Permit me a moment here, but there’s something about the smell of tanned leather that makes me quite emotional. It’s like sinking in to an ancient Chesterfield sofa with an antique book and being immersed in the smell of quality and craftsmanship. You get a sensory experience quite unlike sitting on an Ikea chair reading from a Kindle. The leather’s pungent aroma is as much part of the experience as the words in the book and the springs in the sofa.
And that’s just like the experience of the Rogue Ranger hat. It hits you like a wave; the smell of leather, of craftsmanship, of no nonsense or corner-cutting. It smells of quality and longevity.
I’ve never been a brimmed-hat kind of guy. I think that they make me look like Woody from Toy Story and I try to avoid them, but I couldn’t help put the Rogue Ranger on my head because of how good it felt in my hands. It’s heavy, solid and serious. It feels as good as it smells and you want it to be as comfortable as it feels. It is.
Made from three simple pieces of leather (excluding the detailing), the Ranger is rainproof and will keep the sun off your brow and neck. It has eyelets in both sides to let out perspiration, and a chinstrap for wearing around your neck when its not on your head.
A simple strip of detailing around the brim acts as a Flyband (a band for fishing flies) and a simple, subtle metal badge finish the design.
I’ve worn the Ranger on a hike on the hottest day of the year so far (20-21C) and it wasn’t too hot, despite being leather. It didn’t get too sweaty and the leather keeps it firmly in place without being uncomfortably sticky. It doesn’t feel like it would fly off during a horse-ride or safari jeep trek.
From South Africa, the land where they don’t suffer frippery and low-quality, the Ranger is a bit of a statement. It seems to be saying “Yes, I know what I’m doing out here in the sun”. And at £45 for such a nicely finished leather hat, I suspect the type of customer who’d buy a Ranger would be one who would indeed know what they were doing.
SUMMARY: Whether you’re a cattle rancher, a rambler or just love the smell of leather, the Ranger will probably last longer than you will. There’s simply nothing to go wrong on it, except for a few bits of stitching which any cobbler can fix come the time that the thread wears out. It smells, feels and looks exquisite, and it was enough to put all thoughts of Brokeback Mountain out of my head for the duration of a couple of hikes. Great hat.