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Outdoor Research Oasis Sombrero : Here Comes the Sun

I used to snicker at hikers wearing big hats. A baseball cap was all I needed to keep out the sun, and I wasn't about to show other people that I was afraid of the the weather. Vanity was a factor, too. I just felt cuter in a smaller cap.

Then I stayed out in the sun too long one day, fried the tops of my ears (the skin actually peeled off days later in potato chip shaped flakes) and neck. I got smart, and got a wide-brimmed sun hat with UPF 50 sun protection--OR's Oasis Sombrero.

This sweet lid looks adorable on me (the robin's egg blue color complements my dark blue eyes), has an adjustable head strap for windy days (it can get very windy in the dessert), and nice wide brim to keep the sun off of my face, ears, and neck. Both flexible and firm, the brim holds its shape really well, even after repeatedly being stuffed into an overstuffed suitcase.

As for my former attitude about big hats...the Oasis Sombrero is not a silly hat at all. And there's nothing frumpy or sloppy about it. OR has done an excellent job designing this elegant and functional hat--the shape, the size, and the fit are all just right.

Unlike other caps I've worn, the Oasis has a separate headband that gives me a better fit; it feels like it holds the hat just a little tiny bit away from my head while also keeping it in place. It's made of wicking material, so I don't get that gunky feeling on my forehead half an hour into my activities. Nice.

To be honest, I haven't trekked across any desserts (yet) in this hat (but I could), but I have spent hours harvesting lavender in the hot sun wearing my big blue hat. My head actually stayed dry. And more than one person commented that my fancy hat looked gorgeous against a backdrop of purple fields.

OR also makes fancy, but manly, sun hats for men.

Bottom Line: Available in three colors and four sizes. Perfect for walking, hiking, gardening, or beachcombing.--E.D. (July 07)

Price: $30

BUY ONLINE :, 88x31 REI Logo, Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

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Worldwide there are more than 12,000 species of ferns. In New Zealand, the silver fern is the national symbol. According to Maori culture,the unfurling tip of the fern, called a "koru," represents the cycle of life and death. This image is often used in art and jewelry.

Source: 100% New Zealand, The Official Site for New Zealand Travel

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