In Praise of the Boonie Hat, a.k.a the Vietnam Jungle Hat.
I've just returned from Crete and have nothing but praise for the Boonie hat in Advantage camouflage that I took with me. Every day was cloudless and sunny, and temperatures reached 38°C. With my "rather high hairline" this could have meant a lot of unpleasantness from burning and overheating if it had not been for my hat. I once got a mild case of heat stroke even though I was wearing a straw hat, so strong sun does make me cautious. After a couple of days wear the hat was so comfortable and well fitting that I would forget I was wearing it. I was quite amazed at how cool I felt all the time. Part of this will be due to the reflective quantities of the pattern, which is mainly based on a khaki colour. I've a theory that the darker parts of the pattern help cause air currents, rather like zebra stripes are supposed to, but I've no way of proving that. A few people even commented they liked the look of the hat, although I was wearing it for protection rather than style. This hat was one of the key elements that made my holiday a success rather than a potential nightmare.
I did notice one interesting thing while I was on "One rock beach". As the sun began to lower, I placed my hat on an outcrop of rock. In the dusk light the hat all but vanished against the pitted stone so much so that I had to put the hat somewhere else lest I overlook it when I left. "Advantage" seems to be a very effective pattern.
Boonie hats are available in various colours from stockists of US Military gear. For protection from the sun I'd advise buying the lighter coloured ones such as khaki, Desert pattern or Advantage.
On my trip to Jamaica the first days were very hot, and I found myself getting even hotter walking around Kingston trying to locate an address that was wrong. So, I stopped a brought myself a couple of cold drinks. When I was finished I was left with a paper cup filled with half molten ice. The Boonie hat was a webbing band around the outside that is intended to take foliage for camouflage. Rather than waste the ice cubes I tried tucking the cubes into these loops. The effect was quite impressive- like having a refridgerated hat!