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Help with Panama hat for the summer heat

camhabib

New in Town
Messages
15
Location
United States
I find myself under the summer sun more and more these days, and would love something to help cut down on the heat and sunburn. There are a few requirements I was looking to meet, and I’m hoping the amazingly knowledgeable people here could help point me in the right direction.

I’m ideally looking for a straw Panama hat, around 2.5” brim, <$1500, and can take some abuse. Features such as being packable or able to hold up to some light rain would be great, but I understand that may be asking a lot. I’d enjoy picking up a quality piece that can patina and last some time, rather than a cheaper hat which I’ll wind up replacing in a few years. This will mostly be used as a functional piece for walking the dog, running errands, etc, and less as a special occasion or display item. Closest I could really find to what I was looking for was the Borsalino Alexander Montecristi Extra-fine, but from my brief time here, I know that a lot of what I’d be paying for is the name.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,375
Location
vancouver, canada
I find myself under the summer sun more and more these days, and would love something to help cut down on the heat and sunburn. There are a few requirements I was looking to meet, and I’m hoping the amazingly knowledgeable people here could help point me in the right direction.

I’m ideally looking for a straw Panama hat, around 2.5” brim, <$1500, and can take some abuse. Features such as being packable or able to hold up to some light rain would be great, but I understand that may be asking a lot. I’d enjoy picking up a quality piece that can patina and last some time, rather than a cheaper hat which I’ll wind up replacing in a few years. This will mostly be used as a functional piece for walking the dog, running errands, etc, and less as a special occasion or display item. Closest I could really find to what I was looking for was the Borsalino Alexander Montecristi Extra-fine, but from my brief time here, I know that a lot of what I’d be paying for is the name.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!
Check out a few custom hatters. Northwest Hat or Tom Gomez bring in legit Panama hat blanks and finish them in their studio. I paid under $400 for mine from NW Hats, built it to my specification/dimensions and it is a stellar hat. A further suggestion is buy a cheaper Panama or Shantung as a knockabout hat. Airline travel with a hat is very hard on it and I would be loathe to put an expensive Panama through that ringer.....I use a cheaper one for that.....if it gets lost or damaged then so be it.
 
Messages
18,925
Location
Central California
I find myself under the summer sun more and more these days, and would love something to help cut down on the heat and sunburn. There are a few requirements I was looking to meet, and I’m hoping the amazingly knowledgeable people here could help point me in the right direction.

I’m ideally looking for a straw Panama hat, around 2.5” brim, <$1500, and can take some abuse. Features such as being packable or able to hold up to some light rain would be great, but I understand that may be asking a lot. I’d enjoy picking up a quality piece that can patina and last some time, rather than a cheaper hat which I’ll wind up replacing in a few years. This will mostly be used as a functional piece for walking the dog, running errands, etc, and less as a special occasion or display item. Closest I could really find to what I was looking for was the Borsalino Alexander Montecristi Extra-fine, but from my brief time here, I know that a lot of what I’d be paying for is the name.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!


Depends. What do you mean by “packable?” Are you needing it to survive a summer thunderstorm or just a few drops of rain? I personally prefer Milan hats (wheat straw or hemp) over Panama (toquilla) primarily due to its resilience and ability to take a bit more abuse.
 

johnnycanuck

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,005
Location
Alberta
I find myself under the summer sun more and more these days, and would love something to help cut down on the heat and sunburn. There are a few requirements I was looking to meet, and I’m hoping the amazingly knowledgeable people here could help point me in the right direction.

