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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > OR Highpoint Cap > Test Report by Mike Wilkie

OUTDOOR RESEARCH HIGHPOINT CAP
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 21, 2009

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 148 lb (67.10 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a young Scout my backpacking obsession began. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I am learning and practicing safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding comfort and miles to my adventures. Being an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

November 19, 2008

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: US$35.00
Listed Weight (size large): 2.3 oz (65 g)
Measured Weight (size medium): 2 oz (57 g)


IMAGE 1



IMAGE 2


Images courtesy of outdoorresearch.com


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Highpoint Cap is a water resistant, insulated hat that offers fold down ear flaps for added warmth. Two unique features that the cap contains I feel are impressive are the folding brim and headband draw cord.

On the center on the brim (as shown below) is a well-seamed fold that allows the cap to compress down taking minimal pack space. The rest of the caps material is compressible as well. This allows me to basically stash the hat almost anywhere. It fits nicely in my jacket pocket as well as my pants cargo pocket. It also affords a lightweight design which is a definite positive feature for me.

IMAGE 3
Courtesy of Outdoor Research





The draw cord cinches around the headband of the cap for more comfort, fit adjustment and for security when wind is a factor. The earflaps can easily fold up for when not needed. There are four little magnets incorporated into the construction to help the earflaps remain in place when in the up position. In the field I will be looking to see if these magnets will continue hold the flaps in place during activity. And if they help to eliminate annoyance of the flaps falling down when not wanted. On the back of the earflap piece is elastic to keep the flap snug around the neck.

Outdoor Research's 30D Pertex Endurance material makes up the outer shell of the hat. This material is to be ultralight, water resistant and breathable. According to their website the Pertex Endurance "technology incorporates an ultra-thin membrane with a durable nylon face fabric". Thus far the cap proves to be lightweight. The fleece inner insulation so far feels comfortable to wear.


TRYING IT OUT

Unfortunately I didn't have much try-out time with the cap as it was immediately sent back to the manufacturers for a replacement. The size medium that was ordered was slightly too small and is being replaced for a size large. According to the size chart on the Outdoor Research the size medium will fit up to 22.5 in (57 cm) and my head size measured to be 21.5 in (55 cm). I opted to exchange for the larger size only because the cap contains a draw cord to help adjust to my head size. Also I didn't want to hat to fit too sung around my head and ears in cold temperatures.

I can say however that it was a pleasure dealing with the Outdoor Research customer service. They were friendly and eager to help and a return authorization was given immediately. Outdoor Research also offers an easy request form on their website to obtain a return authorization via email. I thought that to be quite convenient, but I did call too just to speed up the process.

SUMMARY

Thus far the OR Highpoint Cap has proven to be lightweight, compressible and comfortable. The features and design of the hat seem to have been well through-out that should afford the consumer more comfort in cold or wet conditions. Personally I feel this garment will be a great addition to my winter gear list. I appreciate the folded brim that makes the cap more compressible and the added drawcord for easy adjustment and comfort. The fold-up earflaps should add warmth when temperatures drop while the shell repels water or wetness from snow.

So far the only negative thing I have to say is about the misleading sizing chart. My head measurement was under the max size for the size medium and the fit was still too small. I feel their sizing chart should be updated with more accurate measurements for the manufactured sizes.

Pros
Lightweight and more compressibility with the folding brim
Drawcord
Earflaps for added warmth and with magnets for secure placement in the up position

Con
Misleading sizing chart


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Outdoor Research Highpoint Cap was used and tested in the following locations and conditions.

Bald Mountain - West-Central Adirondack Region
Route: Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain Trail
Weather: 35 F (1.67 C) at trailhead, 32 F (0 C) on summit with wind chills - Mostly cloudy
Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km) out and back
Ascent (elevation change): 390 ft (119 m)
Summit elevation: 2350 ft (716 m)
Difficulty: Moderate with icy conditions, snowmelt and packed trail snow. Snowshoes were mostly use but crampons were worn on icy steps during ascent and for most of the way down. Packed trail snow was at lower elevations and increasing ice at higher elevations and exposed areas.

Moss Lake (Day 1) - West-Central Adirondack Region
Route: Via the Circuit Trail
Weather: Cold and icy with temperatures around 22 F (-5.55 C) Mostly cloudy
Distance: 2.5 miles (4.03 km)
Difficulty: Moderately easy - mostly level trek with some hilly terrain. Snowshoes were worn for this hike. Icy conditions made for some difficult traction in some areas.

