This is kind of gross, and I’m a little bit sorry for that, but I still have scaly bits on the tops of my ears. This because I burned the daylights out of them by wearing the wrong hat while on a recent adventure. I made it worse by neglecting to apply sunscreen to my poor ears — I’ll skip the part about what happened when I started to peel.
I pack a baseball style cap for my travels. I’d picked up a Sun Tripper cap from Sunday Afternoons while at the Outdoor Retailer show. It’s really cute, it’s that military shape, it’s got a split bill so it packs down nice and flat, and it’s got a stretchy drawstring on the back so it stays on your head in the wind. This matters; I watched the wind take a travel-mate’s cap and hurl it into the desert, there was no retrieving it. My cap stayed securely on my head the whole time. I also found that the funny little pocket in the top of the hat was actually useful. I tucked my ID and a little bit of cash in there, it was nice to have a secret stash and I didn’t worry about my head being pick-pocketed.
But as I’ve mentioned, I needed coverage for my ears. This was a tactical error on my part — I should have gone with a safari hat instead of just a cap. Sure, the extra coverage looks a little silly, but my ears hurt like hell and did I mention, they were kind of gross about a week later. Sunburn isn’t a joke, even when it’s limited to the tops of your ears, and I could hear my doctor’s voice in my head giving me the melanoma lecture. What I’m saying, is go with the extra coverage. Sunday Afternoons has some other options that I’d have done better to choose for this trip. I won’t soon forget that painful sunburn and I don’t expect to make that same mistake again. Get the coverage, people. The Sun Tripper cap is 24.00, the safari range starts there and goes up to 48.00. There’s a convertible cap too — just snap on the ear and neck coverage — that goes for 28.00. That would have kept the sunburn at bay.
In addition to sun coverage, I was delighted to find that I still had my SmartWool beanie in my photo bag. I’d used it to wrap up some camera gear I wasn’t using, but I ended up wearing it on cold mornings and evenings in camp. This stretchy little reversible beanie takes up negotiable space in my kit (really, I’d no idea it was in there!) and I was delighted to find that it had hitched along with me on my camping trip. SmartWool brands this little cap as a “training beanie” — whatever with that. I’m calling it a travel beanie and leaving it right where it is, stowed in my photo backpack, holding my lens polarizer. I’ll be happy the next time I find the wind is biting my ears or the night is a little cold. 25.00 from SmartWool.