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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Sunday Afternoons Charter hat > Test Report by Ray Estrella

Sunday Afternoons Charter Hat
Test Series By Raymond Estrella

INITIAL REPORT - July 13, 2014
FIELD REPORT - September 19, 2014


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 54
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.


The Product

Manufacturer: Sunday Afternoonscharter Hat
Web site:
Product: Charter Hat
Year manufactured: 2014
MSRP: US $49.00
Weight listed: 3.6 oz (102 g)
Verified weight: 3.49 oz (99 g)
Size: Large
Color reviewed: Cream/Sand
Image courtesy Sunday Afternoons

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The Sunday Afternoons Charter Hat works very well as a sun-blocking head covering, a passable rain hat and even a bug repelling device. I found that the sizing does not run true to Sunday Afternoons other (previous) headwear. Large is larger now… Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The Sunday Afternoons Charter Hat (hereafter called the Charter or hat) is a lightweight hat (or as the company calls it "sun fedora") that provides pretty good sun protection. The protection comes from the 100% nylon that it is made of. The nylon is said to block 98% of UV and provides an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ (40 at the top crown mesh ventilation).

The nylon has also been treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) that Sunday Afternoons call their ShieldTek technology. This is said to make the fabric dry 3-5 times faster than un-treated fabrics.

IMAGE 2       front back

It has a brim that is 3.25 inches at the front and back and 2.5 inches at the sides (64 & 83 mm). The brim is I believe made of foam trapped between two layers of the nylon. It is stitched through every 0.25 in (63 mm) round and round the brim. The foam allows the hat to float when dropped in the water. Sunday Afternoons calls it their "FloatCore brim technology". (I call my gel pen Ink Transfer Technology… ;-) The bottom of the brim is made of a darker nylon than the rest of the hat. This is to cut glare.

The side band (or barrel) of the Charter has an extra layer of material for the first inch (25 mm) above the brim. It matches up with the soft sweat band on the inside and adds strength. They added a couple slots in the outer layer and say that it can provide a secure parking spot for sunglasses by sliding the arms into the slots.

The top consists of a flat one-piece crown. A thin support wire runs around the outer edge of the crown. Just under the crown the top inch (25 mm) of the side band is made of polyester mesh. From outside it looks like the mesh has small holes but actually it is an extremely fine mesh as can be seen when looking at it from the inside.

glasses pocket

Looking inside shows a pocket that covers the entire crown of the Charter. It has a small patch of hook-and-loop as a closure. At the very back of the hat there is a "Anchor Lock", a flat sliding dis-connect buckle on a thin nylon strap that allows the hat to be cinched tight to the head. Just under the Anchor Lock is a tag with the size and material information on one side, and washing instructions on the other. They are; hand wash cold, line dry, no dryer, no iron. (No problem…) The last thing to notice inside is the wicking sweatband.

The Charter may be kept on my head in windy conditions by tightening the adjustable chin strap that drops from the sides. The strap runs through a small cord-lock. One cool thing about the Charter is the way that it will collapse flat for storage. Just push down on the crown and it drops down to about one inch (25 mm) thick.

That's the Charter hat. Now it's time to get it in the field to see how it works. Come back in a few months to see how it did.


Field Data

Old railway

I have worn the Charter Hat on five overnight backpacking trips so far. Two were on the North Country Trail (NCT) in the State of North Dakota (ND) along the Sheyenne River and Lake Ashtabula. The picture above was taken on the edge of the lake. Two were on the same trail in mid-northern Minnesota (MN), one in Paul Bunyan State Forest and the other in White Earth Indian Reservation. One trip was on my side (western) of MN between the town of Halstad and Hendrum on private and public right-of-way lands along the Wild Rice and Red Rivers.

Temps have run cool at night all summer, hitting as low as 42 F (6 C). Highs have run the gamut with days that were 82 F (28 C) and humid to one that never went above 48 F (9 C) and rainy. In fact every trip saw at least some rain. That's why I am in full rain gear in the shot below taken in Paul Bunyan State Forest.

Rainy day


First off let me warn you dear readers of the sizing issue I have with my Charter Hat. I have at this time three other Sunday Afternoons hats (and have had others) dating from 2003, 2010 and 2012. All of them are size Large and all fit fine. So I was a bit surprised to find that this hat, in a size large, is much bigger fitting (looser) than any of my other hats. I am able to wear it but have to really pull the adjustment strap quite a way in, which pulls the crown in. I wish I had found one to try on first in which case I would have ordered the Medium. It's still a great hat though.

On the lake

The Charter Hat has definitely gotten a workout from me over the past two months. The hiking in ND was in open fairly flat terrain with almost no tree cover so the hat was a life saver. Chin strapThe wind was blowing on both trips and on the hottest day I tried to let the hat hang from its string to see if I would be cooler without it. Within five minutes I was broiling though and put the hat back on where it stayed for the duration of the day's hiking. The picture above was taken on that trip.

The chin string has been used a lot, like in the shot at right. On all but the trip through White Earth, which was the only hike in solid tree cover, I had winds strong enough to blow the hat off. On the White Earth trip I didn't need the hat to block sun (it was raining off and on all day) but I did need it to block blood suckers. The mosquitoes were horrible. With the high humidity I couldn't get my bug repellent to work and had to resort to draping a bug net over the Charter Hat. I need to find a net that will go over the crown and fit better for future use.

One of the first things I did was soak the Charter Hat with a 1.25% solution of permethrin and then let it dry thoroughly. Permethrin (which I have reviewed here, see Sawyer Permethrin) is a bug repellent that works at a microscopic level to repel mosquitoes, ticks and other biters. This is the ingredient in bug-proof clothing and I have just learned to do my own. When not raining the treated Charter Hat worked well to keep the mosquitoes off my head and upper face. Here is a shot of the Charter Hat with net covering.
Buggy day
I made the mistake of soaking the hat in Lake Ashtabula to attempt to make myself cooler on my hottest hike. As I was swishing it around I noticed that the lake is probably the dirtiest one I have ever encountered. It is flat full of bull sh... uh, cow dung. I hated having to go out in it later that day to get water for filtering. Because it was so filthy I washed the hat as soon as I got back home. I just took it in the shower and scrubbed it with soap by hand. It cleaned up well and dried overnight. I treated it with permethrin again just to be sure it would still repel bugs on my future trips.

Which are going to start right now as this report is over. I leave next week for Oregon and six days in the mountains. Please come back in a couple months to see how the hat did at elevation. My thanks to Sunday Afternoons and for letting me put it to the test.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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