Not Your Average Tchotchke

For a Better National Parks Souvenir, Get a Hat


September 18, 2018 Sports and Outdoors : Camping By

If you’ve been to places like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, you know that even with the widest lens you can find, photos don’t often do them any justice. We take hundreds of them though, and they’re typically left to gather dust in our phone’s digital albums. The alternative? A souvenir. Souvenirs can often be kitschy, and for some reason, this is especially true for those found at National Parks. Parks Project is changing that notion with thoughtfully-designed apparel, posters, candles and more.

Parks Project’s latest collection is a line of low-profile snapback caps made with Bedford corduroy. The hats are simple; each of the 11 that are now available is emblazoned with the name of a park — Yellowstone, Zion, Muir Woods — in a slightly-funky text that carries a tinge of National Park nostalgia. “Our design aesthetic always tries to marry retro and contemporary,” says Keith Eshelman, co-founder of the brand. “Using earth tone colors with a timeless silhouette and font, we wanted to make a hat that fits everyone and was for everyone, just like our parks.”

The hats aren’t just a stylish alternative to a snow globe though; Parks Project has the well-being and improvement of the National Parks in its foundation, and proceeds from the sale of each hat helps support specific projects that further that mission. The Sequoia hat supports the Rangers in the Classroom program for instance, which brings park rangers into K-12 classrooms in the San Joaquin Valley to teach students about the outdoors, while the Big Sur hat supports the volunteer trail crew of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance. Each cap — and every Parks Project product — aids similar initiatives. Not bad for a souvenir.

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