A New Hat

I mentioned something about a new hat in the previous post. Before I get into more tales about Seattle and arriving back in Canada I’ll tell this short tale.

People who have seen me covering bike races or camping or working at a folk festival will know I’ve worn a sturdy Tilley hat for years. Not to be confused with my “festival” hat which is a nice Panama. The Tilley is my all-weather and any effort sweat-it-up hat.

A couple of photographers

In fact I’ve worn one out and Tilley happily replaced it. That replacement is almost worn out too. And I’m sure they’ll replace it happily too. I’ve felt like a change though. I’ve been looking for a new style of hat for a few years and hadn’t settled on what I wanted until just this past week.

How The Hat Happened

The tale of this hat begins in Bozeman, Montana. It begins with a merino wool t-shirt made by Duckworth (a Montana brand) that Andrea saw in a sporting goods shop there. She decided not to buy it and immediately regretted it once we had driven out of Bozeman.

So she got on the internet and found a couple of other places along our route that said they carry Duckworth. One was in Missoula and that turned out to be a dud… they were more interested in selling Icebreaker. Go figure.

The other place was across into Spokane, Washington. White’s Boots. So as we went through Spokane we punched it into the GPS and thought we’d see if they had any of these shirts. Turns out White’s Boots is very much an industrial set-up. In fact they make their own line of boots and have for a very long time! Have a look on their website for the story if you’re interested. In the context of this story the important detail is that they open early (the factory opens early so why not open the retail shop too). So we found them, and went in to see what they had of the Duckworth line.

They had one merino t-shirt. A plain grey, bigger than Andrea’s usual size. She bought it anyhow and has enjoyed wearing it already. So how does that relate to a hat you wonder? Well it seems that White’s has a relationship with a few other smaller makers in the North Western U.S. and one of them is Filson. So they had a selection of Filson products in the retail space. Including some of their Tin Cloth Packers hats. I liked the look. And they had all of the available colours, including “otter green”. I thought that was a nice colour, asked for one in my size only to find out they had none.

They offered to order me one. It would arrive in a few days since the company is in Seattle. Well that sealed it. No need to order since we were passing through 2 days later. Passing through as we explored Seattle. So of course we made a note of the address and added it to our list of stops! And yes, I bought one there. Not the green I thought I wanted. I think I like the more neutral tan colour more so I ended up going with that. I could have gotten the same hat back at White’s. Having gotten the Seattle made hat in Seattle just makes it a little nicer. I may have come across this brand somewhere in our journey. I guess this was the right time and place.

As for my Tilley… I’ll wear it out and see what its next life looks like. The pin that’s lived on it for much of this decade has moved over to the new Filson hat. SVFF is no more but it lives on in the hearts (and hat) of those who were part of it.

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