Moss Lake (Day 2) - West-Central Adirondack Region
Route: Via the Circuit Trail
Weather: Cold and snowy with temperatures around 22 F (-5.55 C) - total fresh snow accumulation: 5 in (12.70 cm)
Distance: 2.5 miles (4.03 km)
Difficulty: Moderately easy - mostly level trek with some hilly terrain. Snowshoes were worn for this hike.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 1): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 2): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 20 F (-6.6 C) heavy snow at times with fresh snow accumulations of 12 in (30.48 cm)
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 3): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 4): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 34 F (1 C) sleet, rain and ice mix
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

I used the Highpoint Cap for several snowshoe hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uphill/downhill, rocky terrain and is a moderate ascend to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I have logged 5 days for this trek. Snowshoes were worn for all of these hikes.

The Highpoint Cap was also used while plowing snow via ATV. Weather conditions and temperatures varied from heavy snow to freezing rain with temperatures from just above freezing and down to below 0 F (-18 C) with wind chills below -20 F (-29 C ) at times. This task took about two hours for each day when snowplowing occurred. The Highpoint Cap was worn during this task for over ten days.

For this leg of the test series, I have logged 12 days where the OR Highpoint Cap has been used and tested in the field during snowshoe treks. Total trail mileage is 33 miles (53 km). Additionally the cap was worn for ten days when snowplowing via ATV.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During my field studies, the Outdoor Research Highpoint Cap provided me with much protection from the elements. Since exchanging the original size for one larger, the cap has provided an excellent fit. In addition, with a cinch of the draw cord the cap was secured with a snug fit around my skull. This also provided secure positioning of the hat.

I have worn the Highpoint Cap in freezing temperatures with heavy snow at times, to mild temperatures with freezing rain. Thus far, the cap has consistently shed any wetness from snow and rain ensuring a dry interior. The cap has also help to move any moisture from the inside with its wicking capabilities.

While little or no activity was taken place I found that my ears become cold in temperatures below 20 F (-6.5 C). However, during high activity in the temperatures enough of heat is produced and retained for comfort. In temperatures or wind chills below 0 F (-18 C) a substantial amount of heat is sapped from the head and my ears began to get numb. I did find that in temperatures above 20 F (-6.5 C) much comfort and warmth is provided. In addition, the earflaps were not needed at times and were folded up for ventilation.

The earflap has helped greatly to increase warmth and comfort when needed. I did however have some issues keeping the earflap magnets attached when folded up. I found that the draw cord needed to be loosened completely to keep them attached. If I do not loosen the draw cord then the flaps protrude out like wings and flap annoyingly on windy days.

My favorite feature of the Highpoint Cap is the folding brim. This unique feature allows the cap to be highly compressible and it can be folded and stuffed into any pocket. I can keep the cap stashed in a jacket or pants pocket for easy access.

At this point the cap has proven to be durable as it still appears new in condition. During some bushwhacks the cap has endured some abrasion from low-lying branches. There are no signs of wear, loose stitching or thread pulls. In my opinion, Outdoor Research designed a strong and well-constructed hat.

The interior fleece has been a pleasure to have next to the skin and head. This fleece has help to wick any trapped moisture to the exterior ensuring a high level of comfort and to add to the level comfort the cap is lightweight.

I have not washed the cap yet, but it is just about due for a cleaning.

SUMMARY

In temperatures above 20 F (-6.5 C) the Outdoor Research Highpoint Cap has proven to be warm and comfortable. The cap has proven to be water resistant shedding rain, ice and snow. The cap is an excellent fit now I have exchanged it for a larger size and with the draw cord, the cap can be properly secured for high winds and proper positioning.

The Highpoint Cap has proven to be lightweight, durable and highly compressible. Despite the issue with the magnets, this unique cap is a great addition to my winter gear list. However, I would like to see Outdoor Research create a similar cap designed for sub zero temperatures. As the cap did provide me much comfort in temperatures above 20 F (-6.5 C) pushing the Highpoint to sub zero temperatures proved to be unsuccessful.


