Feb 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm #1285206
What's the best sun hat you know of? What makes it good?Feb 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm #1834683
Link .BPL Member
are you writing a book or going someplace in particular ?Feb 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm #1834688
@nigelhealyLocale: San Francisco bay area
I tried hats, various cool baseball cap types and a Tilley. They pack large and are warm even with vents. I went to Summer Buffs, cooler and you can place fully over the neck for lower sun protection. After my hat episode I concluded hats are more about fashion and cosmetic reasons than actual sun protection.Feb 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm #1834700
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Sunday Afternoon Adventure Hat. Profoundly ugly but very functional.
Outdoor Research Sun Runner. The neck cape is removable, so it is more versatile.
*Take your favorite baseball style cap and add a bandana or silk scarf for less cost (see below). Running caps with baseball-style brims usually have good ventilation.
Tilley, which provides an insulating space between the top of you head and the hat.
A shemagh, the Arab cotton head scarf which can be tied up many ways.
Military style boonie hat in a light color. Cheap, light, cotton ripstop, can be soaked in water for cooling,packs well. I wouldn't wear military style anything for foreign travel.
Letter carrier's sun helmet or bee-keeper's helmet. Provides insulating space and good air flow. The white plastic letter carrier's helmet is also a very good rain hat, with pitter-patter on the roof included :) It can annoyingly hit your pack if it is a tall one.
Here's the quick and dirty runnner's cap plus bandana, tied up with a small bit of line. You could add another line to hold the bottom together, a la OR Sun Runner. Another way is to put just put the bandana on your head and then put the cap on over it. That can be done with any hat for immediate neck, ears, and side-of-your-face protection. Wet the bandana for extra cooling.
$1.99 for the hat and $0.99 for the bandana from a thrift store vs $35 for the OR version.
Feb 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm #1834888
Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Unless you expect constant rain, the Sunday Afternoon Adventure Hat is the best I've found. Tilley a close second. Sunday Afternoons is coming out with a waterproof version of the Adventure hat, if that's a concern. Otherwise I'd go with an Outdoor Research Sombrero of some kind.Feb 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm #1834903
If I'm going for full-on desert use (e.g. 2 weeks rafting the Grand Canyon), I've got a goofy, nylon, very broad-brimmed hat with chin-strap to keep it on in the wind. One is by Columbia and another is by OP. But if I was more active – thru-hiking in the desert, I'd go for a silvered umbrella.
For UL backpacking, I'd use a visor and put my silk bandana under it. And in that mode, the bandana covers as much of my neck, ears, and sides of my face as I want. It isn't as cool as the broad-brimmed hat, so I think of it more for high-Sierra use where the it is cooler than in the lowlands. The visor is light and cheap. The silk bandana is 36" x 36" and multipurpose – neck scarf in a cold wind. Blow my nose. Bank-robber style facemask in a sub-freezing wind, etc.
I got a few of those 36×36 silk badana on Sierra Trading Post a few years ago for about $9 each. I'm sure they don't have them anymore. Sometimes you can find big silk scarves at a thrift store (but always in truly funky, white-trash patterns).
For hot travel with water sources (e.g. main trail corridor in the Grand Canyon), I like a cotton bandana and/or cotton, brimmed hat instead because it carries more water when I soak it at every stream crossing and drinking water source. I find water I put on the outside of my body cools me without being as tiring as when I sweat that same amount of water.Feb 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm #1834917
Joe NewtonBPL Member
I spent two weeks rafting the Grand Canyon this past June and used a tan Sun Runner every day. Great hat. I had a Tilley with me also but never took it out of the dry bag.Feb 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm #1834965
John GBPL Member
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
I like the mesh sided Columbia Booney better than baseball style runners hats. No sun gets into the corners of your eyes. It's 4" brim provides so much shade it feels 5 degrees cooler than no hat. It's squishable. The size adjusts with a bungi cord. It has a chin strap for windy days.
It has some downsides too. Soaking it in water provided even more cooling – but the brim isn't stiff enough to hold keep from draping down around your face when wet. The brim also isn't stiff enough to keep from blowing upwards in a medium/light wind.
