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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Chaos Adrenaline Combo Skully > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

Chaos Adrenaline Skully

TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER

Chaos Adrenaline Skully
(Image courtesy of Chaos Hats)


INITIAL REPORT - February 22, 2011
FIELD REPORT - May 7, 2011
LONG-TERM REPORT - June 30, 2011



TESTER INFORMATION

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NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
AGE: 46
LOCATION: Columbus, OH
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 205 lb (92 kg)
HAT SIZE: 7 5/8

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…


INITIAL REPORT
February 22, 2011

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Chaos
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)



ITEM DESCRIPTION

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

  • Moisture wicking
  • FreshGuard odor treatment
  • Quick drying ("4x faster than cotton")
  • 4-way stretch
  • Shrink-resistant
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 itself.

The Adrenaline comes in two sizes: junior and adult. I am testing the latter.


INSTRUCTIONS

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
    Impressive
  • Fabric is comfortable and light
  • Good fit
    Concerns
  • None at the moment


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FIELD REPORT

May 7, 2011


FIELD CONDITIONS

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.


FIELD EXPERIENCE

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.

Chaos at the cabin

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.

Chaos at Archers Fork

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.


FIELD IMPRESSIONS

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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LONG-TERM REPORT
June 30, 2011

FIELD CONDITIONS

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.


FIELD EXPERIENCE

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 the hat.

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.


SUMMARY

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:
  • Comfortable in the cool and the warm weather
  • Crushes down to almost nothing
  • Fits nicely under my bike helmet
Things I disliked about the Adrenaline:
  • None I can think of

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.

-larry kirschner


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