panama-hat-shop-2.tifI did a bit of research on Panama hats before I left the UK and discovered that they are actually made in Ecuador. They are only known as Panama hats because this is where the trade in them flourished (along with many other things) because the narrow strip of land faciltated easy trade from both Asia and Europe.

I was originally hoping to buy one of the hats made from the plaited leaves of the Carludovica Palmata plant when I travelled through Ecuador in my car. However I am no longer sure that I will be stopping there at all. Depending on how long it takes me to sell the car I may well be just flying over it, so Panama seems like the obvious place to buy one instead.

MontecristiAll Panamas can be rolled up to make storing or travelling with them less cumbersome. the narrower the weave the easier this is and the most expensive hats have as many as 2500 weaves per square inch.

They are known as Montecristis, after the town where they are produced. A ‘Superfino’ Montecristi Panama has a weave so fine that the hat can hold water, and when rolled for storage the entire hat can pass through a gap as small as a wedding ring.

I would love one of those bad boys but cannot justify the £400 I would have to shell out for something I might wear at the cricket or for picnics in the park, but have picked up the one you see here along with its storage box, which does have a very fine weave, even if it is not quite a Superfino.

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