Friday, December 28, 2012

'Ripping Frosty's Head in Two': Another Real Deal Brazil Gift-Success Story!

Not sure which we've enjoyed more, the photo, below,
of new Waco, Texas, Real Deal Brazil owner/fan Jeffrey Piht Bull Quintavalle and his darling young daughterdwarfed under daddy's great, big hat, or Piht Bull's killer just-got-an-RDB-for-Christmas note, a little further below.

Piht Bull's note, in its entirety: 

Just got to say something. I have drooled over RDB hats from the moment I saw Woody's hat in the Zombieland preview. I am a hat guy but I could never find a hat that was just right. I gave away a $300 felt Stetson just because it wasn't right. I wanted a certain look and feel. I watched Zombieland and the hat had the beat up battle-worn look I wanted. So I dreamt of this hat but could never find the extra cash to get one. 

Well Friday the wife and mom and her partner let me open a gift early. I unwrapped the Santa paper to reveal a snowman shirt box. My initial reaction was "a shirt?" That’s not special enough to open this early. So I cracked the tape off of one side and caught a small shimmer of frayed canvas and stitching. I could not believe it! It was my RDB hat! I tore open the box ripping Frosty's head in two and pulled out the most badass hat in the world. Just the right color a few patches that ARE covering holes. Stains from the beautiful Brazilian weather and probably greasy military hands.

This hat I know will outlive me and that’s exactly what I want. After I’m gone I want grand or great-grand kids to pull it out and remember the stories I told them about my roller coaster adventurous life. 

The only two modifications I will make is add a hat band I’m making out of random stuff I'll find in the woods and I’m getting the wife to draw a pit bull on it. I really want to thank you guys for the amazing work on both sides of the company. My mom said customer service was amazing and I can see the hard work that went into turning what would be trash to most people into a lifelong work of art I will wear daily and very proudly state its REAL DEAL BRAZIL when asked. I live in Texas and I assure you I will be asked daily about my hat. Well I could rattle all day about this rugged masterpiece so I guess I better cut this off now.

Thanks again. I’m a fan for life.

With fans like Piht Bull, we are indeed conquering the world, one cool head at a time ...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

So, You’re Still Alive, Huh? Good for You!


By now you’ve probably noticed the gas mains not exploding, the absence of fireballs raining from on high, the extreme lack of streets buckling and buildings collapsing into rubble. Also, a plane has utterly failed to fall on your boss and the ocean hasn’t risen up and swallowed the coast of California whole.

Mayan Apocalypse? End of Days? 12/21/2012? Meh. We’re all still here, and still very much alive, including your boss, that bastard.

So congrats to you on, y’know, not dying. In fact, here’s a snazzy personalized trophy from all of us at the Real Deal Brazil, to commemorate how pleased we are that you aren’t toast.

Feel free to print it out and tape it to your wall, a reminder of your own continued existential success. And, really, no need to thank us – you and everyone else earned it!

There are definite downsides to this dearth of cataclysm, of course: You few straight guys who might have made it through the staggering destruction and unprecedented loss of life won’t now be able to swagger up to any post-apocalyptic hotties and say, “It’s our responsibility to repopulate the Earth; we owe it to humanity!” and have that line possibly work for ya.

Still, it’s better to focus on the positive here: Not only are you, dear reader, not resoundingly deceased, but you’re also not careening around in smoldering ruins with one leg snapped in half and your head on fire. Great, right? And that’s not even to mention that terrific trophy we just gave ya!

Sometimes, when a widely publicized apocalypse fails to happen, it’s the little things that make it tolerable.

Speaking of which: Us! The Real Deal Brazil! We’re not only still also among the living, but still also the bestest hat to have if ever TS truly does HTF (didn’t get that? Think: a fan, some hitting, and poop). Because the next pending apocalypse typically is just around the corner …

 Personally, we’re hoping it will include zombies.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What Hat Will You Wear to the 12/21 Apocalypse?

Dec. 21. One week from now. That’s it. Boom.

Earthquakes, Volcanoes. Tidal waves. Tornados. Hurricanes. Cities in flames. California plummeting into the sea. Also, an end to the Twinkies, though that was gonna happen anyway.

Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the Facebook posts from that one creepy-intense guy from high school who always said the moon landings were faked, it’s simple: The Mayan calendar is about to run out, so we’re all gonna die. And no doubt wretchedly, which is generally regarded as the worst way to die.

There is the very faintest chance you’ll live. John Cusack did in that movie 2012, and yet his career’s kinda been in the toilet for a while now. Which means there’s gotta be some hope for at least a few of us, right?

