The Cowboy Hard Hat

 The History of Cowboy-Style Hard Hats


Group Shot Wearing Jackson Safety Cowboy-Style Hard Hats

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats were a creation of tool salesman, Bret Atkins in 1996, who got tired of getting his expensive stetson-styled hats dirty while on the job.  Atkins essentially worked out of his garage to create the trendy cowboy-style hard hat and invested a small fortune seeking and obtaining OSHA approval. 

Through a very lucky break, the cowboy-style hard hat was discovered by Katie Couric of NBC’s Today show and the rest, as they say is history.  The cowboy-style hard hat (also sometime referred to as Western Hard Hat and Outlaw Hard Hat) has been a worldwide success.  To read more about this amazing story, click here.

The Benefits of Wearing Cowboy-Style Hard Hat Protection

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats Are Stylish

Woman Wearing Cowboy-Style Hard Hat

Woman Wearing Cowboy-Style Hard Hat

If you are foreman, you know that for many of your crew, as soon as you leave, the hard hats come off – the ole’ “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” syndrome.  This is a disasterous situation for that worker if there’s and accident (and for you too – increased insurance premiums!) – OccuNomix Vulcan reports that of the 100,000 occupational head injuries per year, 84% of those were not wearing adequate head protection.  You can’t argue with the numbers, folks, a hard hat is essential for your crew.  That’s why these Cowboy-Style Hard Hats are so ingenious – they give the workers a sense of style while on the job.  They are shaped like stetsons and wear like iron. 

Also, some of the manufacturers allow their cowboy-style hard hat line to be custom stamped on the front with an image of choice – like a compnay logo.  This helps helmets to not disappear quite as rapidly, if you know what I mean.

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats are Comfortable

Across the board, no matter which manufacturer you choose to go with, the cowboy-style hard hats are comfortable to wear.  They all sport a 4 or 6-point, adjustable suspension that cradles the wearer’s head.  All have a replaceable terry cloth sweatband which helps to keep you dry.

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats Have Wide Brims

Compared to the traditional half-egg shaped hard hat, the cowboy-style hard hat has a wide, stetson like brim which offers the wearer additional rain and uv protection.  Less sun in the eyes can mean less glare and potentially hazardous mistakes because of that glare.

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats are Made in the USA

With the exception of the Procureit Australia line, the other lines are made in the United States of America.

The Features of a Cowboy-Style Hard Hat

Cowboy-Style Hard Hat Construction

  • Durable high-density, polyethelene plastic
  • 4 or 6-point suspension systems
  • chin straps – either come standard with some lines, like the Smith and Wesson West Hard Hats, or as an add-on accessory for the others.
  • Adjustable to fit a wide-range of head sizes – from 6.5 to 8 for most models.
  • Size – about 14 inches from side-tip to side-tip.  15 inces from front-tip to back-tip.

Suspension Systems Summary

Ratchet suspension– A type of suspension with a quick ratchet adjusting knob. This loosens or tightens the hard hat “on the go” with a simple turn of the knob. The pin lock suspension must be removed to be adjusted.

Four point suspension/six point suspension– This is the actual number of clips that mounts the cradle suspension to the shell of the hard hat.

(Vulcan) Squeeze-Lock Suspension has an ultra-soft, yet very strong and comfortable, six-point woven nylon crown strap system that acts as a shock absorber with six load-bearing points that spread impact over a larger area. Includes a smooth, non-irritating, no-hassle squeeze-lock sizing adjustment in 1/8″ increments.

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats Should NOT Be Used For…

Cowboy-Style Hard Hats should not be used for horse back riding.  The wide-brim is the problem – if a rider takes a fall, their heads can be jolted to one side or the other and the result can be severe neck injuries.

Comments on The Cowboy Hard Hat

February 27, 2010

gonzalo vargas @ 12:14 am #

the best hard hat i ever used, full style.

March 12, 2010

Larry @ 12:27 am #

I am running an escort for over-wide and height semi loads. I am required to have an ORANGE hard hat. In your article it was mentioned the orange was not a well purchasedd item. I do want that item. PLEASE email me to guide me for purchase. THANX from a Texan

March 28, 2010

Stan @ 10:11 am #


The orange hard hat versions are a little hard to find – a supply and demand most likely.