The toboggan – depending on where you grew up, you may know it as a hat or as a sled. The word toboggan is derived from the French tabaganne. The French word is thought to have derived from an Algonquian word, most likely Mi’kmaq tepagan or Abenaki dabôgan. It was used to describe a long sled with a curled front end and no runners. The sled was pulled with a cord and used for hauling supplies or equipment and sliding down hills.
The first recorded use of the word toboggan for a hat was in 1929. It is short for toboggan cap. It is thought that it was first used in this sense in Appalachia. A knitted cap used when people would go tobogganing was called a toboggan hat or cap and then shortened to toboggan. In other parts of the country, the same type of hat may be called a beanie or stocking hat.
Northern Toboggan vs Southern Toboggan
In northern climates, where there is plenty of snow in winter, most people know toboggan as referring to a sled for winter fun on hills. Toboggans are also used for hauling things just as they were centuries ago by indigenous people.
In the south, where snow is very scarce, a toboggan refers to a knit hat. People living in states that use Southern American English are more likely to call a winter hat a toboggan. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas. Some people living in certain regions of southern Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida and New Mexico may also use the term toboggan for a hat.
You may want a toboggan to go sledding down a hill or to pull the kids through the woods, or you may want one to wear on your head to keep you warm during those cold winter days. Whichever you want, or if you want both, we have them at Northern Toboggan Company. Warm Merino Wool Blend Toboggan hats for kids keep the little ones warm on chilly spring evenings, and our versatile trucker caps for the rest of the family are perfect for a summer at the ballpark, or your next outdoor adventure. Pair with toboggans and toboggan kits for a great project that sparks the joys of winter in any season. Contact us for all your toboggan needs.