Potential ragtag band of survivors. Lucky for humanity, all are wearing RDB hats.
So if you end up among the ragtag band of survivors entrusted with repopulating the planet, you won’t have the luxury of being dumb. You’re gonna need a good hat. Life in a post-apocalyptic hellscape is a whole lot better with a good hat.

So choose wisely, would-be-survivor. Choose wisely.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hat Terrific, but Please: No 'Ripe Oyster' Smell

We get the greatest notes and letters. So we give you, in full, this one from eastern North Carolina resident Tracy Sanderson, about her husband, Kevin, the guy in the photo below:

"Dear Real Deal Brazil,

Today, my husband came home from work telling me about a hat that he had found ... in the river.  I thought this was a little strange, seeing that my husband works for the North Carolina Department of Transportation ... and normally works on roads ... not on rivers. My water loving husband proceeded to tell me his hat tale. He had parked the machine he was running and was taking his lunch break. He decided to walk along the rivershore to 'see what he could see.' It was at Adams Creek, which also serves as part of the Intercoastal Waterway (in North Carolina). This body of water is part of my husband's favorite shrimping waters. The tide was out and he was looking along the rivershore when he spotted what looked like a hat. He was concerned that there might be a body along the rivershore that went with the hat. But back in the summer, he and his buddy were out shrimping, and Shaun lost his hat that he had gotten in Australia. Kevin thought it would be cool if he had found it."

A hint from us: It wasn't the one from Australia! So guess what it was! Oh, guess what it was!

Sorry. We already know the ending, and we're pretty easily excited.

Please continue, Tracy:

"Kevin is kind of like the seagull from the Little Mermaid ... he will pick up just about anything. Over the years, he has brought home snakes, wallets, boat cushions ... you name it. All of which he has found on the side of the road. Just last week he found a camera bag with marijuina scales, which was turned over to the authorities. Today, it was a hat covered with mud and river algae. After bringing it home and power-washing it, he discovered the label on the inside that proclaimed it to be a Real Deal Brazil canvas hat. We looked up your website ( and decided to tell you his adventure for the day. We are including a picture, which we wish had scratch and sniff ... so you would be able to smell the 'ripe oyster' smell that is embedded in the hat.(Emphasis is ours; we just think that's funny!) "Kev says the he sure wouldn't mind if you send him a new one ('xl' he says) ... preferably a non-smelly one. But for now, it will serve as an ornament on the wall of Kev's garage man cave."

Oh, and yeah: Kev's absolutely getting a new original Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat from us -- minus, of course, that dreaded ripe-oyster smell. His wife's story is payment enough!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The RDB tarp hat, so you're not SOL WTSHTF

Owners of Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hats tend to be a mighty resourceful lot.

Consider amateur-radio operator Mark Reep of Cherryville, in North Carolina's western piedmont, who shared with us these two shots of his own RDB. The first one, immediately below, is of a very cool hat, if we do say so ourselves, embellished with a nifty homemade hatband made from 20 feet of paracord.

"I love my hat!" Mark enthused in the note accompanying the pictures. Nonetheless, he felt it needed a bit more individualizing. Which brings us to the second photo, of the back of the same hat, which begins to tell a more involved story ...

"Had to make it mine," Mark explained, "so I added a few things I might need on my adventures."

In addition to the homemade paracord hatband (added at least as much for its potential survival benefits as its smart looks), Mark sewed a number of interesting items into the hat itself, under the patches already there. Here's his list:

  • A water container and purifying tablets

  • Fishing line and hooks

  • Snare wire

  • Signal mirror

  • Orange tape

  • Whistle

  • Safety pins

  • Magnesium fire stick

  • $20

Then, as you can see a bit more readily, Mark also clipped onto the back of the hat both a compass
 and a mini-flashlight.

"I know when TSHTF I better have my hat on!" he said.

And assuming Mark knows how to use all the stuff he's integrated into his RDB, then we reckon we wanna be hanging with him if ever things really do go to straight to hell!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Real Deal Brazil Reaches New Heights

Real Deal Brazil owner Jeff Walters, from Atlantic Beach, Fla., but now based in Costa Rica, last year set out on one of the greatest, most intense, vacation treks you can take -- and he was nice enough to send us some pictures of his favorite hat and him, up there in the sky! As in the great sky city of the lost Inca empire. The heights of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is, in fact, both the name of a peak in the Andes Mountains, and of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the abandoned Inca city that holds some of the most impressive ruins on the planet, a 15th-century fortress 7,970 feet above sea level. Way up there where the thin air can make you fall-down sick if you're not used to it.

