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Fur? Fake Fur? “Responsible” fur?

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I have an ancient Goodwill knit winter hat with some (?) fur trim around the sides. I have no idea if it is real fur or fake fur, rabbit or ermine, but it the most effective, most comfortable winter hat I have ever owned. In large part it is so agreeable because the fur rim trim is warm and windproof around my ears yet doesn’t occlude my hearing, a sense I cannot tolerate losing in the woods.

It is however white fur, not exactly ideal for deer season. So I am pondering a new fur, or fur-trimmed at the ears, hat. Hopefully not some PETA “Fur is murder”, where my karma will suffer and I will come back as a bat-shit crazed mink in a tiny Siberian cage.

I know fur works, maybe even fake fur, but I have no idea which furs work best for what, or which might be more responsibly (and not mortgage-the-house) purchased. Or, for a hat, where to even start looking.

Not a full cover ushanka, this isn’t the Arctic; the knit cap with a fur trim band is perfect for my hot-headed cranium desires.

With Canoe Tripping’s contingent of Alaskans and far north Canadians there must be some fur knowledgeable folk. Ideas or recommendations?
 
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I wear a beaver fur hat and my head stays warm and dry in the coldest rain. Real fur is actually much more environmentally friendly than clothing made from petroleum chemicals.
 
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I wear a beaver fur hat and my head stays warm and dry in the coldest rain. Real fur is actually much more environmentally friendly than clothing made from petroleum chemicals.


Yes .. a thinking man! I love my Arctic Anorak with its ruff of natural fur.. OK it is only coyote. but I love how it makes the air around my nose warm
 
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I spent some time at Eielson AFB, near Fairbanks AK in the winter. I had two different AF issued cold weather parkas. The kind with the hood that zips into a long fur lined "snorkle" tube in front of your face. One parka was said to have a wolf (coyote?) fur lining. The other was some kind of nasty white synthetic "fur". Thanks to peta, newer parkas were all synthetic. I did some miles of hiking outside the base when it was as warm as -40F/C with my gear on. I was told and verified that the natural fur would not accumulate frost from my breath. Very true. However the artificial stuff did not have that desirable characteristic. It was awful.
 
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We don't own much in the way of fur nowadays, but there was one fur coat long ago in our lives that we'll never forget.
When my wife Miranda and I were still quite young and just starting out we packed up all our belongings into our little car and headed east to a 100 acre farm in Quebec's Eastern Townships. Everything we had fit into that small sedan, with room to spare. We hadn't done much in the way of preparations, just packed our bags and said goodbyes. I wish I'd thought of installing snow tires, but who ever saw snow in early December? Anyway that's another story. But my wife had prepared coats to wear, just in case the Quebec winters were everything we'd heard and hoped they'd be. She'd knitted me a woolen winter coat, the kind with large collars to keep out the winter gales, with images of animals on them. I don't remember which majestic beast I'd chosen. Beaver? Reindeer? Loon? In any case she'd chosen something warmer for herself, much warmer. She'd gone scrounging in the local Sally Ann (Salvation Army) and found an overly large fur coat. It had no style to speak of, just a blanket coat of fur that hung to the knees with deep pockets and a small collar for those winds. It might have been mink, or maybe beaver? I don't know, but it was warm.** She let me try it on, and Oh my God was it cozy! It fit me just so, but on her it draped luxuriously and completely. This was important as she was 8 months pregnant and needed the room under that coat. You could say she was keeping warm for two.
We drove through a blizzard for two days, having stopped off in Ottawa halfway to our destination for a break and a family visit. They advised us to wait out the storm, but unwisely we pressed on the next day. When we arrived at our snug little farmhouse in our perfect little valley, all was a winter wonderland under a frozen night sky. We couldn't have been happier. I stood outside drinking in the scene of a quaint clapboard farmhouse with a glowing kitchen window splashing electric sunshine across endless drifts of snow. The good side of not owning much meant there wasn't much to unpack. Light a fire, bake some bread, and find the teapot. We did remember to pack the teapot? The next morning I dug our way out of the drive and back onto the road, so we could drive up the valley for a checkup with our local doctor, just to make sure all was well under my wife's winter coat. I stood by while he did this and checked that, and then he announced "Oh mon Dieu! C'est tellement très sérieuse!" He told us maman et bébé were in a very bad way and she should be in a hospital. How soon? Tout suite! Yesterday! The ambulance would be a little late owing to the weather so I said I'd drive her myself, he'd phone ahead to have hospital staff ready and waiting. The hour drive was uneventful and gave us time to talk in wide eyed wonder at our new chosen lives together. The three of us. The radio reminded us that the storm had been the "worst" seen in fifty years, but to us it was perfect. We huddled into the cold vinyl seats, set the car heater to full blast and turned our collars up for the fun long drive. Upon arrival the hospital staff immediately recognized us as per description, a serious little man in a big wool coat, une petite fille in a large fur robe. Miranda was quickly but delicately placed in a wheelchair and swished to the elevator. I tried to keep up. My French was worse than rusty at that time, but I understood enough to be a bit perplexed when we rushed out of the elevator into... Pédriatrie. The Children's Ward? I thought they were rushing things just a little. I mean, the baby hadn't even arrived yet? Miranda was parked directly in front and facing the head desk still in her big coat, a tiny little girl under flowing folds of fur and still toasty warm, while a hushed conversation amongst the crowd of white uniforms took place. It seemed the files didn't match the phone call didn't match the patient? "Obstrétriques? Ah non. Pas possible. Pédriatrie bien sûr!" I gripped the wheelchair and waited. Finally, finally, finally one of the nurses approached Miranda for confirmation of who she was, this petite fille in the big fur coat. Hmm, I overheard the village doctor's name mentioned before one of the medical staff gingerly stepped forward and unfastened the big fur coat. Miranda opened up the coat to reveal our prized baby bump. A room full of shocked faces stared at our future son, and I heard at least one "Ah mon Dieu!"
A hospital porter grabbed the wheelchair and pulled an alarming U-turn rushing for the elevator, this time heading for the correct ward. In the hours and days to follow I came to understand just how close we had come to a more tragic end, but all was right within our world eventually. The nurses treated me with utmost kindness, allowing me to sleep bundled like a pile of rags in a chair in the corner of my wife's room. They brought her attentive care and treatment, brought me juice and coffee. When the big day came I stood in the hallway exactly where I was told to watch and wait. It was all still touch and go for maman and bébé, so I stood awaiting whatever news came down that hall. But I could hear the results before I saw them. Our son had a full set of lungs that was for sure. A nurse carrying a small swaddled bundle to me said "Ils sont parfait Monsieur! Maman sont très fatiguée mais très content." That made two of us tired and happy. But when she handed me the bundle it contained an angry red squirming baby making the worst faces I'd ever seen. I couldn't help myself being shocked. The nurse was not at all pleased when I blurted out the only three words that made any sense to me at the time. "Oh mon Dieu!!"

