Posts Tagged travel hats
I’m a reformed sun worshipper. After spending way too many hours in the direct sun, I’ve finally learned to care for my skin while enjoying the outdoors. Side note: I’m well into my 30s and should know better. But if a sun-oholic like me can not only get used to wearing sun hats but actually sing the praises of them, anyone can.
Tilley is the Rolls Royce of outdoor and sun hat wear. We’ve long been fans here at Practical Travel Gear, reviewing numerous Tilley products. In fact, you can access their site straight from ours, right at the top of the page. (Go ahead, give them some love.)
I think the Mash Up was designed specifically with people like me in mind; that is to say, people who tend to be rough on their gear, merciless on their clothes, and largely uncaring about their stuff while enjoying the outdoors. Why? You can’t ruin this hat. It rode along with me on a two week road trip through California, where the two of us enjoyed weather ranging from 90 degree sun to high wind to coastal rain. The Mash Up was tossed in the back seat, packed into duffels, stepped on, and trapped under a cooler. I squished it, bent it, and left it for dead more than once, and it always bounced back. Literally.
And it made me look way more sophisticated than I really am. The brim is flexible enough that you can adjust it the way you like it, and the chin straps are both cute and utilitarian. One goes behind your head and tightens in the case of wind (and yes, it works!) and the other goes in front. The inside rim is also adjustable (though you’ll want to get your correct hat size). The Mash Up is made from recycled yarns from hemp and organic cotton, and the brim slopes gently downward. It comes with a hat band that’s removable.
You can feel the quality of the hat when you hold it in your hand: there’s nothing flimsy or insubstantial about it. And since the bucket of the hat mashes down, you can stow it easily and not worry about it getting ruined. (Remember the days of hat boxes? What was that about?)
See Tim’s earlier review of the Tilley Mash-up Airflow Hat for Men.
Sunday Afternoons makes affordable, high-quality sun protection clothing for kids and adults. They’re based near my hometown in Oregon, but trust me, Sunday Afternoons knows how to block bright sunshine. We took both a child’s hat and tee along for a Southern California desert camping trip through Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks, and my fair-skinned Oregon-native boy lived to tell the tale!
Sunday Afternoons’ Radiant Tee is the perfect all-purpose, no-frills sun protection t-shirt. It’s a simple crew-neck with long sleeves and a roomy cut, is quick-dry, and rated to UPF 50. It does feature anti-micrbial properties (I look for this when purchasing outdoor clothing for my boys) and can get tossed in the wash with all the other clothing (no special treatments required). It’s long-sleeved but lightweight and comfortable in heat, and comes in multiple colors for boys and girls (tide pool, white, and blue fin for boys, the same for girls plus dahlia). Best of all, the Radiant Tee is only $20 on Sunday Afternoons. Sizes start at 2T and go to Large, which is approximately a child’s 10-12.
The brand is known for their sun hats, and my kids have been wearing them since infancy. My nine-year-old’s current favorite is the Scout hat (pictured above), probably because it looks a lot like Mom and Dad’s. He’s outgrown the billed hats and the bonnet-styles, but the Scout looks downright cool. He’s worn it everywhere from Disneyland to Death Valley. It does equally well when soaked in water (while river rafting) and in wind or rain (it does still have a draw cord for the chin). The Scout hat comes in Iris, Morning Glory, Tan, and Sand, in baby or youth sizing. Pick one up for only $26 on Sunday Afternoons, or on Amazon for the same price.
Are you taking your pasty white skin somewhere bright and sunny anytime soon? Are you hiking in the mountains in thinner air? You’re probably going to need some sun protection on your sweaty head and this Mountain Hardwear Canyon Sun Hiker is a great choice.
I don’t normally start off with the price, but this cap lists for $25, which is probably less than your home sports team’s new logo hat. This is a technical sun hat that delivers, however. It has a UPF rating of 50, so you can walk in the sun all day and not get a burned head, even if you’re a bald Irishman. That strip you see on the side is mesh, so it solves the main problem of wearing a hat in the hot sun: the heat won’t get trapped.
I have been wearing this around sunny Guanajuato in Mexico and I had it on pretty much every day during a recent trip to Nicaragua. I like the look of it—technical but subtle—and it’s quite comfortable. It has a band and clip on the back to adjust the sizing, which was especially helpful when I was out on a windy boat and needed to make sure I didn’t lose it. Even in 90-degree heat my head stayed cool from the ventilation and when the other fabric did get wet, it dried in a hurry.
