I finally found The Hat. After about 20 years using a boonie with a floppy brim that hung around my ears like a frown, enter the Carhartt Mandan. Wicking headband, check. Full sun block, check. Wire brim that resists flopping, check. Chin cord, check.
What’s not to love? Due to the malleable wire rim I’m afraid to wad the Mandan up in my pack like my previous boonies. I’ve thus been stowing it with care — a bit of extra effort but worth it. The MSRP is a bit stiff at around $30. Not easily found discounted though I did locate a local Carhartt dealer where I got mine for about $21.00. A secret little velcro pocket is built into the crown, kinda trivial and adds bulk, easy to scissor out so it only forms a double layer 100% UV block instead of heat retaining triple layer. (A bit of googling reveals Zappos might have a good price on the Mandan, feel free to share other shopping links.)
Color is just right. Shade of tan isn’t a dark heatsink, but doesn’t show sweat rings and stains the way a white hat does.
What’s strange is a small-medium size doesn’t seem to be offered. Do all Carhartt customers have jumbo skulls? Or perhaps they’ve quit making the Mandan? Inquiring minds want to know. (The law of good gear: it will nearly always be discontinued). Meanwhile, medium-large fits me comfortably, though for backcountry use I might stitch a small pleat into the band so “mon chapeau” doesn’t get tipped so easily in an alpine breeze.
Yeah, it’s just a hat. But good boonies are hard to find.