United States Boy Scouts: Headwear Types--Campaign Hat

Figure 1.--This unidentified Tenderfoot Scout had his portrait taken in a photomachine, probably about 1930. Notice that he is wearing the chinstrap. That tells us that he had just got his uniform and does not yet know that boys rarely wore the chinstrap. Also notice the large kerchief. It is not solid red like most at the time.

Nothing captures the image of a Scout wordwide more than the broad-brimmed hat. It was the hat adopted by Baden-Powell for British Scouts and subsequently adopted by most early Scout groups in other countries as well, including American Scouts. It was often called a "lemon squeezer" hat in Britain. Americans have other names, including drill master and ranger (Smokey Bear) hat. It was a broad-brimmed felt hat with four indentations meeting in a generallt dounded crown. (Some foreign caps look almost like a peak at the crown. Boys wore a Scout pin on the front. Despite the fact that is was extensively wiorn, it was not a very practical cap. It got out of shape when wet and was rather expensive. There was a chin strap around the inside of the hat band, but rarely used by American Scouts. It was the style worn by American soldiers in World War I., Although many options have been tried over the years (such as the World War II overseas cap, the red beret and the baseball cap), the "Smoky Bear" or "Campaign" hat is the only uniform item which has remained constant around the world since Scouting came to the United States in the early-1900s. It became a internationally recognized symbol of Scouting. Scouts around the world wore them. After the early-40s it largely disappeared from American Scouting. A few adult Souters can occassionally be seen with the Smokey Bear hat because of the distinctive image.


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Created: 12:10 AM 12/14/2006
Last updated: 1:34 AM 3/28/2011