Which hat would Audrey Hepburn pick out if she found herself in a gear shop in 2019? Why, the Arc'teryx Sinsola, of course! This female-specific hat earned our Top Pick for Feminine Style because it's one of the most stylish and comfortable models we tested. It's also impressively crushable so it can be tucked into a bag and brought out to complement any outfit whenever the sun appears. However, the Sinsola isn't adjustable, and its thin, stretchy material won't hold up to repeated rugged use in the great outdoors. It's also tough to wear with a backpack, and it's not the most breathable option we tested. If you're looking for a hat that's still stylish but that can take a beating in the backcountry, check out the Filson Summer Packer instead. And if you don't give a damn about style but you want rugged performance, the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure may be the hat for you.
Arc'teryx Sinsola Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Stylish, packable, comfortable.
Cons: Not adjustable, brim affects sightline, not well ventilated.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Updated by Arc'teryx in 2019, the Sinsola is first and foremost a good-looking lid, and that's why it earned our Top Pick for Feminine Style. The simple design and sleek silhouette of this hat make it easy to pair with just about anything, from hiking pants and a t-shirt to a sundress at a casual wedding. It's comfortable, and it's light enough to keep in your bag for whenever you need it. The Sinsola is not adjustable, breathable, or durable enough to hold up to repeated rugged use in the backcountry, but if you're just looking for an attractive around-town option, this is a great pick.
While the Arc'teryx Sinsola (shown in blue below) wasn't the highest scorer in every category, this female-specific hat earned high marks for style and comfort, which is why we named it our Top Pick for Feminine Style.
In general, the cape-style sun hats we reviewed were more protective than the full-brim hats, like the Sinsola. Still, the Sinsola will offer adequate protection for sunny days around town.
The Sinsola's brim is widest in the front at just over 3 1/2 inches, and it tapers down to 3" in the back. This is squarely in the middle of the pack of full-brim hats. For comparison, our co-Editors' Choice, the Filson Summer Packer, has a 2 3/4" brim all the way around, while the Outdoor Research Sombriolet is 4" in the front and back and 3 1/4" on the sides.
In spite of its relatively wide brim, the Sinsola falls down in the protection category for a couple of reasons. Its unique brim shape makes it dip into the wearer's field of vision, so if you actually want to look around and take in the view while you're enjoying the outdoors, you have to flip the brim up to do it. This obviously leaves your face exposed, limiting the protectiveness of this hat. We also found that the back brim hits the top of even a 36-liter backpack, pushing the hat forward and simultaneously exacerbating the vision issue while exposing the back of the neck. All of this is to say: The Sinsola offers enough protection for strolling around town or kicking it on the beach, but it's probably not the best choice for backpacking trips, river expeditions, or ski tours.
The Sinsola scored exceptionally well in this category and is one of the most comfortable hats we tested.
Compared to the rest of our test group, the Sinsola is a very simple hat. It's not adjustable, so there are no itchy sweat bands or pinching toggles to chafe against your skin. It crown is made of soft, light, pliable material, so it conforms to the shape of your head and doesn't offer any points of resistance or pain. Think of how your favorite pair of leggings hugs you in all the right places without digging in: that was our experience with the Sinsola.
Since this hat is not adjustable and only comes in two sizes, it's possible that you might not get a perfect fit; however, we found the Sinsola to be stretchy enough that there is a good amount of wiggle room in terms of sizing. This means that if you're between sizes, we'd probably recommend sizing down to get a snug but comfortable fit. But even when it fits a little big, we found the Sinsola to be super comfortable. Arc'teryx recently added a chin strap to keep this hat on your head even if it's a little loose.
Our only real gripe in terms of comfort here is the aforementioned brim shape, which dips into the wearer's field of vision and can make it difficult to take in the view. This is annoying! If you want a super comfortable hat that doesn't compromise your view, check out either of our Editor's Choice awardees: the Filson Summer Packer (for all-around wear) or the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure (for technical pursuits).
Breathability is a relative weak point for the Sinsola. It wasn't the most stifling hat we tested, but many other products scored better here.
Arc'teryx doesn't seem to have put a lot of emphasis on making this hat breathable. Unlike many of the hats we tested, there are no mesh sections on the crown to encourage airflow. There are two vents on each side of the Sinsola, but they are tiny and we didn't feel air flow through them at all.
On the other hand, the Sinsola is made of exceptionally thin, light material, so we never felt too hot wearing this hat. If you size up, the relaxed fit will also encourage airflow, since there's no sweat band or cinch cord in the crown. But if breathability is a top priority for you, you'll likely be happier with the full-brim Outdoor Research Sombriolet, or the cape-style Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure.
The Sinsola delivered another middle-of-the-pack performance in this category. Above all else, the durability of this hat depends on how you'll be using it.
The Sinsola is one of the most packable, crushable hats in our test. It's made of light synthetic material that doesn't hold creases, so no matter how small we folded it up or how long we kept it crushed in a bag, it popped right back into shape and looked classy when worn. Very few of the other hats in our review held up to crushing as well as the Sinsola. The stiffer-brimmed hats, like the Outdoor Research Ghost and the KUHL Sun Blade, got completely warped in our Ziplock crush test, and even high performers like the Filson Summer Packer and the Outdoor Research Helios showed light creases for a few wears after being crushed.
However, due to its stretchy, lightweight material, we don't think the Sinsola will hold up well over repeated rugged use. If you're looking for a hat you can shove in a bag with sharp technical gear and the general grit and crud that comes with long trips outside, the Sinsola is likely to snag and rip. We'd recommend you check out a more durable product like the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure instead. But for tucking into a pocket or bag for wear around town, the Sinsola is ideal.
Style is the Sinsola's strong point. For ladies, we found this to be the best-looking hat of the bunch.
The Sinsola's wide, attractively sloped brim gives off a strong Audrey Hepburn vibe, and this was one of the few hats that the female testers among us were actually stoked to wear around town. Because it's not covered in mesh and toggles, the Sinsola doesn't scream "technical", and we'd feel as happy wearing this hat to a casual outdoor Sierra wedding as we would with shorts and a t-shirt.
For men and women alike, the Filson Summer Packer is also a very stylish around-town choice that doesn't look like it was specifically designed for hiking. Many of our other high-scoring caps, including the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure and the Outdoor Research Helios, are a little too dorky to sport on a restaurant patio.
Because the Sinsola is packable and stylish but doesn't fare well in rugged technical conditions, we'd recommend this female-specific hat for around-town use. It can be folded down to nothing and tucked into a pocket or a bag, and if you decide on a spontaneous nature walk or trip to the beach, the Sinsola will be protective enough to keep you happy. But if you're going to be wearing a pack or traveling in extremely windy or hot conditions, this won't be the best choice.
The Sinsola is not the cheapest hat in our review, but it is well-made and very attractive, and it holds up well to repeated folding and storing. So if you like the way it looks and you think you'll have lots of opportunities to wear it casually around town, we think you'll get many years and a great value out of the Sinsola. But for rugged use in the backcountry, this hat won't hold up, and there are better products to be had for less.
The Arc'teryx Sinsola is a very specific kind of hat. It's stylish and extremely comfortable, and it packs down to nothing so it can be stored in a pocket or a purse. However, it's not adjustable and not very breathable, and it's tough to wear with a backpack or when you need to be scanning the horizon. All of this points to the Sinsola as an ideal around-town hat for ladies. If your travels will take you beyond the farmers' market and the beach, consider one of the other options in our review.
— Joanna Trieger