Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside
Gear Guy

What's the best lid to keep my head dry?

With all the to-do about soft shells, what's the best way to keep your noggin dry given that most soft shells seem to come sans hood? Eric Fayetteville, Arkansas

A: I don't miss hoods on my soft shells because I'm not really a hood fan. They always seem to be in the way, or rubbing my neck when stowed, or blocking my view.

Hat For All Seasons: ;

So, yes, lots of good hats out there. My all-time favorite, despite its huge look-like-a-dork factor, is the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero ($56; Made with seam-taped Gore-Tex, it's the most rain-shedding lid on the planet. To really complete the dorkiness, be sure to use the chinstrap even when it's not windy. But seriously, I've had one for years and always have it stuffed in my pack or perched atop my head. REI makes a cheaper knock-off simply called the REI Sombrero ($30;, which uses a polyurethane waterproof-breathable fabric.

For whatever reason, Outdoor Research is the one company that has thought hard about hats. So in addition to the aforementioned Seattle Sombrero, another favorite hat in my arsenal is OR's famous Hat For All Seasons ($64 with liner), a bomber-style Gore-Tex hat with a removable fleece liner. The name here is no marketing gimmick, either. When I was on Denali a few years back it was my ubiquitous piece of headwear. I wore only the liner in the tent or under a helmet, and the shell (and sometimes the liner) when it was cold outside. It's fabulous! And, unlike its less sartorial sombrero cousin, the perfect complement to a soft-shell jacket.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Lead Photo: courtesy, Outdoor Research