So if you are like me, you may be thinking, “A hat is hat. What’s the big deal?” I thought that way up until I had purchased the Outdoor Research Women’s Solar Roller Sun Hat, as my head is routinely getting sunburned where my hair parts. This summer, we had a big upcoming vacation where I was going to be outside in the sun all day long for at least seven days in a row, most of which would be spent on the water. And while I love the sun and having deeply tanned skin, my scalp has had enough of getting burned. Prior to purchasing this hat, I tried different sunscreen products on my head and did not like the way they made my hair feel, so I needed to find another option.
I currently have the Outdoor Research Swift Cap, which I wear year-round while snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, hiking, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. But, that fits like a baseball type of cap, tight on the top of my head. Conversely, I wanted a hat that provides airflow around my head underneath the hat, and one with a brim around it to give my neck some respite from the sun.
The Outdoor Research Women’s Solar Roller Sun Hat has provided the perfect solution! I researched the different styles of women’s specific Outdoor Research brimmed hats, and this particular one is available three sizes (I need a small); most come in either medium, large or extra large. And, the brim is not excessively wide (I did not want or need a Sombrero). So, what is great about this hat?
SHAPE: it is not too wide, but just wide enough so that I get adequate shade around my neck. And, I can flip the front of the brim upward so my face can still get direct sun exposure. The hat is not too deep either, so it does not look ‘puffy’ on top of my head, which has a lot to do with getting the correct size (see below). This hat is also very packable and is easy to stuff into a pocket or pack. When not in use, I fold it into a small triangle and place it into my waterpack.
FIT: as I mentioned above, getting the right size is important not only to ensure the hat is deep enough for your head, but also to ensure it fits correctly around the circumference of your head. This hat has a draw (cinch) cord in the middle of the hat (slightly above the brim) to adjust the tightness of it around the circumference of your head. I frequently adjust this in accordance with the wind conditions, and it works perfectly. It always stays in the place where I adjust it, and then it is simple to loosen. There is also a chin cord, which I have used in extremely windy conditions while kayaking. And when I am not using the chin cord, I simply put it behind my head; I let it hang down the back of my neck.
BREATHABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT, UPF SUN PROTECTION: this the BEST part! The material of this hat is so lightweight I barely even feel it on my head, and even when I am in direct sun exposure for over six hours, the top of my head/the top of the hat always stays cool to the touch – this is the part that truly amazes me. And because the hat keeps my head so cool, it is like wearing a personal sunshade all day long. In fact, it has made a significant difference in my overall comfort level while I am outside in direct sun exposure for extended periods of time. I feel less fatigued because this is truly like having a personal sunshade.
Outdoor Research states this hat floats; however, I have never tested this, and do not want to. I hate the thought of this hat flying off my head and then potentially losing it.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish that I would have purchased this hat seven years ago when we first started kayaking, as it allows me to be so much more comfortable while outside in the sun hiking, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. It not only fulfills the purpose for which I had bought it (preventing the top of my head from getting burned), but it also keeps my entire head cool, which then aids in keeping my body temperature cooler, thus keeping me more comfortable overall. We purchase and test a lot of outdoor gear, and I think this is my best purchase of 2020.
Overall: Excellent Purchase
Price Paid: $33.89
Place Purchased: Amazon
Link to Outdoor Research Website: Outdoor Research
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