215 Gear Operators Hat, ELW (Extremely Light Weight) - ITS Tactical

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215 Gear Operators Hat, ELW (Extremely Light Weight)

By Eric S.

I know some people will wonder why we’re doing another gear review of a hat, they simply sit on your head and keep the sun and rain out of your eyes. I also know certain people cringe when they see Velcro sewn on a hat.  They say whats next, PALS sewn onto the sides for your IFAK?

To be honest, that’s what I thought of “tactical hats” when they started becoming popular. I figured that I could just wear my Local Motion Surf Co. hat and no one would pay any attention. It’s a different story when you have a MultiCam hat full of Pork Eating Crusader and Jolly Roger  patches.

Some people seem to have a strange addiction to hats. There are a few threads floating around AR15.com and Lightfighter.net where people show off their hat collections and man do some people have a bunch! Hats are one of those strange things that people like to collect, like knives and flashlights (I have a good friend who has around 30 flashlights!).

But like any piece of gear, there’s a time and place where fashion goes out the window and being  practicable  takes  precedence. This is where the 215 Gear Operator Hats come into play. They were designed by people who know function comes first and they  truly  excel  in hot and humid weather  climates  like The Sandbox, or even here in Florida where I’m at.

215 Gear ELW

New at 215 Gear is the Operators Hat ELW (Extremely Light Weight). Unlike the Blended Operators Hat which has mesh panels sewn into the sides, the ELW is made entirely out of a close knit mesh. This takes light weight and breathability to the next level. While being lightweight, it feels nice and sturdy and definitely not cheap.

A great feature is the removal of the top button and the addition of a small 1″ x 1″ loop patch. This really helps when you’re wearing electronic hearing protection as the top strap  doesn’t  roll to the front or back. This also allows a square glint tape to be attached to the top.

I know you’re sitting there asking who really does this? One application besides the military would be a K9 handler who almost always works in conjunction with a helicopter. At night this would help if the spotter (or pilot) has night vision  capabilities. FLIR is great if it’s working, but always have a back up plan.

Like its blended brother, the ELW has 2″ x 3″ loop panels on the front and back to throw on an American Flag or your favorite morale patch and hit work or the range. Both the Blended and the ELW hats seem to have a longer brim when you put them on, which seems to be due to the front top of the hat sitting low on your head because of the lack of structure found on some hats.

The front of the hat features a nice size/slope and  doesn’t  stick up like a cheap trucker’s hat. There’s also no stiffening added to the front, which is referred to in the apparel industry as a structured hat; this is an unstructured hat. I don’t like wearing hats that have a funky front and there are no worries with any of the 215 Gear hats.

More Features

Adjustment on the ELW is handled via a Velcro closure strap on the rear that features subdued 215 Gear embroidered text. If you’re not a fan of FlexFit hats then this type of adjustment is a great choice. The stitching is very nice and there’s no extra material hanging off anywhere.

The true benefits the ELW offers are the lack of weight and full mesh ventilation. All the material used in the construction of the ELW is ventilated mesh, even the material over the brim.  The brim does have a plastic insert to shape it and to help keep the sun out of your eyes, but isn’t lined with loop velcro like the Blended Operators Hat. The only drawback I could potentially see is sun exposure if you’re balding or rocking a shaved head. I’m neither, so I can’t attest to whether it would even be an issue with the close-knit mesh used on the ELW.

With the ELW you may want to consider a lanyard if you are on a boat or vehicle that’s exposed to wind. The lightweight construction may cause it to go flying. I would say the ventilation is well worth it though. The Made in the USA tag is a great location on the inner back for a lanyard loop.

So there you have it. More than one paragraph on a hat review, amazing I know. If you live or work in a hot climate the ELW is definitely for you and comes highly recommended!

Availability

You can get the 215 Gear ELW in any color you like as long as it’s Coyote. Check out  the 215 Gear online store for great hats that are well under $30. Everything that 215 Gear produces is made in the good ol’ USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.

 

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Discussion

  • Blade Stalker

    I like the hat but only in ” Coyote” kind of throws it for me.

    • Let me send a email over and see if they are going to do any other colors,,, stand by….

  • Darrell Kuhne

    Thanks for the review. I’ll have to try one out.

  • Jay

    I think if you take the taticool out of the equation the velcro sewn in to the hat is a value asset. I have one in Tan and wear it for my LEO job or when we do PSD details. Just pull patches as needed. I went to the local gun show in AZ a week ago. While I was there I saw those say hats with zombie hunter and pork crusader patches. The best part is how the hat was being advertised “Own the same hat all the tactical warriors wear”, I paused for a minute and laughed. As usual guys great article, hey can you ask 215 Gear what the battery life is on the hat ? I wonder if it is better than my Eotech 😉

  • Here is a response from 215 Gear on the coyote only color:

    “We had that mesh fabric made for us and it is expensive to do so we chose the most widely used/ requested color (Coyote). Black is a possibility however others like Ranger green are not. We very rarely get requests for gear in other colors. “

    Looks like they would do black if enough requests came in.

  • Casey

    I have both the Blended Operator and ELW hats, and while the ventilation is great, I have issues with the sweatbands on both. For some reason, they tend to wrinkle and bunch up in a couple places, which is really annoying when wearing the hat for more than an hour or two. As much as I hate washing hats, I may try doing that to see if I can get the sweatbands to shrink a little.

    I don’t know what’s different about the way these are sewn, but I’ve never had that problem with any other ballcap. Anybody else out there experiencing this?

  • Woody

    Have both. The 215 Hats ROCK! Daily wear downrange.

  • Andy Korpash

    to bad O.D. would have worked for me.

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