Are Hats Still Made From Beaver Pelt?

A number of different materials have been used to craft hats over the years. While some materials are purchased at a high price point to craft high-end hats, many other materials are sold at a more affordable price with the intention of creating hats that can be purchased by any consumer. But are beaver pelts used to make hats still?

Hats are still made from beaver pelt today. In fact, there are a number of different hat styles that are still crafted from the durable and water-resistant beaver pelt, which has been used to make hats since the mid-1800s. Beaver pelt was also used as currency.

This article will explain the history of and primary uses of the beaver pelt as a material. You’ll also learn what other things are made from beaver pelt.

What Is Beaver Pelt?

Beaver pelt is the skin of the beaver and it first began to be used to craft hats in the mid-1800s. In order to be made useful, the beaver’s skin needed to be cleaned and stretched into a resilient, shapeable material, and a single piece of beaver pelt can consist of up to two feet in diameter. The resulting beaver pelt is dark brown in color and can repel and resist water damage. 

Since beaver pelt is an extremely versatile and durable material, it is often assumed that the pelt retails at a high price. Much like the raccoon pelt, there is a lot of work that goes into prepping the beaver pelt to be sold. 

However, a quality piece of beaver pelt retails for just $10 to $15 in today’s market. When the beaver pelt was first sold, however, it retailed for $2 which is equivalent to $48 in today’s market. Hats that are made with beaver pelt in the past might have sold for much more in today’s market as compared to today. 

Beever pelt
“Woman of the Echum family fleshing a beaver pelt and scraping it during the ‘frost drying’ process, near Gogoma” by ArchivesOfOntario is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

What Is Beaver Pelt Used for Other Than for Making Hats?

Beaver pelt was originally used as a unit of trade in North America during the mid-1800s. For example, one could trade about twelve beaver pelts for one fully functioning four-foot-long gun, which would have been considered a fair trade at the time. Since it was originally used for trading purposes, the beaver pelt is considered a form of alternate currency. 

What Types of Hats Are Made From Beaver Pelt?

Beaver pelt is rated on an x-factor scale, which is used to rank the quality of the beaver pelt based on its shape and its density. The lowest ranking pelt would be assigned to a 1 x while the highest-ranking pelt would be assigned to a 10 x. Any hat crafted from a beaver pelt that ranks at a 5 x or lower would likely be a lower grade material that has little to no beaver fur remaining on the material. The Stetson brand was the first to rank pelts. 

Today, different types of hats are still crafted from beaver pelt. They include: 

  • Cowboy hat 
  • Beaver hat 
  • Dauphin 
  • Continental Tricorne 
  • Regent 
  • Clerical
  • Naval cocked hat 

These are just a few of the types of hats that have been crafted from the resilient beaver pelt in both the past and the present. Today, brands such as Stetson, Duluth Trading, and Neiman Marcus still sell hats that were made with beaver pelt. You might be able to get a brand-name hat from one of these companies for less money, due to the quality of the pelt.

What Other Materials Are Used To Make Hats?

Other than the beaver pelt, there are a number of other materials that are often used to create a number of different hat styles. Some of those materials include:

  • Cotton: Cotton has been used to craft hats and other accessories and garments for a very long time. In fact, cotton hats are naturally hypogenic, which would eliminate the risk of skin irritation.
  • Polyester: Another popular hat material is polyester. which is one of the cheapest materials that hats on today’s market could possibly be made of. 
  • Wool: Many woven or knitted hats, such as the beanie, are made from wool. In fact, many of the most classic hat styles that have withstood the test of time and the evolution of fashion trends were made of wool.


Several new and traditional materials used to create hats at various price points. The beaver pelt is one example of a hat material that has certainly withstood the test of time. Due to the durability and water-resistant nature of the beaver pelt, it will continue to be utilized in crafting hats for many years to come. 

Each piece of beaver pelt is ranked according to its durability and the amount of fur that remains attached to the material. The scale organizes different cuts of pelt according to their quality and determines which price point the hats will be sold at.

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