Research Radar Cap
Series by Jennifer Koles
Skip to my Initial
Report- June 22, 2009
Skip to my Field
Skip to my Long Term
Report- October 22, 2009
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California,
After getting into the outdoors
scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched
to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked
extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California,
Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting
my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and
distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear
and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year round in
all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and
a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.
The author in the Narrows at Zion
National Park, Utah.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer Website: www.outdoorresearch.com
Guarantee: The Radar Cap has an infinite
guarantee. From the manufacturer: "We believe so
strongly in the quality of what we make that if, at
anytime, our product fails to meet your needs, we are
happy to exchange or return it. Because of this solid
belief, our products are guaranteed forever and are
designed with this in mind. Your total satisfaction
in our product is our goal."
(average): 1.8 oz (51 g)
Measured Actual Weight: 1.75 oz (48
Sizes Available: Small 21 5/8 in (55
cm); Medium 22 1/2 in (57 cm); Large 23 1/4 in (59 cm);
X-Large 24 in (61 cm)
Size Tested: Small
Burnt Orange, Slate, Khaki
Color Tested: Khaki
MSRP: $25.00 US
Photo obtained from the Outdoor Research website.
The Outdoor Radar Cap is what I
would consider to be a small billed cadet style
cap. The manufacturer indicates on the product
website that the Radar Cap is a street-styled
cap. The key components of this hat are the Supplex
nylon fabric, the TransAction headband, and the
The Supplex nylon fabric has an Ultraviolet Protection
Factor (UPF) of 30+. The UPF rating system measures
the UV protection that is provided by fabrics.
It is similar to the SPF rating that sunscreens
use. The nylon fabric is lightweight and it reminds
me of the fabric used in some of my other sun
The Radar Cap has an appealing
style in my opinion. It has a small foldable bill
measuring 5.5 cm (2.17 in) at the longest part.
There is fold in the bill that has fabric reinforcement
on the top of the bill. The underside of the bill
is dark blue in color (the same as the hat lining)
and has no stitching for the folding bill. On
the underside of the bill, I can see a ridge under
the fabric where the bill folds. The folding bill
was designed to easily store the hat in a pocket.
The hat is constructed of two layers of the Supplex
nylon. This material is soft to the touch and
feels light in weight. The inner layer is dark
blue in color. The inner layer has the same stitching
as the outer layer, but they are joined together
at the band of the hat. The entire hat is single
stitched in the corresponding colors of the fabric
pieces. There is a small patch on the rear center
of the hat that is black with white lettering
with the company name and logo. The rear of the
hat has UPF 30+ embroidered just off-center in
the same stitching color as the outer hat body.
The front of the hat has the company name embroidered
in tan (in the same color as the outside of the
hat) along with the logo embroidered in blue (the
same color stitching as the inside of the hat).
The TransAction headband is located around the
entire inside bottom of the hat. The 3.5 cm (1.38
in) wide black band is sewn on one side along
the base of the hat. The band seems to have some
vertical stretch to it. The band is indicated
by the manufacturer to provide comfort and moisture
There is a tag on the open end of the TransAction
headband indicating that the Radar Cap was made
in China. There are also care instructions on
a tag in this same area. These instructions are
the universal fabric care symbols. I had to look
up the meaning of all the symbols and here is
what I have found. The hat can be laundered in
water that is 30 C (85 F) on the permanent press
setting, no bleach, tumble dry low, do not dry
clean, and iron on a low setting.
I like the styling of the Radar Cap. Some of the other
Outdoor Research hats have such large logos. I was pleased
that this hat was tastefully designed without a large
logo on the front in contrasting colors. The Radar Cap
seems well constructed. There are no loose strings or
tears in the fabric. The stitching is even and straight.
I was concerned about the sizing because my head measurement
came out to 53.5 cm (21.06 in) with my hair squashed.
