The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

How We Tested Sun Hats

By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday March 19, 2019
Testing each hat's durability in our "Crush Test" to simulate the hat's ability to reform after being "crushed" for 30 min. each.
Testing each hat's durability in our "Crush Test" to simulate the hat's ability to reform after being "crushed" for 30 min. each.

Where We Tested


We tested these hats throughout California, from the desert of Joshua Tree National Park to the High Sierra in Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. We went on extended backpacking trips and floated in kayaks and on sailboats. Throughout these areas, we tested the hats in five categories: Protection, Comfort, Breathability, Durability, and Style.

Testing Metrics


We tested the comfort and style of each model by having multiple people tell us which hats they thought were the most comfortable and then we took note of how they looked with each hat on. The level of protection was tested the hard way - by forfeiting the sake of our skin to know which competitors were the most protective. We then compared our results with the brim size inches and factored in the slope of the brim. We went out on gusty days to purposely test how these hats would stay on our heads, or if the brims would blow up, exposing our faces.

The Outdoor Research Oasis Sun Sombrero and Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure hats being tested on a windy day.
The Outdoor Research Oasis Sun Sombrero and Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure hats being tested on a windy day.

We tested durability by crushing these hats into our backpacks as well as crushing them in our cars for months on end. In addition to that we performed a 30-minute crush test, where we jammed each hat into a small Ziploc bag for 30 minutes each, then we noted how each hat looked after, and if this damaged the brims at all.

We went backpacking!
We went backpacking!

Durability was also tested by submerging the hats in water and noting if this damaged them at all. Breathability was tested each time we wore the hats by constantly noticing how well the hats breathed.

Each hat was crammed in a bag for 30 minutes and evaluated on how they fared.
Each hat was crammed in a bag for 30 minutes and evaluated on how they fared.