Reviewing a very expensive hat, on a blog. Doesn’t get more outdorky. But if you’re not here for that exactly, best move along yesterday.
This is a 35 dollar visor. It is also an exceptionally functional one. I’ve always sweated quite a bit, and always liked visors because they’re cooler than any hat. The glacially inexorable extension of my widow’s peaks’ prominence mean that when my hair is particularly short, like it was for a few weeks after my post-AK haircut last month, I can’t wear a visor without dabbing my head with sunblock. Otherwise, I strongly prefer them to hats.
The reason the Neutro works so well is that, unlike every other hat or visor I’ve ever used, it has no reservoirs of wetness. Most hats do, usually in fabric layers where the brim is sewn into the band, which is to say, exactly where you don’t want them. It is not pleasant to take a break to cool off, and after 10 minutes put back on a hat which is dry save for a 4 by 1/2 inch swath above your brow. In colder weather, when the sun and precip protection of a visor can be quite handy, these islands of wetness can become islands of coldness.
The Neutro eliminates this by having the brim made of thin and flexible foam inside a laminated fabric sandwich, and by using two layers of 3D mesh as the sole band fabric. The seam along the brim is as a result sleek, and what fabric exists is both wicking and never more than a few millimeters from direct air exposure. Brilliant and simple.
The flexible brim is a bit on the small side, still big enough to get the job done but less likely to get flipped off by high winds. It will easily roll up and stuff into your pocket. It works great under the hood of an insulation layer or rain jacket. It even fits decently under a bike or paddling helmet. The 3D mesh provides a bit of stretch, and unlike some elastics, shouldn’t loose its stretch over time. Arc’teryx makes the Neutro in two sizes, and it is conceivable that those with exceptionally large or small heads might find themselves left out due to the modest adjustment built in.
Otherwise, I’m happy to temporarily check off one of the infinite boxes in my search for perfect gear.