Chaos Adrenaline Skully
TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER
(Image courtesy of Chaos Hats)
INITIAL REPORT - February 22, 2011
FIELD REPORT - May 7, 2011
LONG-TERM REPORT - June 30, 2011
asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
5' 9" (1.75 m)
205 lb (92 kg)
I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts,
I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do 8-10 weekend hikes per year, and have spent time over
the past few years backpacking the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and canoeing the Atikaki wilderness of
Canada and the Boundary Waters between the US and Canada. I like to travel "in comfort", but I've shrunk to medium weight, and continue to work toward going
lighter and longer. With all of my investment into these ventures, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek
long after the kids are gone…
February 22, 2011
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Country of Manufacture: China
Manufacturer's Website: www.chaoshats.com
MSRP: USD $14.99
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured weight: 1.2 oz (35 g)
The Chaos Adrenaline Combo Skully is a synthetic skullcap-style hat for
camping and other athletic activities.
The Choas Adrenaline Combo Skully (henceforth the "Adrenaline") is made of
drirelease wool fabric, which is comprised of 83% polyester, 11% wool, and
3% spandex. This combination provides "the ease of care of a synthetic with
the look of wool." The fabric is designed for warmth, but it also provides
the following features
In terms of the design of the Adrenaline, it is a tightly-fitting skullcap.
The fabric is double-layered, with an approximately 2 in (5 cm) band around the
bottom of the hat, which corresponds to the "ear-band" part of the hat. There
are parallel seams running over the top of the hat, which provides a more
form-fitting construction style. There is a silver Chaos Thermal Regulation
(CTR) logo set off-center on the front of the hat. Because it fits snugly
and the fabric is thin, the Adrenaline is suitable to be worn underneath a
helmet (e.g., biking or snowboard/skateboard helmet) but can also be worn by
- Moisture wicking
- FreshGuard odor treatment
- Quick drying ("4x faster than cotton")
- 4-way stretch
The Adrenaline comes in two sizes: junior and adult. I am testing the latter.
There is not much in the way of instructions for this hat, but none are really
needed. The Adrenaline can be machine washed in cold water on gentle cycle and
dried flat. It should not be bleached or wrung out.
TRYING IT OUT
I tried the Adrenaline on in the house. The fabric is soft, stretchy, and comfortable, as advertised. The drirelease wool breathes well, so that my head didn't get hot even while sitting inside. The hat fits snugly on my head, but the ear-band easily covers my entire ears. Despite the fact that I have a somewhat large head (hat size 7 5/8), the single adult size fits me quite well. When I look at myself in the mirror, I feel the urge to adjust the hat since the logo is off-center, but I think I can get used to it. Plus, I won't be looking at myself when using this outside.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS and EXPECTATIONS
I have not worn a skully before, so I have no real expectations. I am hoping it keeps my head
warm, although I don't expect it to be as warm as a typical winter hat. I do plan to use it under
my bike helmet as it starts to warm up, so I'm expecting to find out if it will really fit there,
and if it breathes enough to prevent my head from overheating during exertion.
THE STORY SO FAR
- Fabric is comfortable and light
- Good fit
- None at the moment
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May 7, 2011
Over the past two months, it has been plenty cold to wear the Adrenaline Skully. I wore it on a weekend
camping trip to Newark, OH in mid March. It was cold and rainy, with temperatures around 35 F (1 C) in
the evening and highs around 45 F (8 C) during the day. I went out for about a 1 mile/ 1.6 km hike in
the evening but stayed in a cabin, so I didn't need the Adrenaline for sleeping. I next wore it on a 10
mile day hike on the Archer's Fork Trail in Marietta, OH. It was cloudy and the temperatures stayed
around 40 F/4 C most of the day. In addition, I wore the hat on my weekend walks around town (usually
about 3 miles/4.8 km) during the months of March and April, with temperatures ranging between 50 F/10 C
and 60 F/ 15 C. Since it was quite cool most of March and April, I often wore it to work for the
walk between the parking lot and my office.
When I first started wearing the hat, it was a little itchy on my head. However, this has gone away
after washing it once or twice. The first few times I wore it were for walking around town. My wife and
I will walk for about an hour, which at our pace is between 3 and 4 miles. The weather over the past few
months has been pretty cool, so it was definitely hat weather. I found that the Adrenaline Skully kept
my head warm without overheating. As noted in the Initial Report, the hat actually covers most of my
ears, so they did not get cold either.
On my trip to Newark, Ohio, it was warm enough that it did not snow on us, but it was cold that the snow
from earlier in the month had not melted, as shown in the background of this photo.
