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Today's Open Road and...

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Custom79, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Custom79

    Custom79 One of the Regulars

    Are the Open Roads made by Stetson today worth looking at?

    I have a fairly big noggin and I'm thinking that I may be waiting a while before a few nice bargains fall into my lap?

    How about online sources for Stetsons, like Miller Hats? Are these reputable vendors?


  2. epic610

    epic610 One of the Regulars

    I have one...

    and the quality couldn't be better! the only thing is that they are a bit stiff, although mine is a little over a year old and i noticed it's becoming more flexible and soft to the touch . . . maybe not unlike french wine which needs a proper amount of aging.
  3. how big of a noggin do you have??:eek:
  4. AlanC

    AlanC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Some on the board have found the Akubra Campdraft to be a better quality option. Akubra once made the Open Road under license from Stetson. When that ended they continued making it under the Campdraft name.
  5. I bought my Open Road two years ago and it is still a tad stiff to suit me. In all fairness, though, I haven't worn it enough to give it a chance to "break in". To me, it is more of a dress hat than an everyday wearer, but I know that it shouldn't be. It goes as well with jeans and a sports jacket as it does with a suit. I guess I'm just gonna have to resolve to take it out of its box more often.


  6. Ande1964

    Ande1964 Practically Family

    If you want the cattleman crease and if you are a normal oval, I think the modern OR is a fine hat.

    If you want a different crease, or if you a long oval, I would recommend the Campdraft. The felt is a little heavier, and it is also rather stiff, but it can be loosened up to fit you better, and it comes open crowned.

  7. Custom79,

    In the realm of current mass-produced headwear, the Stetson Open Road (OR) is in the lower rung of the mid-grade-hat range. The rabbit fur felt is very stiff, and it is not likely to be comfortable right away. Like any felt hat, it will soften, eventually. At $150 to $225 depending on the vendor, it is not a good dollars-for-quality value.

    In the big picture that includes vintage ORs, you will find that the new one is an ersatz imitation of its old self. There is no comaparison; the only commonality is the shape. If you get a new one, then later see and handle a vintage OR, I guarantee you will be depressed and probably no longer like yours.

    Stetson has no monopoly on the classic OR shape. Milano makes a pretty nice one called the Governor, but it's twice the Stetson's price, which brings us back to value.

    You are a newbie, and I know you are raring to jump in and buy some hats. Try to hold your horses and learn more about them before you spend a dime, though. The folks here are highly knowledgable, and do go to retail hat shops to get a direct experience of what quality is and is not. Try on different styles, and varying crown heights and brim widths to see what looks good on.

    If your are like the the overwhelming majority here, you'll get a couple Akubras or Beaver Brand or Biltmores--all very good, affordable hats that run less than $150--and then you'll come to be attracted ever more to the really fine stuff, vintage and custom-made hats.

    You could not choose a vintage hat harder to find than a Stetson Open Road in a large--7 1/2 and up--size. It's the most recognized model of the most famous brand, and large sizes are rare. You would be extremely lucky to find one in good condition at any price.

    I'm not sure exactly what Art Fawcett or Optimo or another top-notch custom hat maker would charge to make you an OR because the kind of felt (100% rabbit fur, a mix of rabbit and beaver, pure beaver) will make a big difference, and the specific lining, sweat, and hatband will make some difference, too, but it would be about $300 at the lower end.

    "But I could buy two new ORs for that?!" you might say. Again, it's about value. I've never once heard a person here regret that he'd spent the dough for a custom hat from one of these gentlemen. The most common regret is that they didn't do it sooner.

    I say all this so that you can leap-frog over wasting money on "learning" hats right into a custom-made lid you will be proud of and cherish for many years. Just make sure it's a style you'll continue to like long into the future.
  8. AlanC

    AlanC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Art's 'HST' model, which is an OR inspired hat. It's listed at $355, but you also have a wide range of colors to choose from and it will be custom fit to your head. Also take a look at the Open Road thread linked in the 'Important Threads' sticky. You'll see a nice bunch of pictures of Open Roads and their clones.

  9. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    No Question

    IMO, the Akubra Campdraft is a dead ringer for the OR... of 30-40 yrs. ago, that is. The felt is immeasurably better on a contemporary Akubra than a modern Stetson. But really unless you suffer from hydocephaly (not that there is anything wrong with that!) there are a plethora of Vintage ORs & OR clones... some made from the lighter dress felts and w/ shorter brims actually resemble Strats more than ORs. In the past eighteen months I (7 3/8) have picked up a JC Penny Marathon, two or three nifty Resistols, a couple of Borsos and two Stetsons, all thin ribbon western OR clones.
    Of the two (poorly listed) Stetsons one was an OR & one, an otherwise indistinguishable OR type but for a 2 5/8" brim and only a 3x designation on the sweat, both together couldn't have set me back fifty, inc. shipping. The point being they are out there, no matter which way you go. You might want to be willing to learn to stretch up a size and or how to give a hat a "white gas" dunking (note to self: do not smoke while doing this) or both, but to me that is at least 1/2 the fun, eh?
    I just wouldn't buy a modern OR. Maybe deep discount at the outlet, but otherwise... nope.
  10. Justdog

    Justdog Practically Family

    Great photo!
  11. Thanks! Every time my girlfriend (who is from Wisconsin) sees this photo, she starts her, "Nowwww, whut we have heeeeeeeer....." routine.

  12. Custom79, Orvis is currently having a sale on Stetson ORs (click Tent Sale). Only 7 1/8 and 7 1/4 are available at $62.40. Not a bad price.
  13. if you can afford it, Optimo Hats in Chicago has a cream colour this year that is a dead ringer for an OR...
  14. bolthead

    bolthead My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Why don't they post thier prices? [huh]
  15. Ande1964

    Ande1964 Practically Family

    If you have to ask... ;)

    I think they go for about $500.

  16. dunno, but Ande is jsut about right. $495 +15 for shipping...
  17. Justdog

    Justdog Practically Family

    Custom 79 orvis

    Do you have a link for that hat?
  18. Akubra Campdraft......
  19. The link is: orvis.com
  20. Custom79

    Custom79 One of the Regulars

    Hello Ideaguy.

    Depending on how often I run the clippers over my head, I am between 23 3/4 inches and 24 inches.

    I usually keep my hair cut right down to the wood.




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