As many Hiking Lady readers know, when it rains, I love my Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero. However, if it isn’t raining, I prefer having a breathable hat like my Dorfman Pacific Solarweave Mesh Hat.
Until now, I always had to make a crucial decision before each hike or backpacking trip…will it rain? Should I wear my waterproof rain hat or my breathable mesh hat that is far from waterproof? If weather conditions were uncertain, I’d choose my rain hat, but then often end up hot with a sweaty head.
Outdoor Research has developed a solution to this problem – the Outdoor Research Ghost Hat.
How the Outdoor Research Ghost Hat Solves the Hiking Hat Problem
On days with questionable weather, no there is no need to fret about what kind of hat to wear on your hiking adventure. The Ghost Hat is convertible from a rain hat into a breathable hat!
I’ve been testing an Outdoor Research Ghost Hat and find that is designed extremely well, and does exactly what it proposes to do – enable all of us hikers to just own one hat! As seen in the picture of my Ghost Hat below, the front of the hat has a breathable mesh panel. However, when it starts to rain or get cold, a simple yet very practically and conveniently designed flap pulls down over this breathable mesh panel, and stays secure with a tiny hidden magnet sewn into the front of the hat.
Limitations of the Outdoor Research Ghost Hat:
The Ghost Hat works really well as a rain hat. Hands down, it is as good as my Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero, except that it lacks the cool feature of velcroing the sides up to provide better visibility. (That feature isn’t key to the hat’s functionality, so I don’t penalize the Outdoor Research Ghost Hat for not doing that.)
The only limitations I have noticed in my testing are as follows:
- The Outdoor Research Ghost Hat can get warm in 80+ degree temperatures. In Southern California these days it seems to regularly be above 80 degrees year round, so the nylon of this hat makes it retain more heat than a cotton alternative. For more moderate climates, this won’t be an issue at all.
- The back panel takes up a bit of space when tucked in, so if you’re between sizes, I’d recommend ordering a size larger than normal. There is an internal cinch band that helps make minor size adjustments as well, so if you are true to size, you’ll likely be okay with your regular size.
- The smallest size is Medium, so for those of you with small heads, you’ll have to find another option like the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero that comes in Small to XL.
- Materials: Nylon, polyester.
- Price: $78.00. Yes that’s a lot, but I think it is worth it because you can avoid buying 2 hiking hats (a rain hat and a separate breathable hat).
- Color Choices: Charcoal, Black, Khaki.
- Wind ready? Yes, it has a chin strap.
- Weight: Very lightweight.