How to Shorten Military Hat Cords


Military hat cords are adjustable, nylon-webbed cords designed to enhance the fit of the hat. Most commonly seen on boonie hats, the cords can be uncomfortably long and dangle inappropriately -- and when that happens, the cords need to be shortened. Sometimes removing the cords entirely will solve the problem, but that works only if the hat already fits as-is and does not require further adjustment. If you are a service member, do not cut your hat cords until you check with your chain of command to ensure shortening them is authorized.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Lighter
  • Pull the hat cords out of the hat so they are exposed. Determine how short you want them to be and hold your finger over a good cutting location.

  • Cut one side of the hat cord using scissors or a sharp utility knife. Avoid using a sawing motion if you are using a utility knife. A sawing motion could cause the nylon cord to fray unnecessarily.

  • Cut the other end of the hat cord in the same manner.

  • Strike the lighter to create a flame. Hold one cut end of the hat cord over the flame until the nylon begins to melt. This usually takes three to five seconds. When the nylon begins to bubble and turn black, remove the cord from the flame immediately. Place the melted end on a flat, hard surface and press the bottom of your lighter on top of it to shape it. Hold the cord in that position for approximately five seconds. Remove the lighter and examine the cord to ensure all frayed strings are melted and congealed.

  • Strike the lighter to create a flame again, holding the other end of the nylon cord above it. Use the same method to melt and shape this end of the cord.

  • Tie the ends of the hat cord together. You may melt the square knot in place for added security by holding the knot over a lighter flame for five to eight seconds. Use the same method to shape the melted cord as you used to shape the ends.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your hat cords have an adjustable plastic slider, do not cut them above the plastic. Cut them below the slider so you do not have to thread them back through it for full functionality.
  • Do not touch the melted end of the cord with your hand before it cools. Doing so will cause skin injury.

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