Vollebak is back, yet again, with a new piece of solar-charged apparel. Its new Solar Charged Hat looks exactly as comfortable as it is sustainably-designed, being that it’s made up of three layers of material insulating the head of whoever wears it. Plus, it’s covered in “membranes” that absorb light (like plants!) to power its biggest feature: it glows brightly in the dark wherever you “draw” light, meaning you can use it as an artist’s easel with a flashlight. But more importantly, you can store and communicate brightly-lit messages on the hat’s fabric.
Even without that, it’s a very nice glow-in-the-dark winter hat meant to pair with Vollebak’s other solar-powered apparel, like the Solar Charged Puffer. The expensive and intricate photovoltaic outer layer is cool-looking, and probably quite useful if you need all the light you can get, but it does come with a $395 price tag. According to Vollebak, it’s made for “the coldest, darkest places on Earth,” and if you’re going to those places anyway, you probably won’t mind spending on potentially life-saving functionality and maybe a little extra peace of mind.
It’s built for durability, using a wind and water-resistant three-layered material made of a Nylon mesh, ripstop, and the photovoltaic membrane that makes it solar-powered. The sides of the cap contain ultra-soft fleece lining and insulation. What stands out here is the Nylon used in the cap: Cordura, a reinforced material generally used in military-grade gear. Apparently, the ripstop layer is made of the same materials “found in parachutes”. And from that single revelation alone, if anything is certain, this is the hat you’d probably want on an expedition to Antarctica.
The kryptonite green color may be a bit too bright for high fashion; this Solar Charged Hat is definitely a piece of adventuring garb through and through, and — again if you’re in the freezing cold — it even comfortably fastens with a three-tightness chin fastener, giving you additional warmth from the cold when needed. Of course, it doesn’t glow green all the time. When you go somewhere with a lot of natural light, as Vollebak puts it, “it’s a normal green during the day”.
It’s not just sustainable in the sense of storing energy from light. It’s also solved one of the biggest problems in sourcing insulation components: avoiding animal cruelty.
“Made from 100% recycled plastic bottles the engineered microfibres are so light and puffy that they trap enough heat next round your head to recreate the warmth of real down, without needing to pull feathers out of ducks or geese. And while down will clump and stop insulating if it gets wet, the synthetic fibres will continue keeping you warm even in damp conditions.”