OUTDOOR RESEARCH BUG BUCKET HAT
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
INITIAL REPORT - June 19, 2009
FIELD REPORT - August 17, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - October 13, 2009
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week-long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
June 19, 2009
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
|Image courtesy of OR website|
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: $35.00 US
Listed Weight: 38g (1.4 oz)
Measured Weight: 37 g (1.3 oz)
Size Tested: M - Listed as for head size 57 cm (22-1/2 in) Other Sizes Available: S, L
My Head Circumference: 55 cm (21-3/4 in)
Color Tested: Spring (green) Other Color Available: Sky (blue)
Made in China
The Outdoor Research W's BugAway Bucket Hat is a narrow-brimmed hat that is shaped kind of like a fishing hat. It is made from 100% nylon fabric which is treated with Insect Shield bug repellent. The active ingredient is 0.52% permethrin. Insect Shield is supposed to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and no-see-ums. The treatment is claimed to last for 70 normal machine washings. This seems like a lot of washings for a hat, so for me that would make the treatment last quite a long time.
There are two small sewn eyelets on either side of the dome for ventilation. There are loops on either side to attach a chin cord but no chin cord is included. The fabric under the brim is white.
The BugAway Bucket is rated as SPF 30+ sun protection since the materials used are UV resistant.
Included instructions say not to dry clean because it will remove the active ingredient and say not to re-treat with other permethrin insect repellent products. The tag also says to wash treated garments separately from other clothing. There are also storage and disposal warnings to not contaminate water or food through improper disposal, to discard in trash when worn out and not to use it for purposes other than as a garment.
I will plan to machine wash it with my other permethrin-treated clothing on occasion. Or else I will simply hand wash it. On the trail, I may wet it often to help keep my head cool in hot conditions.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
My first impression was how small the hat is. It arrived in a very small plastic envelope. When I opened it up, I was pleased with how light the hat is. I tried the hat on and it fit well although the size Medium is sized slightly larger than my head size. The hat is really light weight and doesn't feel like I am wearing much on my head at all.
Although the brim is narrow, the hat extends down over my head such that the brim is just above eye-level. So it seems to provide a good amount of shade for my face.
Since it looks like a fishing hat, it isn't the height of fashion. My husband calls it my Gilligan hat. I personally don't mind how it looks as long as it works.
I wore it outside in the heat of the day and found that my head stayed fairly cool. The ventilation is limited, but with its light weight it really didn't seem to hold in much heat.
I haven't yet tried it in buggy conditions so I cannot comment on that. However, I like the idea of using alternate methods to control mosquitoes which allow me to minimize the amount of harmful chemicals that I spray on my skin.
From my initial look at the Outdoor Research W's BugAway Bucket Hat I find it to be well-made. Mosquito season is just getting started in the Sierra so I'm anxious to give it a try.
Minimizing the amount of chemicals I spray on my skin
Will the permethrin treatment be effective?
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the BugAway Bucket hat for backpacking, camping, hiking, fishing and general outdoor activity like gardening, building a deck and just hanging out. On average I wore the hat 2-3 times per week.
Bassi Creek: Northern Sierra Nevada (California): 6 mi (10 km); 6,200 ft (1,900 m) elevation; 80 F (27 C); heavy mosquito infestation.
Pacific Crest/Tahoe Rim Trail, Sierra Nevada (California): 3 days; 17 mi (27 km); 7,390 to 9,010 ft (2,252 to 2,746 m); 50 to 85 F (10 to 29 C). The mosquito conditions were typically heavy at dusk but only a problem in wet areas during the daytime. My husband had to take a photo of how the hat matched my pistachio pudding!
Caples Lake, Sierra Nevada (California): 3 days; 7,805 ft (2,379 m); clear sunny conditions, mosquitoes at dusk.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
When we got out of the car at the Bassi Creek trailhead, we were immediately swarmed by mosquitoes. We all began spraying whatever bug repellent we had. I put on my BugAway Bucket and long-sleeved shirt. I was wearing capri-length pants, so I only sprayed my exposed lower legs. Things got a little better as we started moving, but the trail loops around and follows Bassi Creek. So at times there were sections of marshy areas where water was draining toward the creek. We hiked for 3 miles (5 km) with the group and then stopped for lunch. The mosquitoes were fairly bad but if we stayed in the sun it wasn't terrible. We all sprayed ourselves again and then split up. My husband and I wanted to fish, so we hiked downstream a bit further and then worked our way back up the creek. In the end, I had a few bites on my lower legs and some bad ones on my ankles where I had been bitten through my socks. My neck and face did not have any bites.
We were sitting on the deck at my brother-in-law's house one evening and the mosquitoes attacked us at dusk. One landed on my forehead, so I ran off to the car to get my BugAway Bucket. I wore it the rest of the evening and didn't get a single bite on my head or neck although I did have bites on my arms. This happened again at dusk on our Caples Lake trip, but once I put on the hat, I didn't get any additional bites on my face and neck.
Although I've been a bit skeptical of the bug-resistant treated clothing, I have to admit that when I wore the hat, it definitely had an effect on mosquitoes. They still buzzed my head and even landed on the hat, but I have yet to get a bite on my neck or face while wearing the hat.