My hair is naturally curly and I was wondering if the
size small would be too tight on my head. It actually
fits perfect and I am glad I did not go with a larger
A hang tag came with the Radar Cap. This tag has no
information about the hat other than the name, style
number, the color, the size and a UPC. The tag has information
on the guarantee and mostly company/product information.
Prior to receiving the Radar Cap I browsed the company
website to determine what size I should order. The website
was easy to navigate and listed the key features of
the hat and a sizing chart. There was a photo of the
hat that was interactive allowing me to zoom in to view
sections of the hat at a closer range. I was able to
change the color of the hat in the photo by clicking
on the fabric color swatches. This was kind of neat.
It eased the color selection process.
During the past two months the Radar Cap was
worn on one backpacking trip, four hiking trips, around town,
and on the beach path (rollerblading and walking).
Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest,
Utah: I wore the Radar Cap here on two day-hikes
that turned into night hikes. There were downpours of heavy
rain in the area and the Radar Cap became wet. The hikes
ranged from 4 to 6 mi (6 to 10 km) in length. The temperatures
ranged from the upper 50 F (10 C) range to the upper 60 F
(16 C) range. The elevation ranged from 8,200 ft (2,499
m) to 10,220 ft (3,115 m).
Reservoir, Utah: The Radar Cap was worn here for a full day
in the sun while walking and participating in kayaking and
paddleboarding. The elevation here is approximately 5,000
ft (1,524 m). The temperatures were in the 90's F (32 C).
San Jacinto State Park, California: This
was originally a backpacking trip that turned into a day hike,
due to me having an injured toe. The high temperature was 78
F (26 C) and sunny skies. The Radar Cap was worn for the entire
hike. The high elevation was 9,400 ft (2,865 m).
Yosemite National Park, California: Three
days backpacking in Yosemite National Park. The temperatures
ranged from 43 to 80 F (6 to 27 C) mostly sunny skies except
for a thunder, rain, and graupel storm our first afternoon.
The trails were mostly dirt, rock, and wet rock down the Mist
Trail. The trip was approximately 20 mi (32 km). The Radar
Cap was worn here in the daylight hours and then folded and
stored in my pack or my jacket pocket. The starting elevation
was 8,600 ft (2,621 m).
Mammoth Lakes Area, California: The
Radar Cap was worn here at Mammoth Lakes, exploring a ghost
town, and on day hikes around Mono Lake. The elevation at the
ghost town was 8,375 ft (2,553 m) and the elevation at Mono
Lake was 6,382 ft (1,945 m). The high temperature was 84 F
(29 C) with sunny skies.
Performance in the
I have enjoyed wearing the Radar Cap throughout
the field reporting phase. I found the cap to be stylish and
it complements my hiking attire. The color goes with practically
everything. I love the cadet style of the cap. I think it complements
my facial features well.
The Radar Cap fits my head well. In light
winds it stays on my head, but in stronger winds it falls off.
I wish that there was a cinch cord at the back of the hat for
a few reasons. One, I could cinch the hat down when it is windy.
Two, I could wear my hair a few different ways with the cap
and it would still stay in place. Three, a cinch cord would
just give me a little bit more security, due to fear of the
cap falling off. Four, a cinch cord would be nice to hang the
cap from to dry in the field.
The cap dries very quickly. In the sun light
the cap dries in less than two hours. I had the hat exposed
to some rain drops. They do seep through the top layer of fabric,
but the water drops dry quickly. After the hat was exposed
to water drops they dried in less than 30 minutes. In a soaking
rain the two layers of fabric become wet.
The headband is comfortable and seems to help
with sweat management. Perspiration did not roll out from underneath
the hat on to my face. However, I had to wipe my forehead with
a cloth in high temperatures, just because it felt wet. Since
there is no mesh for ventilation I found that my hair at times
would become damp while wearing the cap, especially in the
back and sides where the headband was touching my hair. Since
this cap has two layers of light weight fabric it would be
nice to have some added ventilation with some mesh areas. I
noticed that the cap is not too stinky when it becomes
damp from sweat or when I wear the cap for a long period of
time. It has a slight sweaty smell, but nothing too offensive.
