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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Loki Liner Hat > Test Report by Tom Callahan

LOKI HAT LINER
TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 11, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Tom Callahan
EMAIL: tcallahanbgt AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

For the past 20 years I have lived off and on in Washington State, backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. I get out regularly on day hikes and multi-day trips and usually try to include a good off trail scramble. During the winter I get out snowshoeing at every opportunity. I also enjoy glacier climbing, summiting prominent peaks like Mt. Rainier (14K ft/4K m) and Mt. Baker (10K ft/3K m). My pack weight will range from 15 - 50 lbs (7 - 23 kg) depending on the season and the length and type of trip.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: LOKI
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.lokigear.com
MSRP: US$ 20.00
Listed Weight: 2.5 oz (71 g)
Measured Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Material: 98% Polyester, 2% Elastic
Color: Black
Size: One size fits all

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The LOKI Liner Hat has been especially designed so that it may be worn as a hat, vented hat, mask, open mask, neck gaiter or a raised gaiter. It came attached to a colorful cardboard merchandise tag. The liner material felt very light in weight, lighter than I was expecting. The material felt soft and supple to the touch. It has a nice bit of give and stretch. The stitching is straight and tight. There were some long thread ends extending from the seams inside the hood. Otherwise I didn't see anyother loose threads. A nylon webbing draw cord the runs horizontally around the middle of the Liner Hat, which is snugged up by means of a plastic spring toggle. There is a good looking embroidered white LOKI logo on the front of the Liner Hat.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The cardboard merchandise tag provided clear text instructions and drawings of the different configurations possible with this hat. It also included an interesting note that LOKI is named for the Scandinavian god of mischief who could change his shape to suit his needs.

TRYING IT OUT

Loki as a Hat
Loki as a Hat

The Liner Hat fit easily over my head. I tried it out first as the mask. The material was comfortable against my skin. It fit close to the top of my head, cheeks and chin. The draw cord enabled me to snug it up nicely. Next I pulled it down as a neck gaiter. In this configuration it felt a bit loose and floppy. I then took the Liner Hat off, stuffed the hood inside, cinched up the draw cord, and tried it out as a hat. It was snug around my head and covered my ears well. I could feel the bunched up hood material on the top of my head inside the hat. But this was not uncomfortable because of the ample size of the Liner Hat. Overall I liked the way it felt as a hat.

Loki as a Mask
Loki as a Mask

Loki as a Neck Gaiter
Loki as a Neck Gaiter


INITIAL REPORT SUMMARY - March 10, 2009

The LOKI Liner Hat is very different from any hat I have owned. It is designed well and looks to be very versitile as a hat, mask or neck gaiter. The Liner Hat is made of very lightweight material, so I'm interested to see how warm I stay in cold, windy weather. As a hat, the bunched up hood is quite a lump of fabric. It doesn't seem to be a problem when worn as just a hat. But I'm going to be checking it out to see how I well like it when wearing a climbing helmet over the Liner Hat in this configuration.

This concludes my Initial Report on the LOKI Liner Hat. Check back in about 2 months for my Field Report.

Thanks to LOKI and BackPackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Liner Hat


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Loki Liner Hat on 3 day trips and 3 overnight trips during this phase of testing. Testing took place in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains of Washington State. Trips were a mixed bag of snowshoeing, climbing, hiking and camping.

The first few trips were out in snow. But as trails start to melt out I was able to actually get on some bare dirt trails. My climbs were a mix, starting on bare dirt and then getting up into the snow. Elevation during testing ranged from 500 to 6,500 ft (152 to 2,000 m).

During testing I encountered temperatures as low as 20 F (-7 C) and as high as 60 F (16 C). Conditions ranged from snowy days with limited visibility, to partly cloudy, to full out sun. Winds for most trips were light, with the exception of one day trip with brisk winds of 20 mph (32 km/h) at the top of the peak. On that day the combined wind and temperature brought the windchill to 15 F (-9C) which was the coldest condition I encountered during testing.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During testing I used the Loki while on the trail, when climbing, in camp and when sleeping. The Loki is light weight, packs well, fitting easily into my pack or jacket pocket. The material had a nice feel against my skin. The stretchy nature of the material enabled me to take it on and off as well as convert to different configurations easily. Also the Loki kept its shape and did not get stretched out as of the end of this phase of testing. The Loki kept me warm for nearly every condition I encountered during testing.

