Gray’s Best 2017

(River Travelers, by Chet Reneson)

ANGLING: 12WT Cotton–Linen Hats

12wthatThe basic design of the baseball cap dates back to 1860, but 12WT—a relatively young company that makes angling-specific apparel—has thoughtfully tweaked this iconic headwear. The attention to detail in 12WT’s cotton–linen line of ballcaps ($29) made me appreciate an article of clothing so ubiquitous that I’d started taking it for granted. First, the fabric: the blend of cotton and linen is drastically lighter than a standard hat. It’s easy to forget you’re wearing it. Second, the bill: these caps come in three different styles with three different bill lengths, but they all feature what 12WT calls its “optic black fabric” on the underside. I would describe it as dull black velvet, and it excels at absorbing glare. Third, the button: you know that metal button that sits on the top of most every cap? They got rid of it, reducing weight and improving comfort. Fourth, the band: the headband is absorbent and wicks moisture away from the skin. It’s also incredibly soft and comfortable. Fifth, the clasp: instead of stiff plastic sizers, awkward metal buckles, or uncomfortable snaps, these caps have adjustable, plastic clips attached to a small strip of elastic. It’s like getting a pillowy hug around your head all day. I may have dozens of hats in my collection, but I reach for this one most often.