One Perfect Present: An All-Purpose Travel Hat Handmade in the USA
There's so much crap travel gear out there that, all this week, we're wading through the muck to feature travel items truly worth giving as gifts. Every day, we'll feature one item we personally love and recommend and think you need in your travel life.
Don't run to the nearest Target the night before a trip to buy whatever woven synthetic topper "will do for now." A small investment in a custom hat, which is actually also an investment in the survival of a classic New York City business, is the answer.
Thanks to the impulsiveness of milliner Satya Twena and her brilliant Kickstarter campaign, the Makins Hats factory in Midtown Manhattan is coming back from closure, in time to save the collections, the American-made equipment, hat shapes dating back to the 1930s, and even the jobs of the skilled staff.
To learn more, check out the adventure of our friends Jamie and Kevin of AnnStreetStudio, as they each created their own caps inside the factory.
For a gift, think of giving the opportunity to create a custom hat to someone about to embark on a long trip, a new job, or a combination of both. A bowler for the London-bound, a Panama hat for island-lovers, a feminine derby for the female solo traveler...
We've purchased a tri-corner hat in Venice for Carnevale, an alpaca cap for Andean altitudes and, most recently, an Akubra in Australia for the Outback sun. Still, there's no beating an excellent, all-purpose hat you trust to go anywhere and everywhere and there's no comparing our excitement to receive our own handmade Makins Hat, after backing the campaign ourself.
Where to buy: Only available on Kickstarter page until January 3, 2014. Hats begin shipping in February.
How much: From $97 for one hat to $187 for two hats. There's also the option to pledge $197 to get one of the luxury, limited edition hats. Feeling flush? $450 for one gets you a private tour of the factory and a one-on-one creation of a custom hat where you're in control of every detail.
[Photos & video: Satya Twena and AnnStreetStudio]