This unassuming-looking cap is light, comfortable and does a surprisingly good job of keeping the sun and rain out of your eyes, which is a good thing because it costs an arm and a leg
Lightweight and comfortable
Stays put in most weather
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Arc’teryx Paltz Cap: first impressions
At first glance, this cap appears like just another hiking hat or running hat, but once we got it out on the trail, we discovered a lot to like about it. The softshell fabric repels wind and moisture well, yet is really comfortable thanks to its breathability, stretch, and a moisture-wicking panel that sits against your forehead. An adjustment at the back allows you to cinch it tighter on a breezy day, and it manages to stay put in most conditions without giving you a headache or leaving a red mark.
• List price: $70 / £60
• Sizes: S, L/XL
• Materials: Self: Fortius™ DW 2.0 - 88% Nylon, 12% Elastane - bluesign Approved Material
• Weight: 1.7 oz / 50g
• Colors: Black, Canvas, Solitude
• Best use: Hiking, trekking, running
The peak is long enough to keep the sun off your face on bright days, but not long enough to get caught and carried away easily by a big gust of wind, while if you’re wearing this in rainy conditions it improves your visibility and it dries quickly afterwards. Unlike a lot of peaked hats, it folds up nicely when you’re traveling or want to shove it in your backpack. Here’s the caveat though – this is a seriously pricey running hat, you need to make sure you love it as much as we do before you buy it. And don’t lose it, whatever you do.
Arc’teryx Paltz Cap: first impressions
I got this hat to test out at the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy and I did so dutifully, but without thinking I’d have much to say about it. It's just a hat, right? I’ve since worn it for alpine hiking, Scottish hiking and trail running.
Here’s how it performed:
Sizing and fit
This hat comes in two sizes, and I tested the smaller size which fits great, mostly thanks to an adjustable pull tab at the back which cinches it tight. It’s not your modern day big boxy trucker hat, but has a lower profile that comes down low enough to secure your ponytail, and a flattish but not-too-big brim.
Comfort and breathability
This hat is really comfortable, thanks to it not being too tight and a sweat-wicking band that sits against my forehead. I can wear this on a six hour hike and have no headache or red mark on my forehead afterwards. I’ve mostly been wearing it for damp and rainy conditions, but never noticed myself overheating in it, even when I’m on a longer trail run.
When I lived in Colorado, I wouldn’t venture out on a hike without a cap to keep the ferocious sunlight off my skin, but I must admit that with the lack of intense sunlight here in Scotland, I’ve sometimes left my hat at home and just used sunscreen. What this hat has taught me, however, is that running and hiking hats can also be a great defense against the rain.
I wore it on a hike that started out sunny, then turned to very rainy, and I was really pleased with how much protection I got from this, plus it dries quickly afterwards. I think part of its success lies in the brim, which is neither too wide nor too stiff. This means that I get the shade I need, but the wind doesn’t whisk it off my head. Actually, it has blown off my head precisely once, at the top of a Munro, but if you know Scottish weather you’ll know that’s pretty impressive.
Weight and packability
This hat is really light but I'd say most such hats are lightweight. What I like about it though is its packability. It folds or rolls up nicely in my backpack which can be an issue with a lot of peaked caps. This makes it a good choice for travel as well as hiking and running.
This is definitely a super pricey piece of gear and even though I'm all for gear being built to last and paying more to ensure that, I can't honestly say I'd willingly fork out $70 for a hiking hat. Mostly, I'd be terrified that it gets blown away on a summit or dropped on the trail, which would turn a common hiking incident into a very expensive day, indeed.
One thing I'd say in defense of the price tag is that you can wear it for both hiking and running, so it does serve multiple purposes, but you could probably say the same for lots of hats. If you love Arc'teryx, I can see why you'd want to get your hands on this hat and you'll really like it, but take good care of it whatever you do.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.