Chandlery September 2006 Issue

It’s Not An Ordinary Ball Cap

It’s your very own ‘Personal Shade System.’

For those who haven’t heard the good word on boating from a dermatological standpoint: The sun is our enemy. One Practical Sailor tester put it this way: "I’m always on the lookout for products that reduce the amount of things frozen, scraped, or burned off my hide by the dermatologist."

Enter the ExtremeShade Cap from Dermafend. The ExtremeShade Cap looks like a typical ball cap, but easily transforms into a "Personal Shade System" complete with side flaps to protect your face and ears as well as a French Foreign Legion-type flap to protect your neck and scalp. The side flaps fold up on the outside and are secured with brass snaps when not in use, while the rear flap (which unsnaps at the top to accommodate pony tails) tucks inside the cap. The side flaps are sewn in place, but the rear flap is removable for washing.

Also offered are optional clip-on visor extenders that provide additional protection to the face and eyes when the sun is low. The extenders are black plastic and appear to fit the visors of most any baseball cap.

The ExtremeShade cap is advertised as being a UV-resistant all-cotton fabric (rated at UPF 50+) that blocks over 98 percent of the sun’s cancer causing rays.

With all flaps and extenders deployed, the hat provided excellent neck and ear protection from overhead sun, but you’ll still want to wear sunscreen while on the water due to reflected light. Potential downsides? We’ve seen metal on hats corrode before, but the powder-coated snaps seem up to the task. Removable side flaps might offer more wearing options, and there is no retaining clip/lanyard to keep the hat from blowing overboard (let Davy Jones buy his own). We’d also prefer a longer warranty than 30 days. The hat costs $35, and also comes in kids’ sizes.

The PS hat is going cruising. If it fails, you’ll be the first to know.

Contact - Dermafend, 866/710-8180,

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