Pith Helmet Buyer Guide

Vietnamese soldier wearing a green helmet

The green helmet on the head of the Vietnamese soldiers has always been well known. It was after the Second World War that the communist dynasty and later the Vietnamese People’s Army were based on the design of the former colonial power, the French helmet.

In retrospect, these Stormtrooper Helmet are often seen in films such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “People’s Mount Taishan” and “Mummy”. It seems that these hats are standard for archaeological treasure hunt or jungle explorers.

So what is the name of this outdoor classic hat? What is the beginning?

Please call me “myeloid helmet”

“Mental helmet”, this is a name that sounds like a fuss and a creepy name. Its full name is the “pith helmet”.

Simply put, the pith is the middlemost part of the core.

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When taking wood, the two small square strips in the middle of the modern cutting method – the core material is relatively large, and are often used as pillars.

Small history of wood pulp helmet

From a design point of view, Vietnam’s green pith helmet is similar to the civilian helmet of World War II. The metal badge is used in front of the hat and covered with a green cloth like a jungle. This helmet has been widely used among Vietnamese civilians, especially in the north, but after 2007, the green helmet was hit by the motorcycle helmet and the usage rate dropped. It is now only available in some military and police uniforms.

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Chalcedony helmets also known as safari helmets or sun helmets

are lightweight helmets.

In the 1800s, the pith helmet first appeared in India. It is also known as Sola Topee, which is named after its main material, the pith, whose soft tissue comes from a tree trunk called Sola, which is produced in India. In addition, it has other features, such as the front and rear hats designed to be shaded, and the holes on both sides of the hat for ventilation, and equipped with a chin rest to hold it firmly on the head. It is worth mentioning that at this time, the cloth covering the cap is white.

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By 1870, European military forces began to use pith helmets

in colonies in tropical regions such as Africa and India. Military pith helmets are often decorated with feathers and ears. And its first major change occurred during the Zulu War, when the British found that wearing a white pith helmet made it easy for them to become conspicuous targets. So they began to dye with tea and later evolved into a khaki sun hat.

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British military sun hat made in the UK

In the 1930s, the pith helmet was transformed into a civilian life as a sunshade hat. The European powers believed that the sun in the colonies was extremely dangerous, and hats were often worn indoors to prevent the sun from penetrating the roof.

Neck curtain – a detail design that saves lives

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The civilian visor is different from the military helmet in that it has a rounded edge that gently slopes downwards, while the military helmet is more tapered. The headscarf, the ventilated hole and the chin rest are retained from the military design. A desirable design improvement is the “neck curtain” – a fabric that hangs behind the Stormtrooper Helmet for extra protection.

Neck curtain display on sun hat

Neck curtain – similar to the lower half of the now neck visor. The whole is a round cloth with an elliptical opening in the middle, which can be worn on the sun hat to cover the back of the neck and the side of the head.

The neck curtain is lighter. Dark green cloth enhances the cover of the face and provides extra protection to the eyes.

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This improved design was applied to the military sun hats that followed, and saved countless lives, because in the tropics, life-threatening is not bullets and spears, but the sun. European soldiers have experienced varying degrees of solar stroke and heat stroke in the tropics, and military sun hats can play a role in sun protection.

Neck curtain display on sun hat

Another problem for soldiers, diplomats, colonists and workers is tropical disease, the most deadly of which is yellow fever. Even today, in many tropical regions (especially Africa and South America), yellow fever remains a major problem.

Yellow fever originated in Africa and spread to South America through the slave trade in the 17th century. Since then, major outbreaks have occurred in the Americas, Africa and even Europe. The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is transmitted by female mosquito bites. Its mortality rate in the last century reached 85%.

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This sun hat with “neck curtains” prevents mosquito bites

The design of the “neck curtain” of the military sun hat is much better than that of the civilian sun hat and is widely used in various military forces. Today, this netted sun hat is more popular with hunters and fishermen.

A tropical helmet with neck curtains of the US Army in the late 1960s

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Over time, military sun hats began to use cork instead of wood pulp

But beyond that, until now, the design of the other parts has remained basically the same, but only in the UK. The African Army has its own version, and the French military sun hat style is used in Vietnam.


This military sun hat is still used by certain military units in the Commonwealth.

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In the UK, the Royal Marines still use the improved white-patterned Wolseley helmet (“Wolseley” Helmet) as part of their uniform. Since 1912, the helmet has been made of natural softwood, the style has always been covered with white cloth on the outside, green lining, with brass balls on the top, front badge and chin chain as decoration.

Parade of the Royal Marines in 1972

Insert a picture of the HMS Hermes (the “Hermes” in the old tide of the Chaos), the crew wearing a wooden helmet, and the words “HMS HERMES” are faintly recognized on the hat.

The Walsley Muscle Helmet is also part of the ceremonial uniform of the Canadian Army (such as the Royal Canadian Army and the Canadian Light Infantry of Princess Patricia). In addition, senior cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada wear a pith helmet for specific parades and special occasions.

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Prince Duke Philip of Edinburgh reviewed the 3rd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Soldiers wearing a Walsley helmet

United States

Throughout the Second World War, unlike the British Walsley helmet, the US Marine Corps, the US Navy, and the US Army began using more economical compression fiber helmets. The two main producers are International Hat Company and Hawley Products Company.

American pressed fiber helmet design

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1945 American pressed fiber helmet (left) and British helmet (right) comparison chart

One of the most obvious differences between the two is that the top of the American hat has venting holes.


Similar to the British Home Service helmet, the Royal Dutch Army Garderegiment Fuseliers Prinses Irene Brigade and the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps uniform use a deep blue pith helmet.

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Dutch Royal Marines helmet

Other countries

Nowadays, there are fewer and fewer troops using the pith helmet as their main headwear, but one exception is a military force from Monaco, all adding up to 255 soldiers. Their main headdress evolved from the summer medieval knight helmet designed by France in 1878.

Monaco Sun Hat

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