The Coolmax brim is a nice touch as it’s cool against the skin and it dries very quickly too. No matter which of the five color styles you choose, the underside of the brim is dark to reduce glare. Very helpful if you’re on the water or traversing the Bolivian Salt Flat. This Canyon Sun Hiker is a “floater” too: When it blew into the swimming pool from my lounge chair table, it floated on the top of the water until I retrieved it.
It weighs a mere 1.7 ounces (48 grams) and it still looked good after I kept stuffing it into my suitcase or daypack when moving from place to place.
In the photo at the top there’s Mountain Hardwear text on the side, but apparently that got nixed before production as mine just has the icon logo on the front. It looks good and is not obtrusive.
I’ll still wear a sun hat with a brim when I don’t want to slather sunscreen on my face and neck to walk around a city, but this is going to be my heavy rotation cap from now on and is definitely what I’ll pack for hiking or watersports.
David Lee is a the founder of two popular travel blogs, Go Backpacking and Medellin Living. He considers himself a minimalist, and when not on the move is based in Medellin, Colombia. So Dave, what do you always pack?
In 2013, I challenged myself to begin traveling ultralight, with nothing but a 1,950 cubic inch North Face Big Shot backpack. Traveling with a small backpack requires boiling down what I take with me to the bare essentials. Here are 5 things I still find room to carry with me when traveling.
Nylon dry bags are much lighter than the rubber rafting type, and are perfect for protecting clothes and gear against rain, snow, dirt and sand. The type of travel I do often requires taking small river boats, throwing my backpack on the roof of a minibus, or going on multi-day treks. Using dry sacks allows me to relax, knowing my stuff is protected.
They’re also useful for keeping things organized, and can be used as compression sacks to help you fit more clothes into less space. I use a small one to carry my money, passport and documents, and a larger one rolled up at the bottom of my backpack in the event I want to protect everything I’ve got with me.
2. Petzl Zipka 2 LED Headlamp
Hands-free LED headlamps are incredibly useful for camping, trekking and caving, as well as navigating hostel dorm rooms while everyone else is asleep. I’m a fan of the Zipka model because it’s designed with a retractable cord mechanism, versus the typical headband, thus making it smaller and lighter. This also allows you to easily wear it on your wrist, or fasten it to an object.
I carry a hat for sun protection, which became especially important after I began shaving my head in my twenties. Earlier, I’d used bandannas or baseball caps, but since 2010, I’ve been sporting woven hats, which are more traditional amongst the older generations in Latin America.
I’d been hearing the praise about ExOfficio boxers for years before I finally bought a few pairs myself. Now I can’t imagine wearing anything else. They’re extremely comfortable, lightweight, durable and easy to clean.
5. Mophie Juice Pack Air
When I’m traveling to new places, I rely heavily on my iPhone 4S to share thoughts and images via social media apps. Whether using WiFi or a local 3G cellular data connection, the battery drains quickly. The Mophie Juice Pack Air doubles the battery life of my iPhone 4S, allowing me greater use between recharges. There’s also an iPhone 5/5s version.
For traveling to places with frigid temperatures. a Tilley hat will keep your head warm without making you look like a dork. Or a hoodlum. Or someone trying to pretend they’re still in college.
Eventually you reach a point in life where you want to wear nice things when you travel, things that are meant to last past a season or two and that make you look good. And maybe you can afford to step up your headgear purchase from what you’d find at a collection of hats set out on a fold-up table on a city sidewalk.
I’ve worn lots of flashy and crazy winter hats in my lifetime and on the ski slopes it’s great fun to put on most anything from Chaos and the like. But what about when you’re heading to a business meeting in frigid weather, with a suit and overcoat on? Or you’re 50 in Italy and it’s not really a positive thing to look like a 20-something Yankees fan in a blue logo toboggan? Tilley Endurables is best known for their sun hats, but they’re in Canada after all, so they’ve got plenty of experience braving the cold.
These hats have a one-two punch going on, the obvious benefit being quality construction and materials—usually some kind of good wool—in a hat that’s guaranteed for life. What I really like though is that you’re not just getting a stylish fedora or cap, but you also get ear flaps that fold down for extra warmth. When you don’t need them, you can tuck them away.
Some have a little extra going on in the fabric, like this TTC2 “Tec-cork” hat that has a water-repellant wool blend but also a laminate made from a cork byproduct for extra insulation and protection.
For normal leisure travel when you’re not going to have to hang with business associates (or if you’re in the kind of business where every day is casual Friday), my favorite is the TTWC cap pictured top right. There it has the ear flaps turned down, but here’s what it looks like when they’re up.
That one carries a list price of $79. Some of the ones with brims are more than $100, but again these are hats that are built to last: in the rare case it falls apart you can return it for a replacement. They also have the signature built-in storage flap in the inside top to always have some cash or a credit card stowed away.