The standard issue hat for the Troop is a felt, broad-brimmed hat with a "Montana Crease" more commonly know as a Campaign Hat. The origins of the hat, just like the wool uniform, date back to the American Army in the First World War. The origins of the hat can also be traced even earlier to Baden Powell himself who favored the hat and adopted it for scouting after his experiences with American scouters.
Requirements for a Proper Hat
Just like the wool shirt, there are several requirements for the proper presentation of one's hat.
- All hats must be pressed! There is nothing worse than a flimsy hat that looks like someone sat on it. The brim should always be crisp and straight. To do this, all scouts should have a hat press. If the hat is not on your head then it should be in that press. The exceptions to this are during Troop Meetings and during dinner at Horseshoe (Yes, bringing your press to horseshoe can be a good idea).
- A hat must have the appropriate rank pin front and center above the brim. New scouts and tenderfoots do not require a pin but second class scouts have a special pin and all higher ranks have a first class pin for their hats.
- A properly aligned strap. Not only should each hat have a chin strap but the buckle of the strap should be on the upper part of the hat above the brim, not below it. The buckle should also be centered on the hat (directly under the pin if you have one).
- The scout's name must be in the hat! All the hats look alike and they are frequently taken off at meetings not to mention at Horseshoe. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that you have your name in it or else it will get lost or accidentally claimed by someone else. Placing a piece of tape inside with your name written on it is the generally accepted means of doing this. Others choose to actually write directly on the interior of the hat.
Not only is it important to follow these regulations for your hat simply to stay in uniform but because the hat is the easiest thing for a staff member to inspect at a Troop Meeting and take points off for something simple and easy to catch like no pin or no name.
Wearing the Campaign Hat
Staying true to the uniform is not as simple as simply placing the hat on one's head. There are two things to remember when wearing your hat. First, the strap is purely ornamentation. Most are too short to actually be used effectively anyway. Therefore the strap is to be worn resting on your hair behind your head instead of hanging down in front of your face.
The second and by far most important rule is that the hat is to be worn slanted slightly downward. The way to position the hat is to extend your index and middle fingers. Then place those two fingers along your nose so the tip of your index finger is at the top of your nose where it meets your brow. Then with your free hand bring the brim of the hat down until it touches the top of your middle finger. This will position your hat to face in a uniformly downward angle.