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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Outdoor Research Radar Cap > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

OUTDOOR RESEARCH RADAR POCKET CAP
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - June 19, 2009
FIELD REPORT - August 24, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - October 28, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy@backpackgeartest.com
AGE: 58
LOCATION: White Lake, Michigan USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.63 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres of public land bordering my 35 acre "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband, John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: US $25.00
Listed Weight: 1.8 oz (51 g)
Measured Weight: 2 oz (57 g) - as measured on my office scale which only gives increments of 0.5 oz (14 g)
Colors Available: Burnt Orange, Slate, Khaki
Color Tested: Khaki
Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL
Size Tested: Medium
OR Radar Pocket Cap
Picture Courtesy of Outdoor Research

Other details: (from manufacturer's website)

+ Supplex® nylon fabric; UPF 30+
+ TransAction™ headband for comfort and moisture management
+ Folding bill for easy storage in pocket

Made in China

"Infinite Guarantee - Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever."

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Thanks to a very nice graphic and zoom feature on the Outdoor Research website, there weren't any surprises when I finally got my hands on the Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap (hereafter called simply "the Cap"). I particularly like that OR allows me to click on various color swatches and view the whole cap in each of those colors. It made it easier to choose the color I wanted the most even though I liked all three colors.

The Cap in my chosen Khaki color is very attractive. The Cap is constructed in four sections. There is a more or less 6 inch (15 cm) in diameter in width and 7 inch (18 cm) diameter from front to back flat top section attached to a tubular 2.3 inch (5.8 cm) high crown section. A 1 inch (2.5 cm) band joins the crown to the Cap bill. The bill is split in two at its center and is hemmed with a same color binding. The bill is 2 inches (5 cm) at its apex. It has same-colored neat seams which attach the various sections together. I like this as in my experience contrasting color seams often either get discolored or are obvious if a stitch is pulled or crooked.

Speaking of seams, the quality of the Cap is evident in the precise neat stitches with no loose threads or any other defects. The material is properly positioned so the Cap's seams lay flat with no puckers or pulls.

The inside of the Cap is lined with a dark green except for the TransAction™ headband which is black. There is a multi-layered set of fabric tags at the back with the Outdoor Research logo, international care icons, fabric content, country of origin and size.

A mostly same-color, nicely embroidered, 3 inch (7.6 cm) Outdoor Research logo is positioned on the lower left of the band and a small (1 inch/2.5 cm) black OR label sewn in the back center of the Cap. There is a small same-color embroidered "UPF 30+" positioned on the back right band also.

The Cap is very light in weight! The nylon fabric feels and looks smooth.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Care Instructions are on a cloth tag attached to the inside headband in the back of the cap. They are listed in both the international and USA symbol icons format. I looked the icons up - I can't seem to ever remember them - and they translate to: "Use gentle/delicate wash cycle; do not bleach; iron using low temperature setting; do not dry clean; dry on low." But on the underside of that same tag, a simple ""Wash separately" in French and English is printed.

Easy enough!

TRYING IT OUT

As I indicated in my Initial Impressions, the Cap is very light weight! It certainly beats out all of the hats I already own. It folds up to a neat small package which fits in my favorite wind jacket pocket and adds negligible bulk and weight.

I was concerned as to whether the Cap would fit properly since my headband measurement falls smack dab in the middle of the size chart on the Outdoor Research website. A small is designated as 21-5/8 inches (55 cm) and the medium is listed as for 22-1/2 inches (57cm). My head measures 22 inches (56 cm) even. Fortunately, I've been in this situation before - I have the OR Nimbus Sombrero - and the same size chart applies. My medium Sombrero fits me comfortably and while the medium Radar Cap is not snug, it is not loose enough to be a problem. How it works in windy conditions remains to be seen.

SUMMARY

This concludes my Initial Report. See below for my experiences with the Cap to date.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Over the last couple of months, I've worn the Cap over a dozen times for periods ranging from a 2-3 hours to all day (8-10 hours). That does not count the additional dozens of times I quickly pulled on the hat for a quick errand outdoors and what-not. The sun in Canon City, Colorado is generally quite bright and I have sensitive eyesight so I rarely even walk out to the car for a left-behind item without putting on a hat and sunglasses.

Most of the time, the Cap's wearings were in hot and dry climates, for example Utah and Colorado, but I did wear it several times while visiting Beaver Island which is located in northern Lake Michigan and around our house in White Lake in lower southeast Michigan. Overall, the temperatures ranged from a low of 50 F to a high of 105 F (10-41 C). While it was rather dry in the west, Michigan more than made up for the lack of moisture (for testing purposes). If it wasn't humid, it was cloudy and misty and if it wasn't cloudy and misty, it was raining!

Elevations ranged from sea level to over 7000 ft (2100 m).

Side view of OR Radar Cap
At Arches National Park in Utah
Front View of OR Radar Cap
OR Radar Cap in Arches National Park

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Radar Cap is probably the lightest weight headgear I own. It takes up practically no space at all in my pack or even a shirt or pants pocket. The lack of bulk renders it almost non-existent when stashed, which was not often for me when I was out of doors these past two months. The foldable split brim is a brilliant feature and works exactly as I'd hoped.