On steep trails when working hard, wearing a pack and going uphill, the Loki kept me warm at low temperatures of 20 F ( -7 C). At temperatures above 40 F (4 C) I would begin to overheat under these conditions. Around camp and when at rest the Loki kept me warm at temperatures approaching 30 F (-1 C). But this was only when winds were calm.

While the Loki material does provide relatively good thermal protection, it does not cut the wind very well. I found this to be especially true when in the face mask configuration with just a single layer of material covering my head and face. In cold temperatures of around 20 F (-7 C) when winds became brisk such that the windchill was around 15 F (-9 C) my face and head quickly became cold. I pulled on the hood of my shell jacket and this warmed me somewhat. On this same outing when I descended out of the wind I was quite comfortable with the Loki as a ski mask and with my shell jacket hood. This indicated to me the Loki is really a liner and has some limitations if relied upon as the sole means of keeping one's head warm. When temperatures are around 20 F (-7 C) I typically wear a ski hat, which keeps my head warm but my face will become chilled. That is just something I have come to learn to live with in cold weather. Wearing the Loki in the ski mask configuration kept my face pleasantly comfortable and it was nice not to have cold cheeks and chin. The single layer of material covering my face was just right for the conditions and I did not overheat. Adding to my comfort was the drawstring. Snugging this up kept the Loki close to my face for a comfortable fit, minimizing loose material. When temperatures warmed to above 25 F (-4 C) I was able to pull off my shell hood and wear just the Loki and remain comfortable.

Ski Mask Configuration
Ski Mask Configuration


Around camp and while sleeping I wore the Loki in 2 configurations. One as a hat with the drawstring pulled tight and the ski mask material bunched up inside the Loki on top of my head. This covered nearly my entire head with a single layer of material. In this configuration the Loki went on easy and kept me warm when in camp to temperatures around 45F (7 C). The drawstring cord is long though and would flop around which was bit of a nuisance. This was easily remedied though by simply tucking the end of the drawstring up under the edge of the Loki.

The other hat configuration I found comfortable was to loosen the drawstring completely, pull the Loki on as a ski mask and then fold the bottom edge of the Loki up twice. This configuration provided a single layer of material on the top of my head and 3 layers in a band covering my ears, temples, and forehead. Because I had to fold the liner over twice this involved extra steps whenever putting the Loki back on my head. But I could do this even with gloves on without a problem. The advantage of this configuration was the extra layers of material covering my ears, etc. When worn in this configuration I was comfortable in camp, at rest, sleeping when temperatures dipped to 20 F (-7 C).

Wearing with my climbing helmet
Wearing with my climbing helmet



During testing I also did some non-technical climbing wearing my climbing helmet. With a climbing helmet I tried wearing the Loki in the hat configuration with the drawstring pulled tight. Since this bunches up the ski mask material on the top of the wearer's head it did not provide a comfortable fit. The bunched up material did not allow the helmet to sit properly and securely on my head. Plus it kind of felt like I had a tennis ball under my helmet. I also tried wearing the Loki in the other hat configuration described above, with the drawstring loosened and the bottom edge folded up twice. This worked well with my helmet. The single layer of material at the top of my head allowed my helmet to sit well and I did not have to loosen my chin strap. It was not a problem having the extra, folded material around the edge of the hat, as all I had to do was adjust the helmet's headband for a good fit. In this configuration I found the Loki to be much more comfortable under my helmet than the ski hat had I usually wear.

Wearing while rock scrambling
Wearing while rock scrambling



In addition to the hat and ski mask configurations I also tried the Loki as a neck gaiter. The material was a little loose around my neck but it was still comfortable. I don't usually wear a neck gaiter and it did feel good have some thermal protection around my neck when it was chilly.

