20 Minutes of Ian’s Hats

This is my 2,000th published video (although there are a lot more if you count the behind-the-scenes Apocrypha videos that are only available to Patrons), and I wanted to do something a bit different. So, since lots of you have been asking to see my hat collection, here it is! No helmets, just soft headgear and the stories behind them. Thanks for watching, and thanks for making it all possible! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all this season!

WW1 Reproduction Trench Cap

Varusteleka’s headgear

IMA headgear


  1. Still missing from parade: Aussie Slouchhat w/wo Emu Feathers, Bersaglieri Hat w Ostrich Feathers, NVA Pithhelmet, Chicom Cap, Paki/Indian Turbans, Gebirgsjäger Mütze, and of course a Pickelhaube. I skipped the Wehrmacht Schiffchen because you already have enough pencil cases. Cool vid, thanks and Merry Christmas!

  2. Great video! How about a nice simple US navy white hat (Dixie cup) with a 1911 and an issue cutlass which were still around in the 1920’s to deal with Chinese river pirates. I’m thinking Steve McQueen in the Sand Pebbles. For your civil war gear a reproduction Zouave hat would be cool.

  3. Re the Afghan hat: the writing may be in the Arabic alphabet but the language should be Pashto. The equivalent statement regarding a European hat might be: “Yeah, it’s got some Roman written on the inside.”

    Perhaps forage hats have no benefit to the immediate wearer but plenty to any supervisory sergeant or officer, to distinguish troops from civilians.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Everything Else.

  4. Cool Picture of your grand dad. What was that thing on his belt, were he carrying a gun back in those days south of the border ?

    Merry Christmas !

  5. PS. The BW flektarn winter hat that Varusteleka sold is not as warm as the Soviet one you have, but it’s biggest size is big, it keeps your ears warm in winter, has a little brim you can pull down, and you are unlikely to be mistaken for the Red Army in it.

    • There is also a dutch issued version of the german winter cap in dutch DPM pattern, if Ian wants a change from all the spotted camouflage.

      Ian needs one of those old British Army DPM field caps. Just as useless short brim, but easy to stuff into a pocket.

  6. Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas!

    I guess this video strongly suggests you don’t need Santa to bring you any more silly hats! And here I thought I had an impressive silly hat collection…
    Ian seriously needs a Zouave chechia, although historically the Zouave’s shaved their heads, so that wouldn’t work with the long hair.

    My great-grandfather was in the Black Watch during WWI, so I loved the Tam-o-shanter aka. Balmoral with the “toorie” or pom-pom. In Scotland, a tam-o-shanter without a toorie is simply a “bonnet” but I don’t know what they are called in Ireland. [Ian shows off the Glengarry, takes a sip o’ scotch!]

    When I was a child the Revolution of the Carnations elicited a lot of excitement in nearby European nations, and so I had a Portuguese “lizard cap.” Alas this was pre-velcro, and the hat is long gone. Like Ian, I have a CSA forage cap and a U.S. forage cap, but also a dressed Hardee hat replete with ostrich plume! I do shoot a lot of civil war arms. I’ve got the more recent French Bigeard “lizard” cap, although it doesn’t do much for the ear protection, and I often put a bandana under it to supplement the sun protection. Like Ian, I’ve got a Swedish home guard side cap/ garrison cap, but I actually found a practical use for it: I use it after a bicycle ride to cover up my “helmet head” and find that it looks less silly than my messy bike helmet hair, and it folds flat and fits in my cycling jersey! Also, the thing can be unfolded and worn as a sleeping cap, although admittedly I have yet to do so on a hiking trip. I’ve got a Scottish bonnet and a tam-o-shanter too. I’ve got a Soviet reproduction Budenovka Bolshevik Civil War hat, which fits me to a T and is quite warm, but unfortunately cannot be worn without inducing shrieking and wailing and the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments due to the enormous red star and hammer and sickle emblem… Too bad! It’d make a dandy winter hat! Also, like Ian, I do have some Finnish items, although as a Finnish American, I opted for the (replica) model 1922 field cap and a Finnish steel helmet (“It is heritage, not hate!”) I’m thinking the Afghan hat must surely be a descendant of, or perhaps progenitor of the Renaissance-era European flat hat. I mean Basque berets, French berets, Scottish bonnets, Tudor-era flat hats, etc. etc. I was about to scoff at the Ushanka, but boy, I bet that is just the thing in Maine in winter… And then I remembered the frigid episodes where Ian wore it….

