The only thing more distinctive of ultra runners than bushy beards is our proliferation of hats – trucker hats, baseball caps, buffs, visors, kepis… I’ve even seen a fedora! Our choice of hat is as much a fashion statement of ourselves as a practical solution to the challenges we face on the trail.
I’ve been running with an Arcteryx visor for the past two years, and have loved it! It works like a sweat band, keeping my prolific sweat out of my eyes. The peak keeps sun and rain out of my eyes, or shades my neck when running out of the sun. The open top allows my head to radiate heat, or, when it is particularly hot, to don a Buff, fill it with ice, and enjoy half an hour or more of cool, clear thinking before HIUB (heat induced ultra-brain) returns. I have also appreciated how easy it is to pack the soft peak when not in use.
Other visors I have tried have pressed the corners of the visor into my temples, resulting in headaches. Therefore when I heard that Arcteryx was going from a soft visor to a hard visor, I was dubious, to say the least. I was concerned that comfort and packability would suffer.
However, given my general desire for redundancy, I decided it was time to get a new visor.
The first piece of good news was that Arcteryx have gone for a semi-hard visor – it can flex, but retains its shape better than the previous model. Also, the central portion of the visor has a small window of foam to prevent a pressure point on the forehead. The steep vertical angle between the corners of the visor and the temples likewise prevents painful pressure. Overall, the curvature is a good balance of open curvature, giving better visibility, and tight curvature, offering better shade.
The thickness of the padding is less than in the previous model – this offers a sleeker profile, but retains less water to help cool the head; neither consideration is overly significant. Also, the new model introduces a section of stretchy material at the back, offering better grip on the head.
The range of colours is now a bit less interesting – instead of blue, red, and grey, there is black, blue and white. However, this isn’t a Milan catwalk.
I am looking forward to many more years running in this comfortable, stylish piece of headwear.
The cap comes in S-M and L-XL, and weighs in a 35g.