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What hats and miscellaneous wearables (like sunglasses and badges) in TF2 are available for free, without crafting, buying, un-crating, random drops, trading, or buying a game on Steam?

Aside from these, what hats and wearables were available for free at one point, but are no longer?

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1  
Currently available for free? Or were at one time available for free? –  authenticgeek Aug 30 '11 at 0:23
    
@Nick - beat me to it. Are people still getting the "hiring date" badges the first time they create a TF2 profile? –  Raven Dreamer Aug 30 '11 at 0:24
    
Good point. Edited to clarify. –  Jonathan Drain Aug 30 '11 at 0:25
    
I think, currently, that would only be the Ghastly Gibbus - which you get from an achievement. –  Raven Dreamer Aug 30 '11 at 0:26
7  
Hey man, since your questions are pretty similar, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to combine them and ask for both the free hats and the formerly free hats in one question. Would that be cool? –  Mana Aug 30 '11 at 0:57
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2 Answers 2

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Currently achievable cosmetic items

The following wearables are currently available without having to buy anything on Steam or in the Mann Co. Store.

TF2 achievement items

  • The Pyrovision Goggles, obtained with the "A Fresh Pair of Eyes" General achievement by dominating a player wearing Pyrovision Goggles.
  • Whatever the youngest version of the Ghastly Gibus is (as of mid-2013, this is the Ghostly Gibus), obtained with the "Ghastly Gibus Grab" Halloween Pack achievement by dominating a player wearing any Gibus. See the section on Halloween below for the history of this achievement's item.
  • The Frontline Field Recorder, obtained with the "Local Cinema Star" Replay Pack achievement by uploading a replay to YouTube that gets 1000 views.

Other free-to-play game achievement items

  • The Alien Swarm Parasite, obtained with the "Hat Trick" achievement in the freely-downloadable Steam game Alien Swarm.
  • The Spiral Sallet, obtained with the "Mission Accomplished" achievement in the free-to-play Steam game Spiral Knights.
  • The Bolt Action Blitzer, obtained with the "Mission Accomplished" achievement in the free-to-play Steam game CrimeCraft GangWars.

Other freely obtainable items not linked to an achievement

  • The Dueling Badge, found at Bronze after winning at least one duel and upgraded to Silver, Gold, and Platinum at level 25, 50, and 75, respectively.
  • The Mercenary badge was originally supposed to only drop for players that joined before April 22, 2010, but is still dropping for new players (may reportedly take up to a week).

Previously distributed items

These hats required no purchases on Steam or the Mann Co. Store, but are no longer available:

  • The Cheater's Lament, initially awarded to players who hadn't used spoofing programs to game TF2's item drop system and earn free hats. Later awarded to all other players during the Mann-conomy Update.
  • The Earbuds, awarded to Mac players in the months following the Mac Update.
  • The Proof of Purchase (awarded to players who owned TF2 before it was free, or new players who purchase one of the remaining physical retail copies of TF2 and activate it on Steam)
  • The Party Hat (awarded to all players on TF2's 15th birthday on August 23, 2011 - future birthdays may yield similar hats)
  • The older 119th Update medals (Primeval Warrior, Grizzled Veteran, and Soldier of Fortune) are only avaiable to players whose first launch of TF2 was a certain amount of time ago, so if you're a new player these medals are out of reach (and unobtainable through trading).
  • Tux, awarded to Linux players from TF2's release on Linux on Febuary 14, 2013 to the end of March 2013.

Additionally, the Ghastly, Ghastlier, and Ghastlierest Gibuses are no longer available. To see how these hats were originally distributed, read the section on Halloween below.

Event items

Valve usually gives out items during events. Traditionally, these events have coincided with Halloween (near the end of October through the first week of November) and Australian Christmas (near the end of December through the first week of January).

Halloween

There are some items that can only be obtained during Halloween Events. There has been a new Halloween event each year since 2009. Some of these items can technically be gotten year-round on servers that are forced into Halloween Mode by setting tf_forced_holiday 2 in the server's configuration / console.

2009: Haunted Hallowe'en Special

This update introduced the event map koth_harvest_event (Harvest Event).