The Radar Cap fabric still appears to be keeping
its UPF properties, even after several washings. My head did
not become sunburned while wearing the cap all day in the sun.
I have to wear sunscreen on my ears while wearing the hat since
they are completely exposed to sunlight.
The bill of the Radar Cap shadows the upper
half of my face from overhead or direct sunlight (as seen in
the picture below). The bill is rather small, but it does the
job of shading my eyes from the sunlight. The folding bill
is great! I just fold the cap in half and stuff it in my jacket
pocket or one of the side pockets on my pack. The bill has
retained its shape and there is no wear on the area that folds
at the tip of the bill.
The Radar Cap has been washed
at least eight times. I washed it by hand on occasion, but
I mostly washed it in the washer. The bill has not become bent
or damaged by washing the cap in the washer. I have never placed
the cap in the dryer as I let it air dry. All the stitching
is still intact and the headband has not stretched.
During the past two months the Radar Cap was
worn on one backpacking trip, three hiking trips, around town,
after mountain bike riding, and on the beach path (rollerblading
San Jacinto State Park, California: I
wore the Radar Cap here on a one night backpacking trip and
to San Jacinto Peak. There was no precipitation
and the temperature range was 60F (16 C) to 80 F (27 C). The
highest elevation reached was 10,834 ft (3,302 m).
Red Rocks, Nevada: This was
a two-day climbing/hiking trip. Sunny skies and the temperatures
ranged from 58 F (14 C) to 66 F (18 C).
Orange County, California: I
wore the cap here in Peters Canyon on a day-hike and in Limestone
Canyon on a guided day-hike. On both hikes the temperatures
reached the high 70's (25 C) with morning fog. I also wore
the Radar Cap after mountain bike riding at Whiting Ranch,
El Moro Canyon, and the Fullerton Loop.
Performance in the
During the long term reporting phase of testing
I took the Radar Cap with me on almost all of my outdoor activities.
I made good use of the cap while wearing it after mountain
biking. My hair would be matted down after wearing a helmet
and the Radar Cap was a good headwear option after riding to
cover my messy hair. During this testing phase I continued
to wear the cap on day-hikes, on one backpacking trip, rollerblading,
walking, and around town.
I am very happy with the Radar Cap. It fits
great, dries quickly, and protects the top of my head from
sunburn. When the cap becomes wet it fully dries in about two
hours when exposed to sunlight. Most of the time I washed it
in the washer. The bill has retained its shape and there are
no wear areas in the fabric from washing or general use.
My ears still become sunburned when wearing
the cap. But, the cap is not designed to cover my ears. This
is one of my favorite hat styles and not having my ears covered
does not bother me. I just apply sunscreen to my ears and travel
I wish the hat was designed with a cinch cord,
just to give it a more snug fit when needed in wind. I can
bend over and look upwards and the cap does not fall off my
head. However, with wind gusts the cap blew off by head. I
think a cinch cord would solve this problem.
The fabric is lightweight and breathable.
However, I think some mesh added to the design of the hat would
allow for more ventilation, especially in warmer temperatures.
The integrated headband inside the hat does
an excellent job of preventing sweat from migrating down my
face. Even when the headband dries after wearing the hat in
warm temperatures it does not stink of dried sweat.
The fold up styling of this cap is great.
It packs down small and the bill retains its shape. I can fold
it up and store it in a side pocket of all my backpacks. I
even folded it and stored it underneath a cinch cord on my
small waist pack that I use for rollerblading.
I am very happy with the Radar Cap and I intend
to use it during many outdoor activities.
- Folds compact
- Light weight
- Quick drying
Things That Are
- No cinch cord
- No mesh ventilation
- The bill is on the small side
my long term reporting on the Radar Cap. Thank you Outdoor
Research and backpackgeartest.org
for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.