The two photos that follow show Jeff reaching the end of his journey. It's day four along the fabled Inca Trail, which takes ambitious travelers through everything from cloud forest to alpine tundra, passing through settlements and even tunnels, and offering views of a number of Incan ruins along the way up, up, up, before ending at the fabled Sun Gate on Machu Picchu Mountain.

The photo below is during a day tour through plateau tundra on horseback.

We're damn pleased to have made the journey with you, Jeff! So very, very cool.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Color Us Impressed! RDB Fan Shares Dyeing Tips, Photo of Multiple Successes!

Our hats and bags, handmade in rural Brazil from heavy recycled cotton-canvas truck tarps, hold dye very, very well. So we're always pleased to share our fans' unique successes in deepening a Real Deal Brazil hat's existing color, or embracing a whole new color altogether. And when we get evidence of both at once? We're just tickled, well, a color other than pink! Maybe tea-brown. Or a coffee-black, perhaps ...

Fourfold RDB owner Kevin Johnson is responsible for the sharp color alterations in the photo above, creating an arsenal of RDB hats for any Real Deal occasion!

Kevin also included some specific tips on how to dye a Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat when he originally posted this photo on the fan portion of our Facebook site. Here's what he said:

1) Start light and work your way to darker shades. 2) Mix a couple of tablespoons of salt in with your dyes to make the color set.

light brown.... use tea
Medium brown.... use coffee
Dark brown or black.... use Rit dye
Patchwork.... use some of each and apply with a Q-tip.

That salt tip is especially good. Thanks, Kevin!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Your Butt's Safer With Us! Really.

That is, ouch for the Real Deal Brazil Tri-Fold Wallet this guy is holding, but thankfully not ouch for the guy who's holding it!

A few weeks ago,
Jeff Turnes was riding his custom 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan in Charleston, W.V., just south of his home in the bedroom community of Sissonville. Working at an auto auction just outside of Charleston, and having grown up only a couple of miles from where he was driving, Jeff knew the streets there well. It was late afternoon, and he was taking a sharp-left turn, going about 20 mph. And maybe, he thinks, he hit an oily patch of road. All he can say for sure is that his motorcycle suddenly started going one way, and him the other, which is altogether a pretty good recipe for things ending badly.

And, just like that, $3,500 in damage to his beloved bike.

That was actually a later pain to his wallet, however. There was also another. One that was a whole lot more dramatic, and immediate.

But let's not get too far ahead of the story here. Because what oh the fate of our new friend Jeff himself? This dad and granddad took a sudden tumble from a moving motorcycle in a curve, after all ...

The most important thing to know is that the bike didn't fall on him, and no other vehicle hit him in the process. Beyond that, we’ll let Jeff explain what did, and didn't, happen, in his own words:

"Fortunately, I was not injured. Partially, I attribute this to the Real Deal Brazil wallet in my back left rear pocket. I was thrown off of my bike onto the hard pavement and, as luck would have it, I skidded on my left backside through my bluejeans and the wallet was partially 'eaten' by the blacktop. I put some duct-tape on my wallet and it works fine now!!"

We tried to get Jeff a new wallet anyway, but he'd beaten us to the punch, having already ordered, and received, another one for himself! He later also updated us on the other aftereffects of his spill:

  • The current condition of his bike:
    "I got it all fixed up and even upgraded my seat. I purchased a Mustang seat with a backrest and also a Cobra sissy bar for my girlfriend. Gotta take care of the lady!!"
  • His pants from that day:
    "Those jeans are history!!"
  • Himself:
    "I was sore but that wallet did save my a$$. Real Deal are awesome!!!
The Real Deal Brazil: Awesome, yes. And ready to save your own a$$!

Monday, May 28, 2012

This Memorial Day, our toast to a genuine Real Deal American hero

Don Casey, returning to Utah Beach in Normandy, France, for the first time in almost 70 years, after landing there on D-Day, as part of the American forces helping to liberate Europe. We're deeply honored that one of our hats -- a pre-trip gift from his daughter and son-in-law -- was part of Don's visit!

This Memorial Day, we take our own hats off to a true American hero, a Real Deal of a guy if ever there was one.

Don Casey is one of those heroes it's almost too easy to forget about, his incredible valor and commitment to this country hidden amid the business of daily life. Soon to be 90, Don runs an independent hardware store in the little town of Grifton, here in eastern North Carolina.

