Influenced by the 19th century Mexican culture the cowboy hat is the defining piece of attire for the North American cowboy. Originally design as a working mans hat to protect from the weather and elements the more modern styles are designed with more fashion in mind. You don't have to hang around the Calgary Stampede too long to notice by simply wearing the hat makes everyone look and feel sexier.
My question to you is if a major portion of ultra trail running is about dodging the elements, then isn't the perfect trail running hat obviously the cowboy hat? The tall crown provides insulation, a place to store ice, the wide brim for shade from the sun and cover from hail and rain. The light weight designs of some of the new straw hats feel like it's not even there.
At Sinister 7 last July the hat saved my ass on leg 3 when the heat of the day rolled in and later protected my melon from the hail storm that blew in on leg 5. I'm not telling you to start running in a Stetson but I am asking all us runners to stay true to the kit that we have found best works for each one of us. In the comment list below post what item you love best in your race kit. Might be unique, functional, humorous, or has simply made a world of difference to your racing.