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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > OR Sun Runner Cap > Test Report by Chari Daignault

OUTDOOR RESEARCH SUN RUNNER CAP
TEST SERIES BY CHARI DAIGNAULT
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 10, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE INITIAL REPORT - June 30, 2008
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT - September 12, 2008
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT - November 10, 2008

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chari Daignault
EMAIL: chari.daignault@gmail.com
AGE: 46
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)

I've been an ultra light hiker for 35 years -- I take the bare minimum with me and prefer a pack under or close to five pounds. I've hiked all the Florida State Forest trails in Central Florida and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan when I was nine. I have hiked dry & sandy, rough & rocky and wet & boggy trails and as a result, have found what does and doesn't work for me in terms of equipment and clothing. Central Florida affords a lot of sun and rains, with high temperatures and massive humidity. It's a great testing area for clothing, footwear and headgear.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
Outdoor Research
MSRP: US$30.00
Listed Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g) [size L]
Measured Weight: 2.7 oz (77 g) [size M]
Colors available: Khaki, White/Slate
Color Tested: White/Slate

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Sun Runner Cap is a light-weight cap with a removable sun skirt to protect the sides of the face and neck and the back of the neck from the sun. The cap also has mesh side panels to allow air flow even while the sun skirt is attached. The cap is made of SolarShield™ fabric which has a UPF rating of 30+ to protect against the most damaging rays of the sun.

The Sun Runner's bill is made of a stiff plastic that is already shaped just the way I like [see pictures]. There are two snaps, one on either side of the bill, onto which the sun skirt attaches. The sun skirt can be worn either full cover or pulled back to allow for additional ventilation. To wear it in the vent style, I pulled the chin cord up over my head and cinched it across the back of my head with the cordlock. To me, this looks aestheically more pleasing than wearing it in the full cover style, with the sun skirt fully covering the sides of my face and the chin cord hanging under my chin. Wearing it without the sun skirt is easy; just unsnap the two snaps and undo the hook and loop fastener on the back of the cap.

Front View
Front View


Front View Cap
Front View Cap


Side View Cap
Side View Cap


Side View Full Cover
Side View Full Cover


Front View Vent Style
Front View Vent Style

TRYING IT OUT

I ordered a M, as my hat size is 7 1/8. The cap fit me nicely with the adjustable hook and loop fastener on the back of the hat pulled just a wee bit tight.

Adjustable Cap
Adjustable Cap


Back of Cap
Back of Cap


With the sun skirt installed, I have to loosen the hook and loop fastener slightly, to allow for the bulk of the sun skirt fabric, through which the fastener fits. There are two slits in the back of the sun skirt for this. Along with the snaps, this is what keeps the sun skirt in place.

Connecting Sun Skirt
Connecting Sun Skirt


Snaps
Snaps


The sun skirt has elastic on the top of the back of it so that it can fit my head snugly, but still give if necessary. This helps to keep the sun skirt in place on the back of the cap and assists with keeping wind from causing the sun skirt to billow out at the top when moving.

Elastic on Sun Skirt
Elastic on back of Sun Skirt


TESTING STRATEGY

My testing strategy is as follows:

I run on trails four to five times a week. I average 3 to 5 Miles [4.83 km - 8.05 km] during these runs. The trails I run on are about 2 minutes from my home and are located in the Hal Scott Preserve in East Orange County.

Because I run in full sun, I have been valiantly if not unsuccessfully searching for a hat or system that would protect my head, face, neck and even my front upper chest area from the scorching rays. Even though I do run between 5:00PM and 6:00PM, the sun doesn't actually set here this time of year until well after 8:00PM at night. We usually hit our high temperature for the day between 4:00PM and 5:00PM -- just in time for my daily run.

I plan on wearing the Sun Runner Cap on all my trail runs and during any other outdoor activity I'll be doing in the sun.

Things I wish to find out during the testing period:

* How well does the OR Sun Runner Cap fit? Does it sit correctly on my head?
* How does the adjustable skirt do with a stiff breeze or flat-out wind? Does it billow out, tugging on the cap and making it uncomfortable to wear?
* If the skirt does billow out, do the mesh side panels keep it to a minimum, and does the removable chin strap work well to keep the cap and skirt in place, or will it semi-choke me?
* How does the external cinch-strap work and what adjustablity does it provide?
* Is the cap COMFORTABLE?
* Is the cap light-weight?
* Does the Sun Runner Cap's TransAction headband wick away sweat? [trust me, it will need to]
* Does the UPF 30+ sun protection really work?
* How well do the seams hold up?
* How often should I wash it? How do I wash it?
* I sweat bucket-loads -- will this cause any deterioration to seams or fabric; especially with repeated washings?

I will also report on anything else uncovered during testing.

SUMMARY

So far, I like the hat. It's very light-weight and is easy to adjust. The sun skirt doesn't appear to get in the way, especially if I wear it Vent style, and I like all the different ways I can wear it. The material of the cap and skirt does seem very thin, which makes me concerned about sweat control. The TransAction™ headband appears to be the only mechanism on the hat for wicking away moisture. With the way my head sweats, I'm interested to see how well this part of the cap holds up.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've been testing the Sun Runner Cap in various locations in Central Florida. One location is the Hal Scott Nature Preserve. The average temperature this time of year in the area I'm testing in is 91 degrees Fahrenheit [32.78 C], and the elevation is about 12 feet [3.6 Meters] above sea level. The terrain is mostly flat, with sand, gravel, scrub brush, local trees and the occasional creek or river to cross. I do day hikes 2 to 3 times a week out there and have worn the cap during those hikes.

