The Best Hiking Hats


SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

Hiking in cold weather is no fun unless you have appropriate equipment such as warm hiking boots, softshell pants, insulated jacket, gloves and hat. A hat is one of the most important pieces of hiking gear as it significantly reduces the overall heat loss. Once US Army studies claimed that 40 to 45 % of body heat is lost from the head – and while more recent studies lower this to “only” 10 %, it is still a huge percentage and you should absolutely keep your head well protected when hiking in cold environment. A high-quality hat is one of the most underrated pieces of hiking gear. Many hikers still use cotton hats which quickly become soaked with sweat and thus lose their insulating properties. Such hats are of course not appropriate for hiking, mountaineering or other demanding activities in nature. To learn why is cotton not a suitable material for hiking clothing read our article Why is cotton bad for hiking.

In this review we selected the five best hiking hats currently available. These hats are made of sophisticated materials which will keep your head warm in various conditions.

1. Buying a Hiking Hat – What is important?

Material:

A hiking hat should be made of material that is quick-drying, moisture-wicking and breathable. Furthermore the material should offer great insulation in order to prevent heat loss. The newest hiking hats are made of high performance synthetic materials (such as polyester fleece) or natural materials like for example Merino wool. Merino wool is especially popular when it comes to hiking garments as it is moisture-wicking and offers good insulation and anti-odor properties. Furthermore, it stays warm even when it’s wet which does not apply to synthetic fabrics.  However, Merino wool also has downsides – like for example it takes longer to dry than synthetic fabrics.

For more information about materials out of which hiking hats are made check out the hats section in our Hiking Clothing Guide.

Antimicrobial:

On multi-day hiking trips a hat is often worn for several days without being washed and therefore it is a great benefit if it provides good antimicrobial protection. Some fabrics are naturally antimicrobial like for example Merino wool, while others are treated to provide antimicrobial protection – like for instance synthetic fabrics. Antimicrobial fabrics prevent odor-causing bacteria and remain fresh for longer time.

Durability:

A hat is worn as an outer layer and therefore it is often a subject to extreme conditions. The stitches should be sturdy and the material strong. The hat should also withstand regular washing without wearing out.

2. The Best Hiking Hats Review

Best Hats for Hiking

Best Hats for Hiking

  1. SmartWool Cuffed Beanie
  2. Icebreaker Chase Beanie
  3. Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie
  4. Woolx Merino Hat
  5. Under Armour Storm Beanie

Comparison

Feature/Product SmartWool Cuffed BeanieIcebreaker Chase BeanieSealskinz Waterproof BeanieWoolx Merino HatUnder Armour Storm Beanie
Material100 % Merino Wool97 % Merino Wool, 3 % LycraOuter Layer: 100 % Acrylic
Membrane
Inner Layer: 100 % Polyester
100 % Merino WoolPolyester, Elastane, DWR finish
AntimicrobialYesYesNoYesNo
SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

1. SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The SmartWool Cuffed Beanie is a great piece of headwear which will keep your head protected against cold in the most severe winter conditions. It is made of 100% Merino wool and thus offers superb anti-odor and moisture wicking properties. As the density of the fabric is 250 g/m2, the hat also provides great insulation. The hat is equipped with a roll cuff earband which not only allows you to adjust the perfect fit but also keeps your ears remarkably warm.  The seams are well-made and don’t cause any rubbing or chafing.  The SmartWool Cuffed Beanie is a great choice for basically every outdoor enthusiast. It comes in four different colors – olive, black, charcoal and orange.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Adjustable
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • /

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Icebreaker Chase Beanie

Icebreaker Chase Beanie

2. Icebreaker Chase Beanie

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Icebreaker Chase Beanie will keep you warm and comfortable in moderate winter conditions. The hat combines Merino wool and Lycra fabric. The Merino wool provides insulation, moisture-wicking and anti-odor properties while the Lycra adds stretch to the hat. The density of the fabric is 200 g/m2 – a little less than the density of the SmartWool Cuffed Beanie’s fabric. Therefore, also the warmth provided is not as good. However, the thinner fabric makes the Icebreaker Chase Beanie perfect for cold days in autumn and spring as well as for moderate winter conditions – when the temperatures are above 0 C.  The hat is also equipped with a double layer cuff that provides additional warmth. All in all the Icebreaker Chase Beanie is a great hat for hikers, trekkers, mountaineers and even runners. It comes in 5 different colors – black, chartreuse, shocking, grapefruit and alpine.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Comfort
  • Stretch

Cons:

  • Warmth
  • Comes only in one size

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Best Buy!

Also available at:

REI

 

Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie

Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie

3. Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

The Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie differs from the other products listed in this review by being completely waterproof. The hat is constructed out of 3 layers – an inner layer, outer layer and a membrane in between. The inner layer is made of micro-fleece polyester which is soft to the touch and extremely comfortable. The outer layer is an acrylic knit and thus provides great water repellency. Between these two layers there is a hydrophilic membrane with a hydrostatic head of 10.000 mm. This outstanding membrane ensures that your head stays dry and warm in the heaviest rain or strongest wind. The Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie comes in three different sizes and five different colors – black, yellow, olive, red, orange and blue. We would especially recommend this hat to those who need a top-quality headwear for rainy and windy conditions.

 

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Windproof

Cons:

  • Not as good antimicrobial protection as Merino hats

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Woolx Merino Hat

Woolx Merino Hat

4. Woolx Merino Hat

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Woolx Merino Hat is made of superfine 100 % 18.5 micron Australian Merino wool and thus offers incredible comfort, odor-control and moisture-wicking properties. As the density of the fabric is 400 g/m2, the hat also offers great insulation. The seams are well-made and don’t cause any rubbing or chafing. Furthermore, the interior label is printed to prevent any skin irritation. The Woolx Merino Hat is a great piece of clothing, best for those who want a warm but non-bulky hat for their winter adventures. The hat is also stylish enough to be used for everyday activities – it has an embroidered logo on the front and comes in 5 different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Non-bulky design
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • Comes only in one size

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Best Buy!

 

Under Armour Storm Beanie

Under Armour Storm Beanie

5. Under Armour Storm Beanie

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Under Armour Storm Beanie does not only offer great performance, but is also extremely stylish and therefore perfect for those who don’t want to compromise style for functionality. It uses the ColdGear Infrared technology which is known for a great weight to warmth ratio, as the fabric (polyester, elastane) has a thermo-conductive coating that absorbs and retains the body heat. Furthermore the fabric is treated with DWR (durable water repellant) and therefore offers some basic protection against rain. The fabric is also very breathable and moisture-wicking, but it does not provide as good anti-odor performance as for example Merino wool. The Under Armour Storm Beanie is a great hat for winter adventures and it comes in an almost unlimited number of colors.

 

Pros:

  • Stylish
  • Material

Cons:

  • Anti-odor control

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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