** She tells me it was rabbit.
 
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What a wonderful memory to share with us. Of the folks that chime in on this forum you lead, in the number of number one hits.
 
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Fur trimmed hat, no longer whitetail white

I have an ancient Goodwill knit winter hat with some (?) fur trim around the sides.
it the most effective, most comfortable winter hat I have ever owned. In large part it is so agreeable because the fur rim trim is warm and windproof around my ears yet doesn’t occlude my hearing, a sense I cannot tolerate losing in the woods.

It is however white fur, not exactly ideal for deer season. So I am pondering a new fur, or fur-trimmed at the ears, hat.

I have been looking, looking, looking. Found a couple fur trimmed hats that might work, but $ yikes.

My Goodwill fur trimmed hat is oddly perfect for my usually mild mid-Atlantic cold purposes, except that “fur” trim color; I look like a whitetail deer in the woods.

https://photobucket.com/gallery/user/CooperMcCrea/media/bWVkaWFJZDoxMjc2NTk2OTc=/?ref=

I have a lot of preference criteria in such a hat. Starting with not looking like a whitetail in hunting season.

Not too warm, I have a hot head and want some breathability up top. I now know I want some “fur”, but just a band around my ears; I do not want my hearing occluded, even with the hat pulled down over my ears. I’d like it to bundle up small for set aside storage when I’m not wearing it. I’m not a big fan of hats in any case, so it has to fit comfortably, and be unnoticeably lightweight.

Picky, picky, picky. I already have what seems the perfect winter hat. And now I have a jar of Black Rit dye. Worth a shot, it’s soaking in a bucket.

Aesthetics be damned, I wonder if there is Hunter Orange Rit dye? Too late now.
 
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Worth a shot.

P5230043 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Now it’s just a dingy gray, although the “fur” looks much better once dried. Since I had a bucket of dye remaining I did a couple of the shop lab coats, which came out more attractive gray and un-white better suited for shop work.

P5240056 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I’m still ISO a knit pullover, loose or wide for a large head, but with improved criteria. Blaze orange knit cap, with a fur band just around the ears. What fur or synthetic I still do not know; something that won’t soak up water in a snow or light rain.
 
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