Boonie Hat Secret Compartment




This Instructable shows how to modify a boonie hat to have a zippered secret compartment on the inside.

I got the idea to have a secret compartment in a hat from an episode of Survivorman where a guy pulls a hook and line out of the zippered compartment on his hat. I tried looking online to buy one for myself but didn't have much luck finding any so I decided it was time to make one. 

Making the hat is very easy, it's deciding what to stash in the zippered compartment that's the hard part. I put all kinds of survival gear in mine like a fishing hook, line, matches, pocketknife, sunscreen packet, etc. I also add a length of paracord around the hat as Stormdrane teaches in his Instructable

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Step 1: Materials

What you need for this project:
-a boonie hat (can be found online or from a military surplus)
-fabric (something sturdy)
-zipper (I salvaged mine from a cd case)
-any other sewing things you like to use like a threader or pins

Step 2:

Make sure that the fabric is large enough to fit the bottom of your hat plus a bit more. Add a few inches for adding the zipper and another inch or two for folding near the edge of the hat to hide the sew line.

Cut the fabric down the middle to add the zipper. Sew one side of the fabric upside-down onto the zipper so that it can be folded over to make a nice line and hide where you sewed. Repeat with the other piece of the fabric. 

Step 3:

You should end up with something that looks like the picture. the fabric will hide any sewing that you did.

I added the other picture to show that I obviously can't sew but that that doesn't really matter since all stitches will be hidden. 

Step 4:

Turn your hat inside out to examine it. Figure out where will be easiest to sew your zippered fabric onto. Sometimes the inside of hats have extra fabric where the top meets the side that you can use. My hat didn't have this and instead had double walls for the sides. 

If your hat is like mine then you'll have to sew the zippered lining onto the hat very carefully to make sure that you only go in and out of the inner layer and not the outside one so that you don't see the stitching on the outside. 

If your hat has excess fabric that you can sew onto, use that to secure the zippered lining to the hat. 

I don't have any pictures of how to sew the lining on because off the stitching took place inside the hat and zippered compartment so there was no way to show it. If you have trouble attaching the lining though you can sew half of it to one side of the hat (fabric upside down) and then lay that the right way over the hat. Unzip the lining so that you can reach in and work from the inside for the other half.

It can get a little tricky but it's worth it for a nicely finished product that hides any sewing mishaps you have. 

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    10 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Brilliant! Could you keep things in it that you don't want wet when going fishing?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you put all those things in a waterproof container like a plastic bag or line the hat with waterproof material you can :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable. Most Tilley hats do have a secret compartment in them--but they are pretty spendy. I lucked out and found one at a second-hand store that was never worn.

    1 reply

    This is a great idea! When I got my newest boonie hat, I was trying to think of ways to store survival tools in the brush strap, but this is a way better idea.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome, I'm going to make one as soon as I get home. I'm probably going to store a ninja star in it.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    If you don't already have the hat, look for one of this style of hat that is meant for boating. Most of them already have a pocket in the top for foam so it will float if lost overboard. All you have to do then is add a velcro flap or a zipper.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. I'm going to get some fabric to make custom stuff sacks and I'll add this project to the bunch. I actually have a military bill type cap that has an open pocket in the top.

    What about sewing a round zippered pouch and then using Velcro© to hold it place? Then you could remove the pouch and put the hat back on.

    1 reply

    That's an awesome idea! When I saw the one on Survivorman I knew I had to have one so I jumped right in but I love the idea of a removable velcro one. If you go that route I suggest keeping in mind that your head still has to go in the hat so make sure that it's a very thin pouch so that it doesn't mess with the fit too much or look weird.