


In the end, there are lots of models to choose from. I recommend finding models that have neck straps so your hat doesn’t blow off your head. Pick those with tactical print or solid, non-bright or neon colors. A hunting print or woodland type of print will serve you best. Keep a model for summer and choose one for winter wear. Printing your name somewhere on it insures you can identify ownership if there’s more than one similar cap in a room.



By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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