I’ve always resisted buying a sun hat to hike in because, I’m embarrassed to admit, they’re just so dorky. Okay, obviously there are fashionable or even sexy sun hats out there, but I don’t spend a lot of time lounging around the French Riviera. My go-to for head and face protection from solar radiation on my home turf is a (cute but non UPF-rated) canvas baseball cap. If I know I’ll have some extra sun exposure I might also tie a bandanna around my neck. I use SPF 50+ sunblock on my neck, chest, back and arms–even under long sleeves–and my daily face regimen includes a high-SPF component. In the desert, though, I won’t be able to rely on leafy trees for shade like I can at home in the Hudson Valley.
The best protection from the heat and UV light of the sun is obviously to cover as much skin as possible. I usually hike in long pants and long sleeves (ticks are the outdoor health threat that worries me most at home), so no problem there, and it’s not like my hiking togs are haute couture. Besides, as my mother used to say when I was a kid, it’s not a fashion show. So at the start of the season this year I broke down and got myself an honest-to-goodness sunhat: The Outdoor Research Women’s Oasis Sun Sombrero.
This hat is well reviewed all over the internet and has all of the features I need: It’s lightweight (3.4oz), has a nice wide brim with some extra neck protection, offers UPF 50+, and is adjustable around the crown. It’s water-resistant and the chin cord keeps it firmly in place during windy conditions. And, best of all, it’s pretty cute! There’s even a charming and subtle floral design under the brim in the back. It comes in a number of shades, but I’ve got classic (boring) taste and got it in “Sand.”
My review so far: 10/10
After wearing this hat all season I’m happy I gave in and bought it. It blocks the sun superbly. It works well as a bucket to scoop up water to dump over my head on hot days. It’s not vented, so the band gets a bit sweaty but I suspect it keeps me cooler overall. It definitely keeps rain out of my face. It’s easy to stuff into my pack. It’s an all around winner of a sunhat.