I’m ideally looking for a straw Panama hat, around 2.5” brim, <$1500, and can take some abuse. Features such as being packable or able to hold up to some light rain would be great, but I understand that may be asking a lot. I’d enjoy picking up a quality piece that can patina and last some time, rather than a cheaper hat which I’ll wind up replacing in a few years. This will mostly be used as a functional piece for walking the dog, running errands, etc, and less as a special occasion or display item. Closest I could really find to what I was looking for was the Borsalino Alexander Montecristi Extra-fine, but from my brief time here, I know that a lot of what I’d be paying for is the name.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!
First thing I will say is not all material block light equally. That’s why there are tests you can be done to rate the products. The three company I know of that fits your bill are Akubra, Sunbody and Tilley. All have UPF factors on their hats. For summer wear I would choose Sunbody. They have some great styles at very inexpensive prices. Akubra makes some great summer options. Tilley is the one for packing and giving hell. Not as stylish but if they get sweaty they can be tossed into the wash and be back for more.
My two cents worth
Hope that helps
If you still have your gear on a Panama. I have bought mine from PanamaHatsDirect.com and have had good service from them.
Johnny
 

dkstott

Practically Family
Messages
715
Location
Connecticut
I agree with @johnnycanuck

Akubra or Tilley would be at the top of my list.

I've personally had some issues with Panama hats lasting more than a year. I wear my hats and caps all the time. I'm not a collector.

Plus I prefer a darker underside of the brim. The whiter underside of the brims of Panama hats tend to reflect light and give me a headache.
 

camhabib

New in Town
Messages
15
Location
United States
First, thank you to everyone for the replies. I don't post often but I'm always delighted with how kind and helpful everyone is.

Second, I just want to clarify a few things. I've found that I (like many) purchase a lot of "disposable" items - electric toothbrushes you have to toss in a year when the non-replaceable battery no longer holds a charge, shoes that can't be resoled, shirts that fall apart after a few uses. I have been trying to move away from this trend and purchase goods that are meant to last, and that was what I was primarily trying to convey (in a roundabout sort of way). I have no intent to wear this during a rain storm, roll it up and toss it in my suitcase, or anything of the like. What I would like is a hat that can handle some abuse, with the idea that if I treat it right and don't abuse it, it should last quite some time.

All that said, I took a look at the suggestions and the Akubra Balmoral is pretty close to what I was trying to find. My only concerns with it are how well it'll hold up (rather buy once / cry once than buy a dozen cheap hats), and that at least in the pictures it looks a bit un-refined in the weaving. Any idea where I can pick one up in the USA anyways though? It seems like a great hat to pick up regardless.
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,375
Location
vancouver, canada
First, thank you to everyone for the replies. I don't post often but I'm always delighted with how kind and helpful everyone is.

Second, I just want to clarify a few things. I've found that I (like many) purchase a lot of "disposable" items - electric toothbrushes you have to toss in a year when the non-replaceable battery no longer holds a charge, shoes that can't be resoled, shirts that fall apart after a few uses. I have been trying to move away from this trend and purchase goods that are meant to last, and that was what I was primarily trying to convey (in a roundabout sort of way). I have no intent to wear this during a rain storm, roll it up and toss it in my suitcase, or anything of the like. What I would like is a hat that can handle some abuse, with the idea that if I treat it right and don't abuse it, it should last quite some time.

All that said, I took a look at the suggestions and the Akubra Balmoral is pretty close to what I was trying to find. My only concerns with it are how well it'll hold up (rather buy once / cry once than buy a dozen cheap hats), and that at least in the pictures it looks a bit un-refined in the weaving. Any idea where I can pick one up in the USA anyways though? It seems like a great hat to pick up regardless.
Check out David Morgan...they are the US distributors for all Akubra. They don't bring in every style but have a good selection.
I have refrained from buying a top quality Panama as I would then tend to baby it or not wear it at all. I have a few from $200 to the $400 custom. They stand up very well although with our weather they are only worn 2 months of the year. After many years they still look good....and I love the coolness (temperature not style!) of real Panama straw compared to the artificial Shantung/plastic coated hats....they are much cheaper but to me not the same as a real Panama straw.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,308
Location
New Forest
The British climate can play havoc with any kind of straw hat, that's why I always keep a felt in reserve in the car. For a strong but affordable straw, I go for Biltmore, but there again it's a case of each to their own, which is why I have more than one bespoke straw hat.
 

johnnycanuck

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,005
Location
Alberta
First, thank you to everyone for the replies. I don't post often but I'm always delighted with how kind and helpful everyone is.