I haven't washed the hat yet and haven't even rinsed it in water on the trail as I expected I would.
I wore the hat one day while we were building a new deck. It was hot and sunny and the hat provided good shade for my face. A thunderstorm came up and it started raining lightly. It only rained a light amount but it was great to have the hat to keep the drops from hitting my face and water running down it.
The hat extends down over my forehead which puts the brim just above my eyes. This allows a good amount of shade on my face even though the brim is quite narrow. While hiking in the morning I noticed that the sun hit the tip of my nose and chin. At mid-day, the hat kept my entire face and neck shaded. I like the narrow brim because it doesn't seem to interfere with my vision as much as a wider brim.
On hot days I found my head getting really hot and sweaty in this hat. However, the hat is very light weight, so honestly I can't see how it could be more breathable unless it was made of mesh (which wouldn't be a very good sun or rain shield!). So, overall I have no complaints about its breathability.
I found the OR BugAway Bucket hat to be effective in repelling mosquitoes from my face and neck. It is a comfortable light weight hat which provides sun protection and a bit of rain protection too.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Long-Term test period, I used the hat for 5 day hikes, 2 backpacking trips, 2 camping trips and 1 canoe outing for a total of 12 days of use.
Appalachian Trail, White Mountains (New Hampshire): 3 days; 2,032 - 5,367 ft (619 - 1,636 m); 45 to 70 F (7 to 21 C). Clear weather. Some mosquitoes. Quite a few gnats.
Pacific Crest Trail, Central Sierra Nevada (California): 2 days; 9,610 to 10,500 ft (2,929 to 3,200 m); 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C). Clear weather. Minimal bugs.
Baxter State Park, Maine: 4 days; 1,079 ft (329 m); 38 to 65 F (3 to 18 C). Clear to rainy weather. Some mosquitoes. Fair amount of gnats and black flies.
Shawme-Crowell State Park, Cape Cod, Massachusetts: 1 night; nearly sea level; 40 to 55 F (4 to 13 C). Light rain. Minimal bugs.
Lonesome Lake, White Mountains, New Hampshire: 3 mi (5 km); 1,740 to 2,730 ft (530 to 832 m); 70 F (21C); clear conditions. Some mosquitoes
Moose Pond Loop, Baxter State Park, Maine: 3.5 mi (5.6 km); 1,050 ft (320 m); 65 F (18 C); clear conditions. Black flies and mosquitoes.
Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine: 10.4 mi (16.7 km); 1,079 to 5,267 ft (329 to 1,605 m); 38 to 65 F (3 to 18 C); clear conditions. Some mosquitoes at lower elevations.
Sandy Stream, Baxter State Park, Maine: 1.0 mi (1.6 km); elevation approximately 1,000 ft (305 m); 60 F (15 C); clear conditions. Some mosquitoes.
Hemlock Road & Gorham Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine: 4.0 mi (6.4 km); 157 to 682 ft (47 to 208 m); 67 F (19 C); clear conditions. Minimal insects.
Grassy Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine; partly cloudy to light rain. Some mosquitoes and gnats.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I machine washed the hat just prior to the long-term testing period. It was thrown in with other backpacking clothing and washed in cold water on normal setting with he (high-efficiency) detergent. I hung it to dry. There was no noticeable change in the hat at all (except for it being clean!). I repeated this washing again just before my last backpacking trip, but we encountered so few bugs at this time of year that I cannot say whether the hat's insect-resistant properties were affected after the last washing.
The hat is fairly flimsy and crushes very well. Unlike the Men's version, I cannot tuck the hat into its crown, but it tucks away easily into a pocket or pack. It never seems to get deformed and springs back to its correct shape once I put it on my head.
I didn't mention it in my field report, but I added a chin strap to my hat making use of the chin cord loops. I find it necessary to have a chin strap since I encounter windy conditions. It came in handy many times at higher elevations where the wind was whipping. I also used the chin strap for attaching it to my pack when not in use.
Although the mosquito population lessened somewhat as this test continued, I had the same experience of having no mosquito bites on my face, head or neck. The mosquitoes do seem to land under the brim of the hat on my face, but they either are deterred by the hat or take so long to bite me that I swat them away before they do. I encountered several situations with gnats and black flies in Maine and New Hampshire. The gnats did not seem to be affected by the BugAway hat at all. They readily flew into my eyes despite the hat being very close by. I was bitten one time by a black fly on the back on my neck just below my hairline while wearing the hat.
I like the sun protection that the hat provides. It covers my face well when the sun is high in the sky. Although it doesn't provide complete coverage at lower sun angles, I find the compromise of a smaller brim to be worth it. The brim doesn't obstruct my vision nearly as much as some of my other hats.
I found the OR BugAway Bucket hat to be effective in repelling mosquitoes from my face and neck. It was less effective against gnats and black flies. It is a comfortable light weight hat which provides sun protection and a bit of rain protection too.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Repellent against mosquitoes
Not so repellent against gnats and black flies
This concludes my Long-Term Report and test series for this hat.
Thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith