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Thread: Warm Winter Hat

  1. #1
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Warm Winter Hat

    Hi all,

    I am looking to buy a really warm hat for winter hiking. Its primary uses would be when taking a break and when hiking in extreme cold. I would probably prefer something that blocks the wind, at least to some extent.

    I am not looking for a face mask or balaclava, as I always have one of each on my hikes.

    Any suggestions?

    thanks,
    Marty
    Last edited by marty; 12-06-2007 at 10:39 AM.
    So when you reach the bottom line
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marty
    Hi all,

    I am looking to buy a really warm hat for winter hiking. Its primary uses would be when taking a break and when hiking in extreme cold. I would probably prefer something that blocks the wind, at least to some extent.

    Any suggestions?

    thanks,
    Marty
    One option is to bring multiple hats, of various thicknesses and fabrics.
    Tom Rankin
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    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    Rather than a single hat, I'm going to recommend layering in a system. This allows you to make the myriad adjustments needed to adapt to changes in conditions and your activity level.

    For my outer layer, I use the Outdoor Research Rando Cap. The Gore-Tex keeps the wind and precip out and the fleece insulation adds warmth. I've had this hat for six years and love it. Buy it large enough to layer underneath it a midweight fleece or wool or wool/fleece balaclava. The Rando Cap allows some size adjustments -- best to try it with your balaclava to find the right size before buying.

    When things get really, truly cold, I put on a thin balaclava first to protect my lips and nose. Then comes the midweight, then the Rando, and then an oversized balaclava over all. Finally, with the hood from a good shell or insulated parka over all this, I've been comfortable out in some serious cold, i.e., air temp below -30 F with a wind. As the day progresses, I can add or remove layers as needed.

    If you really want just one truly warm hat, look for the "bomber" style that features flaps over the ears and a flap across the forehead. Get the thickest woolen, fleece or fur type that you can find. Trappers and others who are out in the most severe cold often favor this type. You'll still need face protection of some sort. And a hood large enough to fit over all makes a huge difference.
    sardog1

    "Å! kjære Bymann gakk ei stjur og stiv,
    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
    kom hit, kom hit, og ver ei daud og lat!
    kom kjenn, hot d'er, som heiter Svevn og Mat,
    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

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  4. #4
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    My main warm hat is my Windstopper OR Alpine hat. Sure it's not lofty, but the excellent windproofness of it really does it for me. If it's really cold I just throw my balaclava on top of it.
    Reeally cold and I just toss on whatever hooded jacket I have around for the conditions.

    I haven't bothered with loftier looser knitted hats in a while - I figure my head is the highest part of my body and so is more prone to exposure to wind and losing head heat to convection - windstopping is where it's at.

    Only downside of Windstopper hats - you can't hear things as well
    Doug

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Nepalese Wool - comes with Good Mountain Karma

    I have a couple of these babies. They are fleece lined wool, very warm and comfortable. Also my fleece, softshell and hardshell jackets are all hooded, so whichever combo I'm wearing I pull the hood on and off all day.

    My younger son has adopted one of my wool hats ;

    Last edited by Chip; 12-06-2007 at 11:29 AM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    I use a navy watch cap, similar to http://www.rei.com/product/725893.

    Both stretch fleece and wool knit work well.

    I have both wind blocking fleece and regular breathable fleece. I normally use the breathable--it interferes with your hearing less when pulled down over your ears.

    I find a balaclava to be too warm much of the time. With the cap, you have 4 "settings": none, cap, balaclava, or both. The watch cap or the balaclava can also be worn over a baseball cap.

    Such a hat has the greatest insulation bang for the ounce of any piece of gear--don't leave home without it...

    Doug

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbcbd
    My main warm hat is my Windstopper OR Alpine hat.
    Me too. Of course, for me the hearing reduction doesn't matter, because I have that without the hat, too!

    Marty, with the thin balaclava you often wear and a good face mask, this should suit you quite well.

    I haven't tried the Rando, which looks interesting, and I certainly would never disagree with DougPaul, either!
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

  8. #8
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great advice, guys. You've given me a lot to consider

    Sardog1 mentioned the OR Rando Cap. I found the name to be curious, so I looked it up on the internet. It appears that "Rando" is common slang for the word "random". It also has at least a couple of R-rated meanings. I decided against posting the link. None of this gave me any insight why they named it a Rando Cap, though

    Maybe if I get a decent year end bonus, I can buy myself a couple of hats and then pick my favorite through use in the field

    Best regards,
    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
    Artist: Big Audio Dynamite
    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  9. #9
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marty
    It appears that "Rando" is common slang for the word "random". It also has at least a couple of R-rated meanings. I decided against posting the link. None of this gave me any insight why they named it a Rando Cap, though
    I'm guessing its short for Randonnee as its commonly shortened to that ("you going to the Rando race, man?")... but hey, whatever floats your boat
    Doug

  10. #10
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbcbd
    My main warm hat is my Windstopper OR Alpine hat. Sure it's not lofty, but the excellent windproofness of it really does it for me. If it's really cold I just throw my balaclava on top of it.
    Reeally cold and I just toss on whatever hooded jacket I have around for the conditions.

    I haven't bothered with loftier looser knitted hats in a while - I figure my head is the highest part of my body and so is more prone to exposure to wind and losing head heat to convection - windstopping is where it's at.

    Only downside of Windstopper hats - you can't hear things as well
    I'm an OR fan, too, but I like their Peruvian Hat because of the extra ear flaps. I carry 3 hats - one for cranking up the hills, a heavier wool outer/fleece lined when stopped or higher elevation, and the 'emergency hat' the OR windstopper.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bobby's Avatar
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    I'm with Chip. That hat is warm and stylish
    "Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic." Crash Davis -"Bull Durham"

    photo link

  12. #12
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney
    I'm an OR fan, too, but I like their Peruvian Hat because of the extra ear flaps. I carry 3 hats - one for cranking up the hills, a heavier wool outer/fleece lined when stopped or higher elevation, and the 'emergency hat' the OR windstopper.
    Good that you mention the OR Peruvian windstopper, the floopy eared version of the Alpine Hat. IMO, if you are going to get one of their windstopper hats get the Peruvian, solely for the fact that sometimes my Alpine hat will shift on my head and it's not as easy to "find the ears" back again with gloves. I could imagine it being much easier with the ear flaps... it's the little things that matter in the negative digits

    ...or maybe I'm just a little slow.
    Doug

  13. #13
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    mtn hardware windstopper hat fleece hat - nice and toasty
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  14. #14
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    Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon

    Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Hat is a very nice Polartec 200 midweight fleece hat. It has Gore Windstopper fleece earband blocks the wind to keep your ears toasty warm. Reasonably priced as well ($30).

  15. #15
    Senior Member KevCon223's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wromanow
    Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Hat.
    Same here. Really warm. Sometimes too warm when you're on the move, so I use a lighter MH fleece stretch beanie for that.

    Kevin
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