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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Sunday Afternoons Eclipse Cap > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS ECLIPSE CAP
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
Logo

LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - November 25, 2010
FIELD REPORT - February 08, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - April 06, 2011

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy@backpackgeartest.com
AGE: 60
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

eclipse

Manufacturer: Sunday Afternoons
Year of Manufacture: 2010 - to be introduced in Spring 2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sundayafternoons.com
MSRP: $28.00
Listed Weight: 2 oz (57 g)
Measured Weight: 2 oz (57 g)
Sizes Available: Men's and Women's Medium and Large
Size Tested: Women's Medium
Colors Available: White, Slate, Baltic (dark blue) and Woodland (dark green)
Color Tested: Slate

Other details: (from the 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 inch (8 cm) foldable brim for easy packing
* Water resistant
* Flip-up crown panels with mesh venting
* Integrated, wicking sweatband
* Rear low profile hook and loop system for custom sizing
* Patent Pending
* Designed in USA/Imported
UPF

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Since the Sunday Afternoons Eclipse Cap (hereafter called "the Eclipse" or "Cap") I am testing will not be introduced for retail sales until spring 2011, I really didn't have too much to go on as far as expectations. Receiving the Cap, I was excited to note how lightweight it is and what a pleasing color "slate" can be!

The Eclipse is a traditional "baseball" style cap with a stiffened brim or bill, fitted close to my head with a hook and loop fastener in the back of the Cap for size adjustment. The adjustment strap is finished off with a small clear flexible tab with the Sunday Afternoons sun logo. Very classy-looking! The brim is fashioned with a "split" down the middle perpendicular to my forehead. This split allows the Cap to fold into a pretty small package for stuffing into my pocket. There is a small sun logo also embroidered on the front left of the Eclipse.

Most obviously different about the Eclipse is the venting construction of the Cap. Both sides of the Cap have flaps that can be flipped up to reveal mesh vents from the top front of the cap to the back. Very neat! Even with the flaps in the down/normal position, I perceive some airflow over the top of my head Most of the rest of the Cap also has a mesh lining as well.
Flap Folded Up on Cap
Eclipse "Flap" Reveals Vents
Mesh lining
Eclipse Mesh Lining

A thorough inspection of the Eclipse found no loose threads, no slipped or uneven stitches, or any other irregularities.

Along with a tiny "patent pending tag, a care tag is positioned at the back inseam of the cap telling me to "Hand wash cold. Line dry. No dryer. No iron." That sounds simple enough for me!

TRYING IT OUT

Eclipse The Sunday Afternoons Eclipse Cap is one lightweight piece of headgear! Pulling it on, I can hardly feel it is even on my head. It's that weightless. This is even more extraordinary to me since the cap is lined on the sides and the front with a mesh material, so more than half the cap is comprised of more than one layer of material.

I'm testing a "medium" sized cap and with the back "hook and loop" adjustment band, pulled as tight as I can (and still have it hold fast), the Cap fits my head very nicely - snug enough to stay put, but loose enough so as to be comfortable. If my head were to be just a smidgeon smaller, however, the Cap would be too big for me.

I got a big kick out of folding up the side venting flaps which will be great for those sunny snowshoeing days when I feel the sweat starting to tickle my scalp. Exertion easily builds up the heat in me, even in the winter time when the temperatures are below freezing. Taking off headgear works, but then there is always where to stick the cap until I need it. With the Eclipse, I should be able to get some relief without removing the Cap.

However, when I do need to stash the Eclipse, it folds up very compactly thanks to the crease/fold in the stiff bill. This bill, I might add, appears to be generously sized to keep out the weak Michigan sunshine I've tried it in so far. Can't wait to get back to Colorado where it will be much appreciated!

SUMMARY

Even though we are going into winter here in the north hemisphere, I have confidence I will be wearing the Sunday Afternoons' Eclipse Cap often. With its wonderfully deep brim, I am counting on it keeping the bright Colorado sun and snow from blinding me on the trails as I snowshoe (hopefully) through the next four months!


