CHOAS STRATUS SOMBRERO
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - September 05, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - February 07, 2017
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Inside with sweatband|
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: www.chaoshats.com
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 4.3 oz (122 g)
Sizes Available: Medium, Large and Extra-Large
Size Tested: Medium
Tester Head Circumference: 22 3/8 in (57 cm)
Colors Available Listed on Website: Khaki, Black, Seaport and Forest
Colors Available on Swatches Attached to Hat: Purple, Yellow, Black, Maroon, Red, Blue and Khaki
Color Tested: Khaki
Materials: 100% Polyester
|Top showing mesh vent|
Features Listed on Website: Waterproof and breathable laminated performance fabric
Anti-microbial wicking mesh liner
Removable chin cord
One-handed size adjustment system
Features Listed on Hangtag Attached to hat: HYDROMAXX - a lightweight waterproof/breathable fabric
designed to keep water out and wearer dry
The Stratus Sombrero arrived very simply inside a cardboard box. There were three hangtag attached to the back of the hat. One with five round available color swatches, listed in the previous section. The second, a materials tag describing the HYDROMAXX fabric. Lastly an item tag with company motto.
The hat itself looks well made with good stitching and quality material. The brim has a cross hatch pattern and is formable if bent. The brim measures 3 in (7.6 cm) from the edge to body of the hat. The top is a solid color with the CTR logo on the front wearers' right. The left and right sides have lift-able flaps that cover a mesh material. The back has a draw cord to adjust the fit around the wearers' head. Turning the hat over reveals the mesh visible through the flaps on the other side. The mesh covers the inside of the hat. Behind the mesh is the HYDROMAXX material that covers the entire top portion of the hat. To the left and right of the underside are clips that attach an adjustable chin strap. Bending and twisting the clip allow the chinstrap to be removed. There is a sweatband that goes around the edge of the inside brim. All of the fabric is soft to the touch and feels comfortable against my skin.
Putting the Sombrero on it fits nicely. I was slightly concerned about this as I could not find any sizing information on the company website. I am able to easily bend the brim into a shape I like. The chin strap adjusts with a slide to fit tight up my chin to prevent the hat from blowing off. Or it can be worn looser to hold the hat around my neck when removed. The size adjustment on the back of the hat works best when I pinch the barrel lock and pull the cord. To loosen it one hand works to pinch the barrel lock and pull.
Checking the Sombrero out, I like what I see. It appears well made, fits and is comfortable on my head. Just so happens the Sombrero arrived on a sunny, warm day that we planned to go to the pool. So I put the Sombrero on and walked through the woods to sit in the sun poolside.
TRYING IT OUT
The Sombrero was great on the walk to and from the pool, as well as at the pool. My face was shaded from the sun. The temperature was 80 F (27 C) and sunny. I never felt overheated or sweaty under the hat. Cool and comfortable at the pool, I was no habanero in my sombrero.
The Chaos Stratus Sombrero is a nice hat for sunny and potentially rainy days. I like the fit and feel of the hat. The materials and construction are of good quality. I look forward to getting out on the trail with the Sombrero in a variety of weather conditions.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Overnight at Mt Moosilauke - Benton, New Hampshire - 10 mi (16 km) from 1600 to 4800 ft (488 to 1463 m). Temperature 45 to 65 F (7 to 18 C) and cloudy with steady wind and mist at the summit. Pack weight 30 to 40 lb (14 to 18 kg).
Day hike at Moose Mountain - Hanover, New Hampshire - 8 mi (13 km) from 1350 to 2300 ft (410 to 700 m). Temperature 55 F (13 C) partly sunny and calm. Pack weight - 15 lb (7 kg).
Day hike at Gile Mountain - Norwich, Vermont - 3 mi (5 km) from 1490 to 1850 ft (454 to 564 m). Temperature 60 F (16 C) and sunny and windy atop fire tower. No pack carried.
Trail maintenance hike on the Appalachian Trail - Pomfret, Vermont - 4.4 mi (7 km) from 775 to 1295 ft (236 to 395 m). Temperature 50 F (10 C) and very sunny. Pack weight - 20 lb (9 kg).
Day Hike at Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire - 4 mi (6 km) from 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m). Temperature 40 F (4 C) with light rain. Pack weight - 15 lb (7 kg).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I was able to get the Sombrero out on the trails for one overnight and four days hikes in the fall. During this time we experienced unseasonably warm and sunny days with very little rain. The extras sunshine was welcomed and the Sombrero shaded my head and neck very well. It stayed put on my head without any noticeable pressure. Only once did it blow off my head when taking in the views atop a fire tower in gusting winds. Thanks to the chin strap the hat stuck around for further testing. I also found the strap handy for hanging the Sombrero around my neck when not being worn on my head. I could hang it to my back or chest comfortably depending if I was wearing a pack or not. I like the chin strap so I never fiddled with it after my initial inspection.
I found the Sombrero was comfortable to wear on almost all outings. There was one exception, the hike in on the overnight trip. This was a family backpack and I ending up acting as porter. My pack was quite loaded and the top lid had to be extended to accommodate the load. The ample shade producing brim bumped against the pack. This quickly became an annoyance ending with the Sombrero being removed. On the way out my pack size decreased and top lid cinched back down allowing the Sombrero to be donned again. On all hikes the temperature was mild so I never got a feel for the function of the side vents. Nor did I sweat heavily for the same reason but there is not the slightest scent of odor in the Sombrero.
I was lucky enough to get one day in a light rain with the Sombrero. My head stayed dry and the brim shed the rain clear of my neck and face. The one downside the temperature was at the bottom of my comfort range with the Sombrero. While not cold, my ears were chilly and ready for more substantial headwear. Unfortunately this brought an end to the Sombrero season.
The Chaos Stratus Sombrero is an easy wearing, shade providing hat. It is comfortable and lightweight. After my field use of the Sombrero it is still in like new condition. It has no signs of wear or tear, no stains or smells. The Sombrero is a well made warm (by Northern New England standards) weather hat. I wish I had more warm months to test it. I will certainly be pulling it out when the sun starts to shine stronger here again.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to thank Chaos and BackpackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
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Read more gear reviews by Michael Pearl