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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat > Owner Review by Lori Pontious
AFTERNOONS ADVENTURE HAT
July 29, 2010
I backpacked, camped and fished all over the lower 48 states with my family as a kid, and then life happened. I restarted these activities about four years ago - I dayhike or backpack 2-6 times a month. I am between light and ultralight. I have a hammock system and own a Tarptent. I am a side sleeper and typically use a NeoAir on the ground. My base weight depends upon season and where I go.
This is a 100% nylon hat with a 4" (10.15 cm) brim in front and a 7.5" (19.05 cm) veil that extends down the back of the neck. Two patches of mesh on the sides of the hat provide some ventilation. On the front of the hat at the base of the crown there is a decorative strip of fabric with a geometric pattern on it. There is a soft rectangle of absorbent material across the front inside of the crown (brow band). The hat is not insulated in any way. The crown of the hat is shaped to fit snugly on the head. The drawstring is generously long and has a cordlock to adjust up and down as I find necessary to keep the hat on in a strong wind. The product description on their website rates the Adventure hat (hereafter known as 'the hat') as UPF 50+. The UPF (Ultraviolet Protective Factor) measures how much ultraviolet light the fabric absorbs; a fabric with a UPF rating of 50 only allows 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to pass through it. A rating of 50 generally means that where the fabric covers the skin, the wearer is protected against about 98% of UVA and UVB.
There is a square fastener on the veil (loop) and another on the back of the dome (hook) to allow the wearer to anchor the veil up off the neck, and a 3/4" (1.91 cm) wide grosgrain strap with a plastic fastener that either allows for adjusting the fit of the hat, or unclipping it and leaving it open/loose.
Field DataI hike mainly in the Sierra Nevada, sometimes on the California Coast or in lower elevation parks and wilderness areas within the interior ranges of California, such as Henry Coe State Park or Pinnacles National Monument. I have been doing a lot of trail hiking but in some areas (Ventana Wilderness is a good example) the trail conditions vary greatly and I may be facing a wade through vegetation or a climb over (or crawl under) a downed tree. I frequently carry a bear canister due to the bear problems in the Sierra, especially in National Parks. I have been participating in our local search and rescue team and this takes me off trail, sometimes crawling through deadfall, avalanche chutes, or dense manzanita and buck brush. My leisure backpacking outings take me from low to mid elevation trailheads over high passes (10,000 feet and higher), through forested, subalpine and alpine terrain. If I use a piece of gear it gets a workout - I am not intentionally rough on things, but I try to find things that will survive my klutzy tendencies.
I have worn this hat every month, 1-6 times a month, for almost three years, since the day I purchased it to replace another hat with a shorter brim. It's been on my head on almost every hike I've been on, on top of passes and peaks, in brushy and overgrown canyons, in the high desert, on trails in state and national parks, and down the river trails and around lakes in the foothills. It's been with me on boats and in the backs of trucks. On occasion it has been blown or knocked off, but always saved by the drawstring. Properly adjusted, it fits down on my head and stays there without having to be so tight that it's restrictive, and it takes a good strong gust of wind to blow it off. Last month, I wore it on a search and rescue training and sometimes pushed my way through brush head first, letting the brim shield my forehead and eyes.
I hesitated because of the price -- there are plenty of hats that cost less and appeal more to my limited budget. But I am glad that I made the investment.
Some of the places this hat has gone:
Yosemite NP - Chilnualna Falls, Alder Creek Falls, North Dome, Half Dome, Tuolumne Meadows through Lyell Canyon up Donahue Pass and over (pine forest to alpine granite talus fields, subalpine meadows)
Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP - Lewis Creek Trail, Mist Falls trail, Panther Gap/Alta Peak/Alta Meadow, the Lakes trail, Marble Creek Falls (pine forests, open ridge along decomposed granite trailbeds, granite slab, subalpine meadows)
Pinnacles NM - Bear Gulch, the Balconies trail (low elevation, hot and sunny and open grass/scrub)
Ventana Wilderness and Henry Coe State Park (low elevation manzanita/madrone/scrub, open ridges and grassy fields, a lot of sun exposure)
Sierra NF - various trails and wilderness areas including Dinkey, Kaiser, Ansel Adams and John Muir Wildernesses (5000 - 11,000 feet elevation through forests, subalpine and alpine terrain)
Sequoia NF - Kern River CanyonJust looking at my hat it's easy to see from the crease in the brim (especially visible in the first picture) that it has been folded. The instructions say to roll it, don't fold it. Oops. You can also see that it's somewhat dirty looking. I hand wash once in a while, but as I mentioned, I use it a lot.
