What purpose does the pith helmet serve?

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 29, 2009
I was watching an old movie last night called the "Creature from the Black Lagoon". Some of the characters were wearing pith helmets while out in the jungle exploring but were wearing other headgear while on the boat.

So I got to thinking. Other than maybe looking like you are on safari with stereotypical headgear. What purpose does the pith helmet serve? Seems they would be awfully heavy and warm in a dense hot jungle.

Does the design of the pith helmet have any purpose? Protecting yourself from monkeys dropping coconuts on your head maybe? ;)


Joined May 21, 2014
It's just there to protect from sun and falling objects.It's made from cork like material so it's lightweight.


Joined Jul 18, 2013
The name comes from Pith an East Indian plant for making cloth.
They were also adopted by the British forces in the 19th century, but had a different shape than the traditional Colonial style.
Not a lot of protection in war though!


Joined Jan 17, 2007
I don't really know, but according to the Wikipedia they were "Designed to shade the wearer's head and face from the sun"

Guess they could also be worn as a fashion statement... remember the legionnaire-style hats so popular with the kids in the early 80's?