Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Smokey Hats (Long)
Re: Smokey Hats (Long)
Tue, 20 Oct 1998 04:19:36 -0500
Pete Gerlach <PGerlach@AOL.COM> wrote:
>When the lovely & charming Mrs. Gerlach gently suggested I might find a
>use for my $80 than a Smokey, I went an Army surplus store & bought a
>"Campain" brand hat - $24, minus a 10% Scout discount. Even after adding
>BSA band & windcord, I got off at almost half off. It looks great, & has
>up fine under regular wear with only a modicum of care - rain cover & hat
>press. A Scout is thrifty.
Most Scouts are thrifty, but I could not resist the story of my campaign
hat. Back in the early seventies, I was Scoutmaster of a troop in North
White Plains, New York (Northern Suburbs of NYC). At that time, the BSA had
just introduced the red beret, and some parts of uniform were by troop
selection (from amongst official gear). You could do the beret, or the old
"overseas" or "flappy" cap, or a baseball style cap, or, yes, the campaign
hat. The adult and youth leaders in the troop wore the campaign hat. The
reset wore the red beret (not quite according to the rules, but we liked the
When a Scout was elected Patrol Leader, the troop presented him with an
official campaign hat from National Supply. These hats were made by the
Stetson Company in Louisville, KY. They were (in 1972) ... $19.50 for the
youth model and $26.50 for the adult model. Reading a bit of Scout history,
I learned that the original design most probably came from a "cowboy" hat
from the Stetson Company (The "Boss of the Plains" model was used by the
South African Constabulary as led by B-P after the South African War).
Well, I contacted the Stetson Company to find out more, and discovered that
they had a deluxe (and still "Official" model). It was done up in their 10X
style (used for cattle barons and such). In those days, the hat ran $52.00
plus a setup fee -- it was custom made. And yes, I bought one. It took two
months to get through the factory and to me in New York. It was (and is)
gorgeous. It is a darker green than the standard BSA model and the felt
seems almost twice as thick. Western wear outfitters have admired it, and I
have priced a similar quality Stetson at about $200-$300.
It has maintained its shape and look. And I love it. It receives
professional care (every 5-10 years) from a specialty western outfitters
(and hat store).
Sorry for the diversion, but, I do love that hat.
Yours in Scouting,
Home of the Pine Tree Web