After finally finding the perfect ball cap, I redoubled my efforts to acquire the perfect boonie – or bush hat.
Historically, me and boonies don’t get on. In fact, until now, I’ve never found one which fitted properly. TAD Gear’s take on the boonie – the Scout RS – was the last roll of the dice for me.
Leaving TAD’s boonie until last seems counterintuitive to me now. I’ve a long history with TAD’s apparel, starting in 2006 with one of their early Stealth Hoodies. TAD’s fit has always been perfect for me. Nevertheless, there are cheaper options on the market and I tried those first. So, this experience aptly validates my usual rule of ‘buy nice or pay twice’. Except in this case, I didn’t just buy two boonies…I bought loads in the process of finding one with the right fit.
For those who don’t like reading, you’re definitely in the wrong place. But here’s TAD’s video description of their hat:
The most important thing about buying apparel is sizing. TAD’s size charts are pretty accurate. But, one thing you need to know about this hat is that TAD says it may shrink slightly with use:
Internal circumference may shrink up to 0.25″ (0.64 cm).
This was actually good news to me, because according to the size chart I could have gone with L or XL. I went with XL and I’m glad I did.
You can see the main fabric composition from the label. It’s the cotton which may contract with use – a bit like washing a pair of jeans. What I would add, though, is that the hat has a really nice hand to it. It doesn’t feel like it’s partially synthetic. It feels quality. It’s soft, breathable and wicking – but you know the nylon is going to make it tough as. It also has a ripstop weave, which adds durability.
One of the features I really liked about the hat when reading about it, was the mesh band:
This is a great way to provide ventilation and it’s used to the extent that it doesn’t look like you’re going off to cut cheese on a deli counter, after a day of exploring.
Below the mesh band we find a daisy chain (PALS) with a modern twist: it’s composed of Hypalon. Hypalon is in real danger of becoming overused in tactical applications, but its use here is practical as well as sympathetic to the whole. I doubt I’ll be using the daisy chain for its stated uses (for adding foliage or a mosquito net), but the hat probably wouldn’t look right without it. In any case, it weighs next to nothing.
Like I said, I went with XL over L and I’m glad I did. The slight slack at the head band may be partially taken up with shrinkage, but until then I can use the shock cord adjuster at the back off the hat:
Well executed and robust.
Inside the hat is a discrete pocket, which secures with velcro:
I don’t have a use for this, but it’s a nice to have.
The hat features a chin strap. Again, this is well executed and is bar tacked in place.
Now, one of my acceptance criteria for a boonie is a short crown. I don’t want to be running around with what looks like a brimmed fez.
TAD’s hat is perfect in this area:
Another crucial aspect is brim length. This has to be short enough not to look too wild west; but long enough to shield the top of my eye-pro when I cheek weld and look past my Aimpoint. Again, TAD does the business.
I like this hat a lot and anyone who understands how critical I am will know I don’t say this lightly.
The fabric and construction is spot on and, crucially, so is the fit.
I just checked TAD’s website and as of today’s date, most sizes are out of stock. However, if you’re S or XL, you could be in luck.