The often overlooked benifits of a simple baseball cap

Look around a group of mountain guides and you will notice something.  Its rare to see a majority of them wearing beanies.  Instead, baseball caps dominate.  Look at river guides and what do you see on their heads? Baseball caps.  What about people leading kayak trips? Or Grand Canyon excursions? Again, they are rocking the most American piece of clothing any of us own – a baseball cap.  I recently begun wearing a baseball cap, on the advice of a friend, and I don’t think I’m going back.

Baseball caps work surprisingly well in the backcountry because of their versatility.  Wear them the standard way and it will keep the sun out of your eyes on sunny days. Layer it under your hood and a baseball cap will also keep the rain out of your eyes on wet days as well as your hood from obstructing your view.  In extreme wind that is blowing sand and other grit around you can angle it down to keep your face protected.  If its REALLY sunny turn it backwards to protect your neck from the sun and toss on some sun glasses.  And during any season it acts as a sweatband keeping sweat from dripping into your eyes when you are working hard.

Personally I prefer the trucker version.  They are generally cheaper, made with a plastic mesh in the back to help your head breathe, don’t absorb nearly as much water as a cotton cap (important if you are traveling through freezing temperatures), the adjustable back lets you tighten it down in windy conditions or open it up to wear it on top of a balaclava during the winter, and since it barely absorbs water will dry out in seconds.