You ever ask yourself why hat prices vary so much? Let’s just get right into it and start by saying it’s all in the details and there are many of them. If you’re not a hat enthusiast or avid wearer of a cowboy hat you might not understand all the variables involved when picking out your next head accessory of the Western type. You’ve heard it before, “hat’s come in all shapes and sizes” but they also come in many different types of materials. A good cowboy hat is made of fur. Fur can last you a lifetime hence the hefty price. Beaver and Rabbit fur are the most common but there’s also Coypu or Nutria which is a large, robust rodent very similar to Beaver. Both animals have a soft, waterproof fur that hat makers love to work with. Of course there are many types of other furs too, all ranging in price, and it’s up to you to determine what suits you best. Another factor that determines the value of the hat is the weight. There are different thicknesses of a hat, all measured in grams. Western weight is on the thicker side which leads to a more durable, heavier hat typically seen on a working cowboy. Also, there’s the artistry involved. A Hat Maker has their own signature style, their own artistic take on their creations. Any custom Hat Maker can be sought after for their unique interpretation of a classic Western hat. Handmade and craftsmanship are not to be overlooked by the customer. Some of the lower priced hats are made of wool or a non-traditional fabric blend. These hats are mostly found in commercial department stores, factory made, inexpensive and abundant. Plus, they can be lighter weight and lose their form by shrinking with heat or losing their shape with rain, becoming unreliable over time. I didn’t know any of this when I first started my journey as a hat maker. It wasn’t until I held the aforementioned materials in my hand that I understood the differences in quality of the hats. There’s such a dramatic difference when holding a Beaver fur hat in one hand and a wool hat in the other. You can literally feel the different levels of detail. So, my advice for anyone looking for a new hat is to take into consideration what you want and what you need. Do you want a hat for now or one that will last a lifetime? Seek out a custom hat maker, ask questions and consider all the options. A hat is an investment, it always has been. Early Cowboys would sometimes save up their wages for a month or two in order to buy themselves a hat. You pay good money for the finer things in life and a Cowboy Hat is definitely no exception.