Cotton hats cause many problems once the weather starts to turn grey. Whether you want to keep your limited edition Yankees hat in tip-top condition, or need a durable winter hat for your Rockies excursion, there are several options for waterproofing cotton. The style of your hat will play a major role in what option you choose. Some hats will be less flexible, making it harder to apply a waterproof substance, too. Shop around for your options and you'll find a waterproofing system that suits your needs best.
Your local camping store or fabric store will have a bottle of water-resistant spray that can simply be topically applied to your hat. These sprays don't cost much, but they aren't a permanent fix either. Some sprays will work for two rain showers, while others may work for 10. No matter what brand of spray you buy, you'll have to reapply the substance about three to four times a year. If this isn't a problem for you, this is a convenient way to waterproof your hat. Most sprays dry smooth and quick, but you probably want to do a little test run before you spray your entire hat. Spray a hidden spot on your hat and let the spray dry. Once your comfortable with the way the spray finishes, cover your entire hat.
For a more permanent fix, you should try an iron-vinyl. These vinyls come in several different options, so pay attention before buying one. You want a vinyl that dries clear. Most people just want to waterproof their hat, not change the appearance, so purchase a vinyl that dries with a matt finish instead of a glossy one. These vinyls work rather well. They usually provide a smooth and flexible coating, but depending on the style of your hat, it may be difficult to iron on anything. You won't be able to go about it as if you were ironing a shirt; you're going to have to be creative. If you have a bowling ball, that's perfect to place inside the hat while you're ironing. If not, find a hard object that will mimic your head. This method is usually more expensive than waterproof sprays, but it gives a permanent finish.
Types of Cotton Hats
Cotton hats can come in several forms, ranging from winter hats, to baseball caps and everything in between. Some styles are going to be easier to waterproof than others. A baseball cap, for example, is usually best waterproofed with a spray-on wax or oil. Most sporting goods stores sell a spray-on substance that works great with their hats.
Winter hats are a little more difficult. This is because the seams are usually really loose, allowing water to drip through many parts. A spray-on wax will work on these hat, but only expect to get one or two rain/snow/sleet showers out of it. You'll have to redo these hats rather frequently.