I spent 8 days and 7 nights camping in the Wekiva Springs State Park in July. We hiked in about 2 miles [3.22 km] and camped lakeside at Sand Lake. The average temperature during this time was 92 degrees Fahrenheit [33.33 C] and the elevation is 25 feet [7.62 m] above sea level. The terrain is a flatwoods with streams, a river, and a lake. There are 15 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. While there, we drove out to the Wekiva River for some canoeing.

I also utilized the hat during several daily road runs around my neighborhood in full sunlight and light rains.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During hikes, I wear the Sun Runner Cap with the sun skirt installed. This has performed exceptionally well in keeping sun off the back and sides of my neck and partially off the sides of my face. I've found that even though there are vents built into the sun skirt, if there is no breeze, then no air will vent. Due to that, it can get a bit muggy in there. I've found that if I wear the sun skirt in "vent style", that although it exposes the sides of my face and neck, it does relieve the mugginess and the back of my neck is still protected.

During runs, the sun skirt becomes bothersome for me. If I wear it down in full cover with the chin cord in front, the chin cord will tug on my throat as I build up speed. It also billows a bit and is distracting with regard to sound and sight. I wear an mp3 player with earplugs when running and the sun skirt interferes with the cord and makes noise on the ear plugs when it brushes against them . So I've adjusted by wearing the sun skirt only on hikes and then not wearing it at all when running.

I've gotten caught in the rain during running, hiking and canoeing. Although I was initially worried that the thin fabric of the cap would not repel water, it actually does a very good job of it. The water will bead at first, but depending on the intensity of the rain, it does eventually penetrate and soak through. However, the TransAction headband does an excellent job of keeping any rain or sweat that does penetrate the cap from coming down my face. Also, the stiff, fabric-covered pre-shaped bill doesn't absorb any water, as it is made of plastic, which I absolutely love. I can run in the rain wearing the cap and get almost no water spots on my glasses at all. The plastic bill also ensures that over time the snaps built into the bill for the sun skirt won't cause tears in the fabric from use.

Sun Runner Wet
Sun Runner after a run in the rain


The cap is very lightweight and is extremely comfortable. I haven't worn any other cap when running or hiking since receiving it. I haven't washed it yet, but will do so during the final testing phase.

SUMMARY

The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap performs extremely well in keeping the sun off my neck and face when the sun skirt is installed. It's very lightweight, fits my head well, keeps my head cool and does very well with keeping sweat off my face.

Things I like:
It's very lightweight
It keeps sweat and rain off my face
It keeps my head cool
It's adjustable
The plastic bill
The sun skirt [while hiking or canoeing]

Things I don't like:
The sun skirt [while running]

TESTING STRATEGY

I plan to continue wearing the Sun Runner Cap for all my hiking and running [trail and road] activities.
 


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I'm still wearing the Sun Runner Cap here in Central Florida. The main location is the Hal Scott Nature Preserve. The average temperature this time of year in the area I'm testing in is 85 degrees Fahrenheit [29.44 C], and the elevation is about 12 feet [3.6 Meters] above sea level. The terrain is mostly flat, with sand, gravel, scrub brush, local trees and the occasional creek or river to cross. I do day hikes 2 to 3 times a week out there and have worn the cap during those hikes. I also run 3 to 4 times a week for a distance of 2.5 miles [4.03 km]. As of late, it has been very dry with almost no humidity.

I ran in a 5K road race the first week of October. It was first thing in the morning, with a light cloud cover that didn't burn off until after the race had ended. Nonetheless, it was extremely humid that day and I could still feel the sun on my skin even though it was filtered.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During my day hikes, I've taken to wearing the sun skirt vent style. It improves my peripheral vision and also my peripheral hearing. I began to get a bit claustrophobic with the sun skirt down in full cover style. The sun skirt has continued to work well at keeping the sun off the back and sides of my neck.

I've worn the cap with the sun skirt with a variety of day packs and have noticed that none of the packs interfere with the sun skirt. The skirt is thin enough and stays close enough to my head and neck so that it doesn't get caught on any zipper pulls or drawstrings.

The ability of the TransAction headband to wick away my head sweat still amazes me. During the 5K road race I ran in early October, the humidity level was atrocious. Aside from sweat that formed on my face, none of the sweat from my head was able to escape the headband of the Sun Runner Cap. I didn't have to constantly mop out my eyes and eyebrows and the sweat ended up going out down the back of my neck instead. This made the run much more comfortable and I wasn't wasting any energy by wiping my face and eyes the entire time.

Back of Sweaty Head
OR Sun Runner Cap - Running in the Sun!


Since the Field Report, I've washed the cap and sun skirt in the washing machine with cold water three times. There was no noticeable shrinking and no degradation of any of the seams, snaps or closures. The gray color areas of the cap did fade slightly, but this did not affect the performance of the cap at all. I did not put it in the dryer, but hung it up to dry overnight.

SUMMARY

As someone who's head sweats profusely, I really like the OR Sun Runner cap. It has worked extremely well both on the trail and on the road for hiking, climbing and running. Although I'm not comfortable with wearing the sun skirt down in full cover style, I do enjoy the protection it provides and prefer to wear it vented mode. My comfort level lies with being able to see and hear peripherally while on the trail, which for me is very high on my list of things needed for safety reasons.

The weight of the hat is very light, yet it fits snug when properly sized. The bill is pre-shaped plastic encased in the same material as the cap and sun skirt. Due to this, the bill is waterproof and protects my glasses from rain and mist. I have been very happy with the performance of this cap.

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to use the OR Sun Runner Cap on all runs, both on and off road. I already have a favorite hat for hiking and backpacking and will most likely switch back to it at the completion of this testing period. For shorter hikes and walks, I will wear the OR Sun Runner Cap with the sun skirt in vented style.

This concludes my Long Term Report on the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap. Many thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product. I have truly enjoyed it.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


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