  • The page announcing the original Halloween event had a hidden link to a page that gave out the Ghastly Gibus to the first 10,319 players to find it.
  • Players who achieved the Ghastly Gibus Grab achievement in the year after the initial distribution from the announcement page received an original-run Ghastly Gibus.

On top of the original Ghastly Gibus (awarded year-round until being replaced by the Ghostly Gibus in 2012), the first Halloween Special had an additional achievable item:

  • The Mildly Disturbing Halloween Mask obtained with the "Candy Coroner" Halloween Pack achievement by collecting 20 Halloween pumpkins from dead players - these pumpkins only drop on event maps during Halloween events (Holiday restricted to only be wearable during Halloween events)

2010: Scream Fortress

This event introduced the event map cp_manor_event (Mann Manor).

  • Players who already had a Ghastly Gibus before the Halloween 2010 event had all their original-run Ghastly Gibuses upgraded to the Ghastlier Gibus.
  • Players who achieved the Ghastly Gibus Grab achievement in the year after the 2010 Halloween event received a second-run Ghastly Gibus.

The Scream Fortress event added these items, which were restricted to be only visible during Halloween (or during a full moon, after the 2011 Halloween update):

  • The Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head, obtained with the "Sleepy Holl0WND" Halloween Pack achievement for participating in killing the Horseless Headless Horsemann (who only spawns on cp_manor_event during Halloween events). Wearing it makes you immune to the "BOO!" taunt paralysis the Horsemann casts periodically.
  • the Class Masks available in package drops (which only occur with recognition by the item server during Halloween events) on Mann Manor.

Crafting one of each of the Class Masks together yields the Saxton Hale Mask, which has no Halloween / Full Moon restriction.

2011: Very Scary Halloween Special

This event introduced the event map koth_viaduct_event (Eyeaduct).

  • Players who already had a Ghastlier Gibus before the Halloween 2011 event had all their orignal-run Ghastly Gibuses (which had been upgraded to the Ghastlier Gibus in 2010) upgraded to the Ghastlierest Gibus.
  • Players who already had a Ghastly Gibus before the Halloween 2011 event had all their second-run Ghastly Gibuses upgraded to the Ghastlier Gibus.
  • Players who achieved the Ghastly Gibus Grab achievement in the year after the Halloween 2011 event received a third-run Ghastly Gibus.

2012: Spectral Halloween Special

This event introduced the event map koth_lakeside_event (Ghost Fort).

  • Players who achieve the Ghastly Gibus Grab achievement in the year after the Halloween 2012 event receive the Ghostly Gibus.
  • All the previous versions of the Gibus (the Ghastly, Ghastlier, and Ghastlierest Gibus) were modified to have an additional "Ghostly" style that could be used to give them the appearance of the Ghostly Gibus.

Steam events

There's also the Bounty Hat / Treasure Hat / Hat of Undeniable Wealth And Respect, from the Great Steam Treasure Hunt in Winter 2010, and the Summer Shades from the Steam Summer Camp Sale in 2011. These technically didn't require purchases, but they required owning games on Steam and obtaining certain achievements: any three were required for the Summer Shades, including some from free-to-play games, but the Treasure Hunt hats required 5, 15, and all 28 achievements (respectively) in games that ranged from "cheap on sale" to "somewhere around a hundred dollars" (hence the "Hat of Undeniable Wealth And Respect").

In the same vein was the Resurrection Associate Pin, awarded for playing all 13 indie games involved in the Potato Fools' Day ARG leading up to the launch of Portal 2 (the Potato Sack pack). Again, didn't technically require a purchase, but effectively did.

Australian Christmas

During the 2011 Steam Holiday sale, there were three hats (the BMOC, Ebenezer, and Holiday Headcase that could be crafted with 7 pieces of Holiday Coal (Steam items you had a chance of receiving when completing an achievement for the event, in place of a proper gift).

Additionally, the Australian Christmas 2010 event had all players who logged in receive a Stocking Stuffer Key which could open any crate, Holiday or otherwise, meaning that players could potentially receive any hat available in a crate for free.

