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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > OR Sun Runner Cap > Test Report by Nathan Kettner

OR - SUN RUNNER CAP
TEST SERIES BY NATHAN KETTNER
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 07, 2008

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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Nathan Kettner
EMAIL: kettnernw "at" yahoo "dot" com
AGE: 31
LOCATION: Colorado Springs, Colorado
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)

I'm a medium weight backpacker, meaning my pack usually weighs 30-35 lb (13-16 kg), and I generally hike a moderate pace and mostly in mountainous terrain. I almost always use a tent (lightweight when backpacking, wall tent when hunting). I'm a weekend backpacker and make lots of day trips and single nights out, plus a few week-long backpack trips. All of my outings have been in the beautiful and rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming since I started backpacking in 2004.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: US$ 30.00
Listed Weight: 2.8 oz. (79 g) - size L
Measured Weight: 2.875 oz ( g) - size M
Other details: White/Slate color

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

IMAGE 1
The cap came in a small cardboard box and I was surprised how light it was - I thought maybe they had forgotten to put the cap in it! Besides being a different color than I had expected (white/slate instead of khaki) the cap itself was attractive and very lightweight. The plastic-reinforced bill seems as sturdy as any baseball cap I've worn.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

There were no instructions to speak of, just the info cards that are basically advertisements - like the ones I would expect to see on any apparel item hanging in a retail store.

TRYING IT OUT

IMAGE 2 IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4
After removing the attached info cards and a quick adjustment of the velcro headband strap, the cap fit snugly on my head. I quickly proceeded to play with the chin strap, moving it behind and in front of my head to see how it looked and felt with the sun shade. As I expected, having the shade all the way forward seemed a little awkward-looking, but would certainly offer the most complete protection. The only other thing I noticed is that the elastic band of the sun shade made the cap feel a little too snug. This pressure can be relieved by moving the shade up higher on the back of my head, however, that also moves the shade up right to the top of the collar on my shirt, which may expose a small bit of skin to the sun.

The snaps that hold the shade onto the top of the bill of the cap are very easy to take off and put back on, even while wearing the cap.

TESTING STRATEGY

I intend to test this cap on several upcoming single and multi-day trips in the Lost Creek, Sangre De Cristo, and Flat Tops Wilderness areas in Colorado. The average temperature will vary significantly, from lows near 32 Degrees Fahrenheit (0 Degrees Celsius) to highs near 90 Degrees Fahrenheit (32 Degrees
Celsius), with elevations from 6,300 - 13,500 Feet (1,920 - 4,100 Meters) above sea level.

Colorado has 300 days of sunshine a year and the highest average elevation of the 50 states. The thin atmosphere at this elevation along with all the sunny days and my pale skin mean that I need to
be wary of sunburn and longterm UV damage every time I go outdoors. To date, I have used the combination of a wide-brimmed hat and copious amounts of sunscreen lotion to keep skin cancer at bay, but in a pinch I have used a towel stuffed under a baseball cap to keep the sun off my ears and neck. Hopefully, the Sun Runner will be a much better solution.


SUMMARY

The cap fits well and seems very functional so far.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended
to this report in approximately two months from the date of this
report . Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap on two overnight backpacking trips in late July; one in the Sangre De Cristo mountains in southern Colorado and one in the Mt Evans Wilderness area in the Arapaho National Forest of central Colorado . Both trips started near 9,500 ft (2,900 m) and took me as high as 12,000 ft (3,600 m). On both hikes I had temperatures into the 80's degF (27 degC) and lots of sunshine. I also tested the cap in the Pikes Peak area on day hikes and a short run around 7,000 ft (2,100 m) in various temperatures between 60 and 90 degF (15 - 30 degC).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The cap seems to have done its job well. That is, I never got a sunburn on my neck or face when I wore it, even though the combined sunny skies and high elevations did their best to scorch me. The cap was comfortable and lightweight so that I enjoyed wearing it most of the time whether I had the detachable sun shade on or not.

On the down side, the elastic band of the sunshade, which snaps onto the bill of the cap was slightly tighter than I would have liked. After an hour or so of wearing it, I would start to feel the bill of the cap pressing into my forehead, but that was easily remedied by adjusting the position up or down on my forehead. Perhaps a larger size cap would have provided less discomfort, but I doubt it would have been something noticeable even if I had tried it on before selecting a size. A suggestion for improvement would be to add another set of snaps on the bill so that the tightness of elastic band could be adjusted.

In higher temperatures when I was sweating a considerable amount on uphill climbs and there was little or no breeze, the sun shade trapped the perspiration and made my neck and head feel clammy. In those conditions I felt that I may have been better off just wearing sunscreen instead of the cap.

The only other criticism I will provide is that on my single run with the cap, the sun shade was an unwelcome distraction as it bounced up and down with each stride and was generally a nuisance. Perhaps I would get used to it over time, but I don't run enough to find out.

SUMMARY

I think the cap performed as designed. Its light weight and overall coverage against sun damage were excellent. However, as noted above, there are some drawbacks (tight elastic band, clamminess, and noise) that make it less desirable in some conditions and situations.

TESTING STRATEGY

The end of summer is near and so my need for the full sun shade of the SunRunner Cap is dwindling. The next two months of testing will most likely find me wearing the cap without the detachable shade. I also don't have anymore backpacking trips planned, so I will mostly be wearing the cap on short hikes around town and possibly a few more short, 3 mile (5 km), runs.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I wore the cap during several trips to the Incline, a 1 mile (1.6 km) hike up 2000 feet (600 m) of an old cog railroad (the tracks are gone, but the ties are still there and make good steps), along with a 4 mile run back down the much gentler grade of the Barr Trail on Pikes Peak, just west of Colorado Springs, CO. The temperature was approximately 60 degF (15.5 degC) on each of my trips.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I used the cap without the sun shade, as anticipated, because the sun wasn't nearly as hot these last couple months, and because I've come to dislike the noise and clamminess of wearing the sun shade while I'm perspiring intensely. The ventilation and light weight of the Sun Runner made it usable where I think any other hat would have been too warm.

SUMMARY

In the end, I'm glad to have the Sun Runner with me whether I'm backpacking, hiking, or running. I think the unique sun shade design would work well in situations where I'm not moving or perspiring too much, such as when I'm fishing. However, in active situations I found the sun shade restricted air movement around my neck and head and generated too much noise to be comfortable. Thankfully, it is easily detached and stowed and the cap by itself is lightweight and very breathable.

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

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