The uniquely fashionable Headsweats Protech Hat. (Well, at least it diverts attention away from my skinny legs. Plus, it perfectly complements the bold style of a post-hike Nunatak Balaclava.)
Headsweats’ primary customers are endurance athletes. The company offers over seventeen styles of headwear targeted towards cyclists, triathletes, adventure racers, etc. This background is apparent in the design of their Protech Hat with its integrated cape and highly wicking fabric. Nevertheless, the hat can offer backpackers some advantages over more conventional wide-brimmed and ballcap-style alternatives.
I’ve been using the Protech Hat mostly for trail running in warm, sunny weather. In these conditions, the hat provides very good sun protection and moisture management. With a breeze from the front, or if you’re moving faster than four miles per hour in still air, the cape lifts off your shoulders and provides both sun protection and ventilation. However, if you are moving slowly with no wind, or if the breeze is from the rear, the cape can become plastered to your neck and restrict cooling airflow around your head. If the cape isn’t needed, it can be loosely folded and stored under the crown to wear the hat as a regular ballcap.
The hat features an elastic drawcord with rear cordlock for size adjustment and a stiffened bill with a black underside to reduce glare. The Coolmax fabric wicks perspiration very well, and is particularly refreshing on a hot day after dipping the hat in a stream. The fabric does limit the hat’s usefulness to sun protection, though - it’s definitely not a rain hat.
For backpacking, the Protech Hat offers nearly the sun protection of a regular hat with a 360° brim. However, it does leave the area in front of your ears more exposed. While the hat offers virtually no rain protection by itself, it is more easily worn under a rain shell than a regular wide-brimmed hat. Here, the cape offers a little neck insulation, while the bill gives the shell hood some structure and keeps the rain out of your eyes. This integration with a hooded rain shell is a key advantage over a regular hat and makes the Protech Hat worth consideration for backpacking - even if you don’t have skinny legs.
Features and Specifications
- Fabric: Coolmax® Polyester
- BPL measured weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
- One size fits most with elastic size adjuster and rear cordlock.
- Integrated Cape shades back of your neck.
- Wicking headband keeps sweat out of your eyes.
- Black underbrim reduces glare.
- Colors Available: White/Grey, Khaki/Olive, and Camouflage
- MSRP: $25