The Three Moving Hats

There are three hats in TF2 that are held by the player, every day, who scored highest in a particular metric the day before. At the end of the day, the hat is moved from that player to whoever won that day (if the same player scored highest again, they get to keep the hat for another day). These hats are normally tied to amounts of money spent, but only one of them truly requires that you make purchases:

  • The Philateler, awarded to whoever purchased the most map stamps. This is the only one directly tied to purchases in the store.
  • The Dueler, awarded to the player who won the most duels. By far, the easiest way to obtain Dueling Mini-Games is to purchase them in the store, but you can also obtain them through random drops, and you don't have to be the one who initiated a duel to win it - so, if a bunch of other people challenge you to duels and you win them all, you could become the holder of this hat.
  • The Gifting Man From Gifting Land, awarded to whoever gave the most gifts through the Secret Saxton or Pile o' Gifts items. Both of these items are only available in the Mann Co. Store (although every Premium player who logged in during Australian Christmas 2011 was given one Secret Saxton), but since the hat is based on uses of the item and not purchases of the item, you could theoretically win this item without making any purchases if you obtained many of these items by, say, someone who had bought a bunch of them for themselves and then decided they wanted to give you all their stuff. In theory.

Community accolades

In some instances, Valve has awarded special wearables in recognition of special community members. Many of these are/were for participating in a specific community event (like a contest or a tournament), while others are accolades given out in more or less quantifiable circumstances.

Unique items

Recognitions

Contest participation awards

  • Polycount Pin (to entrants in the Polycount Contest)

Steam Workshop

Anybody who contributes a model for an item that gets added to TF2 gets a special "Self-Made" version of that item with the "Community Sparkle" effect.

Tournament Medals

Valve awards medals to participants and winners in various competitive TF2 tournaments:

Non-TF2 tournament non-medals

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1  
You missed the Mildly Disturbing Halloween Mask (awarded if you pick up 30 crit candies on cp_harvest_event and cp_manor_event) and the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head (by killing the Horseless Headless Horsemann on cp_manor_event). Crit candies and the Horsemann appear year round on servers with tf_forced_holiday 2 set. Also, the Spiral Knights hat is "The Spiral Sallet." –  user2974 Aug 30 '11 at 1:32
    
Excellent answer. Don't forget the Ghastlier Gibus. –  Jonathan Drain Aug 30 '11 at 10:48
    
So new players that activate a retail copy of TF2 on Steam will no longer receive the proof of purchase? Or is it in the previously available section because it is no longer possible to purchase TF2? –  jaminja Aug 31 '11 at 12:28
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@jaminja: My understanding is that new players can still receive the Proof of Purchase by activating a code from a retail copy of TF2, if they can find one still on shelves. It's in the previously available section because activating a retail code is an edge case that requires an out-of-Steam purchase with diminishing availability, whereas most older players previously received it for free. –  Stuart P. Bentley Sep 1 '11 at 2:24
    
There may be issues with the tf_forced_holiday 2 cvar at the moment. I sent a message to the Linux server mailing list asking if other server admins can reproduce this issue. –  user2974 Sep 1 '11 at 4:14
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Currently available

