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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat > Test Report by Jeff Ruhle

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS ADVENTURE HAT
TEST SERIES BY JEFF RUHLE
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 20, 2010

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jeff Ruhle
EMAIL: jjruhle@madski.com
AGE: 23
LOCATION: Winter Park, Colorado, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

I developed a love for backpacking while spending the semester abroad in New Zealand. I enjoy playing games and seeing how little I can pack to keep my pack light, however, I always pack a lot of food. My favorite terrain is steep, rugged, alpine terrain with more vertical and less horizontal. Living in New England, I find a lot of this terrain since the trail makers don't seem to make many switchbacks. I also am highly involved with a large number of other outdoor activities like skiing, kayaking, climbing, and biking. Generally, I like to push my comfort zone.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Side View
Manufacturer: Sunday Afternoons
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.sundayafternoons.com
MSRP: US$36
Listed Weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Measured Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g)
Color : Cream/Coffee

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

IMAGE 2
Top Vew
The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat arrives with very little packaging, just a protective plastic bag and tag. It seems to be a well built hat, with a very specific purpose, to keep away the sun. You can tell this immediately from the massive brim, large neck curtain, and the "UPF 50+ Rated 'Excellent Sun Protection" which is right across the front of the very small tag.

It seems to be a very well thought out hat which is fairly well built. There are a few loose threads on the inside of the hat, but none appear to be in immediate danger of coming loose. The one feature that has completely failed right out of the box is the little plastic clip in the back. It is attached to a black strap which can be tightened or loosened to adjust the size. Luckily the hat is rigged with elastic underneath the strap, so it still fits reasonably well. If you look closely, you can see this in the picture labeled 'Top View'. It looks as if I am supposed to be able to press a tab in the middle of it for a quick release, but with less pressure than it takes to stretch a medium sized rubber band it comes right apart. This makes the feature completely useless as it comes apart the moment you try to tighten the adjustment strap. In the long run I may just end up removing the strap, but for testing purposes I will leave it in place.

TRYING IT OUT

IMAGE 3
Bottom View
After removing it from the plastic and tags, I tried it on for the first time. It was very comfortable due to an elastic band in the back that tightens it around your head. For me it seems to be just the right amount. I don't think that it will be so tight that it causes a headache, but tight enough that I know it is there and will not fly off in the slightest breeze. And in case the wind does start to get too strong, there is a strap that you can cinch down under your chin.

One thing I noticed right off the bat was the brim. It is huge and comes out from the crown at a fairly steep angle. As such, it comes down to about the level of my eyes and maybe two inches (51 mm) out from my nose. It certainly limits my field of vision, but that also means it should do a great job blocking the sun. I like it, because if I do wish to take on the sun, I can just tilt the whole hat back for an increase in field of vision.

IMAGE 4
Front View
The neck curtain is one of the things that I was a little worried about before the test. I have a very long neck, and sometimes the bottom portions of it do not remain completely covered. The neck curtain on this hat, however, is quite long. When I flex my head as far forward as I can, there is a very small gap (about 1/2 in or 12.7 mm) between the bottom of the curtain and my t-shirt.

Other features that are worth mentioning but cannot really be commented on just yet are the dark underside of the hat (supposed to be easier on the eyes) and the two hook and loop tabs that allow you to keep the neck curtain up.

SUMMARY

Things I Like:
-Supreme sun-shielding design
-Texture of the fabric
-Super light design
-It floats, according to the literature (not tested yet)
-Long neck curtain completely covers my neck almost all the time

Things I Dislike:
-Useless plastic clip on the back


This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back in 2 months for the Field Report. I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.com and Sunday Afternoons for the oportunity to test this hat.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The hat was used on three hiking trips since the Initial Report. The first was a trip to St. Louis Lake in Fraser, CO. This was a relatively moderate hike of about 6 miles, mostly along a closed dirt road. It was in 70s F (21 C), with bluebird skies.

The second and third trips were both in Hawaii, on the island of Kaua'i. The first day we hiked the Alakai Swamp Trail. The second day we hiked to the Kualolo Lookout, across the cliff trail to another lookout, and back out to complete the loop. The first day was sunny at first, getting cloudy and sprinkling on us in the afternoon. The second day we remained under overcast skies for the majority of the trip. Both days were in the 80s (26 C), with very high humidity. I would guess the elevation gain of both hikes to be around 2000 ft (610 m).

I also used the hat 4 or 5 times while rafting the Upper Colorado River. Generally, these days were clear with temperatures in the 80s (26 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

For the most part, I am very pleased with this hat. The very wide brim sweeps down and does a superb job of protecting my face from the sun. This does, however, come with a price. The brim also blocks a large portion of the upper part of your vision. I guess it is a trade off; field of vision for sun protection. The fabric hanging off the back is also plenty long enough to cover the entirety of my neck.

