Plastic "Pith" Helmets like the US Postal Letter Carriers Wear?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Abraham, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. Abraham

    Abraham One of the Regulars

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    I usually wear a Tilley or generic boonie hat while out exercising or working in the sun. Unfortunately they get sweated through and they are not all that comfortable after a while.

    I was thinking about getting one of those plastic "pith" helmets (I have no desire for an actual pith helmet) you see letter carriers wearing? I have been told they allow for good sun shielding and air ventilation and can be easily dried with a tissue. I'm curious is anyone here has any experience with such toppers? I suspect they are made by different contractors and I would also like to find out which maker to purchase. Thanks.
     
  2. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars A-List Customer

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  3. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I have one of theseI bought years ago, copying an illustration for a costume - https://www.silvermans.co.uk/tabid/...TH+HELMET/0/SKU/6-226-15905-1809/Default.aspx It's a nice, matte colour and not shiny, but it's not something I can see myself ever wearing out anywhere as it looks too fancy dress for "real world" wear. If I was gonig this direction, I'd stick to a proper pith helmet, though they are bit less durable.
     
  4. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Not to steer this thread too far astray, but if what you want is a hat that will shield you from the sun while simultaneously NOT trapping heat, I would recommend an inexpensive semi-calado Panama straw. A low-end Cuenca semi-calado can be had for about the price of a decent dinner out for two. The open weave is MUCH more effective at keeping the noggin from overheating than any other means of ventilation I've encountered. And if you don't have a whole lotta scratch invested, you likely won't care so much if it shows signs of use.
     
  5. EliasRDA

    EliasRDA One of the Regulars

    I too would steer you away from the plastic pith helmets that USPS carriers hate, well most of them hate them. They are uncomfortable as all get, I used to be a city sub back in the mid 90s after I got out of the army so wearing hats didn't bother me. But that plastic was the pits, pun intended. 8P
    If you want a hat & don't want to splurge on a real pith then you may want to check out the Stetson Stratoliner Milan Straw Hat, yes its a plastic hat & a bit more than some "real" straws depending on where you purchase it. But I got one & I like it more than my real straw panama, I got mine in grey as I didn't want to have another "white" one.
    I find it cooler, doesn't mind if it gets wet, & if a brim snap is important I find mine snaps pretty well when wearing it.

    Good luck & let us know what you decide.
     
  6. Abraham

    Abraham One of the Regulars

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    A real pith helmet (or a panama straw hat) would become disgustingly "sweated-out" after a few severe uses which are just about daily for me. That's why I wear Tilley hats (which cost as least as much as pith helmets) and boonie hats -- they can be laundered -- but they also aren't all that comfortable when sweated through. A plastic pith helmet could simply be rinsed out and then dried with a tissue, hence my question.
     
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Of course what is practical for the individual is highly subjective.... those are cheap enough that you could give it a go. My only real complaint against the is cosmetic: for me, it would be like wearing a builder's hardhat around. YMMV, naturally. :)
     
  8. Doc Glockster

    Doc Glockster One of the Regulars

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  9. Abraham

    Abraham One of the Regulars

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  10. KyleK

    KyleK One of the Regulars

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    I wear a straw pith-style helmet sometimes. Light, airy, and cheap - it does a good job blocking the sun. Good for the beach, fishing, quick bike rides, etc.
     
  11. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Aren't you the charmer!
     
  12. Doc Glockster

    Doc Glockster One of the Regulars

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    If you want to simulate what it's like to wear a plastic "pith" helmet, just put a plastic mixing bowl over your head and wear it out in the sun for two or three hours. You'll want a "real" pith helmet from then on.
     
  13. EliasRDA

    EliasRDA One of the Regulars

    Abraham,
    I totally understand the sweated out part, I sweat extremely heavily also due to health issues, I can sweat through my straw fedora very easily. I still would try to talk you out of getting the plastic pith helmet. People here say they get looks for wearing fedoras, boaters, etc & believe me unless you are wearing the postal blues you will get even more looks & comments. If you are just wearing it around your place then you probably don't care.

    I cant suggest suppliers as we had a federally sourced company back in the 90's, so any info I may have had would be really outdated & they only sold to USPS employees.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
  14. ecp

    ecp New in Town

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  15. ingineer

    ingineer One Too Many

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    After many, many complaints the USPS abandoned the use of the plastic helmets and now use a fabric Boonie.

    Please don't waste your money
     
  16. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    So you're looking for a "floating" sweatband arrangement, then? You know, the kind with a suspension arrangement that puts a bit of space between the sweatband itself and the hat's body material, so that the moisture doesn't transfer?

    Happened to be at the home of a friend -- a budding hatter himself -- last evening. Among his collection of some several hundred pieces of headwear were a couple (or more) pith helmet-like lids, one of which has a body made of some loosely woven natural (apparently) fiber. The body was stiffened (of course) and pressed into a letter-carrier hat shape, but the weave was quite airy. The adjustable one-size-fits-most plastic sweatband was broken, rendering the hat all but unusable in its present condition. It immediately occurred to me that a leather sweatband could be cut to size and then somehow attached to the original sweatband, thereby "repairing" it and, and the same time, making it more comfortable. It's the "somehow" that I'm still chewing over.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  17. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Indeed.
     
  18. ChrisB

    ChrisB A-List Customer

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  19. rgraham

    rgraham A-List Customer

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    The old school pith the military used are actually quite good at the job they were intended for. The suspension system allows for a lot of air flow, and they also don't that weigh much. I use one, and I almost forget I'm wearing it at times. They aren't plastic, but some kind of pressed material.
     

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