The Ultimate Guide to Trucker Hats

photo of a man wearing a trucker hat out in the wilderness.

The trucker hat is a staple of American fashion originally worn by hard working laborers including everyone from farmers to over the road truckers. Of course, everyone has hopped on board the trucker hat craze ever since. Popularized by celebrities from country music artists to your favorite rappers, trucker hats are back in the spotlight and no longer worn by just your neighboring farmer or rural worker. Even the ladies are hopping on this trend,.  

A cheeky alternative to the baseball cap, the trucker offers some benefits the baseball cap doesn’t – including the opportunity to be more creative with your design. Is it the right style for you? It just may be! 

What is a trucker hat? 

A trucker hat is a style of baseball cap that is distinguishable by its fabric materials and construction. They feature a foam front that helps absorb sweat and moisture, while the back is made up of mesh panels, making it ultra-breathable and lightweight. The bill of the trucker hat is usually wide and is perfect for keeping the sun out of your eyes on bright days. It also features a snap-back closure which means it should fit nearly every person. 

And just so we cover all our bases here and don’t leave you hanging, trucker hats can go by many names, including: 

  • Mesh cap 
  • Netback cap 
  • Gimme cap 
  • Feed cap 

History of the Trucker Hat 

The history of the trucker hat is a part of the story of what makes trucker caps so interesting to many. Sometime around the 1960s, agricultural supply stores began giving out trucker hats as a promotional item to farmers and other laborers. Its lightweight construction and breathability quickly helped it gain in popularity for outdoor workers…not to mention they were almost always free! 

As truckers started wearing the hats more frequently and driving cross country, the trucker hat’s popularity and appeal began to spread. Then, in the early 2000s, celebrities started donning the trucker hat as a fashion statement, ensuring their rising popularity for a whole new generation of young people who quickly took to this “ugly” cap. 

As all things fashion do, the trucker hat’s reign of glory faded away in pop culture. However, the trucker hat style remained vastly popular for those whom it was originally intended to benefit, the rural workers, truckers, and farmers. 

And finally, as many things fashion do, the trucker hat is once again making a comeback in popular culture. It’s easy to see why. The broad foam front lends itself perfectly to everything from logos to phrases and quotes. Now, everyone from sports franchises and musicians to skateboard brands, outdoor recreation companies, and many others are finding the trucker hat a perfect way to get their name and brand out there for all to see.  

Trucker Hat vs Baseball Cap 

Technically, a trucker hat is a type of baseball cap. The main difference between the two is their materials and construction. A baseball cap, as you may have guessed, was originally designed to be worn by baseball players; it needed to fit snugly so it wouldn’t slip off their heads when running. Therefore, they are usually constructed out of cloth which makes them a bit heavier as compared to trucker hats. The baseball cap has a crown in which six panels of cotton are stitched together at the top, giving the baseball cap a more structured and contoured look. The crown can be either structured or unstructured, while the bill often is curved slightly, although modern trends have favored a flat-brim look. 

The trucker hat, as mentioned, features a mesh back and a cotton or plastic front panel, usually with foam inside to help wick moisture. 

The brim typically remains flat, although some choose to put a slight bend in it. 

How to Wear a Trucker Hat 

How do you wear a trucker hat? That’s easy – —any way you want to! But seriously, that’s what makes trucker hats so popular is that there’s no one way to wear them. In fact, if you have a rebellious streak in you, then this is the style of hat for you. The adjustable snapback closure allows you to adjust the fit so you can wear it higher on your head in a more relaxed manner than a traditional baseball cap. 

Wear it with the front panel in front to show off your hat’s logo or saying and reveal a bit of your personality to the world. Or wear it backwards to show off a fun, sporty style and that rebellious disposition. 

Keep in mind that the back mesh panels are great for breathability and keeping you cool, but they don’t provide sun protection like a cloth baseball hat. So, if you’re a little thin on top, be sure to grab the SPF and lather up the melon before spending time in the sun.   

How to Wash a Trucker Hat 

A trucker hat’s foam front section means it's susceptible to dirt, sweat, and oil build ups with frequent wear. You’ll want to clean it periodically, but how? Toss it in the washing machine? What about the dishwasher? These are not your best options if you want to maintain the hat’s structural integrity and not ruin it. 

Instead, fill a kitchen sink or tub with either cool or lukewarm water—not hot or cold. Then add just a couple of drops of mild laundry detergent to the water and submerge the hat completely in the water. Let it soak for about 15 minutes and then rinse it thoroughly under cold water to get any suds and dirt off. 

To dry off your trucker hat, do not use heat, as this can potentially cause damage to the hat’s fabric and even promote shrinking. Instead, gently squeeze out any excess water and then use a towel to pat dry the hat. 

If you are concerned about the hat losing its shape after washing, you can place it over a small bowl or container that mimics your head shape to help it retain your preferred fit. 

Trucker Hats from 5.11 Tactical 

Think a trucker hat might be right for you? Of course it is! We love them and you will, too. Check out our collection of trucker hats and show your love for 5.11 when you choose one of our popular designs like the 5.11 Multicam Trucker Hat and the 5.11 Proud Trucker Cap. Or, you can display your love and patriotism for the red, white, and blue with our Flag Bearer Trucker Cap 2.0.   

Whatever your design preference, our selection of trucker caps will keep you covered and looking and feeling good. 


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