On all three hikes, I was primarily in the woods, and felt that I would have rather had a little more vision and less of the sun-blocking brim. Once out of the woods, however, I was usually thankful for the large brim. Bu in exposed areas, the wind was often quite a problem. Like any hat, the wind would catch in the brim like a sail, and this hat having such a large brim, it was quite a nuisance. However, rarely did the hat fly off my head thanks to the string that runs under your neck. However, one rafting trip it did, but it was no problem. Thanks to the foam in the brim, it stayed right on top of the water and its light color was easy to spot against the darker water. Once out of the water, the fabric seemed slightly hydrophobic, as it has not absorbed too much water and dried out very quickly.

SUMMARY

For the right applications, this is a great hat. It has done a great job of keeping the sun off me, and I would highly recommend it for rafting and hiking in more exposed locations. However, in less exposed areas like forests, I would not recommend it.

Things I Like:
-Supreme sun-shielding design
-Texture of the fabric
-Super light design
-It floats
-Long neck curtain completely covers my neck almost all the time

Things I Dislike:
-Useless plastic clip on the back
-Reduced field of vision
-Can be very annoying in high winds

I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Sunday Afternoons for the opportunity to test this hat. Please return in two months for my Long Term Report!


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since the Field Report, I have taken a great number of trips, most of which were in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. However, I did spend a couple days on the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and in Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The first trip was to the top of Pawnee Mountain from Long Lake Trailhead. The class 2 trail started of in the valley and was fairly flat. It then gets very steep as you head up many switchbacks to the top. The total elevation gain was about 2600 ft (792 m). It was a gorgeous day with the temperature around 70 F (21.11 C). After summiting and having lunch, we blazed our own trail down one of the couloirs on the East Ridge. I am not sure what the total mileage was due to our route, but I would guess it to be about 7 miles (11.27 km).

The second trip was to Skyscraper Peak, just north of Rollin's Pass. The trail was mostly class 2 and fairly flat, with two switchbacked steep sections and one short class 3 section right before the peak. The total elevation gain was about 600 ft (183 m) and total distance was about 6 miles (9.66 km). The weather was sunny with the temperature around 70 F (21.11 C).

The third trip was a loop to Mount Neva, starting at the Meadow Creek Trailhead, reaching the peak after hiking along the southern ridgeline from Columbine Lake, and traversing the difficult class 4 ridge to Caribou Pass. Other than the class 4 North Ridge, the rest of the route was class 2 with some fairly steep sections that were not switchbacked. As with Pawnee Mountain, the trail follows the valley and is fairly flat in the beginning, and getting very steep as it heads from the valley up to the peak. The total elevation gain was about 3600 ft (1097 m). It started out as a very nice day with plenty of sun and temperatures in the 60s F (15.56 C). However, in true Colorado style, thunderstorms rolled in around 2 pm, just as we were descending from Caribou Pass.

The last trip was a long weekend in the Sangre de Cristo range and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This was last weekend, the 15th-18th of October. Being so late in the season, the mornings were very chilly, but it often warmed up to around 60 F (15.56 C) during the day. It was sunny every day. The first day was spend sandboarding in the dunes. Then from the Point of No Return Trailhead, we hiked up the Medano Primitive Road and spent a night at a campsite along the road. The next day we hiked up to Medano Lake, which sits right below Mount Herard, and returned to the car. The trail was mostly class 2, with a few creek crossings. Down by the dunes it was very sandy which made for slow progress.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Being someone who hates putting on sunscreen, but also hates getting burned, I wear the Sunday Adventures hat quite often. At the high elevations of the Rockies, often a short two hour hiking will leave you burned. As I mentioned in my Field Report, I am very pleased with this hat. The wide brim does a superb job of protecting my face from the sun, even though it does block a large portion of the upper part of your vision. However, on the high alpine hikes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, where I spent a large portion of the time above treeline, I would say the benefits are well worth it.

The one day that was spend sandboarding, the hat was in my backpack for the majority of the day. It was fairly windy that day, and the brim kept catching the wind and getting blown around. The adjustable strap which you can tighten down under your chin helps, but the wind was still too much of a nuisance for me to want to wear the hat. The subsequent days, however, I was very glad to have the hat as we hiked through the desert-like terrains next to the dunes. It kept the sun off my face which not only kept me from getting burned, but also helped to keep me cool.

The sweat band is one feature that I had not paid much attention to in the past, as I don't really sweat much. However, several times while hiking up Medano Creek I dipped the hat in the water and was surprised by how much water the band absorbed. This was nice in my case, as it helped keep me nice and cool.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 1Things I Like:
-Supreme sun-shielding design
-Texture of the fabric
-Super light design
-It floats
-Long neck curtain completely covers my neck almost all the time
-Sweat band can absorb quite a bit, keeping me cool.

Things I Dislike:
-Useless plastic clip on the back
-Reduced field of vision
-Can be very annoying in high winds

Thanks to Sunday Adventures and BackpackgearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this hat.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat > Test Report by Jeff Ruhle



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