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Despite the winter weather as of late, I find I am still grabbing the Eclipse Cap almost every time I venture out onto the trails. Even in sub-freezing temperatures, it is just so dang handy for cooling off my sweaty head when I have been snowshoeing or hiking hard. I'd start out with a wool or Polartec beanie, heat up and swap the now damp hat out for the Eclipse.

So, I'd venture to say, I've worn the Cap on at least 5 all day snowshoe hikes and numerous other shorter hikes around our property, down the road to the mail box (5 miles/8 km round trip) and while sneaking treats to my neighbors' horses!

All of my outdoor activities have been in the mountains of Colorado and Utah, mostly south central Colorado in the Fremont, Cooper and Wet mountain ranges.

It's been very dry and rather warm up until two weeks ago when the temperatures really plunged. High temperatures have actually soared to 68 F (20 C) with average highs still above normal at 50-ish F (10 C). Average lows (daytime) have been around 35 F (2 C). We did have a period of 4 or 5 days where the daytime temps never broke 0 F (-18 C). Truth be told, I wasn't outside much on those days! Brrrr!

We've had lots and lots of glorious sunshine this winter, but I did get to wear the Eclipse in cloudy weather too and even, the one day I was participating in a snowshoe run/hike event at Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah, in snow showers.

So, I think the Eclipse has seen all that winter weather can offer here in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States!
Wearing the Cap

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

As I indicated, I've been either carrying or wearing the Eclipse quite a bit the last couple of months. It is quite handy. I can fold it down to next to nothing and carry it in my pocket, a waist belt pouch or even the smallest pack pocket I've got which is the bottom of the Columbia Mobex Winter back - and that's small! This portability makes it a no-brainer for me when packing up for the trail - why not take it?!
Size of Cap vs Clif Bar
I SAID it was small!

When it's been cold (the last month) I've used the Cap as a replacement to my usual winter headgear when I got hot on the trail. I sweat easily when hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains and rather than not have anything on my head, I would pull out the Eclipse and substitute it for whatever was there before. I would immediately cool down, especially if I initially turned up the vent flaps on the top sides of the Cap. As my noggin cooled down, I would put flaps in the downward position for more warmth. This scheme worked well for me.

I particularly like and need the sun protection the brim of the Eclipse provides. I have compromised vision and must shade my peepers from bright light, be it the sun or simply the glare of the snow and the Eclipse did/does that very adequately. The brim is not too short and yet not too long, but just right for me. (Gee, I sound like Goldilocks!)

And speaking of the brim, it did a very nice job of keeping the Utah snow shower debris off my glasses and the Cap itself didn't wet out for well over an hour of light, on-off flurries.

Sunday Afternoons indicated that the Eclipse Cap is stain-resistant and so far, I have to say, that is surely the case. Despite being crammed into corners of my pack with not-necessarily-clean gear and dropped countless times, the Cap still looks great. In the interest of gear testing though, I decided to wash the Cap to see how it held up to some soap and water.

Following the website instructions to hand wash, I filled a basin with cold tap water and used my favorite liquid tech soap (I use tech soap for all my washable gear). I just kinda swished the Cap around in the water a bit and let it soak for maybe, 20 minutes. I thoroughly rinsed the Cap in running cold water, squished out the excess water and set the Cap on a cotton towel to dry. I could have easily duplicated the procedure in the field had I been so inclined but frankly, laundry in the wild isn't my thing in any case other than blood - lots of blood!

After 3 hours - when I finally remembered to check - I found the Eclipse to be totally dry and looking good!

As of yet, I have not had to re-adjust the head adjustment strap, the Cap remains comfortably fitted to me. There has been no pulled stitch, despite numerous close encounters of the prickly kind - juniper and pine trees. Bright Ole Sole has not caused one iota of fading either. The Eclipse is holding up quite well!

SUMMARY

I'm please so far with the stellar performance of the Eclipse. It's cool, versatile, sun-shade efficient, easy to pack and easy to care for.

I know I haven't really stressed it so far during this test, but after my two weeks in Rocky Mountain National Park (right now) and then a couple of weeks in Florida at the mid/end of March, it will be exposed to even more snow and cold and then heat and humidity and of course in both venues, lots of sun.