But as a young man, Don helped rock the planet back into some kind of moral alignment. He served in five (yes, five) separate campaigns in World War II, from D-Day through to the Battle of the Bulge. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he was part of the wave of U.S. troops that landed on what Allied forces had dubbed Utah Beach in Normandy, France. The battle wasn't as bloody, and with ultimately such a profound loss of life, as that taking place on Omaha Beach to the west. Nonetheless, several of Don's best buddies didn't survive the fight to take that stretch of embattled coastline.

In April of this year, for the first time in 68 years, Don returned to Normandy, to Utah Beach. He'd had the opportunity often before then, notes his daughter, Karen Casey-Wooten, but he hadn't been emotionally prepared to handle such a visit.

This year, the timing was just right. Don was a guest lecturer at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md., sharing his personal wartime recollections with a study-abroad class focused on WWII. When they decided to make a trip to France to see firsthand some of the key historical battle sites, they invited Don to be their guest. Very, very cool, we think.

The visit to Utah Beach, though emotional, didn't have the profound impact on Don his daughter, or his other travel partners, had expected. Don was a little distracted, Karen says. "He was trying so hard to see and figure out exactly where he'd landed (back then)," she explains.

But when the group's tour ended in Colville Cemetery, that all changed. Colville, an American graveyard not far from Utah Beach, is kind of like the French version of Arlington National Cemetery, Karen notes. Three of Don's dear friends, who were killed during the Utah landing, are interred there. Their hasty burial following battle did not leave the opportunity to say any real goodbyes.

Don was utterly overcome with emotion upon visiting the cemetery. Not surprisingly, so were those people who witnessed his visit there.

"He got to finally get some closure with some of his buddies," Karen says.

In 2010, Don was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour, often simply called the French Legion of Honor, for the part he played in defending European freedom. For defending freedom, period.

Our own thanks seem pretty paltry by comparison. But they are sincere, Don, and great. Thank you, for everything you've done, for all of us.

Don at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Real Deal Brazil Rides Along in Rally Dixie 2012

Thanks to Greg Bickford for these additional shots of the 2010 Ford Mustang GT that he and his brother Chris will be helming in Rally Dixie 2012, the 1,300-mile fundraising drive that this year supports the national nonprofit Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis.

Now in its fourth year, Rally Dixie includes more than 80 teams of two or more folks in sports cars, muscle cars and various tricked-out and otherwise-unique rides. It takes in three racing events: autocross in Noblesville, Ind.; drag racing at the Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway; and a couple of laps at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. And along the way, it makes 36 stops at historic and/or scenic locations.

Rally Dixie 2012 kicks off June 18 in Noblesville, concluding with a big party June 21 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., not too far from the Bickford brothers’ home base near Tallahassee.

Fittingly, the Bickfords call themselves Team Tallahassee. But the name’s a lot more to Greg than just a nice nod to home – he’s a self-described “avid fan of all things Zombieland.” So Tallahassee to him also means Woody Harrelson’s scene-stealing wildass Twinkie-lover in the very cool hat. The Real Deal Brazil recycled tarp hat.

Zombieland fans have likely already singled out the number 3 on the Mustang’s driver’s-side door, and the survival-rule quotes peppering the car’s back and sides. (Our fave: SURVIVAL RULE #17: DON’T BE A HERO. Except that in Team Tallahassee’s version, the word DON’T is marked out. As in: BE A HERO.)

The Bickford brothers are likewise huge fans of our Real Deal Brazil brand. That means not only will RDB hats be present on Greg and Chris’ heads throughout the long drive, but also: Check out that righteous decal on their iconic car’s driver’s-side rear!

Greg and Chris did that, by the way, completely unasked by us. They sent us a note inquiring if it was OK, and we said: What, are you kidding? Of course it is!

We’re a small company, and we’ve had to make it a standing policy that we cannot do cash donations; we simply can’t afford it. But we broke our rule this one time, and chipped in a little to their fundraising efforts. If you can, you should do the same. Great guys. Great event. A fight against a horrible disease. Beat that.

Visit their team site if you’d like to help:

Thanks, you Bickford boys! Go, car No. 3!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Real Dealicous!

OK, so this ranks right up there among the coolest pics we've ever received.

Which is to say whoah! As in wow! As in that's actually a cake, folks! A freakin' cake!

Accompanying this shot from Real Deal cake-maker Robert Cannon of Rescue, Calif., this note:

"I just finished culinary school for my Patisserie and Baking certification. My last class was advanced cake decorating techniques and for my final project I had to make a cake that looked like a hat. My obvious choice was my Real Deal Brazil hat. I thought you might like to see the end result. My chef instructors only criticism was that it looked too much like a real hat and not a cake!"

Dude, your talent is mighty, and your choice of subject is the, y'know, icing on the cake ...

