ZPacks Pointy Hat

ZPacks Pointy HatKavu Chillba on the Wonderland TrailI have to admit, I like pointy hats. I went hiking a few weeks ago with 2 other guys. One had no hat, the other had a ball cap. I had a sun protective cap. When we got back I was the only one who got burned....what gives? I'm like the canary in the mine shaft, I burn before anyone else. Even though I take precautions I can still get burned. To help combat harmful rays on my noggin and neck, last year (despite groans from my daughter) I had fantastic luck with a Kavu Chillba pointy hat. Then Joe at ZPacks finally released a version of his own pointy hat for the masses, the aply named Pointy Hat. I think it's an improvement over the Chillba for a few reasons. One, it has a (waterproof) zipper on the back that allows the hat to lay flat, perfect for a sit pad or to wrap around gear in a pack (you do not want to fold and crease the hat, as it is lined with 3/8 inch foam). You can also use it to supplement your sleep pad system if you are using a 3/4 length torso pad. Second, the cuben material is waterproof so it can be used as a rain hat, keeping the drips off your neck area. The design also incorporates a slightly shaved rear portion to help keep the hat from rubbing against a higher backpack. I recently wore the hat on a ski tour trip to Mt. Rainier's Muir snowfield. I can attest that in the sweltering bowls, with the sun reflecting off the snow, that the insulated hat shaded my head well. The best part is the air conditioning effect when a cool breeze was blowing. The design of the hat, which is best used clipped to a sweat visor, allows the air to flow over your head; it felt like I have my own personal fan helping evaporate the sweat. This hat proved much cooler than the sun cap and neck drape I would normally wear and which I saw many people clad in. Of course I still got burned because of the ray's reflection off the snow, despite slathering on some very pricey sun screen. My buddy? I lent him a ball cap and he draped a fleece hat on his neck and came out unscathed, using the same sunscreen. In any event in normal hiking I can't be attacked by rays from below. When the wind blew across my Chillba sometimes I had to remove the hat because of the aerodynamics. The ZPacks Pointy Hat clips onto your cap or headsweat visor and is actually much more secure; I was able to ski in the Pointy Hat no problem. It's also a great conversation starter, I got many comments from fellow skiers on my headwear. I always say function before fashion and this hat functions. I perfer to think of the look as the latest in hiking chic and functionality versus looking like a dork....you decide.

ski touring in the Pointy Hat

EDIT (October 11, 2014)

I've used the pointy hat all summer. It was especially useful on the Pasayten Wilderness hike, where we encountered sun, rain, and hail. I found I could ram through brush just by lowering my head; the hat is sturdy enough and thick enough to part branches. I was able to keep the hat on with 20 MPH winds on high places, like Devil's Pass. I was able to unzip the hat and use it as a sit pad on wet logs. I endured pea sized hail that stung through clothing but not the areas covered by the hat. The hat cooled and shaded my head in blazing sun. Passing hikers coveted my hat. I used it (unzipped) to supplement my sleep system on a blast hike. I think the question is, why would you not want one?

Here's a quick clip my daughter took with her iPhone of the Pasayten hail storm:

Pyramid Peak (pointy hat, front pack, Arc Slim)Pasayten Wilderness before hail storm (custom front pack, CF jacket)