Please bookmark this report and return in early April 2011 for my Field Report to see how the Eclipse and I have enjoyed the outdoors together.

Kathleen (Kathy) WatersI'


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Up until February, I had been experiencing an unseasonably warm and dry winter. While the west slope mountains of the Rockies got pounded with snow, the east side (Front Range) experienced record lows in precipitation. We experienced only one snowfall which measured less than 6 inches (15 cm). In order to find snow for our annual family Christmas Snowshoe, we had to drive into the mountains. Even on Mt. Evans, a 14,000+ ft (4300 m) peak, at 10,000 ft (3000 m), there wasn't enough snow! We ended up just hiking in winter boots but I digress.

I spent the last two weeks of February in Estes Park, Colorado where I did short (2-3 hours) dayhikes everyday. Estes Park is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, so the terrain is mountainous, heavily forested and begins at an elevation of 7522 ft (2293 m). While it was very sunny, it never hit the freezing mark and the winds were harsh averaging 10-15 mph (16-24 kph) with gusts up to 50 mph (81 kph). Humidity levels were higher than I'm used to in Colorado - about 41-45%.
Estes Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park


To counter the winter conditions of Colorado, I traveled down to Palm City, Florida for three weeks where I immediately was shocked with temperatures ranging from 56-84 F (13-29 C) and humidity levels upwards of 45%. My beach walking time was limited, but I still managed to get out there 3 times for several hours.


In between the Colorado and Florida extremes, I visited family in New Jersey for two weeks where it rained almost every day. The temperatures were pretty constantly about freezing.

Other than the two above listed trips, all of my outdoor activities have been in the mountains of Colorado, mostly south central Colorado in the Fremont, Cooper and Wet mountain ranges.

So, I'd venture to say, I've worn the Eclipse cap on at least a dozen occasions - day snowshoe or boot hikes and numerous other shorter hikes around our property, down the road to the mail box (5 miles/8 km round trip) and while sneaking treats to my neighbors' horses!

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My experiences wearing the Eclipse Cap in my home stomping grounds haven't changed my favorable opinion of the Cap from my previous report. This is one great little cap! It continues to impress me with its performance.

I think it is the lightest cap I have ever worn and even when I didn't "turn up" the side flaps for venting, the Eclipse kept my head from undue sweating. The fabric is almost weightless on my noggin! This was so great in humid Florida where I really didn't want to wear a hat due to the heat, but needed to, due to the sunshine. If I could be comfortable wearing a cap during my stay in Florida, I could be comfortable anywhere! And I was!

If I had one complaint about the Eclipse, it would be that I can't really tighten it enough for my comfort. I like my caps pretty snug. I'm way too often in windy conditions and I sometimes had difficulty keeping the Eclipse on my head. There were a couple of hikes around Lake Estes when I had to keep grabbing for the Cap as the wind whipped around me. I got really tired of holding on to it. For fear of watching the Eclipse sail across the semi-ice-covered water and drowning, I ended up taking it off and stashing it in my pocket. I really would like the adjustment capability of the Eclipse to have a bit more of a downward range.

I washed the Eclipse once (during the Field Report period of this test) not because it needed it - it didn't - but for the sake of this test report. I have to say, the cap never became particularly dirty and it wasn't stained by any tree sap, sweat, dirt, etc. The Cap continues to look just spiffy even with all the bending and folding of the brim and stuffing in pockets and packs.

As I said above, "this is one great little cap!"

SUMMARY

Despite the weather being more conducive to wooly or fleece-y hats these past two months, I did get in a good bit of time wearing the Sunday Afternoon Eclipse Cap. Since I tend to sweat easily during strenuous activities such as snowshoeing, a cap is often enough for me and the Eclipse did a great job of providing light headwear and adequate shading for my eyes. I particularly appreciated its lightness and the stellar venting system during my stay in Florida where it was hot, hot, hot. Really too hot for most any hat.

I fully expect to be sporting the Eclipse even more regularly for all my outdoor activities this summer!

Thank you for reading how the Eclipse and I have enjoyed the outdoors together and thank you to SundayAfternoons and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to try out this neat cap!

Kathleen (Kathy) WatersI'

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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