Arc'teryx Sinsola Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Sinsola is first and foremost a good-looking lid, and that's why it earns an award for its style. This hat's simple design and sleek silhouette 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 looking for an attractive around-town option, this is a great pick.
While the Arc'teryx Sinsola wasn't the highest scorer in every category, this female-specific hat earned high marks for style and comfort.
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 has a variable-sized brim that is widest in the front at just over 3-1/2 inches, and it tapers down to 3 inches in the back. This is squarely in the middle of the pack of full-brim hats.
Despite 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. This pushes the hat forward and exacerbates those vision issues while exposing the back of the neck. All of this is to say that 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 among the most comfortable hats in our lineup.
Compared to the rest of our test group, the Sinsola is a very simple hat. It's not adjustable, so there are no itchy sweatbands or pinching toggles to chafe against your skin. Its 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 you should try sizing down to get a snug but comfortable fit if you're between sizes. But, even when it fits a little big, we found the Sinsola to be very comfortable. Arc'teryx recently added a chin strap to keep this hat on your head 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, which can certainly be annoying.
Breathability is a relatively 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 airflow 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 sweatband or cinch cord in the crown. But if breathability is a top priority for you, you'll likely be happier with another choice.
The Sinsola delivered another middle-of-the-pack performance in this category. Above all else, this hat's durability 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.
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. 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." We'd feel as happy wearing this hat to a casual outdoor Sierra wedding as we would with shorts and a t-shirt.
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 it. 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. It's also 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. 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 a 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.
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