FIELD REPORT SUMMARY - June 13, 2009

In summary I have been pleased to use the Loki Liner Hat on my outings. The Loki is light weight, packs well, fitting easily into my pack or jacket pocket. The material is comfortable against my skin and it keeps its stretch even after repeated use. Considering this is a liner hat, I feel the Loki does perform well. The thin material provides a good degree of thermal protection and it may be used alone, but with some limitations. As temperatures dip below 30 F (-1 C) the Loki alone was not really enough to keep me warm at times. This is especially true when windy as the Loki's thin material does not cut the wind very much. Aside from having the option of using the different configurations to suit conditions and my activity makes this a very versatile item. I will be looking forward to using the Loki during the next phase of testing.

This concludes my Field Report. Check back in about 2 months for my Long Term Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Loki Hat Liner on 3 overnight trips during this phase of testing. The first overnight trip with the Loki was in the Olympic Mountains. Low temperatures were around 25 F (-4 C) and high temperatures were around 50 F (10 C). I encountered sunny conditions, fog and a bit of snow on this outing. Elevation gain was 3,000 ft (900 m) with a high point around 6,000 ft (1,800 m). My second overnight trip was also in the Olympics, a little bit later in the testing and things had warmed up a bit. Low temperatures on this outing were around 50 F (10 C) and highs around 65 F (18 C). Skies were clear and sunny for this trip. Elevation gain was 4,000 ft (1,200 m) with a high point of 7,000 ft (2,100 m). My third overnight trip was in the Cascade Mountains. Temperatures on this trip ranged from 55 F (13 C) to 75 F (24 C). Skies were mostly sunny but I also encountered some fog and light rain. Elevation gain on this trip was 4,500 ft (1,400 m) with a hight point of 6,500 ft (2,000 m).

I did have the Loki along on a 4th overnight trip but this outing was during unusually warm temperatures such that it did not dip below 60 F (16 C) even at night at 5,000 ft (1,500 m). So the Loki just stayed in the pack for the entire trip.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Loki continued to perform well as my primary means of keeping my head warm during this Long Term Testing. Due to the warming temperatures I encountered relative to Field Testing I wore the Loki only occasionally while actually hiking. However I did use it quite a bit around camp and when sleeping. The Loki was always comfortable to wear. It would stay in place without feeling too tight. The soft material felt good against my skin and it was never itchy like my regular ski hat. This was particularly nice when I wore the Loki through the night while sleeping. By the end of this phase of testing the Loki has probably been washed at least 10 times. It has continued to hold it's shape, the material has retained its elasticity, the stitching has stayed tight and the color has not faded.


LONG TERM REPORT SUMMARY - Aug. 11, 2009

Overall I have been very pleased with the Loki Hat Liner. For a lightweight and compact item it provided very good warmth for my head, even down to 20 F (-7 C). I also liked the versatility of the Loki. I enjoyed having the ability to change the configuration of the Loki to meet the various conditions I encountered. The thin material also enabled me to wear the Loki comfortably under my climbing helmet.

As versatile as the Loki is, it is not without it's limitations. I could not wear it comfortably under my climbing helmet in the configuration where the drawstring is pulled tight, bunching up the material on the top of the head. However the Loki worked well with my helmet in the configuration where the liner was pulled over my head and then folded up twice. In terms of warmth, the Loki's light material did not keep me warm when the windchill approached 15 F (-9 C). I attribute this largely to the lack of wind stopping properties of the Loki material. The lack of wind stopping properties also limited the ability of the Loki to keep my face warm when worn as a face mask. Also, the Loki material does not provide any protection from rain. It is not made with any DWR coating so it does not shed the rain. But it is designed to be a liner and therefore should be worn with a rainproof hat or hood when in the rain.

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to use the Loki Hat Liner as a three season hat. It provides sufficient warmth for the conditions I encounter during the spring, summer and fall in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the warmth provided by the Loki, it also packs down quite small, smaller than the thicker ski hat I would usually throw into my backpack. As always, anytime I can reduce the size and weight of the items in my pack, that's a plus.

This conludes my test of the Loki Hat Liner. My thanks to Loki and BackPackGearTest for the opportunity to test this item.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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