Repost - Bailey Crushable Fedora - Rusty Gaidzik
Glen Crushable Fedora Hat by Bailey
By Rusty Gaidzik
June 23, 2011
Name: Rusty Gaidzik
Height: 6' 2" (1.87 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Email address: RustyGaidzik@...
City, State, Country: Los Angeles, California, USA.
Date: June 23, 2011
Backpacking Background: I learned how to backpack in Boy Scouts with a strong emphasis on outdoor ethics and leave-no-trace camping. I did several weekend backpacks and a couple 4 and 5 day trips. After college I got back into it. I've done some solo trips and a couple group hikes mostly 1 to 2 nights. I mostly hike Los Padres and other southern California national forests. I prefer to hike light, but as I am a film-maker I often carry heavy camera gear and sometimes fishing gear. Still I manage to keep my pack in the medium light range, 30 lb to 40 lb (13.6 kg to 18.1 kg).
Manufacturer: Bailey Hat Company
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Weight: 5.47 Ounces (155 Grams)
Colors: Black*, Serpent.
Brim: 2 1/2-inch (6.4 cm) down-turned brim.
Crown: 4-inch (10.1 cm) center dent.
Sizes: Sm, Med, Lg, XL, XXL*, XXXL.
Only have Black in XXL
-Felt - 90% wool and 10% Fur
-Teflon treated to repel water and stains
-Crushable (side to side)
I got this hat off the rack from a store so there were no extras. Those familiar with the Bailey Fairbanks Fedora will recognize this hat as a great compromise of practical outdoor design with a classic Hollywood aesthetic. 90% and 10% makes for a pretty reasonable insulator for colder hikes. Its water resistance and crushability make it practical for any hike. The leather strip around the outside increases durability while also providing a convenient place to put a feather, fishing flies, you name it. Not to mention, when wearing this hat, the words "Indiana Jones" are almost sure to come up.
I have worn this hat on every trip over the past year. For me that amounts to approximately 40 days' and 15 nights' worth of use in the field. Temperatures ranged from 15 to 95 F (-9.4 to 35 C). I've worn this hat in light to heavy rain and light snow. It is without a doubt the best hat I've ever owned. It holds its shape well when crushed, but, as to be expected, there is some warping of the brim after long term use. I understand these kinds of felt hats can be pressed back into the original shape for a small fee, however I have never perused this as I find the slight bends in the brim add character. I have taken this hat all over southern California, from the Anza Borrego Desert to the Rivers of Los Padres National Forest, even on the alpine slopes of Mt. Whitney. I have worn this in the rain, the sun, and the snow. The brim is wide enough to provide adequate protection from sun and rain, and short enough to be compact and practical unlike those large straw hats that are popular in this area. The felt/wool blend provides great insulation in the cold. It doesn't compare to the warmth of a good beanie or other cold-weather hats, but it is significantly warmer than a baseball cap or straw hat. I've done some trail blazing through thick brush in this hat and I've found that even with the constant scratching and scraping of low branches there are no visible marks on the hat. There are no scratches, cuts, or other visible signs of damage. Also, I have a big head and most hats don't fit me. My hat size is 23 ½ inches (59.7 cm). So I was surprised when their large fit me. The XL might fit a little but the large is just fine. There sizes go all the way up to XXXL so there is a hat for even the biggest head.
There are some drawbacks. It is advertised as completely crushable; however it does get a little warped and bent. I will probably get another and keep it pristine and uncrushed. I'm used to doing this for the other nice wool hats I own. But generally I buy hats for practical reasons, so for me, the signs of wear only add to the aesthetic of the hat.
There is another drawback that has created somewhat of a minor annoyance for me. The strip of material that runs around the inside of the hat to grip the head is in my opinion cheap and inadequate for a $70 hat that is otherwise fantastic. It seems to be made of two layers. The outer: some sort of synthetic material similar to the vinyl in car upholstery, colored brown to look kind of like leather. The inner: a thin, black, canvas-like material. This strip is stitched to itself in the back to close the loop and also to the inside rim of the hat in order to provide grip. Without this strip the hat would quickly become too loose and warp. This strip served its purpose well for several hikes. But I sweat a lot, and I mean sweat A LOT. I found that between the sweat and the constant stretching from the hat being a little too small this strip degrades in a rather displeasing way. After just a few trips I noticed the sweat from my forehead was causing the color to run off the strip and sort of drip down the underside of the front of the brim. This has caused a light brown stain in that area of the hat, which is more or less unnoticeable and doesn't bother. I'm more concerned about the practical use of the hat.
After a few more trips I started to notice little cracks along the bottom edge of this strip where it contacts my forehead. I asked my brother, who is an experienced costumer, and he said that the cracks would only get worse, but I could probably keep the hat from getting too loose by stitching up the cracks. This seemed like sound advice but proved to be a waste of time. The material, once it starts cracking, becomes too flimsy and brittle to sew. I managed, with quite some effort, to stitch up a couple cracks. They immediately fell out the very next trip. Then finally, when I was on the side of Mt. Whitney at 12,000ft, the hat died. It just got looser and looser as the day went on. When the wind picked up in the afternoon, the hat just wouldn't stay on my head. Luckily I had my baseball cap as a backup, but otherwise that might have been a real pain. I'm sure there's a good reason to use this material as I have seen it in many other hats. Though clearly it is not the best material for hiking.
I have since found a very simple solution to this problem. I used Gaff tape, or gaffers tape. Large rolls can be kind of pricey, $15-$20, but are well worth it because of the strong flexible canvas backing with glue that works in high humidity, hot and cold temperatures. Basically the strip of material inside the hat can be folded out. I did so and then stuck tape to the back of the strip so that it contacted both the strip and the inside felt of the hat. I ran the tape around the entire hat and overlapped a bit. I found that it was easier to do it with four smaller pieces of tape rather than one big piece. When finished I folded the strip back into place. After doing this the hat grips my head firmly and has no signs of loosening after a couple of day hikes. Personally I am happy with this solution. It cost me a couple cents' worth of tape and took five minutes. If it lasts a couple months it will be well worth the trouble, as it's easy enough to redo. If I had known about this issue, I would have applied this fix when the hat was new. Perhaps that may have prevented some of the damage that occurred.
The Glen Crushable Fedora is stylish, practical, and affordable compared to other felt hats. The main drawback is the poor quality of the inside strip of material that grips the head. With minor maintenance this is not an issue. It is water repellent and handles the rain well. It even resists most stains. Finally, any drawbacks are heavily outweighed by the overwhelming popularity of this hat. Everyone likes it. I can't tell you how many times passing hikers have said something to the effect of "Hey it's Indiana Jones." It sounds like it would get annoying, but so far it has only boosted my ego. I guess I'm just a big nerd.
-warm wool/fur blend
-stylish design; reminiscent of classic Hollywood films
-water repellent; stain resistant
-Inner strip of material is inadequate for hikers who sweat a lot
-requires some maintenance