I’ve used Sunday Afternoons as my go-to sun hat choice for about six years. My first exposure to the brand came by chance while vacationing at Black Butte Ranch in central Oregon. Being July, the sun was blazing and the temps were blistering, and I needed something to protect my head. Sunday Afternoons had a nice, inexpensive UPF option that was also waterproof, so I was sold. Fast-forward six-plus years, and that same sun-bleached hat was doing a yeoman’s job but beginning to flop around in my face. Enter the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat.
Having trusted the brand for more than half a decade, I didn’t think twice about sticking with it. The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat in particular seemed nice, because that rigid front brim would avoid the long-term flop suffered by my previous hat. The six-inch-long neck cape was intriguing too, as it seemed like a great way to protect my neck from the sun.
Having hiked, kayaked and done simple yardwork in the Ultra Adventure Hat for two months, I can say it delivers on those promises. The hat’s incredibly breathable too, so it never caused my head to overheat while hiking or kayaking in hot weather. I’d still sweat, sure, but I never experienced that feeling where you take off the hat and seem to literally let off steam. Removing the hat just meant I was removing my shade.
The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat looks to be a bit large and unwieldy. How on Earth can you pack that big, rigid brim into a backpack or dry bag? Actually, that assumption is totally off base. Sunday Afternoons made the ingenious design decision to create a clam-shell crease in the front center of the brim that lets you fold it in half. Because the neck cape in back is malleable, the hat easily collapses into a pocket-friendly form that’s nine inches long but just a quarter-inch thick. I’ve packed it in anything from a backpack pocket to a vest’s inside pocket and never had an issue.
My only issue with the hat, in fact, has to do with its protective neck cape. Think of the word “cape” for a moment. Now think of Superman. You see how his cape flaps in the wind? Well, that tends to happen with the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat as well.
Kayaking around a lake in the morning, I found the hat to protect my neck wonderfully from the sun. Come afternoon, though, any wind greater than about 5 mph caused the cape to flap like a flag in gale-force winds. This was distracting, of course, but more importantly, it caused a bit more sun to get onto my neck. It’s easy to fix: just move your hand back there and manually re-cover your neck. But the minute the wind kicks back up, the cape flaps right out of place again. Tucking the cape into the back of my collar helped, but I felt a bit silly doing so. If Sunday Afternoons had weighted the cape’s ribbing, that might have helped mitigate the breeze — even if it would have added weight.
This was really only an issue when kayaking, or if I was hiking in an exposed environment. If I was protected by trees, the wind wasn’t an issue and therefore neither was the flapping. If you’re fond of forest hikes or kayaking only in the morning, you’re good as gold with this hat. If you do most of your hikes in the open, or most of your boating from midday onward, the flapping neck cape is something to think about. To be fair, this issue isn’t exclusive to the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat. Any hat with a neck cape is going to have its fair share of flapping.
Yet even with the flapping, I’ve been really happy with the Ultra Adventure Hat. I am considering getting another hat when the conditions call for it (maybe the Seattle Sombrero that Sara reviewed), but this is definitely my new go-to hat for sunny outdoor activities when there’s little to no breeze.
The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat was provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat
- Outstanding UPF 50+ sun protection
- Great fit, even for a guy with a massive head like mine (I wore a Medium!)
- Clam-shell crease on the front brim makes it incredibly packable
- Very breathable, even in excessively hot temperatures
- Neat sleeve for sunglasses embedded into the hat's main body above the brim
- Having to manually re-position the neck cape in windy conditions is a hassle (hence the slightly lower comfort score)
- It's designed for the sun, so water-resistance is there but not a priority