Outdoor Research Ghost Rain Hat
Where to Buy
Best all around outdoor hat that I've found yet for…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Outdoor Research sale ~$25% off list price
Best all around outdoor hat that I've found yet for our moist, often unpredictable, Pacific Northwest USA weather! Three season (not summer) use, with adjustment options that give unparalleled flexibility. Classic outback styling. Had Indiana Jones lived out here, this might well be have been his hat! Almost perfect and my guess is that later generations my soon be.
- Highly functional design with important flexible options
- Gore Tex weatherproof breathability
- Innovative built in cap cover that can be open and stored away in the hat giving increased aeration when not raining
- Mesh weave ventilation area for when the rain cover is removed is extensive
- Ventilation mesh backed with breathable fabric to keep out knats and other biting insects
- Cooling effect to the forehead and head top where you need it most
- Wide rim to block sun and rain, with perimeter wire to stiffen
- Dark underside on light colored hat to reduce light reflections
- Chin strap for wind, running or horseback riding, removable or stollable while attached
- Wet headed and sun stressed people compliment you on the trail that they wish they had a hat like this.
- Too hot for summer use (I use it under 50° F or raining)
- My hat could use more durable water finish added at the factory (I can add it)
- When rinsing after hikes with a hose, rim internally fills up with water (does drain out)
- Drys more slower than expected (more durable water finish might fix this)
- Hat not nearly as waterproof if you forget to depoly the Ghosts' skull cap (ie., learning curve).
- Theft if unguarded might occur
- Higher cost than simpler hats (get what you pay for)
It was talk my Wife into me getting this or wear her purple n' black 'Seattle Sombrero'. Her S'brero fits neither into my preferred color or functionality range. The S'brero is very nice for some, but just too hot for me!
(In the photo below: there's also an OR Ferrosi Hoodie, 3-L Osprey Hydraulics Pack within the Z-40 Gregory Backpack (my size is more like 45 L), Columbia Freeze Zero Bandana, and Leki Hiking Pole (handles). Hike location was one week ago, on the partially snowy Eastside Ridge Trail, on Squak Mountain, near Issaquah, WA. Nice little 7.5 mile uphill stroll just prior to the Seahawks game.)
Warmer weather option side view ... Ghost is hiding away its' dark cave.
Warmer weather option top view, also showing above head method of getting chin strap out of the way. That wide rim protects well against overhead sun and rain, both face and back of the next. It withstands wind pretty well until hard blowing occurs. Some users miss the S'brero Velcro tabs to lift and attach the side trims to the hat top. It wouldn't look as stylish this way. But two thin Velcro strips as used to hide the Ghost's skull cap could be put on those vertical seams. I like that idea.
Indication of Gore Tex empowerment in Rain Hat mode, also showing velcro that helps hide away the waterproof skull (cap, the type of Ghost here).
Functional aspect secrets of how the cap ventilates in hiking 'beast mode' and with the waterproof skull cap peaking out ... look closely. During a recent group hike, it began raining hard and our hiker leader later reminded me that the hat would even be more waterproof if I capped it. Good point ... slow forehead dripping disappeared. And another potential Darwin Mini-Event was avoided.
Waterproof skull cap deployed from within the Ghost.
A hidden round magnet in the hem of the skull cap, below the OR logo letter location, empowers this Ghost element to haunt, I mean be fixed. See the roundness there? My sincere hope is that that magnet does not rust and stain over time (had this less than a year, ok so far). Then again it could look like a neat blood stain.
Skull cap starting to hover to disappear into the Ghost Hat
Skull cap starting to disappear ... now you see it, soon you won't.
Still trying to disappear ... playing to help it disappear.
A hidden false door panel closes ... and it will be gone from sight ... hiding there. Hum, I have to test if I can hide some ice cubes up there also to extend use range into warmer days.
Sunshine mode, with Skull Cap Ghost not in sight ... and there's the other round magnet signature. They must have lined up the magnets right because the skull cap doesn't fly up on its own. Hum, but it be fun to re-adjust the magnets for a fellow hiker.
Head ventilation increased by using a loosen woven fabric over the hat area covering the forehead. So it gets the cooling to wear you feel you need it most. Knat feeding frenzies are inhibited by this. Also stops rain from splashing on your forehead directly if it starts to rain and you forget to evoke the rain hat mode (yes with the skull cap cover). The hat is noticeably cooler when the wind blows. I'm wondering if the hat could be improved if a lighter weight, looser weave fabric backing is used.
Chin strap provided for those windy days, and it is removable if it drives you crazy. Size adjustment Velcro (black band) provided. This gives hoody and sweatband options as well makes allows re-adjustment when the skull cap hides and removes some of the forehead space. Then there are those of us who heads swell with temperature or too much detailed information.
Alternate method of Chin Strap hiding (other than on your chin) when the dangling strap is driving me crazy.
Alternate method of Chin Strap hiding (other than on your chin) to give that outback look (push the extra cord into the skull cap hiding place. This method suspends the warmer storage area away from the back of your head.
Detail on Size Adjustor and Stitching quality.
I like the CHARCOAL BLACK color best for this hat ... but did not buy it. The darker hat would start the expense justification discussion, covering the need to begin a hat collection ... good point. I'd need the lighter colored hat anyway, for warmer weather use ... and hope someone thinks about the (read this) "CHARCOAL BLACK MENS LARGE" for my Xmas present. (Not having the charcoal hat in hand to photograph, and feeling shy at photographing at REI while drooling over it, the opposite color scheme was approximated here, via color negative presentation.)
I stand by the functionality of this product. Like the their ubiquitous, ever popular 'Seattle Sombrero' this hat is designed to be highly functional. My impression is that the Ghost is to correct what was still missing for those not yet surcumbing to investment in a S'brero. Yes the hat is still as re-squashable and packable as its rival. But the Ghost has more outback (Australian?) styling, an internal wire rim to help de-flop the wing like rim on windy days. It is not nearly as hot, extending use to fully to 3 (rather than 1 - 1.5) seasons. It also provides two different levels of ventilation (unless it is raining and the Gore Tex skull cap deployed).
The Ghost is also just as tough, but even sneakier. And I won't permanently crush it with an ill-placed step, backpack, or visit by a family dog. (Note: the Keen trail sandals from last summer's Lake Tahoe are trip still need washing and Nikwax Nubuk & Suede Proof treatment).
This Ghost feels like a winner to me! The first generation here is quite excellent. OR gear tends to evolve and improve over time. Surface water finishes, fabrics, etc I expect to see improving over time. OR does their homework and I've learn to appreciate and trust their developments.
For hot weather, I see others liking the Tilley Airflow hat or Sundog types with neck skirt. I like the neck skirt types (but to be fair should test an Airlflow someday). Another Xmas present suggestion, I wear a mens Large.