Second, I just want to clarify a few things. I've found that I (like many) purchase a lot of "disposable" items - electric toothbrushes you have to toss in a year when the non-replaceable battery no longer holds a charge, shoes that can't be resoled, shirts that fall apart after a few uses. I have been trying to move away from this trend and purchase goods that are meant to last, and that was what I was primarily trying to convey (in a roundabout sort of way). I have no intent to wear this during a rain storm, roll it up and toss it in my suitcase, or anything of the like. What I would like is a hat that can handle some abuse, with the idea that if I treat it right and don't abuse it, it should last quite some time.

All that said, I took a look at the suggestions and the Akubra Balmoral is pretty close to what I was trying to find. My only concerns with it are how well it'll hold up (rather buy once / cry once than buy a dozen cheap hats), and that at least in the pictures it looks a bit un-refined in the weaving. Any idea where I can pick one up in the USA anyways though? It seems like a great hat to pick up regardless.
Akubra Balmoral is a great choice. Hemp is a fantastic material and should be serviceable for years with proper care. I mean store it properly so it doesn't loose it’s shape or get crushed.
In fact at those prices and your budget you can get one balmoral and buy a Panama and compare the two.
The Montecristi are the high end fancy ones. I personally have two Panama Montecristi one 150 WPI and one 500 WPI. I prefer the 150 as it is stuffer, holds its shape better. Brim doesent flop around in the wind and a better price point.
My two cents worth.
Johnny
 
Messages
18,925
Location
Central California
First, thank you to everyone for the replies. I don't post often but I'm always delighted with how kind and helpful everyone is.

Second, I just want to clarify a few things. I've found that I (like many) purchase a lot of "disposable" items - electric toothbrushes you have to toss in a year when the non-replaceable battery no longer holds a charge, shoes that can't be resoled, shirts that fall apart after a few uses. I have been trying to move away from this trend and purchase goods that are meant to last, and that was what I was primarily trying to convey (in a roundabout sort of way). I have no intent to wear this during a rain storm, roll it up and toss it in my suitcase, or anything of the like. What I would like is a hat that can handle some abuse, with the idea that if I treat it right and don't abuse it, it should last quite some time.

All that said, I took a look at the suggestions and the Akubra Balmoral is pretty close to what I was trying to find. My only concerns with it are how well it'll hold up (rather buy once / cry once than buy a dozen cheap hats), and that at least in the pictures it looks a bit un-refined in the weaving. Any idea where I can pick one up in the USA anyways though? It seems like a great hat to pick up regardless.


The Akubra hemp hats are great, but you’re right that they are not very refined. Have you looked at a true Milan straw hat?

 

camhabib

New in Town
Messages
15
Location
United States
Picked up an Akubra hemp hat and it just came in a bit ago. Hat looks great, thank you all for the help.

One quick question I have is on sizing. Does this material shrink or stretch much naturally? Right now it’s a touch big and I’m wondering whether I should go down a size or keep my current one? Thanks!
 

jkingrph

Practically Family
Messages
848
Location
Jacksonville, Tx, West Monroe, La.
Living in E. Texas I have a hatrack full of straws. Stetsons, one Meyser (from Meyer the hatter in New Orleans) and a bunch of generic from Panamahatsdirect, which are quite good, many grades available, and generally the material is the same, but a finer strand of straw is woven for more weaves per square inch, making for a softer more flexible hat. I like the ones with a vent pattern so it does not tend toget as hot underr the crown when wearing, and some even seem to catch a breeze. Some of the lower price Stetson hats tend to be of Shantung, which is a woven paper product, quite durable, but they tend to be extremely stiff. My one Akrubra is of a polyester material and still looks good after about 5 years. I rarely wear the same hat daily so I have hats 7-8 years old with relatively little wear. You mentioned a price < $1500 which is extremely high for a straw. You should be able to find one that will last several years for $150-200 and some rather nice ones for less.
 

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