I’ve gotten extra paranoid about Lyme Disease this year and upgraded all of my hiking clothing to garments and accessories that have been pre-treated with Insect Shield (Permethrin). The latest edition to my “fashionable” khaki-colored outfit is Outdoor Research’s Sentinel Brim Hat with Insect Shield.
Given how serious the threat of Lyme is this year and the explosion in the deer tick population, you ‘d figure that makers of baseball style brim hats would offer a wide selection of hats that were pre-treated with Insect Shield – Not!. Instead, I was forced to switch to a hat with a wrap-around brim, something I’ve always avoided I guess, because I thought big hats looked unweildy and dorky.
That turned out to be a misconception and I rather like the wrap-around brimmed Sentinel Hat which has proven fine for all of the different types if hiking I do from bushwhacking to backpacking, and even provides more sun protection than billed caps. I am past the thinning hair stage and I also worry about sun protection on my face and neck, especially when I’m above treeline.
Made out of nylon, the Sentinel Brim Hat comes with top vents and a removable chin cord which is a must-have in the windy places I hike. The brim is stiffened with foam, so it’s not floppy, but it’s nowhere as firm as the brim on a ball cap. I briefly considered getting a brim style rain hat but decided I didn’t really need to wear it for every hike I do because the hood of the rain shell I carry has a bill on it and is perfectly sufficient to keep the rain out of my eyes.
I have a small sized head and finding hats that fit right is a big headache for me. This is exacerbated by the fact that the online size guides published by retailers never match the hat you want to purchase. But a size-small fit me fine, and the headband can even be adjusted on this model by pulling on a drawstring that runs inside it. If you are sizing for best fit, make sure to get a hat that is slightly too big rather than slightly too small, because this hat does not stretch out with wear.
While this hat has an internal “wicking” headband, I find that sweat still drips into my eyes if I’m climbing up a steep hill, just like it did with my old GoLite billed hiking cap.
What about using a head net? I wish I could. First off, I get really nauseous when I wear a bug net over my head. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it’s related to motion sickness caused by looking out from all the tiny holes in the mesh. But I’d also destroy a head net quickly on bushwhack hikes which is when I need tick protection the most.
But does a wide brim hat treated with Insect Shield work for keeping biting insects away. Heck yeah! I think moving from a billed hat to a wide brim provides a larger “zone of safety” around my face and the added sun protection is a big win too.
- Weight: 2.5 ounces
- Machine wash
- Material: Nylon
- Insect Shield: Good through 70 washings
Disclosure: Philip Werner owns a Sentinel Brim Hat and purchased it with his own funds.
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