Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bad Headgear

"You get by with a little help from your friends" - John Lennon (and a bit of Joe Cocker)

Its good to have friends and one of the reasons is because its just plain fun to abuse them. These two dapper gentlemen are founding members of our annual fall post Labor Day kayak trip and, like me, passionate believers in proper kayaking headgear. As one would imagine there has been a difference of opinion regarding various hats. The gentleman on the right, MarkE, favors the patio umbrella style of headgear. This is a well engineered Tilley product with the standard front and back chin/neck straps to keep it lashed to your head in windy conditions and green fabric under the brim to cut glare from the water. The problem with Marks hat however, is the brim. If you look at the Tilley website and sort by brim size the only thing larger than the one on Mark's noggin is the 10 x 12 tarp. In a strong wind I think there could be a Flying Nun type of incident or, at a minimum, strained neck muscles.

While this hat is unusual at least its functional. The second hat in the photo is simply ludicrous. The legend on this hat read 'Acadia National Park'. The shameless park concessionaire that pocketed Todd's hard earned cash must have had difficulty not falling to the floor in convulsive laughter. Just watching him try it on and thinking, "That guy's not really going to buy he? I thought sure we'd be sending those to the Salvation Army at the end of the season" must have made that clerks day. This hat is obviously an irregular since no photo of it exists sitting squarely on Todd's head. This is not your stylish gangsta look but more of a 'where did I put my pocket protector and multi function calculator' kind of look. Its made of some sort of silky fake nylon/rayon type of fabric that both absorbs water and offers an SPF of about -15. No sun protection for your ears and short, you couldn't find a worse hat for paddling. Careful review of the photo below will confirm everything I've said. You will note however, that both sunglasses lenses are present. I am happy to report that this abomonation was lost in the fall of 2005 somewhere in the Apostle Island's Gaylord Nelson Wilderness area. Contrary to accusations, neither Mark nor I burned it or weighted it with rocks and pitched it into 180' of water during a crossing. I think that perhaps the hat gods had simply said enough is enough and vaporized the thing. My Filson has been ridiculed (previous post) and Mark's Tilley has been snickered at but nothing will ever replace 'ol blue' as an object of our derision. See you on the water gents!

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