Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat
An all-around great hat for keeping the sun off my bald head and neck. Very comfortable, breathable, and lightweight.
- Wide brim coverage
- Highly packable without any damage
- Sizing seems big. Recommend ordering a size down.
After many years of wearing ball caps, this summer I switched to a full-brim hat for summer hiking, canoeing, and other adventures. The main reason for the switch was because I was tired of lathering up my ears and neck with sunblock, only to get fried anyways. The OR Sombriolet has solved my issues and much more!
(Very) leisurely paddling the Allegheny River.
Fit and Comfort:
I have a rather large head, measuring 24 1/4 inches or 61.6 cm or 7 3/4, depending on which measurement you use. I tried on the XL, because that is usually the size hat my head fits, but to my surprise, it was too big without liberally having to cinch it down. I tried on the Large and voila, it fits great! The best way to define the comfort is that I can wear the hat all day and completely forget I have it on. To me, that’s the hallmark of comfort.
Fit and Adjustability:
There are two areas of adjustability, both are easy to operate and seem like easy fixes if they ever do break. First is the drawcord adjustment on the back on the lid, which OR does claim as one-handed operable, and while it technically may be, it’s always easier using two hands. This adjustment make the hat tighter or looser. My head all but fills out the hat at the loosest setting, and when the wind picks up, I’m able to easily cinch it down for security.
The other area of adjustability is the chin cord. It’s a little long for my liking, and I may end up shortening the cord, which would be very simple to do since it is removable. If you don’t like the chin cord (I know it annoys some people), simply remove it and you’re good to go.
Back of crown drawcord for adjustability
Breathability and Moisture Control:
The hat has breathable vents on each side of the head, which is perhaps the most visual difference between this hat and its more famous OR cousin, the Seattle Sombrero. With no hair and a tendency to sweat a lot, I need a hat that is breathable and can wicks away perspiration and the nylon and mesh lining combination do a fairly nice job at both tasks. In fact, even after a full summer of activity, there are no sweat stains present.
Interior, notice the mesh and thick headband.
The tradeoff with this hat is that it is not nearly as water resistant as that cousin of its, the Seattle Sombrero, but for me, living in the Mid-Atlantic region, I’ll sacrifice the rain protection for superior sun protection. This does a much better job at rain protection than the ball caps I wore for many years (i.e. keep the rain off my face and away from the back of my neck), so for me, I'm very comfortable wearing it in the rain. An added bonus is that it dries fairly quickly due to its mesh and nylon combination.
Hanging out to dry.
Weight, Size, and Packability:
An overlooked yet noteworthy trait of the Sombriolet is how easy it is to pack, both in terms of weight (just a hair over 3 oz/85g) and size. I’ve stuffed it in the bottom of bags, tossed it in the back of the car, buried it underneath a pile of rubble (okay, not quite), and I simply pull it out, quickly reshape it and I’m good to go. The brim can be folded fairly small in order for better packing and when pulled out, no signs of wear or stress appear on the brim. For long-term storage, I leave it unfolded.
I purchased this hat this past spring and wore it consistently throughout the hot and humid summer. With five months of use, ranging from hiking, canoeing, and even mowing, this hat has been my go-to resource for keeping the sun off my bald head and neck. Even as the temps start getting cooler, I find myself still reaching for this hat due to its all-day comfort and light weight.
I recommend the Outdoor Research Sombriolet to folks who are looking for a wide-brim sun protection, lightweight, and easily packable hat. The colors and sizes available are wide-ranging, making it suitable for many users. Like most garments and accessories, I do recommend trying it on for sizing purposes prior to purchase.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $35 USD
Outdoor Research's HUGE hat.
- Excellent coverage
- Adjustable loop
- Amazing moisture wicking!
- UPF 50+
- Awkwardly large
Bought the medium size and it fits well in my 56cm head after some minor fine-tuning with the drawcord.
The microfiber headband that OR calls TransAction is very soft and comfortable and wicks sweat evenly in a radial pattern (obviously) resulting in accelerated evaporation due to the larger surface area of the brim.
The only disadvantage that I can find is the size of the hat, which is HUGE and has been the topic of discussion/good laughs among my hiking buddies. The size is large enough to cover my 25 liter backpack!!!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 36 euros on sale
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Current Retail: $29.40-$45.00
Historic Range: $14.99-$55.95
Reviewers Paid: $35.00