Bucket hats for men, sometimes referred to as fishing hats, are normally made from a soft cotton material such canvas or denim, but they are also hard-wearing. They have a circular rim that faces downwards at an angle, and are almost bell shaped. Favored by fisherman over the decades, the rim protects the face and eyes from the sun, and the metal eyelets on the side of the hat help keep the head cool on warm days.
Because of their design and durable nature, bucket hats for men are very popular for outdoor activities, such as fishing, mountain walking, or sports such as tennis or golf. Although they are usually made from cotton, sometimes they are produced in materials such as Gore-Tex, and these are often seen worn by mountain walkers as they help protect the face from the sun in summer, and keep the head warm in winter.
The bucket hat is worn all over the world, by different types of people, and for different reasons. Glider pilots are often seen wearing bucket hats for men because they need to be shaded within the cockpit, but they also must be able to view everything around them. They are known as a giggle hat in Australia, and in Tanzania they are worn by the elders of the Iraqw people.
Called an ispoti in South Africa, they have been popularized by black youths and are an essential part of urban, street fashion. Israelis know them “Rafael hats”, as one was frequently seen worn by Israeli politician and general, Rafael Eitan. In fact, the style of hat considered to be the national headwear of Israel, the tembel hat, is very similar to the bucket hat. In Sweden, artist and author Beppe Wolgers wore one during the 1970s, and they are referred to as a Beppehatt.
Bucket hats for men have also played a significant role within popular culture over the last 50 years. In the 1960s, the main character in the well-known American TV program “Gilligan’s Island” wore one in nearly every episode, so they became synonymous with the show.
They have been a fashion staple of hip-hop culture for more than thirty years, when one was first seen worn by Big Bank Hank of the Sugar Hill Gang, in the video to Rapper’s Delight. In 1983, a 16 year-old LL Cool J was pictured wearing one in a magazine. The hip-hop community’s enduring love of bucket hats continued when artists such as Run DMC and Jah Rule adorned them in the late 80s and 90s.
In the UK, bucket hats for men are sometimes called a “Reni hat”, as The Stone Roses drummer Alan Wren was rarely seen without his in the late 80s/early 90s. He sometimes wore a plain color one, and also a Jackson Pollack inspired, multi colored one. When the Roses disbanded, people thought that Reni had packed away his bucket hat for good, but when they reformed in 2012, crowds were pleased to see the return of his famous hat.