November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter

Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW

A warm weather, wide coverage, rain hat from the makers of the classic Seattle Sombrero.


by Doug Johnson | 2006-04-24 03:00:00-06


Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW - 1

The Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero is a rain hat that provides full coverage against the elements. Its proprietary Ventia shell is waterproof and breathable and it has a foam-stiffened brim with plastic edging. Its mesh lining with a Coolmax headband keeps you cool during warmer downpours. The Nimbus is wider than the popular Seattle Sombrero. How does the Nimbus Sombrero stand up to pouring rain and slush?

What’s Good

  • Wide brim provides full coverage from rain and snow
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Easily adjustable with one hand
  • Secure in windy conditions, even with the chin cord removed
  • Very durable, keeps its shape after being stuffed many times
  • Mesh liner and lack of insulation keep things cool in moderate temps.

What’s Not So Good

  • Ventia fabric is not as breathable as Gore-Tex or eVENT
  • Wide curving brim restricts vision somewhat



2005 Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero rain hat


3.3 oz (92 g) as measured (size L); manufacturer’s specification 3.4 oz (95 g) size L


Proprietary Ventia waterproof/breathable - seam taped, mesh-lined crown, Coolmax mesh headband


Foam-stiffened brim, flexible plastic piping, external one-handed drawcord adjustment, side snaps, removable chin cord, floats




During my review, I focused on how the Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero compares to the classic Seattle Sombrero (a popular rain hat that I’ve used for years) and what advantages it offers, if any. In short, the Nimbus Sombrero has a stiffer brim, broader rain coverage, and less insulation that makes it more comfortable in warm weather. I was able to wear the Nimbus Sombrero in heavy summer rains without overheating, under wider coverage than the Seattle Sombrero offers.

The Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero is a well-designed rain hat. The outer shell is made of Ventia, a proprietary fabric from Outdoor Research that is waterproof/breathable, although less breathable than Gore-Tex or eVENT. It is fully seam taped and never leaked during field testing. It has a mesh lining and a Coolmax mesh headband.

Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW - 2

Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW - 3

The Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero offers broad rain coverage and a one-handed adjustable elastic cord headband that is very secure.

The Nimbus Sombrero includes a removable chinstrap (0.1 ounces) that I rarely needed, even in blustery conditions, because the elastic headband adjustment is so secure. The headband adjustment is made via a one-hand drawcord on the back; as winds pick up, just reach back and pull on the cord for a super secure fit. The chinstrap is an excellent second defense for use during consistent high winds such as those found above the tree line or during sea kayaking.

Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW - 4
Side snaps tuck the hat out of your way during dry conditions.

The Nimbus Sombrero features a brim that is 3 1/2 inches wide in the front and 4 inches wide in the back (a full 1 inch wider than a Seattle Sombrero front to back). This provides complete coverage, keeping my collar dry in all but the worst driving rains and funneling water well away from my face. However, this extra coverage also blocks views somewhat and I had a difficult time keeping the front brim out of my eyesight because the plastic brim material is non-bendable. Side snaps tuck the sides of the hat up during dry conditions. After stuffing and re-stuffing the Nimbus Sombrero hat many times, it still retained its original shape due to the stiffened brim.

Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW - 5
A mesh liner is comfortable and a lack of insulation keeps your head cool during warmer conditions.

When comparing the Nimbus Sombrero to the Seattle Sombrero, it’s important to consider the conditions in which you plan to use it. If you’re looking for a cool weather hat to shed rain and snow, the classic Seattle Sombrero is a good choice. However, if you are looking for the ultimate in broad rain coverage for use in warmer conditions, the 3.3-ounce Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero is hard to beat.

What’s Unique

The Nimbus Sombrero has an extra wide, stiffened brim and a non-insulated liner making it a good hat for warm weather, heavy rain conditions.

Recommendations for Improvement

An eVENT version of this hat would have greater breathability.


"Outdoor Research Nimbus Sombrero REVIEW," by Doug Johnson. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2006-04-24 03:00:00-06.