Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Great protection all around, especially on the back; brim is angled for longer protection, good ventilation, comfortable.
Cons: Velcro tab on the back.
Best Uses: Climbing, hiking, camping, water sports, barbeques, reading outside.
The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat wins our Editors' Choice award for being the best all-around sun hat. It's not the most stylish hat, but it makes up for that with its exceptional protection, breathability, and comfort. It also is on the cheaper side compared to most of the other hats we tested. If you are looking for a hat that will keep you comfortably protected from the sun while doing your favorite activities, then this is the hat for you. However, if style is really important to you then you might want to look at the Best Buy award winning REI Paddlers Hat or the Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas Hat.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This hat was the second most protective hat we tested. Its down-turned brim gives you protection throughout the day as the sun rises and lowers, while the cape in the back gives your neck full protection. The only drawback to the cape is that sometimes in the wind it will expose your neck to the sun. It offers a rating of UPF 50+ throughout the hat although that is probably lower on the sides where there is mesh ventilation. The only other hat that offered more protection was the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap.
Part of what makes this hat so comfortable is its weight. It's only three ounces and feels like you're not even wearing it. It also has a strap in the back for tightening it so that it's nice and snug, as well as a neck cord that you can cinch up when the wind picks up. Like the other hats we tested, this one has a sweat band, but it's only in the front for your forehead. This sheds weight but also makes it a little less comfortable, because on the sides the seams can be a little scratchy. A sweat band that encircled your entire head would fix this. Overall this was a really comfortable hat and we enjoyed wearing it all day long. The most comfortable hats we tested were even lighter and were made of softer materials. If you are interested in one of those, then check out the Outdoor Research Sun Bucket.
The sides of the hat are made of mesh and are surprisingly breathable, giving you the ventilation you need for your activities, whatever they may be. The material is also very breathable and helps to cool down your head on those hot days. One thing that we noticed is that the down-turned brim actually traps some of the heat from escaping, which is not preferable on hot days. But this only slightly decreases its breathability. Overall this hat had the right amount of breathability for just about any activity we used it for.
Because of the lightweight materials we gave this hat a lower durability rating, but that doesn't mean it isn't durable, only that over time the lighter materials will wear out faster. We do wish that the Velcro tab on the back had a better design, because when you first get this hat it comes with a little piece of cloth over the Velcro to prevent it from sticking to the cape. But we lost this piece of cloth very fast, and think that they should have just kept the Velcro off altogether.
The brim is very crushable; after our 30-minute crush test it was slightly bent, but we were able to straighten it out very quickly and it was basically undamaged.
This was definitely one of the less stylish hats we tested, and will probably get you a few weird looks. But that doesn't really matter if you're getting protection, right? Well, that's for you to decide. There are plenty of other hats that offer pretty good protection but look a lot better, like the REI Paddlers Hat.
The Traveler Hat, $28, is packable and perfect for any trip.
The Lotus, $40, is a wide-brimmed women's sun hat.
— Devin Chance
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 12, 2013
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