I have dipped the hat in creeks to cool my head, stuffed it in the pocket of my pack to keep it from blowing out of a truck bed while I ride in the cab, smacked away flies with it, used it to carry small items around like a purse, and on occasion left it smashed between the back of my head and the pack lid while hiking. While wearing it with the pack on, it does not interfere in any way with the pack, or vice versa, thanks to the floppy veil along the back of the head.
I struggle with sun exposure and heat. My fair complexion makes it difficult to avoid burning to a crisp on the granite at elevation. I am one of those unfortunates who will burn, peel, and never tan - just burn and burn again. This hat has been wonderful for me - I still put UPF 50 sunblock on my nose and chin, just because I am that paranoid, but on the occasional trip when I forget to do that, this hat has kept me relatively unscathed by sunburn. Without any protection I am feeling burned within half an hour and people start to worry about me as I soon resemble a cooked lobster. I have forgotten this hat once and had to slather up with lotion and use a bandanna over my head - having the hat is a much cooler solution, since I then require less lotion. More lotion will clog pores and make me sweat more. Now I make sure that the last thing I do when packing for a trip is to fasten this hat to the pack! No more shadeless trips.
I have used the hat with a headnet to keep flies, gnats and mosquitoes off my face with good results. I am somewhat claustrophobic and like that the long brim keeps the netting a good distance from my face. The veil down the back keeps sun and rain off my neck. Hiking in the rain with the hat, I put up the hood of the rain shell/poncho only in a steady ongoing downpour, to keep water from running right down into the pack frame. On short hikes where I do not care and have dry clothes waiting in the car, I've gone without rain gear and kept my face relatively dry in late afternoon Sierra showers using the hat. Once out of the rain it dries quickly.
Despite my smashing, mangling and catching it on branches on an ongoing basis, the hat has not suffered any broken stitching, nor has the strap and buckle broken or torn off. Other than the layers of dirt and sweat and sunscreen (I am washing it today, honest) it looks the same as the day I bought it. Well, except for the crease I put in the brim. Roll, don't fold. Got it.
It's easy to adapt the hat to different temperatures. I use a bandanna or Buff under it sometimes for added warmth in below 50 F (28 C) daytime temps, or to drench and wrap around my forehead when it's very hot.
The hat has one mildly annoying trait - the wide brim tends to catch and amplify sounds and to bounce my own voice back to me too well. I suppose if I really enjoyed the sound of my own voice, this would be a good thing. At first hiking down a trail with the hat, I found myself hearing what I thought was someone walking right behind me - it turned out to be the sounds of fabric on fabric from my own clothes and pack, caught by the hat brim. I have since been able to tune that out.
If I am not paying attention, I sometimes run into low hanging branches since the long bill blocks my vision upward. I have learned to keep an eye on the terrain in front of me, which I should be doing anyway, and to be more pre-emptive. It takes more head movement to look around as the broad brim does bend down into my peripheral vision somewhat.
Overall, the Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat does its job very well - it keeps the sun off comfortably while I hike. To someone like me who has already experienced the bite of skin cancer, the minor inconveniences are outweighed by the excellent coverage it provides and its durability.
Pros:Sufficient brim to shade the face adequately.
Adjustable to head size
Ventilated, cool hat
Back flap fastens out of the way if the wearer wants air on the back of the neck
Cons:Distorts local sounds
Blocks field of vision partially
Not a "cool" hat (it won't set any trends for fashion)
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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat > Owner Review by Lori Pontious
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