World's Best Winter Hat

World’s Best Winter Hat

Filed under: Winter 

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Three months ago I set out to find the world’s best winter hat for skiers, snowshoers, climbers and general outdoor enthusiasts. I collected and reviewed a dozen new and classic designs, testing the hats on outings from Chicago to northern Ontario and in temps as low as 25 below zero.

And the winner is. . . Cloudveil. I kept coming back to this company’s Four Shadows Beanie ($35; http://www.cloudveil.com) for everything from ice climbing adventures to my daily commute to the office. Made with a stretchy Schoeller fabric, the hat is water resistant and breathable. It’s lightweight and can fit under a helmet, but I found it to be among the warmest and most comfortable in the group.

Four Shadows Beanie

Second place goes to Christine’s Spencer Earflap ($37; http://www.christines.net), a classic, hand-knitted ski hat with an under-the-chin tie. It’s made of merino wool and lined with fleece. For below-zero days, this was my favorite.

Spencer Earflap

Outdoor Research’s Fahrenheit Peruvian Hat ($18; http://www.orgear.com) took third place. The hat’s Lycra-trimmed flaps cover your ears and temples snugly. And the hat compacts to easily stuff in a jacket pocket.

Fahrenheit Peruvian Hat

Honorable mentions go to Granite Gear’s North Shore ($29; http://www.granitegear.com), a bomber-style hat lined with 300-weight fleece for extra warmth; and PrAna’s Windblock ($23; http://www.prana.com), a fashionable beanie that’s also warm and highly breathable.

And in the special balaclava category, I liked the WAMUclava from WAMUware ($26; http://www.wamuware.com). It has a lightweight hood that fits under a helmet or another hat, and the neck gaiter area has an angled zipper for quick and easy ventilation.

Stephen Regenold
By
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.
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