OR Bugout Brim Hiking Hat w/Insect Shield

OR Bugout Brim Hat Review

The Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat (formerly called the Sentinel Brim Hat) is well suited for summer hiking and backpacking, rain or shine. It has a wide brim to protect your face from the sun, a UPF 50 rating,  mesh side vents, and a chin strap so it won’t fly away when you get encounter wind above treeline. It’s also treated with Insect Shield, a long-lasting Permethrin treatment that repels insects including ticks and those tiny birds they call mosquitos. This is the third Bugout Brim Hat I’ve purchased in the past 10 years, so you can tell I like the product. I feel naked without it when I’m hiking, figuratively speaking.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 2.5 ounces
  • UPF: 50
  • Chin Strap: Yes
  • Brim width: 2.5″
  • Care: Machine wash
  • Material: Nylon
  • Insect Shield: Good through 70 rounds of washing

I bought my first Bugout Brim Hat because I couldn’t find any billed ball caps that had been treated with Insect Shield. We were in the midst of a terrible Lyme outbreak due to an explosion in the deer population and I wanted to surround myself with Permethrin-treated clothing. I’d always avoided wide brim hats before because I thought they looked unwieldy and dorky, but I quickly came to appreciate the Bugout Brim Hat.

Top Vents and External Drawstring Size Adjustment
Top Vents and External Drawstring Size Adjustment

The brim isn’t too wide to block my peripheral vision and I like the fact that it has a chin-strap. That’s a must-have when it’s windy. The hat also provides me with great sun protection on top of my head, face, ears, and neck and is well ventilated with mesh side vents. The circumference is easily adjustable for a comfortable fit, it dries very quickly, and it even floats if you drop in on the water.

The brim is stiffened with foam, so it’s not floppy, and it stands up pretty well in the rain without collapsing. There’s also an internal headband which does a pretty good job as a sweatband.

Underside of Bugout Brim Hat
The underside of the Bugout Brim Hat

What about using a head net? This hat works well with my Sea-to-Summit Insect Shield Head Net because the brim keeps the netting off my face and neck.

My last Bugout Brim Hat had a few puncture holes in the crown that I recently noticed, which I why I replaced it with a new one. I think those holes came from some gnarly bushwhacks I did lately, but it’s hard to know for sure. I’m still hanging onto the old one as a backup, but I’m wearing the new one all the time now.

One thing I would recommend if you get the Bugout Brim Hat is to wash it every couple of weeks if you hike with it a lot. The internal headband can get pretty dirty from perspiration. I stick my hat into a mesh bag when I wash it (machine wash cold) so that the chin strap doesn’t catch on anything. I then let it air dry.

If you’re looking for a stuffable hat with a wide brim and good sun protection, I can recommend the OR Bugout Brim Hat. The Insect Shield treatment works well in repelling ticks and mosquitos and it’s a durable, low-maintenance hiking hat.

Disclosure: Philip Werner owns this product.

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7 comments

  1. 2,5 brim seems to be on the shorter end, but should work for some.
    I prefer 2.75 or 3+ (like Sunday afternoons ultra Sun hat). Looks dorky, but shields great from sun rays.

  2. I’ve got one and it sports a plucky buzzard feather from the Grayson Highlands. If I ever start hiking fast enough to avoid interest from those vultures, I’ll upgrade to an eagle feather.

    • Unless you are a registered tribal member, possessing eagle feathers is a sizable fine….up to 50K….oh and wearing it in places rangers, game wardens, forest service employees, and other officials makes it a little harder to hide…

      • OK. I’ll stick with my buzzard feather! I doubt there’s too much red tape involved with those… just as long as I don’t try plucking one from a California Condor!

  3. I like the idea of a brim hat for sun protection – but the back part of the brim constantly rubs on the top of my backpack so I end up just using baseball cap style hats and sunscreen for my neck and ears. Maybe the less aggressive brim on this one avoids that issue?

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