This is my second copy of my favorite hat. I bought the first one from REI Outfitters after one of those droll visits to the dermatologist who described some small growth on my face as an "actinic keratosis" and decided that we should eradicate it with a few stingy blasts of liquid nitrogen. The doctor gave me a stern lecture about people of Scottish and German heritage running out in the sun in Texas and pushed me hard to wear more sunscreen and wear a good hat. "Not a damn ball cap! But a hat with a wide brim all the way around." He was pretty adamant.
That was about five years ago and I got pretty attached to the hat. It's one of the few I hadn't accidentally left somewhere or sat upon and destroyed. It's not "cool" enough to pass the millennial eye-roll test so you probably will feel a little fashion squeamishness if you are under 60 but if you are a bit over that hump you probably don't give a rat's ass about what people think of your hat as long as it prevents your doctor from slicing off parts of you down the road...
I was out walking on one of the days when the UV was hovering up near 11 on a scale of one-to-ten and I came across someone who needed the sunblock power of the hat right then and there. He liked the hat and complemented me on it so I pulled it off and handed it to him. I'm usually more selfish but I think the heat was playing with my sensibilities. I figured I had more hats at home and, what the hell?
But I misjudged my affection for the hat. I decided that I really liked it and, when out for a long walk aimed at boring readers with obvious camera observations, I really missed it and it's preventative magic. So I walked over to the local REI store to buy another.
The hat is made by a company called, "Sunday Afternoons"™. (added after, thank you! Gordon): The model of hat is "The Havana." It comes in a medium and a L/LG size. There is a band under the inner hat band that will allow you to adjust the size a bit. The store at 6th and Lamar only had medium sized hats and they didn't work for me. I wanted the exact hat I had before; large.
The clerk at REI suggested I order it from their website. He checked and they had it in inventory. I came home and ordered it and the transaction details let me know that I could expect to see the hat in one week. It came to my house the next morning. That's killer service!!!!
The cost of the hat is $34.95. It's extremely comfortable and it's got a super high SPF rating. My dermatologist would be so proud, if I took the time to show him. You should get a hat just like this and then we can be twins.
You should never get a Tilley Hat until your crest 70 and have given up caring about how you look altogether. They aren't as well ventilated for heat dispersion and they cost too "bloody" much. (See how I stuck "bloody" in there? It's because Tilley Hats are the Billingham Bags of hats and are quite pretentious in that insufferable, "I know it's expense, doesn't disperse heat and looks like I'm on a misguided safari" sort of way. Just don't do it. No matter how technically proficient they seem to you. You have to have some standards in life...
And, by extension, do yourself a favor and don't be caught dead with a Billingham Bag. Not even the Queen of England model. People will constantly remind you that you could have bought a really useful lens for the same kind of outlay.
Always remember that Duane Michals used to show up for five figure budget advertising shoots with his camera and lenses stuff into a shopping bag. And he turned out to be a pretty good photographer...
Also, never buy a Jaguar automobile. Ever.
Now, on to those crazy gloves. I was rummaging around in REI looking for more cool stuff to prevent skin damage and to make my outdoor life more comfy. I found these glove-lettes (gloves minus a few parts) and they profess to both keep the backs of your hands protected from sun damage and also, because of some miracle aspect of the fabric they are made of, to keep your hands cooler. They wick moisture (sweat) and the evaporative cooling actually works. As a final benefit they have grippy little dots on the palm facing surfaces that help one hold onto a camera. The are made by a company called, Outdoor Research.
To sum up: less sun damage. Less sweat on the camera. Grippy dots to prevent dropping the less sweaty camera. I wore them all day today and will head back to the store for a couple more pairs. And then it will get cold outside (eventually?) and I'll put them into a drawer and forget about them. And next year I'll rediscover them and be a little amazed and concerned. But mostly happy to have them.
None of this stuff looks fashionable, chic or even un-nerdy. But if that bugs you then don't spend time outside. Just put on that tuxedo and hang out in the air conditioning. I'm sure that sounds fun............