Excellent although not so attractive!
Black, clean and simple, quite ingenious: Outdoor Research’s “Seattle Sombrero".

I’ll admit, it’s not really so attracitive. Best case, you could call it “timeless.” Black, clean and simple, functional. In a customer review on globetrotter.de, I read the following: “It’s a rain hat, and that’s exacdtly what it looks like.” I’m talking about the “Seattle Sombrero”, a GORE-TEX hat from the U.S. brand Outdoor Research. This hat has been around since the mid-80s. I’ve had mine since 1994. Long before Outdoor Research had GORE-TEX apparel in its line, it had – and still has – high-performance accessories in the range. Among them, legendary products like the indestructible “Crocodile” gaiters, the “Modular Mitts” gloves with the Moonlite Pile lining, and the great “Brooks Ranger Overboots”, which have served me very well on winter adventures keeping my feet reliably protected from the cold.

Seattle Sombrero
One for all: the Seattle Sombrero

Relied on for more than 20 years

And it is precisely the “Seattle Sombrero” hat that is in fact called “…the best-selling Gore-Tex hat of all times”. In reality, an unnecessary piece since everybody uses a functional jacket (with a hood!) on every outdoor adventure. Why then an extra hat? The Seattle Sombrero simply makes outdoor life a little bit more comfortable. This hat has kept me protected on canoe tours, in particular, in 1994 just as it did in 2015, when we paddled the Sheenjack River in Northern Alaska. Naturally, it protects you from the rain (a given every day in Alaska), and its wide brim keeps your face nearly dry - a super advantage for people like myself who wear glasses. In addition, this hat protects you from the sun, and it keeps glare off the surface of the water out of your eyes. With the addition of a Buff scarf underneath, it even gets bonus points in the cold thanks to its lining. When it’s windy, just give the chin cord a yank to fold up the sides, which you then secure with hook-and-loop closure. That transforms the hat from a sombrero into more of a cowboy hat – which actually doesn’t look all that much more attractive…. Until my next canoe tour, it’ll disappear into the depths of my gear cabinet. When I pull it out again in a few years, it’ll likely be just as current as it remains today. As timeless as “black” is these days, this hat now comes in your choice of 20 colour variations and combinations – a concession by Outdoor Research to modern times. Price: 54.95 EUR. Details at outdoorresearch.com

Author: Jürgen Kurapkat

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