The Best Hiking Hats for Winter


SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

SmartWool Cuffed Beanie

Hiking in cold weather is no fun unless you have appropriate gear such as warm hiking boots, softshell pantsinsulated jacket, gloves and a hat. A hat is one of the most important items of winter hiking clothing because it significantly reduces the body 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 significant percentage. Therefore, you should absolutely keep your head warm when hiking in cold weather.

However, not every hat is suitable for hiking, mountaineering and other demanding outdoor activities. Some hikers still use cotton hats which quickly become soaked with sweat and dry very slowly. Such hats are not the best option for aerobic activities because a wet garment conducts heat much faster than a dry garment and therefore your head quickly becomes cold if you wear a wet hat – especially during breaks. To learn more about why is cotton not a great material for sport and hiking apparel, read our article Why is cotton bad for hiking.

In this review we selected the best hiking hats for winter to make your buying decision a little easier. We only listed hats which are breathable, moisture-wicking and quick drying. Furthermore, all hats in this review provide good warmth.

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

1. Buying a Hiking Hat for Winter – What is important?

Material:

A hiking hat should be made of material that is quick-drying, moisture-wicking and breathable. Furthermore, the material should provide good insulation by trapping the body-warmed air. Modern hiking hats are made either of synthetic materials, such as polyester fleece, or natural materials like Merino wool. Merino wool is becoming increasingly popular for hiking apparel because it is soft to the touch, moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. Furthermore, due to the unique structure of fibers, Merino wool provides warmth even when it’s wet which does not apply to synthetic materials. However, Merino wool also has downsides; it is more expensive than synthetic materials and dries slightly slower.

For more information about materials for hiking hats 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 is odor-resistant. Some materials are naturally odor-resistant (for example Merino wool), while others can be treated with antimicrobial agent such as Polygiene to become odor-resistant (polyester, nylon etc.). Odor-resistant materials eliminate odor-causing bacteria and are thus also more hygienic.

Durability:

Because a hat is worn as an outer layer, it should provide good durability. The stitches should be sturdy and the material strong. The hat should also be able to withstand regular washing without wearing out.

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
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2. The Best Hiking Hats for Winter Review

Best Hiking Hats for Winter

Best Hiking Hats for Winter

The Best Hiking Hats for Winter – List

  1. SmartWool 250 Cuffed Beanie
  2. Icebreaker Chase Beanie
  3. Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie
  4. Woolx Merino Hat
  5. Under Armour Storm 2.0 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 hat for winter adventures in cold weather. The SmartWool Beanie is made of 100% Merino wool fabric and therefore it is very comfortable to wear. Furthermore, it is also odor-resistant, moisture-wicking and very breathable. As the fabric is quite thick (with a density of 250 g/m2), the hat provides good warmth. It 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 option for basically every outdoor enthusiast. It comes in five different colors – olive, black, charcoal and brown and pink/blue.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

 

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 hat is thinner than the SmartWool hat mentioned above and thus best for highly aerobic activities or warmer weather. The hat combines Merino wool fibers and Lycra fibers. Due to Merino wool fibers the hat provides good warmth, odor resistance and wicks moisture away from the skin while Lycra fibers provide stretch for an even better fit. The relatively thin 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 ⁰C.  The hat is also equipped with a double layer cuff which keeps your ears warm. All in all, the Icebreaker Chase Beanie is a great hat for hikers, trekkers, mountaineers and even runners. It comes in 3 different colors – black, blue and gray.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Comfort
  • Stretch

Cons:

  • Warmth
  • Comes only in one size

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

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 hats in this review by material – it is made of a waterproof/breathable material. The material has three layers – an inner layer, an outer layer and a membrane between those two layers. The inner layer is made of micro-fleece polyester which is soft to the touch which makes the Sealskinz hat comfortable to wear. The outer layer is made of water repellant acrylic knit. A hydrophilic membrane between these two layers has a hydrostatic head of 10.000 mm and thus provides good protection against rain, snow and wind. Note, however, that the Sealskinz hat doesn’t provide as good breathability as the other hats in this review – when it comes to waterproof fabrics there is always a tradeoff between the breathability and waterproofness.  The Sealskinz Waterproof Beanie comes in three different sizes and five different colors – black, yellow, olive, red, orange and blue.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

 

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Windproof

Cons:

  • Not as good antimicrobial protection as Merino hats

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

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 therefore it is very comfortable to wear. Furthermore, the hat is also odor-resistant, moisture-wicking and very breathable. As the density of the fabric is 400 g/m2, the Woolx hat provides good warmth. It has flatlock seams which don’t cause any rubbing or chafing. Furthermore, the interior label is printed to prevent any skin irritation. The Woolx Merino Hat is best for those who want a warm but compact hat for their winter adventures. The hat is also stylish enough for everyday use – it has an embroidered logo on the front side and comes in 5 different colors. Check out our in-depth review of the Woolx Merino hat here. 

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Non-bulky design
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • Comes only in one size

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

Under Armour Storm Beanie

Under Armour Storm Beanie

5. Under Armour Storm 2.0 Beanie

Suitable for:

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

 

The Under Armour Storm 2.0 Beanie is a very stylish hat and therefore perfect for those who don’t want to compromise style for functionality. It uses the ColdGear Infrared technology and thus has a great warmth-to-weight ratio. The fabric (polyester and elastane) has a thermo-conductive coating which absorbs and retains the body heat. Furthermore, the fabric is also treated with DWR (durable water repellant) to repel rain instead of absorbing it. The Under Armour hat is very breathable and efficiently wicks the moisture to the outside where it can evaporate. However, this hat is not odor-resistant as many of the other hats in this selection. Nevertheless, the Under Armour Storm Beanie is a great hat for winter adventures and comes in a wide variety of colors.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

 

Pros:

  • Stylish
  • Material

Cons:

  • Anti-odor control

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

 

3. The most attractive product in the review

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4. Questions and Answers

Are fleece hats warmer than Merino wool hats?

Yes, fleece is more thermally efficient than Merino wool, meaning that a 2-ounce fleece hat will be warmer than a 2-ounce Merino wool hat. However, Merino wool doesn’t lose warmth as fast as polyester fleece if it gets wet.

Is an acrylic hat warm?

Acrylic is considered as an inexpensive replacement material for natural wool and polyester. Acrylic can provide good warmth, but because it is very water-absorbent it quickly loses thermal efficiency if it gets wet (perspiration, snow, rain etc.).

What are beanie hats?

Beanie hats are head-hugging brimless hats with or without visor. In some countries a beanie is considered a knitted cap.

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Post Author

Post Author

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.

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