The night hike I took had a significant uphill, so even though I wasn't carrying a pack, it was still
somewhat strenuous. The Adrenaline kept my head nice and warm but I did not feel any sweat under the
hat. I'm not sure if this was due to the fact that it was cool enough that I didn't sweat, or if the
hat wicked the sweat away. I suspect it was probably some of both.
On my trip to the Archer's Fork trail, it was another chilly day. I was very glad I had the Adrenaline
on the trip, because otherwise my ears would have frozen. It got sunny during the middle of the
afternoon, so I tried hiking a bit without the hat. However, once we stopped for lunch, my head quickly
chilled, and I put it back on. Despite the fact that I covered 10 miles that day, I did not notice any
perspiration on my head. The hat also does a nice job holding my sunglasses in place.
I have also worn the hat to work on cold days this winter and spring. One thing that is quite nice about
the Adrenaline is that it rolls up into a small package. I can easily stuff it into my jacket or jeans
pocket. When it gets colder, I pop it out and put it on my head.
WEAR AND TEAR
So far, I have washed the Adrenaline twice in the washer. Per the instructions, I have not thrown it
in the dryer, opting to let it air dry. So far, I have not noted any shrinkage. The stitching and seams
remain flat and tight.
To date, I really like the Adrenaline Skully. I'm not sure it does wonders for my image (see photos
above), but it does keep my head warm without overheating. It is compact and easy to carry. I have a
couple of backpacking trips scheduled in the next few weeks. Given the cold rainy weather, I'll have
a few more months of good testing in the Long-Term Report. Assuming the rain stops someday, I will also
wear it under my bike helmet when I bike to work (or other places) over the next couple of weeks.
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June 30, 2011
I took the Adrenaline Skully with me on two May backpacking trips during the LTR test period.
The first was a weekend trip on the Zaleski Backpacking Trail in Glouster, Ohio, and the second was a
weekend on the Logan Trail in Laurelville, OH. Unfortunately, the weather was warm enough on both of
these that I did not use a hat while on the trail. On the Zaleski trip, it got cool and rainy once we
got to camp, so I wore the hat during the evening at camp. I have also been engaged in a fair amount
of bicycling during this part of the test phase, and have the worn the Adrenaline 4 or 5 times for
this activity. Temperatures during these bike rides have ranged from about 50 F/9 C on the low end, up to as
high as 70 F/21 C. Rides have ranged from 7 to 30 miles (11 to 48 km) over generally flat roads. I
ride at about 15 mph (22.5 kph) under these conditions, meaning rides have lasted anywhere from 30
minutes to about 2 hours.
My total usage of the Skully during the test has been about 10 days of hiking/backpacking, and another
4-5 days for biking, although I have carried the hat with me for many more days than that.
Although I am disappointed that I did not get to wear the Adrenaline Skully while backpacking during the LTR
testing phase, I
carried it around a bunch of times while on the trail. Usually, it was stuffed
into a pocket of my hiking pants where it fit easily. In fact, it is small enough that I often forgot which pocket was carrying
I did wear it a fair amount during an equally strenuous activity: bicycling. Let me first say that
Chaos advertises that the Adrenaline can be worn under a protective helmet, and I can verify that this
is true. The hat fit easily under my bike helmet. It actually provided an extra layer of cushioning,
which was rather nice.
When I wore the Adrenaline in the cooler weather, it did an excellent job of keeping my head and ears
warm. There is obviously a lot of wind when riding and I could easily tell that the hat blocked the
wind. It came down low enough that it protected my ears as well, which was a welcome feature. The
really nice thing about the Adrenaline is that I could also wear it in warmer weather
without overheating. I take it to mean that the hat does an excellent job breathing. It absorbed a
lot of sweat under these conditions, but remained cool and comfy on my head. When I got home, I set
the hat on the counter and it rapidly dried.
I have now washed the hat 5-6 times. Although I found the hat initially a little itchy to wear, this
sensation went away after a few washes. It really felt good on my head, which is why I have worn it
as often as I did for biking.
Overall, I am impressed with the Chaos Adrenaline Skully. It is compact and lightweight, but capable
of blocking the wind and keeping my head warm in cool weather. Even better, it breathes well enough
that I don't overheat. This is definitely a keeper, and I will plan on carrying the Adrenaline with me
on the trail if there is even the slightest chance for cool weather.
Things I liked about the Chaos Adrenaline Combo Skully:
Things I disliked about the Adrenaline:
- Comfortable in the cool and the warm weather
- Crushes down to almost nothing
- Fits nicely under my bike helmet
This concludes my report on the Chaos Adrenaline Skully. My thanks to
Chaos Hats for providing this lid for testing and to BackpackGearTest.org
for allowing me to participate in the evaluation process.
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Read more gear reviews by Larry Kirschner