Panama Hat Gradings
Panama hat gradings are, in a word... non existent, well that’s two words but you get the idea. From manufacturers and wholesalers in Ecuador to retailers all over the world, there is no established consistent grading system or formulae.
At Hammock Heaven, we sell four (4) grades of Panama hats which we designate as; standard; classic; fine and very fine, these gradings do not correspond to any other retailer’s gradings and they are not intended to. The manufacturer we deal with in Ecuador supplies us with hats that they describe as grades 2, 4, 6 & 8. To give you an idea of the lack of a grading system, last week I went to the shop of a very large and prestigious hat retailer in Sydney. Their entry level Panama was labelled as a grade 8 and was the same thread count as our grade 2, or standard hat. I do believe their Panama was slightly better finished than ours and did include a crown protector which our Panama’s do not. That said, this retailers grade 8 hat was selling for $249.00 and we sell our comparable hat for $59.00. Our top level Panama retails for $189.00, the comparable hat with this retailer (when compared on thread count) was selling for $649.00. In the end we aren’t paying high street rent and we also buy our hats direct from manufacturers in Ecuador, not from wholesalers in the USA who are obviously adding a margin. We are able to pass these costs saving on and enjoy providing a high quality product at a very affordable price.
Many forums dedicated to Panama hat gradings talk about thread counts and this is a good indication of hat quality, as higher thread counts mean the hats are woven from thinner strands of Toquilla straw. Some of the world’s finest hats, that regularly sell for over $3000USD have incredibly high thread counts and consequently have taken months to weave. High thread counts though can have a down side, while the hat will be softer and more pliable it may not hold it’s shape as well. That said a used Panama with a few crinkles has character. In the end buy a hat that you like the look of, that suits your budget.
For any questions on our selection of Panama hats, hat gradings or hat sizing call us in the shop on 029938 5549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org