    Two silly hats I have, in addition to the Budenovka, that Ian does not: 1. A replica U.S. army Model 1825 “pin-wheel” forage cap, which while very silly is perhaps a more practical hat than the leather shako it was meant to supplement. 2. I have an 18th century style human hair piece that is worn under a silly hat such that it makes the wearer look like he has hair the same length as Mr. M’Collum, albeit braided.

    Who knew the French made such an eminently practical and versatile boonie hat?

    Joyeaux Noel! Cheers!

  7. Hi Ian, and Merry Christmas.

    That’s a great collection of hats, I’m rather jealous.
    I think, though, you may have mis-identified your ushanka. To me it looks more like the East German model.
    Does it have NVA (Nationale Volksarmee of the DDR) markings inside?

    Thanks for all your work, and have a great 2020.

    • We have a surplus store in town which was selling one time large quantity of Volksarmee uniforms. I kick myself for not buying at least the cap.

  8. Happy Christmas Ian,
    No need to apologize because you wore your Polish. Rest the same way that Polish tankers wore their berets at Falaise and Polish paratroopers wore theirs at Arnhem.

  9. Hi Ian, great collection but as a 31 veteran of the Irish Defence Forces I have to say that what you called a “Tam” is actually properly called a Glengarry, and is worn by the Cavalry Corp, which I had the pleasure of being attached to for 3 years.
    Irish pattern camo uniforms were never sold as surplus, in fact selling current pattern uniform is a criminal offence, no matter where it is sourced. The reason you gave for this is correct though.
    Ok, enough corrections, but I know you like to be accurate in you info.
    Send me your address, I have a spare Irish boonie hat that’s to big for me, and I wear a size 57.
    Keep up the good work and here’s to 2000 more videos

  10. Great show by Ian and Happy holidays to all!

    My favored hat is Dutch army surplus infantryman’s hat in green-khaki color size 63; it fits me perfectly. There is still name of original wearer and label KL and 100% Katoen – unmistakably Dutch. I bought it in early 90s for $5 at sportsman show.

  11. I wear berets when I’m feeling good, i.e., when I don’t need to cover my ears. Mine are all civilian models, black invariably, and made in Czechoslovakia, where somebody must have found a purpose-built knitting machine in a disused barn. No leather headband, just nice form-fitting wool, with a stem on top that no military organization would ever tolerate. They make me look foreign, apparently: I’ve been taken for a Frenchman in England, for a Dutchman in the Netherlands (by a Dutch woman! I hated to tell her that I come from Wyoming), and for an all-purpose European by an American woman in Delft, who tracked me around the square with a safari-length lens on her camera, obviously getting pix of that furrin Yourapeen man to show the folks back in Springfield.

    What, no Brodie or Adrian helmets? No Foreign Legion kepi with a farthingale? No Civil War DOH (Damned Old Hat) with a plume? Oh well, Merry Christmas anyway!

    • Very true.

      All those garrison caps, overseas caps and whtever else names they get are easy to store in the pocket and some form of head cover is mandatory with a uniform to be properly clothed. They also hide helmet hair.

  12. Merry Christmas Ian, and all of the commentariate too!

    I think that a health warning is apthe (even if inappropriate),

    Beware of what you get after five consecutive days of polishing your helmet

    Yeah; a weekend 😉

  13. I have to disagree with you on the value of garrison hats. They do one thing very, very well. Throw on a rain coat with a hood, and pull the hood over your head. Turn your head left or right, and your vision is severely obstructed. Now, try it again with your pointy garrison cap on–voila! You can turn and see either way without much obstruction. I haven’t found this to be the case with any other type of hat. Now, if they would just make a an open mesh one for use in Florida . . .

  14. Dear Ian,

    Firstly, happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.

    I got a lot of joy out of your special episode on your funny hats. As a fellow funny hat person, I wondered when you’d mention the neat headgear that you wear in your outdoor videos.

    A small correction. When talking about the Afghan hat, you mentioned that the writing is in Arabic. Most likely, the label/inscription would be in one of the local languages, like Pashto/Pakhto/Dari. These are Persian languages, and as such, they use the same letters as Arabic (and a few words are the same), but it’s a pretty different language group.

    I enjoy your research and your interesting videos and hope you’ve got more fascinating things to learn and teach

    – DTK

    P.S: even though my girlfriend hates weapons of all sorts and rolls her eyeballs when I watch your show, she acknowledges that you have very pretty hair and mustache, and agrees with me that you are a very handsome man.

  15. First, congratulations on reaching this milestone!

    But (there’s always a but), could you publish an index of your postings? I think most of us are in the “OMG, look what turned up on YouTube” phase. It would be nice to be able to know what gems lurk out there.

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