If it matters to you, it's no where near as dashy looking as a Tilley (I find Tilleys too hot to wear though).Feb 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm #1834977
It seems to me that the Southeast Asian conical hat is superior to traditional western designs for both sun and rain protection. It's lighter, less prone to brim flapping and sagging, and much better ventilated than any western design. The Kavu Chillba hat is made of nylon in many colors and is designed for backpacking and kayaking. It has been mentioned a couple of times here on the BPL forums, but it doesn't seem to be very popular.
Why do people favor Tilleys over these? Maybe it's akin to the recumbent bicycle phenomenon: sometimes the best design just looks too ridiculous.Feb 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm #1835001
Brett PeughBPL Member
Joe from Zpacks will make you a conical hat or he used to. Kavu kinda sucks. I used to live by them in Ballard and they really don't follow up with customer service if their crap breaks.Feb 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm #1835010
Brett, I agree with you about Kavu, actually. I don't own the chillba hat, but I had a straw conical hat for a long time, and it seemed to be a much better design for a sun hat (or rain hat) than western hats like the Tilleys.
I heard, some time ago, that Joe Valesko's conical hat was made from a piece of closed-cell foam and fit like a puzzle piece into a cut-out in his sleeping pad at night. I don't remember who passed that rumor on to me. Do you know anything about the Zpacks hat?Feb 6, 2012 at 2:54 am #1835111
John S.BPL Member
On PCT, "The Pointy Hat folds flat and was also a foam sit-pad and pillow."
On CDT, "The Pointy Hat folds flat and was also a foam sit-pad and part of my sleeping pad system."
A crude way to make a foam Coolie hat could be as below
http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/make_a_chinese_peasant_hat.htmFeb 6, 2012 at 6:52 am #1835152
Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: Front Range Zoo
Don't know if it is 'the best', but I've been using one form or another of a $10 surplus boonie-style hat for well over a decade. Using a cotton-nylon blend, the hat repels light rain, snow and sun.
Sure, there are lighter alternatives.
But the share durability and price factor makes it a winner for me. I use it for skiing, climbing (under the helmet) and for hiking/backpacking. Mash it up in the pack, pull it out, wear it for nearly 4 months straight and so on.
Fried chicken is the food of choice for 25+ mile days hikes with nearly 10k gain. :DFeb 6, 2012 at 7:23 am #1835164
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
I use a white Headsweats Supervisor (visor) with a half of a white XXXL Capilene 1 shirt. It will cover neck ears etc providing both sun and bug protection. I washed the "bandana" in permethrin to keep bugs off the tight part on the top of my head. Doesn't get much lighter or comfortable than this.
Heading off on the PCT.Feb 6, 2012 at 8:27 am #1835205
Rather than overthink hats, one merely needs to look towards different regions & cultures which have been dealing with excessive sun exposure for centuries to get a general idea of what works.
Hence, the coolie hat, the sombrero, and of course the Western cowboy hat, respectively. The coolie hat has the advantage of providing a declining surface towards the brim, whereas both sombreros & cowboy hats tend to have upward rolls on their edges, which isn't so good in windy conditions.
But, perhaps the best combination of all these traits (including the downward tip) is the now ubiquitous straw 'lifeguard hat', which is de riguer on every construction job site in the southwest:
I've been wearing these bad boys for years; you can get them of $10 @ any hardware/garden store in SoCal. Beat them up for a year and get a new one at the beginning of the season.
I see people with smaller and/or flimsier hats with limited coverage in the high Sierra and wince. These big hats definitely help prevent exposure – I can spend long summer hours hiking & fishing in the sun and not feel worked at the end of the day.Feb 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm #1835360
Jason ElsworthBPL Member
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Sun hat effectiveness is directly related to dorkiness. If people refuse to leave the house with you whilst you are wearing THAT hat then you are on the right path.Feb 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm #1835436
Joseph BernierBPL Member
@sigeatsLocale: Southern California
I've also been using a lifeguard hats for years . . . I love them.Feb 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm #1835444
Colin: I like the Coolie hat idea although I've never tried it. I also like the idea of using thin CCF and adding it to your sleeping pad. Maybe join the hat seam with velcro with corresponding velcro to add foam under your hips or extend your pad under your feet?
