Tracing the Wildly Weird Evolution of the Trapper Hat

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Randy Quaid, E G Marshall
Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock / Shutterstock

THE TRAPPER HAT originated in the 1600s, as a giant pelt beanie of sorts, and it was first worn by, yes, trappers. In the late 2000s, though, the glitterati inexplicably co-opted the functional winter cap. The headwear hit an all-time low in that regard earlier this year, when Prada released a $570 version (see below).

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But fear not, because for every trapper-hat-clad hipster, there’s still some grizzled ice-fisherman or state trooper rocking one, too. Not that you have to be either to wear one like a champ.

Iconic Moments


The painting Der November, by German artist Joachim von Sandrart, is thought to include the first depiction of the trapper hat in art.


The leader of Siberia outfits soldiers with the headgear to stay warm during the Russian Civil War.


Charles Lindbergh becomes the first solo pilot to cross the Atlantic—while wearing an aviator hat, which is basically just a fancy trapper hat.

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Elmer Fudd wears one while hunting—not trapping—wabbits.


Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) crashes with the Griswolds in Christmas Vacation and forever associates his hat with the line “Shitter was full.”

Frances McDormand wearing a trapper hat in "Fargo"
Michael Tackett/Working Title/Polygram/Kobal / Shutterstock


Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) investigates a roadside murder in Fargo.


Glamour declares: “The Trapper Hat Is Back.” Jennifer Garner is spotted wearing one in NYC.


The actor Jared Leto is seen wearing one and…a tank top?

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Head Exam

A quick look at the evolution (or devolution?) of the trapper hat, from its all-fur origins to its new high-end iteration.

Ushanka trapper hat
2happy / Shutterstock


The O.G. Russian hats tend to be crown-shaped and made almost entirely of fur.

Northwoods trapper hat
EM Arts / Shutterstock


American variants often have a polyester exterior, extra ear flaps, and a faux-fur lining.

Prada cap, or "wool cap," from Prada
Courtesy Image


This high-fashion cap is made of synthetic polymer and has zero fur—real or faux.

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