Stormy Kromer has been an iconic brand that begins in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and as of the last 20 years, has made a new home in Ironwood, a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Originally Stormy, who was a railroad worker by trade, was looking for a baseball cap that was also warm enough to wear throughout the winter. His wife, Ida, came up with the idea, and it has really caught-on throughout the Midwest. Made of 100% virgin wool, a "Kromer" is easily recognizable for its custom-fitted style (sizes range from a women's 6 to a men's 8 in 1/4 inch increments at Wind Rose North).
One of my favorite times to wear an Original Stormy Kromer is at Deer Camp. Going to camp is to visit a place that is completely frozen in time—minimal changes over the years. Our camp, located west of Carney, Michigan, still boasts an outhouse, bunk-beds, and fireplace. Unfortunately, my dad installed a modern-day kitchen sink over the summer, so that was an adjustment, but up until 2019, we had a hand-pump (which I prefer). Like the reliability of the time tested conveniences of camp, our Kromer's are the noggin's preferred chook. We can have some pretty inclement weather from rain to snow during Michigan's Firearm Season, beginning November 15th, so it's essential to dress in a material that can offer protection in the broadest range of conditions. It was pretty warm this year, but the Kromer "thermal acclimates" to that warmer weather well. I also appreciate how quiet wool is in the field. I l\ keep the earflaps up when going to and from the blind and then deploy the earflaps while I post.
This year I did pretty well out there. I harvested a 6 ½-year-old mature buck that sported an 18.5" inside spread with 7 tall tines. This deer didn't grow the brow tines this year, but still an awesome Michigan buck. He had been seen on camera throughout our camp and the neighbors, but I was the lucky one that he visited the 2nd day of the season. He actually came within 15 yards of my post and could have easily spotted me. Because I dress in full-wool, I was able to make adjustments to get in the best position to take that final shot.
Our Deer Camp has been in the family since 1960, and we are hoping for many more years to come! What are some of the traditions you have in your family?