A 4-Day Adventure on the Powwow Trail

A 4-Day Adventure on the Powwow Trail

Over an extended Memorial Day Weekend, I was able to get out with Jackson and Henry Harren to backpack the 30-mile Pow Wow Trail through the Pagami wildfire area (2011) in the BWCAW.  As we were doing a final gear check at the trailhead, my cousin Jackson handed me the new Wintergreen Trail Cap.  In a handsome royal blue, this new cap comes with a mesh back for warmer weather excursions and closes in the back with a tough Velcro strap.  I immediately threw my old, tired lid in the car and put on the trail cap as we set out late afternoon to cover the 6 miles up to our first night’s camp on Pose Lake.  

Navigating the trail.

Right away I liked this hat.  It was comfortable, floppy, crushable and yet seemed to have enough structure to allow me to use the brim in multiple positions. The hat breathed well, completely covered my bald forehead, and the mesh back kept things cool.  I gave the brim a slight roll on the end and wore it half up and half down, and coined it the Northwoods roll – a sweet middle spot for visibility and sun protection. 

Taking a break at camp.

As a bald guy, I nearly always wear a hat when I am on the trail, but sometimes a fixed brim does not suit the mood or the conditions. In areas with a lot of downed trees crossing the trail at forehead height, a brim fixed down low can restrict the field of vision.  My head is hard, but a good knock on the forehead from unseen deadfall can leave a painful reminder to practice heads up hiking so as not to bonk my noggin.  With the Trail Cap, I just flipped the brim completely up into a sassier position ala the Fresh Prince. The result was unobstructed visibility with lid still on. And when it rained or the sun was beating down, dropping the brim into the classic position kept the water off my face and the sun from burning my skin. It sounds simple, and it is, but I liked it – this was a good hat!

The Fresh Prince.

Combined with a hooded sun shirt, I protected the back of my head from bugs and sun while rarely feeling that I was too hot; and when I felt like taking it off, it rolled up neatly and stuffed into any available pocket. Whether sunny, or overcast, raining or buggy, I was able to use the hat to wick the sweat from my brow and to keep the rain and sun out of my eyes quite effectively the entire way around the loop.

Back at the start.

Back at the trailhead, at the end of our trip, I noted that the fabric of the hat had pulled the sweat to the outer surface of the solid front portion of the cap, and this had created what I consider to be an honorable salt patina on the outer surface of my Trail Cap.  As with any good piece of gear, a good trail cap tells its own stories of exertion and conquest! 

I found the Trail Cap to be a simple, necessary and effective piece of gear, and from this backpacker’s perspective, it’s trail tested and cousin approved.

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