Pros
Lightweight and compressible
Folding brim
Earflaps
Draw cord

Cons
Magnets are too weak
Comfort level decreases in temperatures below 20 F (-6.5 C)


This concludes my Field Report on the Outdoor Research Highpoint Cap. The Long Term Report will be appended here in approximately two months.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The OR Highpoint Cap was used and tested in the following locations and conditions.

South Hill State Forest - 3 mile (4.83 km) Bushwhack
Weather: Windy with some sun, temperature was 33 F (0.56 C)
Elevation: 2000 F (610 m)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate on mostly level terrain. Some dense brush increased difficulty to moderate.

South Hill State Forest - 3.5 mile (5.64 km) Loop hike on old logging road.
Weather: 38 F (3.33 C) with light rain
Elevation: 2000 F (610 m)
Difficulty: Easy on an old logging road

The Highpoint Cap was used and tested on several snowshoe hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uphill/downhill, rocky terrain and is a moderate ascent to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I have logged 2 days for this trek. Snowshoes were worn for all of these hikes.

The Highpoint Cap was used about ten times while working on my goat farm. Conditions varied a bit with a few cold days early on. A few days had some snow and a few had some freezing rain or rain. However, most days offered mild temperatures above freezing. The farm location has an elevation of 1375 ft (419 m).

During my nightly dog walks, the Highpoint Cap provided adequate insulation. This trek with the dog is a short 0.5 mile (0.81 km) on a mostly uphill/downhill terrain. The cap was worn for eight of these nightly walks with the dog.

I have accumulated a total of 22 days of using and testing the OR Highpoint Cap during this final leg of the test series. The cap was used on 4 day hikes, 8 nightly dog walks and 10 days when working on the farm.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During this final leg of the test series, temperatures have and are still slowly increasing to spring weather conditions. With my experience testing the Highpoint Cap I actually preferred wearing it in these milder temperatures. In addition, as the Highpoint did not provide adequate insulation in temperatures below freezing as stated in my Field Report, the cap for me proved to be more compatible to these milder just above freezing temperatures.

The OR Highpoint Cap performed well during field use as it provided me with comfort and protection. It has proven to be durable, lightweight and comfortable. It offered my head protection from the elements with its water-resistant shell and comfort with its fleece lining. The cap took up little space when stowed as it proved to be highly compressible with its folding brim. During this final leg the Highpoint Cap provided me with adequate insulation for my head to retain, the warmth needed in these just above freezing temperatures and spring weather conditions.

While of no real concern to me, the style of the cap could be a bit improved. However, as the cap does perform well and offers good function in the field...who cares how it looks? Besides, my wife made me promise not wear it in public when we are together.

Now that the spring temperatures are rolling in and temperatures are staying above freezing, I seem to be using the Highpoint Cap more often. I believe the hat is more compatible to these milder temperatures. However, the cap was a bit too warm during high exertion activity.

I needed to wash the cap during this leg and the hat held up well during the washing machines normal cycle. I opted to hang dry the cap and once again it was smelling fresh and clean. It did tighten up a bit but quickly stretched back to normal after a few hours of use.

The cinch cord still operates and performs as it did when new. All stitching and seams are tight and overall construction of the cap still appears to be strong and intact. The visor still has its original shape and the earflap magnets are still magnetized as strongly as they were when I received the hat.

I did have some issues keeping the earflaps in the folded up position. In order for the magnets to hold the earflaps up they need to be placed exactly even over the connecting magnet. To accomplish this I needed to stop moving, remove my gloves and at times remove the cap from my head. It would be nice if the magnetism was a bit stronger so the flaps would remain in the up position if the magnets were only partially connected. Sometimes I like to complete such tasks when on the go and not having to slow down or without a fuss.

SUMMARY

I have accumulated much experience with the OR Highpoint Cap over these last few months. And through this experience, I have become fond of the cap during this final leg. During all use and testing the Highpoint has proven to be worthy in the field offering comfort and protection from the elements.

The Highpoint Cap has proven to be quite comfortable and offered features to protect my head from the elements while never inhibiting my performance in the field. The Highpoints style and design forced me to use the cap in the backcountry where front country use was prohibited by my wife. However the caps overall performance and features proved valuable for backcountry use. The Highpoint will remain on my winter gear list for future use.

Pros
Comfort
Adjustable cinch cuff
Folding brim
Water-resistance

Cons
Magnets can have stronger magnetism

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

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