The boonie or bush hat was ideally suited for use in the South African bush, it was light, comfortable, could be folded up and put in a pocket, kept the sun and rain off and dried quickly. It is therefore no surprise that nutria brown bush hats are often seen in period photographs of SADF troops in the bush on exercise and operations:
The bush hat is very similar to those used by the Indian Army in World War II and adopted by other nations in the years after, having a simple crown and a broad brim, stiffened by stitching:
The hat, known to the South Africans as a ‘boshoed’, has a series of loops around the base of the crown to allow foliage to be added as camouflage, and a set of three enameled eyelets to provide ventilation:
The eyelet on the brim is one of a pair and allows a piece of cord to be attached as a chin strap. Note also the press studs, these allow the sides of the hat to be pulled up and secured if preferred:
This particular example was made in 1992 by Specifico:
Specifico was a South African firm from Bophutswana that seems to have had contracts to make a range of SADF uniform.
Good post elucidating all the small features of this hat. I just bought one on eBay and was wondering what the webbing around the crown was for – now I have my answer! It seems very comfortable and lightweight but tough, so I think it will serve me well. Plus it’ll go nicely with my M83 battle jacket if ever required.