The Real Deal Brazil: Truly tasty headwear!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Is It Hat in Here, or Is It Just Us?

When digital artist/professional photographer Dan Wampler wrote and said he was planning to take a few pics of his favorite hat (that is, an original Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat!) with a model or two (that is, a couple purty ladies!), we liked everything about the idea (that is, we were like, hey, yeah, you go, dude!). We just didn't realize that our hat might, at times, be near about the only thing separating his models from being whatcha call, well ... wearing next to nothing besides our hat!

A couple of the artful pics Dan sent us were so, well, whew!, that we simply couldn't share them here. Sorry. You'll just have to trust us that our hat looked fierce, whenever we could remember to look at our hat.

That said, here's several more of Dan's RDB-inspired shots. Some are sassy.

Some are sexy.

Some are damn sexy.

And some are a lot damn sexier still.


Based in St. Louis, Dan mostly does infrared photography ( He's actually the Official Prilosec OTC Infrared Photographer (no joke; the "purple pill" has an official infrared photographer).

This next shot, while really showing off the infrared, has nothing to do with that!

Also, some of Dan's images are included in a free Mac-device App called "Isla at Your Fingertips” (, which has, he says, more than 9,000 downloads from 47 countries. He's now working on a new app, to be called “Caribbean at Your Fingertips,” which will feature his photography exclusively.

So Dan travels quite a bit.

"And I have my standard wardrobe, which includes my 'Cool Hat,' your tarp hat," he noted in one of his e-mails to us. "I got it as a gift a couple of years ago, and I love it. It is the perfect travel hat and has saved my hide quite literally in areas where the sun is strong."

Our thanks, Dan, for the great vote of confidence, and for this extended glimpse into your vividly colored world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Real Deal Brazil: You’re All That and Then Some!

We’re suckers for a little Real Deal Brazil excitement. That said, we received this in an e-mail recently, utterly out of the blue:

“I just wanted to drop you a line to tell you that your hats are amazing!!!”

That’s right, amazing. With three exclamation points, !!!, and like that. As in triple wow, which is, of course, the very definition of awesome. At least in our own dictionary, it is.

So after getting our usual blushed up and stuff over such righteously boisterous praise, we read further into the e-mail … and then wound up even more impressed with ourselves still! See, those hella-pleasing props above come from a source we’re proud as a recycled-tarp peacock to be associated with: Matt Jarman, U.S. Army officer. Currently stationed somewhere along the East Coast, U.S.A., Matt is preparing very soon to go civilian – retiring, as he says, “from an illustrious career as a Drill Sergeant, a Paratrooper, and Air Assault.”

Whoa! Air Assault! We don’t even know exactly what that might mean beyond our “Call of Duty” fanboy fantasies, but it sure sounds wicked dangerous and cool. In fact, Matt signs-off all his e-mails with this: "Only 2 things fall from the sky......Bird sh*t and paratroopers, Airborne!!"

That’s Matt in the three pics you see here, putting his RDB through its paces in snowy off-road mountain-bike fun, a favorite downtime hobby of his.

And dude’s on our side, let’s not forget. So maybe don’t go messing with us is all we’re sayin’. Cuz Matt might jump out of an airplane in his RDB and land all up in your business. That’s just what Real Deal Air Assault heroes do, we figure.

Matt’s great note to us continues: 

“Being in the U.S. military I know how to push things to their breaking point and I am not easy on equipment by any stretch of the imagination. The hat that I got (from an authorized dealer) has survived rainstorms, hail, and even the washing machine (it was getting a little ripe with sweat). Whatever ‘hell’ I have found myself in, it has stood, or better yet, surpassed the test and still it comes out looking BETTER with age and abuse. Your slogan ‘Do not take care of it, it'll take care of you’ is dead on accurate!! Keep it up and thanks for a great product.

If all that wasn’t enough, he adds:

“Thank you for making such a durable, reliable hat that will probably outlast me!!  All while using recycled material....Friggin' Genius!!!”

That’s right, genius. And the friggin’ variety, too. Not to mention three exclamation points, !!!, and like that. As in double friggin’ smart, plus one. As in Steven Hawking, eat your damn heart out.

And all this time we’d just thought we were uncommonly great looking. Now it turns out we’ve got a whole heap of brains, too! If we weren’t already in a serious long-term relationship with our fans, we’d seriously want to date us. Who wouldn’t, right?

But all goof-assing aside here: Thanks a million, Sgt. Matt! Having fans of your caliber tells us we’re getting it right. And that truly is the highest form of praise we can get.