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Hats Off to Outdoor Research (OR)


Radar Pocket CapThe one item I never heli-hike without is a good hat to keep the high-altitude sun off my head.  What makes the perfect hiking hat?  To find out, I chatted with Dave Mahoney from Outdoor Research (OR).

JC: Dave, CMH has been selling OR gear in our shops for a couple of years now. Can you share with our readers some insight on the company and your philosophy around keeping people comfortable in the outdoors?

DM: Here at OR our company mission statement is “we build functional solutions for human powered adventures”. Every product has to perform perfectly for the intended end use or, we do not develop it. This simple function test insures all our products not only perform at their very best but, keep the user doing what they love longer.

JC: Can you tell me a little bit about the OR Lab Rats and what this has done for product innovation over the last few years?

transit hatDM: The OR Lab Rat program is another way for OR to gather feedback at the consumer level and apply this feedback to future products. We have taken individual feedback and updated a current style, or added a new style all together. An example of this is the Transit Hat made from Organic Cotton Canvas. This product was suggested from a consumer in the desert south west who encouraged us to expand our synthetic styles to include cotton. Cotton hats can be dunked in water and placed on your head for an “active” evaporative cooling. The Transit hat is one of our top sellers now.

JC: In addition to great pants, jackets, gloves and gaiters, OR makes some great hats. We recommend to all our CMH Summer Adventures guests to make sure they take a hat with them each and every day. My Mom told me this too and I practice the theory with my kids…but why can the right hat really make or break your day in the mountains?

DM: At OR we build all products with a specific end user in mind. From the top of Everest, to a hike with the family all products must function correctly. Placing Gore WINDSTOPPER in our headwear in the fall/winter allows the user to enjoy a warmer piece of headwear in the worst of conditions. Adding a full brim with foam insert to our sun hats, keeps the sun off your head, face, shoulders, ears, and allows the hat to float in the event you are participating in a water sport. From Waterproof sombreros to sun hats with proper brim dimensions and materials we always have you covered….literally. Chosing the correct piece of headwear can be the difference between frost bite, sun burn, sun glare, temperature regulation etc.

What about you?  What's your favourite hat that you never leave home without?

CMH Summer Adventures provides 3 and 6 day mountain adventures based from remote mountain lodges in western Canada.  Professional guide service, distinctive hospitality, exhilarating helicopter flights and adventures ranging from the serene to the extreme.  Learn more by visiting

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I love my Radar pocket cap, I carry it everywhere and it's never a hassle. I just wish they didn't stitch things like "SPF +30" on it... it's a great feature but after I buy the cap I don't feel like telling the whole world about it. It's a small beef though, OR makes a great hat!
Posted @ Wednesday, August 18, 2010 5:50 PM by Chris Lamothe
I bought an OR Seattle Sombrero in Alaska a few years back and love, love, love it. Perfect for kayaking, hiking, urban rain squalls, you name it. I'm headed off for a NM walking vacation next month and you can bet I'll bring it along.  
I've had my eye on the Revel Cap too, so I'm looking forward to checking out your OR collection next week when I'm at the Bugaboos.  
Posted @ Thursday, August 19, 2010 11:11 AM by Ellen Barone
It only took one burn for me to realize that a balding head & summer sun do not mix. Now that I've progressed from "balding" to "bald", I never leave home without some sort of head protection. Up to now, I've been using baseball caps as my main tool - sounds like I need to do some shopping at OR for something more functional.  
Any hat suggestions for members of the League of Bald Gentlemen?
Posted @ Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:49 PM by CdnJake
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