Hats

  • (Scout) Wrap Battler: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Soldier) Idiot Box: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Pyro) Blazing Bull: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Pyro) Triclops: complete the All-Star Agent achievement in Super Monday Night Combat
  • (Demoman) Hair of the Dog: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Heavy) Can Opener: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Engineer) Buzz Killer: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Medic) Einstein: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Sniper) Holy Hunter: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Sniper) Flamingo Kid: complete the Rookie Agent achievement in Super Monday Night Combat
  • (Spy) Under Cover: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (All) Mildly Disturbing Halloween Mask: complete the Candy Coroner Scarechievement by collecting 20 player-dropped Halloween pumpkins on Harvest , Mann Manor and Eyeaduct
  • (All) Scout's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Soldier's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Pyro's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Demo's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Heavy's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Engineer's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Medic's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Sniper's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Spy's Halloween Mask: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Mann Manor
  • (All) Saxton Hale Mask: Reward for completing the Sackston Hale achievement, by crafting the 9 other Halloween Masks
  • (All) Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head: earn the Sleepy Holl0wnd achievement, by contributing to the death of the Horseless Headless Horsemann that spawned in Mann Manor during Halloween events
  • (All) Spine-Tingling Skull: 33% chance by using the Fabricate Halloween Headgear recipe
  • (All) Spine-Cooling Skull: 33% chance by using the Fabricate Halloween Headgear recipe
  • (All) Spine-Twisting Skull: 33% chance by using the Fabricate Halloween Headgear recipe
  • (All) Ghastly Gibus: complete the Ghastly Gibus Grab Scarechievement by dominating a player who is wearing the hat
  • (All) Alien Swarm Parasite: earning the Hat Trick achievement in Alien Swarm
  • (All) Wiki Cap: Awarded to valuable contributors to the official Team Fortress Wiki
  • (All) Frontline Field Recorder: complete the Local Cinema Star achievement by creating a replay video and then earning 1,000 views on YouTube
  • (All) Lo-Fi Longwave: Distributed on several occasions to KritzKast Steam Group members. Currently, you need to be the "Player of the Week" to earn it. See more on the official website.
  • (All) Spiral Sallet: complete the Spiral Knights achievement Mission Accomplished
  • (All) MONOCULUS!: earn the Optical Defusion achievement, by contributing to the death of the MONOCULUS that spawned in Eyeaduct during Halloween events
  • (All) Full Head of Steam: earn seven of the eleven map Foundry achievements
  • (All) Dueler: be the player with the most duel wins in a given 24-hour period. Note: this hat is time-limited (24h)
  • (All) Gifting Man from Gifting Land: be the player that gave the most gifts in a given 24-hour period. Note: this hat is time-limited (24h), and you surely can't win this hat only only with your free gift (if you earned it)
  • (All) Bolt Action Blitzer: complete the achievement Key to the City in CrimeCraft GangWars
  • (All) Party Hat: given to all users who played Team Fortress 2 during the yearly anniversary of Team Fortress
  • (All) Manniversary Paper Hat: obtained by opening the Manniversary Package that was given to players on the Manniversary Update & Sale. (The Package is quite more valuable than the hat in the player economy)
  • (All) Seal Mask: obtained by opening the Halloween Goodie Cauldron that was given to player during the Very Scary Halloween Special update in 2011. (The Cauldron is quite more valuable than the mask in the player economy)

Wearable miscs

  • (Scout) B-ankh!: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Scout) Futankhamun: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Soldier) Steel Pipes: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Soldier) Shoestring Budget: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Pyro) Fallen Angel: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Pyro) Tail From The Crypt: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Demoman) Scottish Snarl: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Demoman) Pickled Paws: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Demoman) Dangeresque Too ?: defeating Strong Bad during a round in Poker Night at the Inventory in which he has bought in with the item instead of cash
  • (Heavy) Soviet Stitch-Up: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Heavy) Steel Toed Stompers: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Engineer) Frontier Flyboy: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Engineer) Legend of Bugfoot: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Medic) Dr. Gogglestache: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Medic) Emerald Jarate: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Sniper) Silver Bullets: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Sniper) Garlik Flank Stake: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Spy) Griffin's Gog: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (Spy) Intangible Ascot: Can be found in an Halloween Gift on Eyeaduct. Haunted version avaible
  • (All) Platinum Dueling Badge: Win 740 duels
  • (All) Gold Duelling Badge: Win 490 duels
  • (All) Silver Dueling Badge: Win 240 duels
  • (All) Bronze Dueling badge: Participate in a duel
  • (All) Professor Speks: be referred by a player who upgrade his account to premium
  • (All) Tournament Medal - GWJ Tournament: Awarded for the 1st, 2nd and all other finishers of 2010 and 2011 GWJ Tournament (wait for next GWJ tournaments!)
  • (All) Tournament Medal - UGC Highlander Tournament: Different versions (27 * 3 seasons) are awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and all participants (wait for next UGC Highlander Tournament!)
  • (All) Bombinomicon: earn the Dive Into a Good Book achievement by traveling to Loot Island through the portal that appears after MONOCULUS is defeated and collecting the Bombinomicon held within a cage there
  • (All) Map Maker's Medallion: given to notable members of the TF2Maps.net mapping community
  • (All) Licence to Maim: defeating Max during a round of Poker Night at the Inventory in which he has bought in with the two items instead of cash
  • (All) Something Special For Someone Special: find a way to persuade your best friend to spend $99.99 and give you the second ring. Hypnosis should be a great option...

