Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Review
Cons: Not super stylish
Manufacturer: Sunday Afternoons
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Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure
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|Pros||Lightweight, durable, great sun protection||Comfortable, protective, secure, stylish||Excellent protection, removable cape, good in the wind, good value||Great protection all around, especially on the back; brim is angled for longer protection, good ventilation, comfortable||Comfortable, very breathable, good color, great value|
|Cons||Not super stylish||Somewhat Expensive||Looks a little funny, can get hot on the back of your neck||Not stylish, brim is not crushable, shows stains easily||Not very stylish, brim could be wider|
|Bottom Line||This hat wins our Editors' Choice for Technical Use for being the highest performing and most versatile of the bunch||A high-performing full brim hat that looks good, for days spent out on the water and beyond||This super protective hat is lightweight, versatile, and an excellent value, winning our Best Buy Award||This hat has great coverage and is a good choice for any sunny activity, although it is not the most stylish||One of our top choices for a full brim hat that is extremely comfortable and breathable and a great value|
|Rating Categories||Sunday Afternoons U...||Patagonia Baggies B...||Outdoor Research Ru...||Sunday Afternoons A...||The North Face Hori...|
|Specs||Sunday Afternoons U...||Patagonia Baggies B...||Outdoor Research Ru...||Sunday Afternoons A...||The North Face Hori...|
|Weight (ounces)||2.6 oz||3.5 oz||2.8 oz||2.6 oz||2.9 oz|
|Size of Brim (inches)||3.25", with 6" neck cape||3.25"||2.75 brim, 7.25" neck cape||3.75", 7.25" neck cape||2.9"|
|Material||88% nylon, 12% polyester dobby||Recycled Nylon||100% Supplex nylon||100% nylon with 100% polyester mesh insets||Nylon Ripstop, 97% recycled polyester mesh lined|
|Packable/compressible||Yes||Yes||Yes||Packs flat, but do not fold or compress the brim||Yes|
|Size tested||L||L/XL||L||M (21" - 23")||L/XL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure has features and lightweight materials that outpace its big brother the Adventure Hat and is a more comfortable and durable version of it. We gave the Ultra Adventure top marks in all categories except style. It beats out both the Adventure Hat and the Outdoor Research Sun Runner for our top award, though performance is close among these options. It loses a few points in the style department, but sometimes testing shows that style has to be sacrificed for function.
All the cape-style hats in this review scored highest in this department, as their coverage from the sun cannot be matched. The Ultra Adventure has UPF 50+ material, a wide 3.5-inch brim that wraps around the sides of your head, and a long 6-inch neck cape for ideal back of the neck coverage.
The Ultra Adventure's dimensions do not quite stack up to some others we tested, but the brim size is an exceptional compromise between weight and comfort. And, this hat still provides excellent coverage. Sunday Afternoons likes to point out that "The sun hat that works best is the one you'll wear." And we will wear this one. There is potential for the cape to blow up in the wind, but we did not find this a detriment. There is also a chin cord to tighten, so it stays put on your head in high winds.
The Ultra Adventure has added features for performance and protection. This award winner has a "sunglass lock" feature; this means you can put your sunnies on and know they will not fall off if you bend over to fill your water bottle. This lock ensures your eye protection will remain in place.
It also has a darker colored under brim material to help reduce glare when you're traveling over reflective surfaces like water or snow. This means it's an excellent option for paddling or glacier travel.
This award-winner scored high marks for comfort and is the most comfortable of the cape style bunch. For the majority of the time, its lightweight materials make you forget you're wearing it.
The Ultra Adventure has unrivaled breathability and ventilation, as we'll discuss below. We prefer the webbing cinch system that this hat uses over the toggle tightening system on other models and found it offers a higher level of comfort. At times, other hats' brims dug into our heads a little bit when we tightened the toggle. But, the Ultra Adventure never dug into our heads at all. It is one of the lighter hats we tested and very comfortable because its sweatband goes all the way around our head. The Ultra Adventure scored well in the comfort department, thanks to its lightweight and simple design.
One of the more breathable in this review, our Editors' Choice model has mesh panels on its crown. The nature of its light nylon/polyester materials is inherently breathable, even during high-intensity activities in hot and sunny weather conditions.
The Ultra Adventure's tapered cape allows for better airflow around the neck than other cape-style hats we've tested. We found we could wear this hat all day and never feel like our head was overheating. The strips of mesh built into the top of the hat allow plenty of air to pass through. And, the lightweight materials used in the construction kept our heads cool in the hot sun.
The Ultra Adventure has a sweatband that goes around your whole head and wicks sweat away, keeping your head cool. And, the sweatband is a soft and supple mesh material, which adds to the hat's breathability.
Durability is where the Ultra Adventure pulls away from other hats in its class. This hat can be packed away in a pocket without worrying about how you fold it. And, when you're ready to wear it again, it comes back to life as if it were never packed away at all.
Sunday Afternoons uses the "Reverse Clamshell Brim" that you fold in half upwards, enabling you to stuff this hat in your pack. It proved to be a decent feature for backpacking and traveling. The Ultra Adventure did well in our crush tests, thanks to this feature. We did notice creases in the brim when accidentally folding it in other locations, but the brim does eventually bounce back.
This hat is a good compromise between style and function — although it leans more towards the function end. The Ultra Adventure is not quite as dorky-looking or embarrassing to wear as the other cape-style models but is definitely not the most stylish. We told you that cape-style hats give up some style in exchange for better protection, though, and this hat has some of the best protection available.
We would not go so far as to call this hat stylish. You still need to confidently rock this hat and not worry about what you look like on the trail. If you're looking for a less technical and more stylish sun hat, we'd go for another option. But then, you'll be giving up some sun protection for the increase in style.
The Ultra Adventure is a great value. It's not the least expensive hat we tested, but it's nowhere near the most pricey either. For the amount of protection from the sun this hat provides, we think the Ultra Adventure is worth every penny. We love this hat for long backpack trips, and we had it out in the backcountry for a six-day trip in the sunny Sierra. It is lightweight, comfortable, and super protective.
If you're ready for an ultra adventure, reach for this hat. We've named it our Editors' Choice for Technical Use because it is so incredibly versatile. We love how light and breathable the fabrics are, and it is highly protective from the sun. It is our ideal choice for backpacking because its cape style will not hit the back of your pack annoyingly, and its brim can be folded to stow away when needed. We like that it can stow away in our pack easily when we want it to, but we rarely took it off. The wicking sweatband helps keep your head cool during high output activities like hiking and running. What it loses in style points it makes up for in every other category we measured it. We highly recommend this hat. This award winner is our first choice for any active, sunny activity, from paddling to hiking.
— Sam Schild & Jessica Haist
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