KAVU has been making awesome hats since their start in 1993, and the Chillba continues the trend as an iconic, functional hat. It’s large and certainly not discrete, but for serious sun protection while hiking or rafting, the Chillba is my go-to hat. I’ve had the pleasure of using this piece of gear for the past two years, and wanted to write up a couple thoughts on why it rocks, as well as mention some caveats to be aware of!
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The Chillba maintains its shape due to its polyester foam core covered with nylon. This construction makes the Chillba excel both as a sun hat as well as a rain hat, and it floats in water without becoming saturated. The hat has an adjustable forehead strap to anchor it to your head, while quick dry poly mesh attaches the brim to the forehead strap. This enables one to easily adjust and pivot the hat while having it on. The wide mesh also allows plenty of airflow over the head. The forehead strap is quickly adjustable via a locking buckle, so the hat can be worn tightly in windy conditions, or loosely for comfort. Finally, the Chillba is also anchored down via the adjustable chin-strap.
Why the Chillba Rocks
In its simplest form, the Chillba is a super durable, comfortable, wide-brimmed sun hat. It also has a unique design, reminiscent of traditional hats from southern Asia, and is a guaranteed conversation starter. That being said, some people may think it’s awesome while others might find it a little dorky. Looks aside, it is the functionality of the hat that has me sold on it. First off, the wide brim gives great sun protection while letting plenty of air circulate around the head. For those with longer hair the plush forehead band does a great job of keeping hair off the face and quickly absorbing sweat during hot days. During rainstorms the conical design acts like a small umbrella and keeps its shape to channel water off the sides. It’s also surprisingly packable - I’ve folded it in half many times and it always manages to spring back to its original shape. Put simply the Chillba is a durable hat that gets the job done well.
Things to Be Aware Of
The Chillba isn’t the perfect hat for all situations. The foam construction means it maintains its shape well which causes it to act like a small parachute during windy conditions. The Chillba excels in moderate wind since the brim doesn’t flap around like other sunhats, but gusty wind can make it a real chore to keep on. It also isn’t a low profile hat, so I wouldn’t recommended it for activities like running where more aerodynamic, lightweight gear is preferred.
The Chillba combines style and functionality to give great full-coverage sun and rain protection. It features simple fitting mechanisms that can be customized to all heads while giving great comfort and airflow. The design isn’t ideal for high winds, and this should be a consideration when thinking about possible uses. Overall the Chillba is an incredibly versatile outdoor hat worth having in your toolkit.
Pricing (as of August, 2016)
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