Free stuff no longer avaible:

Hats

  • Heavy) Storm Spirit's Jolly Hat: given to players in the GAMESCOM 2011 DOTA 2 International Tournament
  • (Engineer) Clockwerk's Helm: given to players in the GAMESCOM 2011 DOTA 2 International Tournament
  • (All) Cheater's Lament: Distributed on September 2, 2009 to all players who had not used external idling programs and had played at least once since the introduction of the item drop system
  • (All) Uncle Sam: Awarded to the 3rd place of Propaganda Contest
  • (All) Amber's Rad As All Hell Hat: Awarded to the 2nd place of Propaganda Contest
  • (All) J.Axer's Dapper Topper: Awarded to the 2nd place of Propaganda Contest
  • (All) Ghastlier Gibus: Upgrade of all Ghaslty Gibus earned before the Very Scary Halloween Special update in 2011
  • (All) Ghastlierest Gibus: Upgrade of all Ghaslty Gibus earned before the Screem Fortress update in 2010
  • (All) Spine-Chilling Skull: 50% chance by using the Fabricate Halloween Headgear recipe before the Very Scary Halloween Special update in 2011
  • (All) Voodoo Juju: 50% chance by using the Fabricate Halloween Headgear recipe before the Very Scary Halloween Special update in 2011
  • (All) Bounty Hat: Complete 5 out of 28 objectives in the 2010 Great Steam Treasure Hunt
  • (All) Treasure Hat: Upgrade of Bounty Hat. Complete 15 out of 28 objectives in the 2010 Great Steam Treasure Hunt
  • (All) Hat of Undeniable Wealth And Respect: Also known as HOUWAR. Upgrade of Treasure Hat. Complete 28 out of 28 objectives in the 2010 Great Steam Treasure Hunt
  • (All) Party Hat: given to all users who played Team Fortress 2 during the 15th anniversary of Team Fortress
  • (All) Manniversary Paper Hat: obtained by opening the Manniversary Package that was given to players on the Manniversary Update & Sale
  • (All) Seal Mask: obtained by opening the Halloween Goodie Cauldron that was given to player during the Very Scary Halloween Special update in 2011
  • (All) Top Notch: Simply be Notch. Oh... wait...
  • (All) B.M.O.C: can randomly be obtained by crafting 7 Holiday Coal or completing achievements from the Steam Holiday Sale 2011 event
  • (All) Holiday Headcase: can randomly be obtained by crafting 7 Holiday Coal or completing achievements from the Steam Holiday Sale 2011 event
  • (All) Ebenezer: can randomly be obtained by crafting 7 Holiday Coal or completing achievements from the Steam Holiday Sale 2011 event

Wearable miscs

  • (Soldier) Gentle Manne's Service Medal: given to the 11,111 first player who visited this page
  • (Sniper) Sniper's Snipin Glass: given to players in the GAMESCOM 2011 DOTA 2
  • (All) Primeval Warrior: awarded to players who played Team Fortress 2 for the first time during the pre-game release beta-testing phase
  • (All) Grizzled Veteran: awarded to players who played Team Fortress 2 for the first time within 3 months of its initial release
  • (All) Soldier of Fortune: awarded to players who played Team Fortress 2 for the first time three months to a year after its initial release
  • (All) Mercenary: awarded to players who tried out Team Fortress 2 for the first time between October 10, 2008 and April 22, 2010
  • (All) Earbuds: awarded to players who launched Team Fortress 2 on an Apple computer (Mac OS X) between June 10, 2010 and June 14, 2010
  • (All) Polycount Pin: given to those who entered or were largely involved in the Polycount contest
  • (All) Licence to Maim: defeating Max during a round of Poker Night at the Inventory in which he has bought in with the two items instead of cash
  • (All) Summer Shades: exchange three tickets earned from various achievements during The Steam Summer Camp Sale
  • (All) Tournament Medal - ETF2L Highlander Tournament: Awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places of 2010 ETF2L Highlander Tournament
  • (All) Spirit of Giving: given to all players during Steam Holiday Sale 2011 event
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Many thanks! Finally......a comprehensive post! –  lumbricus lubricant Jun 3 '12 at 21:26
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