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Akubra Zephyr review

GLB Pro

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Singapore
Hello everyone, new member here. Have used this forum as a resource for many years but never posted before. Thought I'd start by posting a review of my Zephyr :)

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I purchased this hat as an alternative to my 15 year old Panama which was starting to show some wear and tear. I considered both the Zephyr and its natural hemp cousin the Balmoral, and in the end decided on the former to try something different. Having worn it for a couple of months now I can say it has some very useful attributes that set it apart from natural straw hats:

First of all this hat is completely immune to water damage - I wore it in a downpour the other day and it shrugged off 95% of the raindrops. The weave of the polypropylene on the top and brim of the hat is very dense and as a result the rain doesn't get through, unlike with a Panama where it seems like every third raindrop penetrates. Because it's synthetic straw, the hat dries almost immediately and doesn't soften or lose its shape in the rain. This is very useful for where I live, where we will often have intense sun followed by thundery showers and then intense sun again.

Secondly, this hat gives good sun coverage without looking like a sun hat - the brim at 70mm is the same size as the Adventurer/CEO brim and bigger than the Bogart/Stylemaster brim. It's right on the boundary between town and country hat and can do both pretty well.

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The crown shape on this hat is what I would call a streamlined teardrop - right in between the cigar-style crease crown of the Bogart and the teardrop of the CEO/Cattleman. The built-in bash is quite subtle and there is a lot of room in the crown for air to circulate, making for a very airy and comfortable hat. The weave on the sides of the crown is more open to facilitate this - you can actually see through this part of the hat when you hold it close to your eye whereas this is not possible with the brim or top of the crown. Works much better than vent holes in my experience!

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The polypropylene material is another interesting aspect of this hat. In terms of colour it's darker than a straw hat but the exact colour is very hard to define - there is some brown in there and some yellow and some green... fawn is a fair attempt but if you know hats you will probably not mistake this for a natural material. That's not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

In terms of feel the hat is very stiff indeed, especially the crown, and rather 'crunchy' if you manhandle it.

The hat is incredibly well-made: the whole thing is stitched together with what appears to be several kilometers of monofilament line and there is also glue holding everything in place. The leather sweat and hat bands are traditional Akubra quality, the outside band being a hefty 3mm thick with a nice low key Akubra badge. The edge is bound with dark brown ribbon which is overlapped and stitched at the back so well that it's very difficult to see where the join is. The inside stamp says 'Australian Assembly' because the spinning is done in Taiwan, but the whole package is flawlessly executed. Well done Akubra!

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The sizing appears to run just very slightly smaller than the felt hats - I have a Bogart in the same size that is a slightly looser fit - but it could also be due to the unyielding nature of the polypropylene.

All in all this hat is very versatile and is an ideal hot-weather companion especially if rain is expected. How the material holds up over time remains to be seen but I'm sure it will be far more durable than any straw or hemp equivalent.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Bruno
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
738
Location
Dixie, USA
Nice review. I was looking at the Akubra Range, but might go for the Zephyr. The biggest concern for me is how much airflow gets into the crown. Being so close to New Orleans, heat and humidity are issues for hat wearers.

Fed
 

Lean'n'mean

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,057
Location
Cloud-cuckoo-land
Interesting review, unfortunately only 2 pics showed for me but thanks to your good write up I got the gist of it. It is surprising to see a leather sweatband in a plastic hat though.
 

GLB Pro

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Singapore
Interesting review, unfortunately only 2 pics showed for me but thanks to your good write up I got the gist of it. It is surprising to see a leather sweatband in a plastic hat though.
Thanks for the alert, have re-posted the missing pictures. Am I correct that posts on this forum remain editable for only a limited period of time?

Yes I think Akubra is trying to keep the trim between these and their natural hemp hats consistent.
 

GLB Pro

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Singapore
Nice review. I was looking at the Akubra Range, but might go for the Zephyr. The biggest concern for me is how much airflow gets into the crown. Being so close to New Orleans, heat and humidity are issues for hat wearers.

I'm with you there - humidity where I live is usually 60-80%.
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
738
Location
Dixie, USA
Ah - the photos are quite easy to see now. I did not mention a problem in my earlier post since I thought it was a problem on my end. Finicky computer often is slow to load or does not load them at all.