The relative weightlessness of the Cap was most welcome during July and August when the sun was so bright and fierce that a brimmed hat was almost mandatory. While I have a lot of hats that would have kept my eyes shaded, none are as comfy, weight-wise, as this Cap. Once adjusted onto my head I would easily forget it was there for the most part. It is that lightweight and well-fitting.

In the worst of the dog days of summer, even the Cap caused me to feel warm and I would sometimes remove the Cap from my head to let the sweat dry a bit. At times, the Cap's headband would be damp feeling and looking with a dark visible rim of moisture. Usually the Cap would be dry before I would be ready to put it back on. I would love to see the connecting band of the Cap changed to an open wicking material to help cool off a hot head!

Primarily I wear a hat or cap for its shading functions. I need to keep the sun out of my already compromised eyes. So I usually look for a wide, wide brim. Shockingly, to me, the small brim of the Cap is perfect for protecting my vision. No more do I need a huge heavy cap to get the coverage I need. The little Radar Cap is just fine, thank you. I think the fact the Cap itself sits so far down on my head is the reason the brim can be so small, but whatever it is, I like it!

Fashion is not something I prize highly in trail clothing. The Cap is cute, but I'm not crazy about the styling. That said, I have no trouble at all grabbing it first when breaking out the hiking poles. Wearing the Cap, I can however immediately tell when I need a haircut - the hair sticking out every which way is a dead giveaway.

So far, I have washed the Radar Cap twice in a regular top-loading washing machine on cold water wash, using powdered regular detergent. When finished, I shook out the hat and laid it on a flat surface to air dry. The Cap turned out great and looks almost new. No stains from sweat remain or any other stains for that matter.

Easy to wear, easy to pack and easy to care for - so far, so good!

SUMMARY

I am very pleased with the Outdoor Research Radar Cap after two months. It's been fun to wear and not something I think twice about wearing. I'm sure I'll continue to get more use from it in the coming months.

This is the conclusion of my Field Report. My Long Term Report follows below.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

OR Radar Cap in Black Canyon, CO
Cap in Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, Colorado
Autumn is my favorite time of year to hike and backpack. As usual, I made good use of the gorgeous weather to get in several day hikes in September and October. Aside from my almost daily hikes down to the mailbox - a 5 mile (8 km) trek - and weekly 4-6 hour hikes in the public lands behind out property, I spent 9 days hiking in various locations in southwest Colorado, the Mesquite, Nevada area and Zion National Park and Arches National Park in Utah.

Colorado one-day-each hikes took place in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Gunnison and Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez. A total of 2.5 days were spent there. Mesquite hikes included trails in the Valley of Fire State Park and Desert National Wildlife Range where I spent 3 days checking out the scenery. Lastly, 2 way-too-inadequate days were devoted Zion National Park and 1 day in Arches National Park.

All of the above hikes were in desert and canyon conditions where the day time temperatures were between 30 F and 95 F (-1 C and 35 C). No significant rainfall was experienced, but we did have to wait out a shower under a ledge in Zion National Park one day.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I continued to find the OR Radar Cap to be a very worthy piece of headgear these past months. The size and weight of the Cap is sufficient to do the job of protecting my head and eyes from the sun, but not a bit over that sufficiency. This makes for a spare but very useful article of clothing! There is no unnecessary bulk or clutter, just enough coverage and no more. When wearing the Cap, I am not overly conscious of it. As a matter of fact, on one hike, I was searching the bushes looking for my Cap when my husband laughingly informed me the Cap was on my head!

Maybe, it's because of the small bill, but I found the Cap will stay put in strong winds better than some of my other baseball-type caps. I was the only one of my hiking party of four to be able to keep my hat on during a day hike in Arches National Park just last week. Everyone else had to hike one-handed while hanging onto their hats or they had to stow their headgear in their packs. This head-hugging feature was great as the sun was bright and I needed the shade from the Cap so I wouldn't walk off the edge!

While I never experienced any real rainfall while wearing the Cap, I did encounter a light rain shower on a trail in Zion National Park in Utah. Before we took refuge under a very conveniently-placed sandstone overhang, the Cap did get damp. Not damp enough to bother me, but I did note it. After the rain stopped and we continued our journey, I forgot about the Cap, so I can't say how long it took to dry out, but I know it was dry by the time we finished the trail a couple of hours later. I was pleased to see that even with its shorter-than-usual bill, the Radar Cap kept the raindrops off my sunglasses.

Even when I had other hats available, I kept my Cap stowed close at hand to be ready when I wanted it. I love the way it fits in almost any pant pocket, my daypack, even a purse. I really enjoyed being able to pull it out whenever I felt the need. I probably will be putting it away for the colder winter weather, but definitely look forward to many more days in the sun with the Outdoor Research Radar Cap!

SUMMARY

I've enjoyed wearing the Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap. It is so light I hardly am aware it is on my head in all but the warmest temperatures. The brim is short, but very adequate for shading my eyes. Particularly useful is the way the Radar Cap's brim folds so neatly as to fit in a shirt pocket. No longer will I have to think twice about whether or not I have space for a hat. For the foreseeable future on all hikes, if it is not on my head, the Cap will definitely be in my pack.

Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and Outdoor Research for allowing me to test this cool Radar Pocket Cap.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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