Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap
By Shawn Chambers
November 23, 2014
sound_foundation AT yahoo DOT com
Lexington, Kentucky, USA
5' 10" (1.78 m)
177 lb (80.30 kg)
Backpacking Background: I love Appalachian hikes and being in the woods. My preference is for a hike that leads to a stellar view. Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina are my usual stomping grounds. I am a mid-weight kind of guy, but increasingly find myself enjoying longer, multi-day hikes and I am conscious about shedding some pack weight, but in a fiscally responsible way. I also climb and prefer clothing that can pull double duty.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
|Courtesy of Outdoor Research website|
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: US $27.00
Size Tested: Medium - US Size 7 1/8 22.5" (57 cm)
Listed Weight: Avg Wt 1.8 oz (51 g)
Measured Weight: 1.7 oz (48 g)
Other Sizes Available :
Small - US Size 6 7/8 - 21 5/8" (55 cm)
Large - US Size 7 3/8 - 23 1/4" (59 cm)
XLarge - US Size 7 5/8 - 24" (61 cm)
I was fortunate enough to win an Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap (hereafter generally just "cap" or "hat") during a local climbing charity event in late 2013. Normally, I extensively research any piece of gear I purchase and have some preconceived notions by the time I actually acquire the gear. This was certainly not the case here.
My first impression when handed my prize was that I would wear it. That may not seem like much of a glowing endorsement, but I can't always say that about freebies. The short brim and cadet styling was similar to other caps I already owned and this is a style I really like versus a more traditional baseball cap. The folding brim I figured to be nothing more than a novelty, but I did like how small of a package I could fold it into. The neutral khaki color was fine by me since I try to steer clear of really flashy gear. Because it was cold weather and I was already wearing a knit cap, I tucked the OR hat in my jacket pocket and ended up forgetting about it for several months.
This may sound as if the cap didn't make much of an impression and to a degree that is correct, but the blame lies squarely with me and not the Pocket Cap. This is truly a piece of gear that I later realized needed to be worn to see how brilliant it really is.
In the Field
In the Field
Fast forward to a sunny spring day several months later. My lightweight windbreaker was feeling good, but the sun was a constant source of annoyance at my local climbing crag. Reaching into my pocket during a snack break I happened upon my raffle prize from months earlier. It was folded so neatly and weighed so little that it must have been serendipity guiding my hand. I wore the cap the rest of that day and it not only blocked the sun, but I liked how airy it felt on my head.
As the months of 2014 passed, this cap became my default headwear. I kept cool during summer hikes with temperatures reaching as high as 95 F (35 C). The material wicked my sweat away and when not in use the cap stowed easily in my back pocket or jacket pocket. Sitting around campfires at night with temperatures dipping into the 50 -55 F (10 - 13 C) range, I used it as light insulation. As much as I was already starting to like this cap I still considered it as just a really nice baseball cap. The difference was about to become very apparent.
Date: November 16, 2014
Trip Location: Red River Gorge
Distance Covered: Approximately 8 miles (13 km)
Weather: overcast and drizzling rain 38 - 40 F (3.3 - 4.4 C)
I promised some friends a hike and I also wanted to do double duty and field test an alcohol stove. The day seemed promising enough and any rain in the forecast was not supposed to hit until 4 -5pm. Instead a steady drizzle started at noon and did not quit. I had a proper rain jacket, but I hate wearing the hood because it blocks my peripheral vision. I figured I would just keep wearing my cap until my head got wet and then I would use my hood. I sat to make tea and the rain beaded off my cap. Warmed up, we continued on our trek and mile after mile (unbelievably to me) my head stayed dry. I would occasionally pop the cap off my head and give it a quick shake, but that was about it. Granted this was not a downpour, but I easily hiked 5 miles with no sign of water penetrating through. Back at the trailhead, I used the small hang loop sewn inside to let it air dry in the car.
|Raindrops keep BEADING on my head.|
|Five miles of drizzle.|
Back to School - Radar Pocket Cap 101
I was so impressed with the Pocket Cap's performance on that rainy trip I actually decided to check out the company website when I got home. Outdoor Research highlights that it is breathable, wicking, and lightweight. That much I already knew, but I did not know that it offered UPF 30 sun protection. I also had no idea that it came in a checked pattern or in a host of colors such as crocus, pewter, or glacier to name a few. The material is listed as 100% Supplex Nylon and the interior sports a "Wicking TransAction Headband". Also, it is marketed as a unisex cap. Outdoor Research does not mention anything regarding water repellent features, which to me was what sold me on the cap.
The Outdoor Research Pocket Radar Cap is truly one of my favorite pieces of gear now. Not only does it perform well in a variety of environments, but I like the style and the durability has been great. My cap still appears virtually new after logging many hours in the sun. The weight and size means I never have to leave it behind.
The only slightly negative thing that I could say is if the hat has been folded for long periods of time the bill stays a bit peaked and the sides gap slightly until the hat has had a chance to assume its natural round shape from being worn. This is such a minor complaint that it is almost unmentionable, but that is all I can come up with to detract from this great cap. I look forward to many more trail miles with it.
|Good things do come in small packages!|
Thanks for reading and happy hiking!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Shawn Chambers