Gear Feedback: Snow Hats

Posted by: Mero

Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 09/16/14 01:20 PM

Hey guys, just realized all of my winter hats are acrylic and I dont have a single 100% wool hat. Did some searching and realized 100% wool winter hats are much less common that I expected. Not looking for a debate on the strengths/weaknesses of wool vs acrylic.

If anyone could point me in the direction of some quality 100% wool hats Id be much obliged.

Thanks in advance!
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 09/26/14 09:56 AM

The military used to issue 100% wool. Now they use polyester fleece. So, army surplus stores might have some. I have been able to find wool hats at my local outfitters though.
online option

Of course, my sister in law started knitting hats on her etsy shop. I commissioned a 100% wool one. I will test it this winter and if it works out, then I will see if she will knit me a sweater. smile
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 09/26/14 05:57 PM

Katharina Pierini of Mountain Goat Hats makes lovely handknit merino wool and angora hats, although she's had to cut back production for health reasons. I have one of hers. I'd check out FinallyME's SIL, too!

Two years ago Fred Meyer, a Kroger-owned West Coast store chain, had lovely Sherpa hats, 100% wool outer with an acrylic liner (to prevent itching) for a quite reasonable price. The tag says they're made in Nepal by a cooperative. I bought one--it's really warm! It's now my hat of choice for outdoor wear when it's really cold and windy. I noticed that they still carried these last winter. What I like about these is that they tie under the chin; none of this sliding up to expose the ears bit that happens with a knit beanie.

Of course, if you can find one at a military surplus store, there's the good old Navy watch cap.

These options do run heavier than fleece, and IMHO aren't any warmer.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 09/30/14 06:50 PM

A wool hat alone may not be sufficient, if you are in very cold windy conditions. In the "old days" on NOLS winter courses we would sew a nylon outer onto the wool hat. This would cut the wind and shed snow.

You may want to check out fleece designed for wind - I cannot remember what it is called, wind-pro?? Check mountaineering stores.

In the winter I would not go without a balaclava in addition to a regular hat.

One thing really bad about acrylic, is that in cold dry conditions it is full of static electricity. I really hate this.
Posted by: Gershon

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 10/02/14 04:08 PM

I wear one of these when it gets real cold. Sorry, I can't get the picture to show. You will have to click the link.


Posted by: NH2112

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 10/13/14 09:40 PM

I hate wearing a hat unless it's absolutely necessary (as in definite frostbitten ears if I don't necessary), but when I do I generally go all-out and wear my old GI Nomex CVC balaclava. I've never needed to wear the Jason mask underneath while snowshoeing, unlike some of my time up in the TC hatch while in the army.

These feel like they have some sort of plastic vapor barrier inside them, and the yoke (or whatever it's called) that goes down over your shoulders and allows your coat to hold it in place is nice as well.

On rare occasions I will wear a beanie, but I'm very warm-blooded (I'm comfy snowshoeing down to around -10-15F or so with no hat and just silkweight polypro base layer, 150-weight merino wool shirt, rain pants, and medium weight wool gloves) and by the time I need a hat it's cold enough for my entire head to be in danger of frostbite.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 10/14/14 09:37 AM

What's "TC hatch"?

EDIT: Tank commander's hatch?
Posted by: NH2112

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 10/16/14 10:27 PM

Sorry, and yes, "TC" stands for Tank/Track Commander. "CVC" is Combat Vehicle Crewman, usually referring to the Nomex coveralls, jacket, and body armor, and the helmet with intercom & radio.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 10/17/14 11:18 AM

I've seen so many blurbs about using military surplus stuff lately. I've got to get to the local surplus store and check out what's there.
Posted by: NH2112

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 10/17/14 07:24 PM

Originally Posted By 4evrplan
I've seen so many blurbs about using military surplus stuff lately. I've got to get to the local surplus store and check out what's there.

I got out in 98 so a lot of the stuff is new to me. The complete ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System) is made by Patagonia IIRC, and sets the gov't back over $2000 per set. It's supposedly very good, with 7 different levels that can be worn alone or together in various combinations depending on the weather. Up till the mid-90s or so, issued cold weather gear was pretty much the same as troops had been issued in the Korean War - warm enough in most cases but very bulky and heavy, and except for the wool parts, nearly useless when wet.

I like the older-style Gore-Tex parkas and pants, right now I have a set (without the stashable hood) in the 3-color desert camo that I hardly ever wear because it's overkill in most ways. If I ever head out on a trek or journey where my outer layer is the difference between life and death, I'll wear these because I know how rugged they are from experience.

Backpacks are rugged but very heavy, and generally don't have much in the way of practical pockets. But you can strap them down on top of a tracked vehicle or drag them through the dirt. I just sold my large ALICE pack that I'd had for at least 25 years, the frame had been replaced a few times but the pack itself was still in great shape other than a few small holes. I may put my Gen IV MOLLE pack w/frame up for sale before long, too, if anyone is interested. It is HUGE - far bigger than I see myself ever needing. The total volume of the pack, including the sleeping bag pcoket, has got to be close to 90l.
Posted by: ragazzo

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 11/11/15 01:55 PM

These hats from Everest Designs are a wool hat with a fleece liner. I have one and it keeps my head pretty warm on most winter days. Sometimes I'll wear a fleece balaclava that contains a fleece-lined neoprene face mask underneath it.


Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Gear Feedback: Snow Hats - 11/11/15 04:01 PM

That's the same hat I got at a local Kroger outlet (Fred Meyer). Actually, the REI version is a couple of dollars cheaper! It's pretty warm for active hiking, though, as well as heavy. If I were to take it backpacking, it would be only for in-camp use.

If it's cold and windy, any hat I wear will be under the hood of my jacket.