OUTDOOR RESEARCH SEATTLE SOMBRERO
BY RAYMOND ESTRELLA
April 19, 2007
Huntington Beach California USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
205 lb (93.00 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or fiancée Jenn.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research (OR)
Web site: www.orgear.com
Product: Seattle Sombrero
Made in America
Year manufactured: 2006
MSRP: $48.00 (US)
Weight listed: 3.2 oz (91 g)
Verified weight: 3.3 oz (94 g)
Size reviewed: Large, also available in Small, Medium and Extra Large
Color reviewed: Grey (no longer available) and Khaki/Java
Other colors available: Black, Mojo Blue/Black, Cayenne/Java, Forest/Black and Dark Grey/Black
Warranty: (Quoted from hang tag), "Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever."
|Image from Outdoor Research|
The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero (hereafter called the hat) is a water-proof rain hat. It is made of 3-layer 70 denier Taslan Gore-Tex fabric. All of the seams on the dome are taped for further water protection. On the front of the crown the OR logo has been embroidered, and the Gore-Tex logo is on the back of it.
The brim, which is longer in the back than the front is made of urethane coated nylon over foam. The foam stiffens the brim and adds the ability to float if dropped in the water. On each side of the dome and brim of the hat are strips of hook and loop that correspond with each other to let one or both sides of the brim be attached to the dome.
OR says that with one side up it is "Aussie style", and both sides up is "Cowboy style". They do not have a name for both sides down. Maybe "Dry" style… My seven year-olds Raymond and Emma are modeling it up and down respectively. We had no Australian friends available.
The inside of the hat is lined with some very soft brushed Tricot fabric. It is supposed to wick sweat away from the head. At the bottom of the dome inside is a 1 in (2.5 cm) "Cinch-Band" internal head-band. It adjusts with hook and loop and has a two in (5 cm) length of elastic sewn into it on the right side to allow some stretch to fit snug in windy conditions.
A tag inside has the name, size and style number on one side, and the laundering instructions and materials list on the other. An adjustable (and removable) draw cord is tied to loops on the sides allowing the hat to be cinched under the chin with the use of a sliding bead lock.
I have used the Seattle Sombreros for hiking and backpacking all up and down the Sierra Nevada, and all of its resident parks and wilderness areas. They have also been used in the Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains. They have been worn in the Tehachapis and in Cleveland National forest.
For four years one accompanied me all over the United States for use as an everyday rain hat. It was also used for this purpose for eight years in Minnesota.
Temps encountered have run from well below freezing to around 90 F (32 C). They have been used at elevations from sea level to over 14000 ft (4270 m). They have been snowed on, hailed on and of course rained on.
I bought my first Seattle Sombrero in 1988. This is the grey one that is no longer available. Last year I bought another one, not because anything was wrong with the early model, but I just wanted the nicer look of the new two-tone models.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
In cold weather I will wear it just to keep warm. In these times I will hook the sides up in the cowboy style. In rain though, they come down. I have never worn it Aussie style with just one side up. My brother Ryan liked mine so much, and wearing that way, that I gave it to him on a backpacking trip near Mt Whitney and had to buy another grey one when I got back home.
Besides going with me on almost every hike since I bought my first one, I also carried one with me for four years spent traveling around the US building retail stores. I spent five or six weeks in each location then was off to the next. Carrying the Seattle Sombrero was easier than bringing an umbrella and it got used a lot.
I have never had one of them leak. Even on those miserable days that the rain starts in the morning and I am forced to hike for hours in it to the next camp site the fabric never wetted through, nor did any seams leak.
I can not say that it is all that breathable though. Like all "waterproof-breathable" materials that I have used over many years of backpacking, this one may breathe at a standstill, but my hot head can overpower its abilities in short order while hiking. Even when it is very cold I will sweat in it.
But other than that I have nothing negative to say about this fine rain hat. It may be the longest running piece of actively used gear I own.
Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella