Tips for Picking a Boonie Hat

The boonie hat has a long history in American military culture dating back to the early 1960s. Even though its varieties and forms have changed for more than 50 years, by examining the most prevalent examples, we may trace its development.

One of the nicest types of hats to wear outside are boonies. Boonie hats can shield you from the sweltering sun if you enjoy outdoor pursuits like hiking and fishing. Wide brims allow them to shield your head, face, and neck. Boonie hats are another option for weather protection. Without a doubt, these hats are useful and effective.

What is a Bonnie Hat?

camouflage boonie hat

First off, a boonie hat is a soft hat that was likely inspired by the full-brimmed cloth hats that were popular during the Vietnam War. The majority of the original boonie hats were made locally in South Vietnam, where their production grew to be a significant cottage business. Such arrangements are still present in that region of the world today. In Vietnam, boonie hats are still available for purchase, but they are typically regarded as mementos of the American War.

Why did Boonie Hats Became Popular?

The most obvious reason why the boonie hat gained popularity—among many others—is that it provided better ventilation than a helmet. These hats were seen on the LRP or LRRP teams in the US Army. The boonie cap became quite popular thanks to Special Operations teams like the US Army Special Forces and ARVN troops. Additionally, unlike a proper helmet, the soft boonie cap or hat didn’t obstruct hearing. Moreover, the hat’s design allowed for improved concealment because it broke up a head’s outline. For soldiers who might at any time need to conceal or blend in, this was undoubtedly advantageous. 

Bucket Hats Vs Boonie Hats – What’s The Difference?

The brim of a bucket hat falls downward because of its bucket-like design. The term “fisherman’s hat” is occasionally used to describe bucket hats. A style of wide-brimmed hat frequently worn by armed forces is the boonie hat. It has a bucket-hat-like style, but a stronger brim. Sometimes the hat’s crown is encircled by a number of loops. These loops provide as extra camouflage by holding leaves and other objects. There are several bucket and boonie hats that incorporate a chin strap for stability, especially on windy days. Eyelets or tiny mesh panels may be used to vent the hat’s crown.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Boonie Hat

woodland pattern camo boonie hat isolated on white background

1. Material

It’s crucial to understand what kind of material was used to create the boonie hat you’re considering. While some boonie hats are made of cotton, the majority are made of synthetic materials. Depending on how or where you intend to utilize it, you should choose a certain material. The nylon-built boonie hat is excellent at wicking sweat away. A polyester boonie hat will keep its shape even when rolled up and placed in a purse or pocket.

2. Fit

Boonie hats are available in various sizes and with labels indicating whether they are intended for children or adults. Pick a boonie hat that exactly complements the structure and shape of your head. It’s preferable to get a tight-fitting boonie hat if you have short hair. A loose-fitting boonie hat will look great on someone with long hair. Your decision will determine how wide the brim of your boonie hat is. However, you can obtain greater protection the wider the brim is.

3. Features

The top of high-quality boonie hats is often made of thick tactical mesh. These mesh breeze-inducing vents increase breathability and keep your head cooler for longer periods of time even in extremely hot conditions. Also, it’s advisable to purchase a boonie hat with a chin strap if you’re going on a hike or to an area that gets a lot of wind. Your hat will remain intact and won’t fly off thanks to it. Additionally, it’s preferable if you pick a boonie hat made of fabrics that have a UPF rating. This rating indicates how well a boonie hat will shield you from the sun.

Some Types of Boonie Hats

1. The Original Boonie Hat

Closeup view of camo military style boonie hat


The first boonie hat may have been a Vietnamese style that was available in camouflage. These come in a variety of colors and are also known as Southeast Asian campaign boonie caps. The tiger stripe camouflage was among the most popular types, nevertheless. This style of headgear is even seen in the statue of “The Three Soldiers.” This was due to the tiger stripe camouflage hat’s historical significance as a representation of the Vietnam War. One well-known depiction of this style of boonie hat is in the John Wayne film “The Green Berets.” These tiger-striped camouflage hats were worn by the characters in this scene as they underwent covert operations. 

2. Reversible Boonie Hat

Closeup view of camo military style boonie hat

A boonie hat with a single, reversible hue is another common design that is still available locally today. The hat has a solid olive drab color on one side and a solid desert tan tint on the other. Both could be utilized for disguise if the environment is ideal.

3. Marine Corps-Issued

boonie hat isolated on white background

With four vents to minimize overheating, a broad brim for weather protection and an integrated sweatband to soak up extra perspiration, this version of the boonie hat is practical. Marines stationed in Iraq during the Second Gulf War desired the largest sizes for their boonie hats. The greater comfort and shade that these hats offered were the reason for this preference. There are various more variations of this military standard boonie intended for commercial sale. These are available in a wide range of hues. They are well-liked by people who are passionate about the military, independent contractors, or just plain people who appreciate the pattern.


Boonie hats have seen significant changes in terms of print, pattern, style, and brim size, but they have always been worn by members of the armed forces since they were first introduced. The wearer feels like they have too many options because they are so many different styles. However, in addition to being fashionable, Boonie hats also serve as useful rain and sun protection. As they eliminate the need to bring an umbrella, these are the greatest companion for solo and light travelers. We hoped to be able to provide you with some useful advice for choosing a boonie hat through this article.


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