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Question: Hemp vs palm leaf straws comparison

Christian75

New in Town
Messages
7
Hello, I am a long-time lurker and first-time poster. After landing on your forum by chance, I started looking into brimmed hats and got happily sucked into it. I have seen several threads on palm straw and hemp hats, but I didn't find a good comparison between the two. Does anyone have experience with both? I hope to know how they compare in durability, sun protection, weight, wear comfort in hot weather, and overall appearance.

For example, how does an Akubra Hemp Range compare with a Sunbody palm leaves hat, or a palm leaves hat by Stetson?

I have a linen fedora that works beautifully with my summer jackets for the office, and the foldable Panama in my avatar picture. I am looking for a more casual and durable natural material hat to wear with shorts and T-shirts in town and the occasional hike in the HOT summer here in Mississippi. Any help - especially from people from the South - is greatly appreciated. Thank y'all for the great forum, I really enjoyed spending my time reading it.
 
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shopkin

Familiar Face
Messages
71
Apples and oranges. Ecuadorean toquilla palm (not a true palm) is used to make Panama hats. Preparing the palm for weaving and the weaving process is very labor intensive and that is reflected in the price. Panama hats have body built into the weave. It's quality comes from a combination of the material used, the tightness of the weave and fineness of the strands.

Bast fibers such as jute, hemp and flax cannot produce the same effect. Bast fibers are best used as a spun yarn. It can then be loomed into fabric for pattern hats. crocheted directly into hats, or it can be knitted/braided/plaited into strips for sewing. Bast fiber hats are more amenable to machine processing and knitting. But, they do not produce the body, style and durability of a Panama hat.

Be wary of "straw" in your straw hat. It will not have the durability of a Panama or hemp hat and you may never really know what you're getting. It could be rush or it could be paper.
 
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Olumin

New in Town
Messages
49
Location
EU
I've never actually considered traditional panama hats to be very durable. The straw will dry out and crack with age, and if crushed most panamas will be ruined. They also don't hold up to any kind of rain. Compared to a good felt hat they are quite fragile.

I don't own one myself, but from what I've seen hats made of hemp seem to be quite indestructible. They can be rolled and crushed and will spring back into shape no problem. If you want something casual and durable it would seem like the ideal choice.

Panamas offer better sun protection, but less breathability/air flow. The denser the weave of a straw hat, the more sun it will block, but the less breathable it is. I love my Panama hats for their style, but if I wanted something I dont have to worry about I would probably get a hemp hat.
 

shopkin

Familiar Face
Messages
71
OK; I'll buy that.

Also, in Latin America, Southeast Asia and other warm climates leaves of the local palms are used to make hats. Fan palms, date palms and many others. The palm material is not usually woven directly like a Panama, but turned into braided strips that are sewn together. In Africa, raffia palm is used to make all sorts of stuff. Here in Polynesia, leaves of the Pandanus tree (Hala) is woven into hats using a technique that is similar to, but not as fine as, the way Panama hats are woven.
 
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rogueclimber

A-List Customer
Messages
328
Location
Marina del Rey

Christian75

New in Town
Messages
7
Thank y'all so much for the insightful replies! if I may be more specific, I am trying to compare a hemp straw hat - like the Hemp Range by Akubra with a palm leaves hat like those by Sunbody or a few in the Stetson outdoor line. Does anyone know how they compare for breathability, sun protection, and style? thank you so much!
 
Messages
10,597
Location
vancouver, canada
Thank y'all so much for the insightful replies! if I may be more specific, I am trying to compare a hemp straw hat - like the Hemp Range by Akubra with a palm leaves hat like those by Sunbody or a few in the Stetson outdoor line. Does anyone know how they compare for breathability, sun protection, and style? thank you so much!
I have never owned an Akubra hemp. But the Sunbody hats are quite heavy, hard wearing yes, but I found them very hot, very heavy and no longer wear mine. because of that. I prefer my Panama hats and buy inexpensive ones for rough wear, toss them when they get thrashed. I buy finer weaves of Panama for dress wear and I baby these nice ones.
 

Christian75

New in Town
Messages
7
I have never owned an Akubra hemp. But the Sunbody hats are quite heavy, hard wearing yes, but I found them very hot, very heavy and no longer wear mine. because of that. I prefer my Panama hats and buy inexpensive ones for rough wear, toss them when they get thrashed. I buy finer weaves of Panama for dress wear and I baby these nice ones.
thank you, very helpful!
 

Short Balding Guy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,750
Location
Minnesota, USA
I echo the comparison is like comparing Apples - oranges.

