After using a couple genuine pith helmets for a couple years, I'd like to weigh in again and revise some of my initial comments. Namely, I'm not sure where the idea (myth?) of soaking or drenching the pith helmet originated, but I'm sure it's in error. My helmets are made in Vietnam from pith covered with thin strips of cork for shape and added firmness (I assume) then covered in cotton twill. Sola pith may stand up to water better than straw or felt; however, I don't think the original intent was to soak the hat. I've found that dunking, soaking, or drenching the pith helmet causes deformation and deterioration. Pith swells, like a sponge, when wet. Then shrinks as it dries. It never dries exactly as it was before it was soaked. Have you ever seen particle board or even a kitchen sponge after it's soaked then dries? It doesn't look like new anymore. Likewise, the result is the cotton twill covering is stretched. When the helmet dries, you're left with a wrinkled, bubbled appearance. Also if the twill fabric is not colorfast, you'll have color bleeding and staining. Also, if any glues used during manufacture are water soluble, you'll have added deterioration and deformation. Ideally, you want the helmet to ride off of the scalp suspended by the head harness to allow maximum airflow. My practice is to wet my hair (not the helmet) prior to donning it. Then as the helmet catches the breeze, it keeps me cooler. The goal is to have a chilled head, not a chilled helmet. If you have a genuine pith and/or cork helmet, I'd advise AGAINST soaking, drenching, or wetting it. It's almost certainly a myth! At the time and places these were in common use, water was scarce. It's not logical that soldiers would have wasted precious water (that they needed to drink) by pouring it over their helmets. A pith helmet can tolerate rain better than a straw hat, but why intentionally wet it given the risks? The upside for hat sellers is they'll sell more helmets as customers seek to replace the ones that wear out prematurely. As I write this, the temperatures here have been around 106 degrees. After drenching my shirt and my hair, I put on one of my piths and was able to dig a 4 foot hole with a shovel and plant a tree all while remaining fairly comfortable.