In Praise of a Sun Hat

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It’s difficult to find a sun hat that’s just right.

To me, the most important feature of a sun hat is a wide brim. If I’m wearing a hat for a reason other than to keep my head warm, it’s to keep the sun off my face. If I’m trying to keep the sun off my face, I want a wide brim to provide as much coverage as possible.

The second most important feature of a sun hat for me is that it’s made from natural fibers. During my search for a perfect hat, I bought on at Costco for $15. It had good coverage and it looked cute on me, but when I wore it in the beating sun of Northern New Mexico, my whole body felt overheated. I hadn’t paid attentiong to the tag which detailed the materials from which the hat had been made, but I gave it a look after feeling unexplainably much too hot for a couple of days. Yep–polyester. It was made from a polyester blend. I knew wearing clothes made from polyester (even blends!) was not for me. Polyester makes my armpits exceedingly stinky and keeps me really hot. In the winter, I can wear clothing with some polyester in it when I’m trying to stay warm (I just live with my extra stinky armpits), but in the summer? Forget about it! My Costco hat proved even polyester headgear holds in too much of my heat and makes me uncomfortable.

The third feature I want in a hat is crushability. I live a rough and tumble life, and my material possessions have to stand up to that. I need my material possession–including my sun hat–to be rugged. My hat is eventually going to be sat on or stepped on, or I’ll have to shove it into a backpack or duffle bag. My hat has to be able to bounce back from anything I put it through.

A sun hat really needs to fit the three criteria–wide brim, made from natural fibers, crushable–to mark the hat as right for me. The Costso hat had lulled me by being crushable and having a wide brim, but the synthetic fibers it was constructed from really brought me down.

Years ago, when I was in AmeriCorps and worked outside, I had a great hat to protect me from the sun. I bought it from a gardening store for $25, which was a big investment for me at the time. The money I paid was worth it for the wide sunclocking brim, the construction from natural fibers, and its ability to bounce back after being crushed. The hat held up to my use and abuse too. It was still in good shape when I left it behind during a sudden move. This hat is the one all others must measure up to.

I discovered the Costco hat wasn’t going to cut it while vending in the spring in Northern New Mexico. I had no shade and the days in the sun were hot, but I didn’t think I should feel so overheated so early in the season. When I suspected my hat was the culprit, I wanted to replace it as soon as possible.

One of the other vendors was selling sun hats. The were from Africa, the vendor told me. (As one of my textbooks in collage pointed out, Africa is a big place, but the vendor couldn’t tell me specifically in which African nation the hats had been made.) The hats were handmade, from grass. They were crushable, and they could be doused with water, then shaped. The price was $29, a little more than double what the Costco hat had cost, but I didn’t think I could make it through the summer with polyester on my head. I bought the hat woven from grass.

So far, the new hat’s held up well. I hang it next to the van’s side door for easy access, and that’s working out. Even though I think it could stand up to my butt or foot on top if it, hanging it keeps it safe and out of my way.

The hat’s a little too big for me, but I chose the one with the widest brim, which ended up being the biggest hat. If i’m wearing the hat for many hours, and I don’t want it sliding around on my head, I tie on a bandana before putting on the hat. I also make sure the chinstrap is cinched whenever I wear it so a sudden gust of wind doesn’t blow away my hat.

The hat is not only functional, it’s pretty too. The weave is nice and tight, and I like the dyed “hatband” that’s actually part of the hat.

Most importantly, the hat keeps the sun off my face and keeps my head cool. The natural fibers let my head breathe, and I don’t feel overheated when I wear it. Even for $29, it was quite a score.

I took the photo of my head and my hat. I didn’t even use a selfie stick.

 

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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