I've done the rabbit and beaver options many times from many makers. For me rabbit is the best choice. Not only is it less expensive, but it has an ever so slightly more floppiness to it which was key to the original.I can't decide which one to get! Here are my choices. (p.s I will be using this hat in semi harsh conditions sometimes, like Indy!)
Herbert Johnson Raiders Hat in Pure Beaver- Made from the original creators and from the original block. (It has been found)
Adventurebilt Raiders Hat in Pure Rabbit- Highest regarded replica Indy hat maker.
Penman Raiders Everyman Hat- Cheapest option, and still good.
AdVintage Raiders Hat in Pure Beaver- Want to know more about them. They look great with many choices.
Let me know what you think. Also, will Rabbit hold up well like Beaver?
You can't go wrong with an Adventurebilt Raiders in Rabbit (I have a rabbit and a beaver made by Steve), but the new developments with HJ really intrigue me. If 'screen accurate' is a priority, then your hat must be rabbit felt. I solved that quandary by getting one of each.
I've had both for about 4 years and have worn both in all types of weather – sweat, rain, snow, etc. Both have held up magnificently. The beaver has a higher density than rabbit, so it will take longer for it to SOAK if you're in the rain. For the same reasons, beaver is warmer (I usually wear beaver when temps are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and the felt is stiffer.
I'm going to take my time evaluating the situation at HJ, perhaps even waiting until I pass through London to examine them in person. In the photos that I have seen, I have noticed some really excellent reverse tapers, which are less common on the ABs.
I know you won't be disappointed with an AB, and I suspect the hats from HJ are excellent too. Though you should call them to clarify sizing and crown measurements if you decide to go that route. It's a good time to be a fan of the raiders hat, but that means the choice isn't easy!
PS: AB will take a while. HJ will be much faster, if that matters.
Yes, I have one rabbit and one beaver, both ABs made by Steve.
As I said, beaver is more dense, so it’s stiffer and takes a bash a bit easier.
But a quality rabbit hat is amazingly resilient, just like beaver. It’s got its own special character because it’s a bit “floppier.”
The original raiders hat was rabbit.
About how long will a well made rabbit hat last?