SUNDAY AFTERNOONS ECLIPSE CAP
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
INITIAL REPORT - November 19, 2010
FIELD REPORT - February 08, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - April 05, 2011
bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
Salida, CO, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
42 in (107 cm)
36 in (91 cm)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Sunday Afternoons
|The Eclipse Cap|
Year of Manufacture:
Manufacturer's Website: www.sundayafternoons.com
Listed Weight: 2 oz (57 g)
Measured Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Color Tested: Woodland
Size Tested: Large (also available in medium)
Other details provided by manufacturer:
Take outdoor active sports to a new level. Superior ventilated crown vents
open and close to keep you cool, while offering outstanding UPF coverage.
- Certified UPF 50+ breathable nylon sun fabric (mesh vents not rated)
- 3" foldable brim for easy packing
- Water resistant
- Lightweight: 2.0oz
- Flip-up crown panels with mesh venting
- Integrated, wicking sweatband
- Rear low profile hook and loop system for custom sizing
- Sizes: Men's and Women's M,L
- Patent Pending
- Designed in USA/Imported
The Sunday Afternoons Eclipse Cap, hereafter referred to as the "Eclipse" or the "cap," is a lightweight baseball-style cap that incorporates ventilation and UV protection in one stylish cap. The Eclipse came with a single hang tag attached to the top of the cap with general information about the manufacturer. From the outside, the cap appears to be made entirely of a nylon fabric that is smooth to the touch. There is an attractive hem around the base of the cap that wraps around the front of the brim as well. The brim is 7 3/8 in (18.6 cm) wide and about 3 in (7.6 cm) deep. The cap features two flip-up panels that reveal the mesh fabric for ventilation when opened.
|The mesh lining|
The brim itself is made of two panels that can fold together to conserve space in my pack. The underside of the brim is the same dark color as the hem which looks great to me.
The interior of the Eclipse is lined with a mesh fabric on the sides of the cap, but the very top has no mesh fabric. There is a tapered sweatband that wraps around the interior of the cap that is pictured to the right. Also in the inside of the cap is a tag containing care instructions. There is a single hook and loop strap on the back of the cap that is laced through a buckle. The strap has a plastic tab sewn into the end of it that has the Sunday Afternoons Logo incorporated into it.
I must say, this is a much lighter cap than I am used to wearing. I generally hike with an off-the-shelf type of cap with no attention to features, just the logo! The construction of the cap is top-notch. I could find no loose threads or blemishes anywhere. Given the amount of stitching this cap has compared to others I have owned, I find that impressive.
The Eclipse is also very comfortable. The mesh fabric is soft and the fabric tag on the inside does not irritate me. I was a little worried that the flip-up panels would look odd when I used them, but they look fine after all. Overall I am quite pleased with the Eclipse.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The hang tag that was attached had very little information I was interested in. Most of the information was regarding the history of the company which was interesting but of no consequence.
The care instructions were quite clear: hand wash with cold water, line dry, no ironing and no dryer. I am interested to see how easy this cap is to care for over time.
The Eclipse is so new it has not been added to the website yet so there was little information to go on there. I will say that the sizing charts for similar hats were a great plus on the website for me! I did find the website easy to navigate as well as informative. As of the writing of this report, there is a "Deal of the Day" feature for those shoppers that are as thrifty as me...
I am very excited to test this cap over the next four months. I am curious to see how the sweatband performs while hiking. I like the look and comfort of the cap as well. I am a little apprehensive about the durability of the brim. It will be interesting to see if the fabric will be affected by repeated bending as I store the cap from time to time.
I would like to thank Sunday Afternoons for their generosity as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series. Please check back in approximately two months to see how the Eclipse is holding up!
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
So far I have worn the Eclipse at least three times per week either around the house, in town or out in the backcountry. This includes one overnight trip, a three day trip and three day hikes, all in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
The first trip was a three day trek in the San Isabel National Forest along the Colorado Trail. There was snow along almost the entire route and while I took snowshoes they weren't needed much. Temperatures were cold, anywhere between 5 and 35 F (-15 and 2 C) but otherwise clear. Elevations ranged from 9,000 to 11,500 ft (2,700 to 3,350 m) with an estimated trip of 24 mi (39 km).
My final trip was an overnight to hike Mt Shavano in the San Isabel National Forest. With warm temperatures around 40 F (4 C) and clear skies it was a great time to be in the backcountry. Elevations ranged from 9,500 to over 14,000 ft (2,900 to 4,300 m) with alpine and rocky conditions as well as snow covered trails.
