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Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat REVIEW

A functional and lightweight waterproof-breathable rain hat that becomes a performance liability in warm conditions.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-10-25 03:00:00-06

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat REVIEW

Introduction

If it rains where you live, the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero is a classic hat to shield your noggin from the weather. Its Taslan Gore-Tex shell is waterproof, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant. I stuffed it in my pack and put it on many times with minimum straightening.

What’s Good

  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Durable

What’s Not So Good

  • Too hot to wear in sunny, warm weather

Specifications

  Year Model

2005 Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero

  Weight

3.1 oz (88 g) as measured (size M); manufacturer’s specification 4 oz (113 g) size L;

  Shell Fabric

Taslan Gore-Tex® crown, brushed tricot interior

  Features

Foam-stiffened brim, hook and loop tabs on the brim and dome allow the sides to be flipped up, removable chin cord, internal hook and loop cinch-band adjustment

  MSRP

$46

Performance

The question in my mind when I started testing the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero was “is it just a rain hat, or would it make a good all-around hiking hat.” The short answer is that it's very functional and comfortable in cool, overcast, rainy, snowy, or windy weather, but (for me) it’s too hot to wear in sunny and warm weather.

The OR Seattle Sombrero is very well designed and constructed. The outer shell is a Taslan Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable fabric that has a soft feel on the outside, and is fully seam taped on the underside. The inside lining is brushed tricot, which feels like micro-fleece and provides some warmth while helping to wick away perspiration. Inside the back of the hat there is a hook and loop cinch-band to fine-tune the sizing. The chin cord is removable, but I found it indispensable in keeping the hat on in blustery weather.

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat REVIEW - 1
Various views of the OR Seattle Sombrero. When it’s not raining you can tack the brim to the crown (bottom right) to get it out of the way.

As a cool and inclement weather hat, the OR Seattle Sombrero is really in its element. I wore it in mountain thunderstorms and even in an early September snow shower, and found it provided excellent protection from the elements. The foam-stiffened 3-inch brim (3.5 inches in the back) directed water away from my head, so it didn’t run down my neck or get my glasses wet. The chin strap was very effective to hold it on in wind gusts. The side Velcro tabs are very handy to hold the brim up when you want it out of the way.

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat REVIEW - 2
The inside (left photo) of the Seattle Sombrero is a brushed tricot that feels like micro-fleece. Hat size can be fine-tuned with a Velcro adjustor in the back of the hat (bottom of photo). The chin strap (right photo) is removable and has a sliding soft plastic keeper to hold your adjustment.

I found the Seattle Sombrero to be very durable and built to last. I repeatedly stuffed it in my backpack, then pulled it out and put it on with a minimum of straightening. The Taslan Gore-Tex fabric is wrinkle-resistant and the foam brim does not develop permanent kinks.

Overall, the OR Seattle Sombrero is a great choice for an inclement weather hat. In areas where cool rainy weather is common, this is a great hiking hat to shed the rain and keep your head warm. It is well designed, made of very functional and durable fabrics, and very well constructed. OR packs a heck of a lot of functionality into this 3.1-ounce hat.

What’s Unique

The OR Seattle Sombrero is a classic. The design, choice of materials, and construction are highly refined.

Recommendations for Improvement

Consider making an eVENT version for greater breathability.


Citation

"Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/outdoor_research_seattle_sombrero_rain_hat_review.html, 2005-10-25 03:00:00-06.

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