The patagonia hat

One of the hardest things for me to do for the past few years has been to buy things for myself. I’ll buy friends a beer, coffee or pick up treats to bring along while I’m visiting, but won’t make the same effort to treat myself or replace gear that needs to be retired.

The propensity I have to make do with what available, rather than spoil myself has in some ways blocked new energy from coming into my life. There are a lot of past energy tied into my warm enough but replacement-ready sleeping bag, my it’s-okay-for-now Honda Civic, affectionately known as Storm, and my worn-beyond-elasticity Denver Broncos throwback flex fit hat. I’ve struggled to donate or recycle them and let them go, preferring to save money than to treat myself to things I like, enjoy wearing and using.

The patagonia hat is one such instance.

I’ve wanted a very specific patagonia hat since I first saw it several years ago in Jackson, Wyoming. It’s a patagonia hat with a bison reminiscent of the Wyoming state flag. Seeing the flag—or the hat—reminds me of fun times in Laramie and the people, places and adventures of grad school.

I didn’t buy the hat when I first saw it and have been looking for it ever since. It’s been hard to find in person, given the scarcity of patagonia stores and its limited production.

I mentioned the hat to a friend this summer and my desire to have one to wear, but feeling like it was an extraneous purchase. She suggested spoiling myself and buying it, treating myself with the care and kindness and generosity to which I’d happily shower upon others.

After all, my two Broncos hats were more than I needed, as I wore the same one each day… until the flex fit material lost its stretchiness and it wouldn’t stay on. My first inclination was to make do with my second hat.

Which I did for two months.

I’d check online to see if the hat I wanted was on sale about once a week. It never went on sale, and I had—and still have— a hard time justifying $30 for a ballcap. I was in Calgary one weekend and stopped in at the patagonia store downtown to see if they had it, promising myself I’d buy it if it was in stock.

The store had none, and the kind salesperson informed me that the hat was a seasonal item not produced in large volumes. They hadn’t received any, but the Banff store may have a few. I was sad for a minute that I wasn’t able to purchase the hat in person, but took it in stride and made the best of it.

Luck would have it that I was in Banff the next week after work and able to check out the brick-and-mortar store. I had high hopes of finding the hat, but was denied again.

I figured, what the heck, I’ll order one online when I’m home. When I went online the next night to check for a sale, the hat I wanted was sold out in the color I preferred.


Another month went by, and my seasonal job was ending. At the beginning of the drive back to the coast, I decided to just do it, buy the hat online and have it sent home. After all, it was the end of the season and I’d not treated myself to anything special.

I stopped to see a friend on the drive back… long story short, I didn’t think twice about buying my friend a tank of gas with the money I was going to spend on the hat. I decided I’d find another hat somewhere along the way. It seemed it wasn’t meant to be, so I let go of the thought I’d get the patagonia buffalo hat.

It’s funny how life works.

I forgot about the hat, drove home and helped organize and prepare for winter. My gift to myself all summer had been a road trip back to see friends in Colorado.

I drove into Denver and stayed with a friend who had an awesome patagonia hat. We had a long talk about outdoor equipment companies, and how activism is helping to protect the wild, scenic and irreplaceable landscapes in the west. patagonia has been vocal in their support for protecting Bears Ears, preserving public lands in Utah and protecting habitat in British Columbia. It’s refreshing to see a company make a stand for environmental protections, speaking out against contentions development issues and encouraging and promoting local action to preserve the beautiful wild places we all enjoy.

I mentioned that I had been looking for the hat and hadn’t found it in Canada. My friend told me to hold on for a minute while he went upstairs. Shortly after my friend came back with the exact hat I wanted, stating that it didn’t fit him well and it was mine to have.

Holy hallelujah, the hat I wanted manifested after I gave up the idea of finding and buying it for myself.

The best part? It turns out that the patagonia hat, the one I’ve wanted for years, doesn’t fit me! It’s an adjustable trucker hat, and the one size fits all hat doesn’t adjust big enough for my head. So… turns out that what I wanted to wear for a few years doesn’t even fit. Well, THAT’S ironic…

The gifted patagonia bison hat now decorates the back of my car as I search for a reliable, high clearance AWD or 4WD vehicle more suited for backroads adventures in BC, Alberta and the western states. I’m curious to see which vehicle manifests as that search progresses…

In adventure,

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