The Ultimate Guide To Bucket Hats

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.

Bucket hats have become a staple of New Zealand (and global) culture.

But it wasn’t always that way.

How did such an unassuming fashion accessory blow up so fast? What keeps the bucket hat relevant a century later? And where can you find a decent bucket for a good price?

Keep reading to find out all that and more in this ultimate guide to bucket hats.

In this guide to bucket hats:

  • What is a bucket hat
    • Alternative names for bucket hats
    • Types of bucket hats
  • The history of the bucket hat
    • Bucket hats and pop culture
  • Where to buy cheap bucket hats

All righty, then. Let’s get started!

What is a bucket hat?

Bucket hats are hats with a narrow, downward-sloping brim that goes all the way around.

They can be made from tweed, corduroy, denim, polyester, wool… you name it. But most bucket hats tend to be made from cotton, or a cotton/polyester mix.

Bucket hats have two major advantages over other hat types:

  • You can fold ‘em up and put ‘em right in your pocket.
  • They never go out of style.

These benefits, coupled with the sheer aesthetic of a decent bucket, make bucket hats one of (if not) the best hats on the planet.


Alternative names for bucket hats

While they’ve been called “buckets” for decades, around the world this incredibly dynamic bit of headwear is known by many names.

Here are some other names for a bucket hat:

  • Fisherman’s hat
  • Dixie cup hat
  • Tembel hat
  • Fishing hat
  • Short-brimmed sun hat
  • Irish country hat
  • Session hat
  • Idiotka (literally Bulgarian for “idiot hat”)
  • Beppenhatt (Sweden)
  • Bob (France)
  • Anglerhut (Germany)
  • Troublemaker hat (Denmark)

As you can see, the bucket hat is often named after the impression it gives people of the wearer.

Apparently, bucket hats are a sign of stupidity in Bulgaria and of mischief in Denmark.

There are also a number of similar-styled hats often confused for or associated with bucket hats, such as:

In fact, in Russia, they actually call bucket hats “panamanka hats” because of a mistranslation that must’ve occurred at some point in time.

The difference between a bucket hat and a boonie hat is the size of their brim.

Boonie hats, especially popular in Australia, are slightly wider-brimmed hats, usually with military designs such as camo print.


The different types of bucket hats

Bucket hats can be as unique as snowflakes.

From patterned bucket hats to hats with animal ears and cute straps - there’s a bucket for every occasion.

Here are some of our favourite types of bucket hats:

When there are so many great options, how can you afford not to get one for yourself?

History of the bucket hat

The bucket hat was first invented in the early 1900s, purely for practical purposes.

The ability to both keep rain off your face and fold neatly into your pocket made bucket hats a huge hit with farmers, fishermen, and other folks that worked outdoors.

It was then used in both the world wars and later the Vietnam war to protect the skin on soldiers’ necks.

Sometime during the 1960s, hippies got a hold of them. It was all downhill from there (for the bucket hat haters).

The 70s, 80s, and LSD came along and the bucket hat was moulded into an iconic fashion statement. A hat that could be manipulated with endless patterns, fabrics, and styles to match the personality of each individual wearer.

Bucket hats were in, baby.

Soon, the notoriously adaptable hat transcended the world of hippies and found its way into a developing hip-hop industry.

In the 80s and 90s, hip-hop artists determined fashion trends. So once rappers and R&B singers started wearing them, well, the rest is history.

Bucket hats and pop culture

In the beginning, bucket hats hit the mainstream thanks primarily to famous rappers the likes of Big Bank Hank from the Sugar Hill Gang, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and later, Jay Z.

From fictional characters like Maccer and Nervous Ron from the Grand Theft Auto video game series to modern-day celebrities such as Liam Gallagher of Oasis and Dylan Frost of Sticky Fingers, the bucket hat is a recognizable symbol worldwide.

Here are some additional famous bucket hat wearers from pop culture:

  • Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island
  • Captain Price from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Props Boy from What Now
  • Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
  • T.K. from Digimon Adventure 02

I’m sure your jaw dropped at that last mention. T-bloody-K. Bigger than the Queen, mate.

Now that you know all there is to know about bucket hats, where can you buy them?

Where to buy cheap bucket hats

Bucket Hats NZ is New Zealand’s home of trendy bucket hats, baseball caps, sun hats, and beanies.

And if you’re not from NZ, don’t worry - we ship to over 25 countries with minimal shipping costs.

So long, and good luck with your bucket hat journey!

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1 comment

Can you tell me more about bucket hats? I feel like there’s more to this story…


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