Is that the cream or fawn color?

Humidity here is about the same so I would be interested how well your Zephyr breathes and how comfortable in the heat. Still on the fence over polypropylene vs natural hemp. Durability is a thought as well. Sounds like that is a plus for the man made material.
 

GLB Pro

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Singapore
Ah - the photos are quite easy to see now. I did not mention a problem in my earlier post since I thought it was a problem on my end. Finicky computer often is slow to load or does not load them at all.

Is that the cream or fawn color?

Humidity here is about the same so I would be interested how well your Zephyr breathes and how comfortable in the heat. Still on the fence over polypropylene vs natural hemp. Durability is a thought as well. Sounds like that is a plus for the man made material.

It's the fawn colour - this hat only comes in one colour at the moment. There are a couple of other models like it in the Akubra range (the Rink, Country Club and Broadbeach) but they have different dimensions and trim.

The Zephyr breathes great - the venting system works extremely well and the tall open crown helps air to circulate through the hat. The only issue I've found is contact sweating where your head meets the hatband, which I think would be an issue with any hat. I'm aiming to get a Byron in the near future to see how it compares to a natural hemp hat.

I would say that if you've never tried one of these polypropylene straw hats this is a great one to start with. I love the bombproof construction and although my Panama is lighter in weight this hat has better sun coverage and stays on my head much better on a windy day.

Regards,
Bruno
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
738
Location
Dixie, USA
It's the fawn colour - this hat only comes in one colour at the moment.

The Zephyr breathes great - the venting system works extremely well and the tall open crown helps air to circulate through the hat. The only issue I've found is contact sweating where your head meets the hatband, which I think would be an issue with any hat. I'm aiming to get a Byron in the near future to see how it compares to a natural hemp hat.

I would say that if you've never tried one of these polypropylene straw hats this is a great one to start with. I love the bombproof construction and although my Panama is lighter in weight this hat has better sun coverage and stays on my head much better on a windy day.

Regards,
Bruno
EA shows cream with a 90 day wait and fawn ready for immediate shipping.
http://everythingaustralian.com.au/zephyr-hat.html

Thanks for the info on the airflow and comfort!

The sweat band is a big thing for me. Most cloth sweats just are not comfortable to my forehead. Akubra leather sweat bands are quite nice.

Thanks again,

Fed
 

GLB Pro

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Singapore
EA shows cream with a 90 day wait and fawn ready for immediate shipping.
http://everythingaustralian.com.au/zephyr-hat.html

Thanks for the info on the airflow and comfort!

The sweat band is a big thing for me. Most cloth sweats just are not comfortable to my forehead. Akubra leather sweat bands are quite nice.

Thanks again,

Fed

You're welcome!

Thanks for the EA link - good to know there's a cream option too :)

Regards,
Bruno
 

Some Random Bloke

New in Town
Messages
14
Location
Perth, Australia
We used these hats where I worked for 3 years. Very good durability. They even spray-painted them when they changed the company livery! Most people don't know how to look after a hat and they were frequently thrown in the back seat of a vehicle, so often got bent out of shape and didn't look so good, but I put that down to the user.
 

Kirk H.

One Too Many
Messages
1,196
Location
Charlotte NC
Very nice. I have the Akubra Capricorn. It's my first polypropylene hat. I love the fact that if I get caught in the rain I don't have to worry. I too live in a very humid area and find that breathes alright, just not as good as a straw. Of course not having hair, I sweat in anything in the summer. How do like the larger brim for shade?
 

GLB Pro

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Singapore
Very nice. I have the Akubra Capricorn. It's my first polypropylene hat. I love the fact that if I get caught in the rain I don't have to worry. I too live in a very humid area and find that breathes alright, just not as good as a straw. Of course not having hair, I sweat in anything in the summer. How do like the larger brim for shade?

Hello Kirk! I actually considered the Capricorn - the main differences that I can see is that the brim is 10mm shorter than the Zephyr and turned up in the back, whereas the Zephyr brim is designed to be worn brim down all the way around.

The brim is ok - I wouldn't want it any smaller. When it comes to shade bigger is definitely better. However living in the city one needs to strike a balance - any bigger than the Zephyr in my town and you almost immediately get labelled a cowboy :p

Bruno
 

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