Does a 10 gallon hat really hold that much water?

March 31, 2020 2 min read

Brad is a water resistant cowboy hat

Have you ever wondered why a cowboy hat is called a 10 gallon hat when it is obvious that the hat will not hold 10 gallons of water?  Well, it's because 10 gallon NEVER really referred to the holding capacity of the crown.  Some say it came from a Mexican word, "galleon", that has to do with the brim size, not the depth of the crown.  Others say it comes from the Spanish "tan galan" which translates to "very handsome", referring to how striking the hat-wearing men looked on their horses. Still others say if refers to the "galon", the gold braids that were seen on many Spanish hats. So if you had 10 braids on your hat it was a Ten Galon hat.

And here's an interesting factoid: cowboys in the old west did not wear the large-brimmed, high-crowned hats we call the cowboy hat. Early wild-west cowboys mostly wore derby - also called  bowler - styles. If they wore larger brimmed hats, they generally had flat brims for maximum sun protection. Pictures of the Wild Bunch from 1892 and 1900 show the gang - Harry A. Longabaugh (the Sundance Kid), Ben Kilparick (the Tall Texan), Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy), Harvey Logan (Kid Curry) and Will Carver all in derby hats. Even Bat Masterson, the famous gunslinger and gambler, wore a derby. The Stetson came into the market in 1865, but it wasn't popular until the end of the 19th century. And even then it did not look like the Hollywood version. It had a high, round crown without a crease. That came later and is a story for another day.

Even though the lining of the western hat (and later the entire hat) was waterproofed, the maximum a hat could hold would be a few quarts - maybe a half gallon.  A real cowboy would have had to dip several times to get 10 gallons of water.

Gone Country's Brad hat really holds water

We have styles, like our Brad, that hold water because they are coated with a water-resistant lacquer before being painted. Even if you don't want to dip water, you may want a hat that will not be ruined if it gets wet.  Palm straws such as Jason, Smokin and more hold their shape when wet so you can wear them in the rain or floating down the river and not worry about them being ruined. Our Jason Black, Smokin Black and  Winslow Black are completely waterproof. So dip away.

 Gone Country's Brad hat is hightly water resistant     Jason Black, a waterproof palm cowboy hat    Gone Country's Jason hat can be completely wet without damage     

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