Both hats are on my hat rack at the ready for warm weather.

The Sunbody are heavier. I wear my Sunbody hats (2.5 and 3" brims on my hat rack) for chores around the property. I have taken to getting them wet under the hose and then working. If cutting the lawn I might wet the hat a couple times. They dry out quickly.

i-XBpqMjk-M.jpg


The above pics shows the palm hat soaking wet. I have washed the cloth sweatband in Dawn Dish soap a couple of times and the hat remains clean and good smelling.

When I want to be "cool" and styl'n nothing beats a panama.

i-bLVsj9S-M.jpg


Which panama? I say try them out. New PHD.

i-XFHXgQM-M.jpg


New and pricey.



i-kdZbCGX-M.jpg


Vintage and off crazy excellent quality.

i-K7FtXxg-M.jpg


i-tQwfTGN-M.jpg


Vintage is cool!

i-nzc3zjD-M.jpg


i-cdF8xVv-M.jpg


i-BfpcBjG-M.jpg


Synthetic for weather.

i-7KtwVcs-M.jpg


Let us not forget of straw cap options.

i-DMFj3L4-M.jpg



I added a bunch of pics to my post. I offer the pics as suggestions to expand the discussion to cover lots of options and to refute the suggestion that 1 straw or palm leaf protection is the way to go. Everything has it's place.


I hope I have added to the discussion. Cheers, Eric -
 

Christian75

New in Town
Messages
7
I echo the comparison is like comparing Apples - oranges.

Both hats are on my hat rack at the ready for warm weather.

The Sunbody are heavier. I wear my Sunbody hats (2.5 and 3" brims on my hat rack) for chores around the property. I have taken to getting them wet under the hose and then working. If cutting the lawn I might wet the hat a couple times. They dry out quickly.

i-XBpqMjk-M.jpg


The above pics shows the palm hat soaking wet. I have washed the cloth sweatband in Dawn Dish soap a couple of times and the hat remains clean and good smelling.

When I want to be "cool" and styl'n nothing beats a panama.

i-bLVsj9S-M.jpg


Which panama? I say try them out. New PHD.

i-XFHXgQM-M.jpg


New and pricey.



i-kdZbCGX-M.jpg


Vintage and off crazy excellent quality.

i-K7FtXxg-M.jpg


i-tQwfTGN-M.jpg


Vintage is cool!

i-nzc3zjD-M.jpg


i-cdF8xVv-M.jpg


i-BfpcBjG-M.jpg


Synthetic for weather.

i-7KtwVcs-M.jpg


Let us not forget of straw cap options.

i-DMFj3L4-M.jpg



I added a bunch of pics to my post. I offer the pics as suggestions to expand the discussion to cover lots of options and to refute the suggestion that 1 straw or palm leaf protection is the way to go. Everything has it's place.


I hope I have added to the discussion. Cheers, Eric -
what a great collection Eric, thank you for sharing!
 

Mm25

One Too Many
Messages
1,014
Thank y'all so much for the insightful replies! if I may be more specific, I am trying to compare a hemp straw hat - like the Hemp Range by Akubra with a palm leaves hat like those by Sunbody or a few in the Stetson outdoor line. Does anyone know how they compare for breathability, sun protection, and style? thank you so much!
Akubra hemp is it much finer and it is cooler, more breathable and dressier. As others have said, Sunbody’s are hot and heavy, although you can dunk them in a river or whatever body of water you happen to be by and get evaporative cooling from them when you’re wearing them. I have both and enjoy both, but the Akubra is a much nicer hat. Akubra hemp in front, two sunbodys in back. As for style, sunbodys seem a bit more primitive, but you can shape them however you want. Both of mine came open crown.
DF434998-8DE4-4748-B14E-64C761D2BC95.jpeg
 

Christian75

New in Town
Messages
7
Akubra hemp is it much finer and it is cooler, more breathable and dressier. As others have said, Sunbody’s are hot and heavy, although you can dunk them in a river or whatever body of water you happen to be by and get evaporative cooling from them when you’re wearing them. I have both and enjoy both, but the Akubra is a much nicer hat. Akubra hemp in front, two sunbodys in back. As for style, sunbodys seem a bit more primitive, but you can shape them however you want. Both of mine came open crown.
View attachment 618693
Thanks a lot! This is exactly the answer - and photo - I was looking for!
 

Olumin

New in Town
Messages
49
Location
EU
This thread actually made me buy my first hemp aswell today. I'm sure it will be seriously useful as a panama alternative I wont have to worry about. And the whole roll-it-up and put-in-pocket thing will come in handy aswell.
 

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