If you are looking to purchase a baseball cap or a dad hat, it’s important to know the differences ahead of time. This article will discuss those differences allowing you to make the right choice.

man wearing a baseball cap

Both dad hats and baseball caps are soft caps with stiff brims that some use to shield their eyes from the sun. Because dads are considered to be uncool, their brim is generally in front. Both dad hats and baseball caps are washable, though any hat with a logo may need special handling.

Brim

The brim of a dad hat comes pre-curved; a baseball cap may need some breaking in. If your baseball cap brim is stiff and straight across, wear your cap all the time to shape the cap area to your head.

As it softens, take off your hat and fold the edges of the brim down and together; your goal is to bend it and get the bend to hold rather than breaking it. When you take your cap off at night, curve the brim edges together and stuff it into a cup or jar to hold the curve overnight.

Dedicated baseball players beware: Too much curve can impact your peripheral vision. You may need two hats if you prefer a deeper curve for sun protection on ordinary days. Hang your baseball hat to keep the brim flat and fold the daywear hat for best curve in the future.

Logo

The structure of your cap will be defined by the logo. While baseball caps are generally made of hearty cotton or canvas, the logo may be backed up by foam or buckram, a stiff woven material.

Before you buy a hat with a logo, do check the washing requirements; you may need to just wash it in cold and let it air dry for the best effect.

Officially, a dad hat shouldn’t have a logo. You’re just covering your head, not promoting a team or a political viewpoint. However, if you got your hat as a freebie at a work event and it includes a logo, you should definitely wear it until it falls apart to promote your frugal status.

man wearing a baseball cap with a logo

Closure

The term “closure” refers to the gap at the back. Some closures feature a plastic strap that snaps in place while others have a canvas slider or an elastic band. If you have a big head, be aware that the plastic strap may be the best choice.

A canvas band will snug up after the hat is washed and the elastic will fail over time. If your hat does have elastic at the back, make sure it never goes in the dryer.

Technically a dad hat can’t have a plastic snap closure; the hat should be big enough to stay on without this special adjustment. However, if you’re a dad with a big head who is tired of chasing his hat, allowances can be made.

baseball cap front and back

Lining

Baseball caps and dad hats are both exposed to perspiration and body oils. Before you invest in such a cap, slide your finger around the inside of the cap lining.

If your notice any plastic or buckram, put on the hat and rotate the brim back and forth. It doesn’t take much stiffening material to irritate your forehead. Hat hair is part of life, but forehead rash will hurt after a while, especially if you sweat into the band.

Again, there are technical considerations. A dad hat should, officially, not be lined. For dads who really need a hat to work outside at their jobs or on the lawn, a soft lining can be allowed to prevent perspiration from soaking through the hat.

Construction

Each of these pieces of headgear features 6 panels sewn into a soft cap with a brim attached. Some of them are vented on the top; others simply have the closure at the back to allow air to flow. The fabric of a good baseball cap will always breathe; as you perspire, your scalp will be cooled.

If your cap is of nylon material for effective wicking, launder it with extreme care. The nylon can snag if you wash it with a load of jeans. If there’s a logo, confirm the material content before laundering.

Material

A baseball cap worn by those who love all outdoor sports will either be made of canvas or wicking material. If you really want to be out in the heat, don’t get a cap or a hat with a foam insert to back up the logo. These logo supports are often found in farmer’s caps. This foam doesn’t breathe and can irritate your skin.

Do pay careful attention to the color of your cap. If you’re not playing for or supporting a particular team, get something light-colored to prevent heat build-up in full sunlight.

If it fits, buy two. A light-colored hat will quickly become discolored and need laundering; by the time you get the fit just right and the brim properly shaped, the fabric on the brim will fray and you’ll have to start over.

With two hats, you can stretch out the wear and tear. Don’t put it in the dryer!

beige colored canvas baseball cap

Brim: Front or back?

Dad hats should always have the brim to the front. It’s a tool to shield your eyes, not a way to be cool or trendy. Plus, if you’re the person carrying the child on your back, you don’t want to bump them with the brim or give them a grabbing edge so they can pull it off and throw it across the parking lot.

Additionally, the brim at the back can be a problem if your child wants to sit on your shoulders. You can lift them over the brim, but if they wind up sitting on the brim you can put pressure on your scalp and grow a dad bald spot, which you do not want. Brims front!

Dad hats can be baseball caps but baseball caps may be different from a dad hat. If you can get a freebie, go for it! If not, get something that fits well and doesn’t irritate your scalp or forehead.

man with a beard wearing a baseball cap

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