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Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst Hat REVIEW

Outdoor Research Women introduces a lightweight, warm weather, sun and rain hat.

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

Introduction

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The Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst hat is a well-designed rain hat that handles moderate precipitation and gives good sun protection.

The Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst hat is a full-brimmed waterproof/breathable rain hat. It offers good sun protection and rain protection that is sufficient for most rain conditions.

What’s Good

  • Moderate brim is a good compromise between coverage and all-weather usage
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Adjustable chin cord and elastic headband keeps the hat secure
  • Very durable, keeps its shape after being stuffed many times
  • Mesh liner and lack of insulation keeps things cool in moderate temps
  • Lightweight at 2.5 ounces

What’s Not So Good

  • Ventia fabric is not as breathable as Gore-Tex or eVENT
  • Brim isn’t wide enough for driving rain
  • Headband isn’t adjustable - be sure to get the right size

Specifications

  Year/Model

2005 Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst hat

  Weight

2.5 oz (71 g) as measured (size M); manufacturer’s specification 3.0 oz (85 g) size L

  Fabrics

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

  Features

Foam-stiffened brim, elastic headband, removable chin cord, floats

  MSRP

$38.00

Performance

Outdoor Research Women (formerly known as Wild Roses) sells a wide variety of outdoor gear specifically designed for women. The Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst hat is a versatile rain hat that can double as a sun hat. The outer shell is made of Ventia, a proprietary fabric from Outdoor Research that is waterproof and breathable, although less breathable than Gore-Tex or eVENT. It is fully seam taped and doesn’t leak. It has a mesh lining and a Coolmax mesh headband.

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An elastic headband and adjustable chinstrap keep the Cloudburst secure in windy conditions.

An elastic headband keeps the hat comfortably secure but the Cloudburst includes a removable chinstrap (0.1 ounces) that is essential during high winds. A sliding plastic keeper keeps the chinstrap secure.

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A rear brim that is 1/2 inch wider than the front ensures that rain stays off your neck.

The Cloudburst features a brim that is 2 1/2 inches wide in the front and 3 inches wide in the back (1 inch shorter than the classic Seattle Sombrero front to back). This provides moderate coverage, keeping a collar dry during downpours but not windblown rain. The extended back keeps rain out of a rain jacket neckline if it is snugly secured. However, when using a rain jacket with a hood, it is important to tuck in the hood so that it doesn’t catch water.

What’s Unique

When comparing the Cloudburst to the classic Seattle Sombrero, the Cloudburst is much cooler due to its mesh liner and minimalist design. It offers less rain coverage but enough for moderate conditions. However, it does offer all-day utility that makes it good for both rainy and dry conditions. At 2.5 ounces (0.6 ounces lighter than the Seattle Sombrero), the Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst is a true lightweight.

Recommendations for Improvement

An eVENT version of this hat would have greater breathability and would extend its usable range.


Citation

"Outdoor Research Women Cloudburst Hat REVIEW," by Doug and Amy Johnson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/outdoor_research_women_cloudburst_hat_review.html, 2006-04-24 03:00:00-06.

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