Why Is It Called a 10 Gallon Hat?

  • , by Alex Torres
  • 5 min reading time

What is a 10-gallon hat? Keep reading to learn about this iconic look and how it translates to a modern wardrobe!

A 10-gallon hat, what is it? Everyone has heard a cowboy hat referred to as a 10-gallon hat. You may imagine that a 10-Gallon hat is just a term for a very tall cowboy hat. You may have gotten that impression from old photos of cowboys seen sporting towering hats like the one below!

While this association has become commonplace, the actual origin and meaning of the term "10-gallon hat" is less than clear.

Stetson 10-Gallon Hat

As an example, check out Stetson's famous painting of a cowboy letting a horse drink water out of his hat. This marketing material may have led some to believe that the term "10-gallon" refers to how much water Stetson hats can hold in their crowns. That being said, we must dispel this myth as no hat is truly meant to retain water in this way.

Origins of the 10-Gallon Hat

While there is no definitive information on the origin of the 10-gallon hat, which leaves us to theorize a few different possibilities. For starters, the term “tan galan" in Spanish translates in English to "so handsome." Secondly, it's worth noting that the Spanish word “galan" translates as “braid" in English. One staple of many cowboy hats is a narrow leather hatband wrapped around the base crown, and was thus called the “braided hat." That being said, it's possible that cowboys may have overheard Spanish speakers referring to western-style hats as handsome or braided and misheard their words as "10- gallon."

Modern Day Influence

The influence of the ten-gallon hat lives on today. Exaggerated crown heights (albeit, not quite as high as a ten-gallon) and wide brims have continued to be a staple in the world of hat fashions. Of course, the style that has best retained the spirit of the 10-gallon hat is the modern western cowboy hat!

The Best Western Cowboy Hats to Buy

Cowboy hats have carved out a permanent place in the fashion world. Their portrayal in western and cowboy films have long associated these hats with the gritty toughness and free-spirited nature of the wild west. Western and cowboy hat materials range from the standard wool and fur options to breathable and lightweight straw for warmer climates. Tall cowboy hats are the most common style, though there are some low-crown cowboy hat options available. Check out some of the most popular cowboy hats for sale below!


Shetland Dark Brown Wool Felt Cowboy Hat by Walrus Hats

Wool felt cowboy hat

The Shetland by Walrus Hats is hands-down our first choice out of our selection of cowboy hats. This hat has all the hallmarks of a traditional western style, right down to the twisted leather band which emulates the look of classic western braiding. The wide brim flares up at the edges and adds a delightful southern twist to the hat. This astoundingly authentic western hat will be sure to make you say, “yee-haw"

Bozeman Stetson Crushable Wool Felt Cowboy Hat

Black crushable

The Bozeman Stetson is a bestseller for obvious reasons. This cowboy hat is made from crushable wool felt, making for comfortable wear and easy transportation. The classic high crown and wide brim are what distinguish the Bozeman as a cowboy hat style. The leather hatband trades the traditional cowboy braiding for a smooth and sleek appearance, making this hat perfect for the modern cowboy!

Santa Fe Stetson Crushable Wool Felt Western Hat

This delightful western style from Stetson will add a country flair to any wardrobe! The Santa Fe Stetson is made from crushable wool felt that makes it easily crushable and packable for cowboys on the go. The dashing leather hatband is imbued with an eyecatching arrow pattern that really makes this look pop!

Stetson Roxbury Leather Western Hat

Roxbury Western hat

Want to give your look a rugged cowboy edge? The Stetson Roxbury is perfect for grizzled cowboys and western fashionistas alike! The flashy studded concho band is rustically masculine and instantly striking. This gallant cowboy hat is constructed from genuine leather that will ensure your hat stays stylish for many rodeos to come!

Stetson Expedition Crushable Wool Felt Western Hat

Olive crushable

Channel your adventurous cowboy spirit with the Stetson Expedition! This hat is made from crushable wool felt that will enable it to be stored easily on any journey. The wool is dyed a rich loden green tone that contrasts beautifully with the feather hatband and creates a natural, earthy look. Get back in touch with nature with this breathtaking western hat!

Live out your Western Fantasy!

Whether you're looking for the perfect hat to wear around the ranch or to the grocery store, a cowboy hat will always add an effortless air of adventure to any outfit. Pair a cowboy hat with your favorite blue jeans and boots for a functional, horseback-ready look or rock it with more formal attire to be true to your country roots, no matter the event. If you're looking for more great hat styles like these, look no further than our awesome collection of western and cowboy hats. Take home one of these daring hats today and live out your wild west fantasy!

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