I also wonder about using a metalized CCF such that most heat was simply reflected off the top. But maybe the R-value of the foam is enough to isolate the hot side on top from the hopefully cooler side below. If a Coolie hat isn't highly breathable, how does hot air from your face and scalp not collect underneath?
Hobbes, I hadn't connected the dots, but you're right – when I'm doing field work in LowCal (geology, bio surveys), if hard hats aren't required, everyone is in a lifeguard hat. I think you forgot to caption your photo, "Girl not included".
Jason: I'm with you on the correlation of dorkiness and effectiveness.Feb 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm #1835484
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Forget the hat, that is some drop dead gorgeous desert behind you!
I usually wear a Tilley Air Flow when I wear a hat. Works for me. Sometimes a baseball cap or even a boonie hat. But more often than not, nothing. I like to work on my suntan when I hike. Also, I am coolest without a hat in nicer weather. If God had intended us to wear hats, he would have included them in our structure when he made us.
Edit: Maybe God is a woman. I hope so.Feb 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm #1835521
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I hate the way they look, but the hat which has felt the coolest on my head while still preventing my face and neck from burning is the sunday afternoon adventure hat. Until is below around 35F, this is the hat you will see on my head.Feb 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm #1835560
David, I think there is enough air flow to prevent a bubble of warm air from lingering under conical hats. Even in very still air, just turning one's head, which, like blinking, we probably do much more than we realize, would exchange a lot of the air under the hat (because the axis of rotation of one's head would usually not be perpendicular to the plane of the hat's periphery, so the hat acts like a paddle).
I think the boundary layer of warm air around a person's head is much more protected from cool-air incursions by the shape of a western hat (which have head-pockets). A conical hat leaves all but the very top of one's head completely shaded but exposed to drafts.
I've considered a metallized material for this, too. Maybe this is a good application for the aluminized 30d nylon that Seattle Fabrics sells.Feb 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm #1835614
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
If the conical hat is properly made, it has a suspension that keeps it up off your head. There is a loop of fabric or string on each side and the chin strap passes through them and across the top of your head, then under your chin.
I think they have the advantage of making a good rain hat as well.
If you were making a synthetic one, you could adapt the suspension from an industrial safety "bump cap" which is much lighter than the one in a all-out hard hat. I would look for one with a sweat brow band built in (about $4 on Amazon).
You could make a hat from Reflectix or an automobile sunshade. I would go for some light colored foam.
Several African cultures use conical hats, as well as the NW Pacific Coast Native Americans. Some have intricate designs woven in.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:03 am #1835660
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
This is my favorite…. and there is a goofy photo of me in my hat in this review…Feb 7, 2012 at 7:28 am #1835684
BER —BPL Member
I wear the same one Laurie. If it's any consolation, it looks better on you than me.Feb 7, 2012 at 10:18 am #1835765
Dale: I gave the Reflectix a try – I had some really beater pieces laying around (been used to wrap and ship frozen fish multiple times). I used essentially a stick to mark a 12.5" radius with laundry marker:
Then cut out a 60-degree pie slice from the circle and joined the cut edges with 2" package sealing tape on the inside and aluminum-foil tape on the outside. Better yet would be to use adhesive velcro so it would be laid flat and folded/rolled.
I haven't put a string on it as a chin strap. Nor a suspension system. I like the bump-cap suspension idea because it is already very adjustable, pretty secure, good ventilation and I think you could skip the chin strap. But a simple shoelace would be lighter and allow it to pack more tightly (and would double as an emergency shoelace).
So it came in at 46 grams at 12.5" radius. 14" radius was way too big. Taking it down to 11.5" would also work but have a little less coverage for your shoulders. 11.5" radius would come in at 39 grams (1.4 ounces).
If you assembly it the other way (shiny side in), it would be a not a solar cooker, but a solar warmer for small objects (sock dryer? melt snow in a pot on a layover day?)
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