For many years I’ve used a buff-style wrap for keeping my head protected from the sun when running in the summer. During the Spring Superior 50K I got way too hot in the sun, despite the buff, so I started to think if I should change up my headgear a bit. Having something that can also shield my face would have helped keep me a bit more comfortable, as well as something that would be more breathable. When I was out in Seattle we visited the flagship REI store and I spotted a running hat that I decided to trying out.
The Outdoor Research Sun running hat is a lightweight hat with a removable skirt, that is breathable and comfortable to wear. For long races the skirt will be nice, but for just general summer running the hat alone should suffice. One of the things that has always been an issue for me is that most hats simply aren’t comfortable, and they don’t look that good on me. The OR hat seems to solve both of those issues. It feels really comfortable, and as a bonus it doesn’t make my head look stupid.
I had an opportunity to run with the hat during the North Olympic Discovery Half-Marathon. I found it to work well, and my face was kept nice and shaded. The hat was lightweight and I really never noticed it; I just noticed that my head wasn’t getting sunburned. However, the one niggling issue is that when I was running in the shade, the hat ended up being more of an insulator, and I would take it off for a period of time. I attempted to cool my head off by dumping water on the hat, however the hat resists water, so apart from dunking it in an ice bath it never really got that wet.
One possibility would be dumping water on my head, or putting a cloth on my head, and then putting the hat over that. When running with a buff, I would soak it in water, but it would quickly evaporate. I could see using an icy buff under the hat as a win-win, since the hat would keep the water from evaporating quickly. That gives me something new to try on another hot day.
I am really impressed by the quality of this hat so far, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice running hat for warm weather. It’s a bit pricey, when you can get a trucker hat even cheaper, but I’m personally not a big fan of the how the trucker look makes me look, or how it feels.