The History Behind the 5 Panel Hat

Welcome to panelhats.com! We are a hat website that carries many types of hats - from the dad hat to the 5 panel hat - and this blog post will primarily look at the 5 panel hat history. Before you get to reading, take a look at our web store for our latest hats and styles. We love receiving feedback on hats that you like or would like to see in our store!

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5 panel hats are starting to take the world by storm as a popular fashion accessory of the 2010’s. With the rise of celebrities embracing the low profile hat (see: Tyler the Creator), streetwear taking a hold as a popular “look” (see: Supreme), and nostalgic brands making a comeback (see Champion and FILA), it is no surprise that 5 panel caps are starting to be seen everywhere you look. But, are they a new thing, or making a comeback? Let’s take a look at the history of the 5 panel hat:

Early origins of 5 Panels:

It's hard to pinpoint the exact origins of the 5 panel hat. Typically, 5 panels have a low profile compared to its 6 panel counter parts. There are early periods in baseball, cycling, and camping that introduced hats that probably influenced the modern day 5 panel hat. 

Cycling Hats

Bike repairman wearing 5 panel hat

Believe it or not, safety wasn’t always the biggest concern in cycling, and participants in the Tour de France often chose to wear low profile hats versus helmets. Vintage photos from the Tour de France show a low profile hat, often times a 5 panel cap, as the popular chose of headwear amongst cyclists. 5 panels were also popular amongst cyclists in general – anyone from bike couriers to bicycling hobbyists – 5 panels seemed to be a popular head accessory over helmets.

The more popular hat for cyclist during this time is called the casquette. In looking at a casquette, it is easy to see it has a low profile, just like the modern day 5 panel camper style hats.

How quickly things change!

Baseball

Baseball and hats go hand in hand just like – well just about everything that goes together. While 5 panel hats could never beat out baseball caps (after all, it’s in the name) in terms of popularity, let’s take a look at some vintage baseball hats to see some similarities:

Babe Ruth with Low Profile Hat

As you can see, old timer baseball hats had a very low profile. This is very similar to 5 panel hats – as the most common 5 panels have a low profile. Just as chickens evolved from dinosaurs (for real!), it is no stretch to say 5 panels evolved from early baseball caps.

Pillbox hats were also very popular in the early baseball days. Now let’s do an exercise… Let’s take a daddy vintage baseball hat and mate it with a vintage mommy pillbox hat. The child of such would undoubtedly look like a 5 panel hat. Alright, enough of the weird exercise, let’s move on…

Hunting

Hunters wearing low profile hats similar to 5 panel hats

Another common term for the 5 panel hat is a camper hat. Camping has early origins in hunting, as deer camps and hunting camps are early forms of popular camping. If you look at vintage hunting pictures and film, low profile hats are very common. Not unlike with early baseball hats, these low profile hunting hats were in the form of 5 panels. (While we’ve got you, take a look at some of our camo hats if you’re interested!)

So there you have it. We are not historians and don’t even know the accuracy of these claims, but this is what we came up with, and we are sticking to it! Most 5 panel hats are low profile hats and low profile hats reigned supreme back in the day. It is no mistake that 5 panel hats evolved from early style hats in cycling, baseball, and hunting, and continue to be popular today amongst many different crowds.

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Now, let's take a look at some of our 5 panel hats so you can get an idea of the style, the low profiles, and the appeal:

 


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