The three day trips were very similar to my overnight hikes with little to trace amounts of snow and mild weather conditions. One was a hunting trip in the Colorado Rockies, another was a day hike with my wife and son and the other was a day hike to the Waterdog Lakes.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have been very impressed with the performance of the Sunday Afternoons Eclipse Cap so far. For those who are not familiar with Colorado weather, the test period has provided above average temperatures for what I am used to (up until a recent arctic blast that hit two weeks ago). As the picture to the right shows, I have the vents open despite the snowy trails because of the warm sun and exertion. While hiking along the Colorado Trail, I experienced some great weather and I appreciated the ability to allow excess heat to escape from my noggin. Of course I had no idea how I looked in the hat with the vents open until after seeing my pictures but I have to say I like the style and look.
|Backpacking under a Colorado blue sky|
I was especially interested to see how well the Eclipse could handle perspiration. Many other hats I have worn become saturated with sweat but the combination of the sweatband and the mesh vents kept the cap dry most of the time. I found that within 10 minutes in our dry climate the hat was almost completely void of any damp spots.
Another feature I have come to appreciate is the ability to pack down the cap to a very small size. When I needed to switch to a warmer hat as the conditions changed, I found that I could quickly stow the Eclipse in a jacket pocket until I had a better opportunity to take my pack off and stow it away there. I have actually forgotten that I had the Eclipse in the cargo pocket of a pair of pants and thought I misplaced it once!
The cap provides good sun protection as far as I can tell. I don't sunburn easily, but I can comment on the shade the brim offers. It is certainly on par with other caps I have worn and provides good cover. Durability has been great and I can see no signs of wear; no stains, no fraying.
In fact caring for the cap has been hassle free. I followed the directions to hand wash and air dry the cap with mild detergent just to see if the shape of the hat would be altered or any other anomaly. It looks just like new still.
I have struggled to find any problems with the Eclipse so far. What I really like is that it is attractive, provides good sun protection and also vents very well.
This concludes my field report. Please check back in about two months to see how the Eclipse does after another two months of testing! I would like to thank Sunday Afternoons and the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series!
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the past two months I have continued to wear the Sunday Afternoon Eclipse Cap between two and three days per week as a casual cap, but more importantly it has accompanied me on three more overnight trips. Combined with the two day hikes I took this brings the total field use to five backing trips totaling 11 days and 6 nights as well as 5 day hikes.
My first backpacking trip was an overnight to Bushnell Lakes in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in Colorado. This out and back trail of 10 mi (16 km) started off at 7,700 ft (2,350 m) with a good clean, but rocky trail and ended in several feet of snow at 12,000 ft (3,660 m). The weather was clear at times, but cloudy with light snow. Temperatures ranged from 30 to 60 F (-1 to 16 C).
The second trip I took was actually in the same vicinity but a different drainage and followed Big Cottonwood Creek up to 11,000 ft (3,350 M) over 10 mi (16 km). There was a fair amount if bushwhacking through aspen and subalpine forests with plenty of deep snow in the upper basin. Overall the temperatures were mild, between 40 and 70 F (4 and 21 C).
My final trip was a warm up for my summit attempts this spring and summer near Mount Elbert in the San Isabel Forest of Colorado. This steep trail had a little of everything - rocks, snow, creeks - starting at 9,700 ft (2,960 m). I camped at 12,000 ft (3,660 m) and awoke to 6 in (15 cm) of fresh snow. Altogether, I hiked 7 mi (11 km) on this hike.
The day hikes I took were both in the San Isabel Forest but were beautiful trails; weather and conditions. The hikes were short ones near Buena Vista, CO and total mileage was 8 mi (13 km).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
This hat rocks! Throughout the test I have enjoyed almost summer-like weather and the hat really made a difference in my comfort. For example, while hiking at Mount Elbert, the temperatures were at about 70 F (21 C) when I started and the terrain was quite steep. I could really tell the difference between my standard cotton baseball caps and the Eclipse. There was no sweat streaming down my face, my head was relatively cool and most importantly the sun was out of my eyes.
I continue to like the style and look of the hat. Since the brim folds in half I was curious to see if it would look noticeably different. The picture to the right shows the hat while I was hiking the Big Cottonwood Creek Trail and I can hardly tell there's a crease in the brim. My wife thinks that the hat looks weird when the flaps are open to vent, but since I only open them when hiking I can handle it! The sun protection is great. The brim is big enough to block out the sun. It isn't so big that my vision feels restricted which is a plus.
|On Cottonwood Creek trail|
One thing I have come to appreciate is how easy the hat is to adjust. There were a couple of times that I put a light beanie underneath the hat for warmth and it was easy enough to adjust. I have noticed some minor sweat stains where the brim and the crown of the hat meet. Despite my efforts to wash the hat following the directions, the stain remains.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Sunday Afternoons Eclipse Hat. It is a lightweight winner in my opinion and is excellent for keeping my head cool. The Eclipse will easily become my "go to" hat for hiking in sunny or warm conditions.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
Things I like:
- Superior moisture wicking and venting capabilities
- Easy to stash; packability
- Attractive look as well as functional
Things I would change:
- There is a sweat stain forming
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Sunday Afternoons and the fine folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series!
Read more reviews of Sunday Afternoons gear
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin