Buying Guide for Hats and Headwear
By Steve Kopitz
When you head out on the mountain for a day of fun and skiing, don’t forget that safety and warmth are very important factors in making for a successful day on the slopes. Though helmets serve as a great protection piece, some more daring and fashion-forward skiers choose to wear hats as an alternative. This particular buying guide provides information about different hat types, styles and textures so that you may pick out the perfect hat to accompany you on your next ski run.
The most common form of winter headgear is hats. Hats are timeless pieces which offer a variety of different looks and textures to accommodate different tastes. If you are not going to be ski racing or performing fun tricks on your skis where wearing a helmet would serve as a safety mechanism, then hats are a great way to keep you warm and toasty.
There are many different styles of hats, and each will provide you with warmth in different ways. Some ski hats have the added flashy touches. One of the most common hat styles is the beanie. A beanie is a form-fitting cap that is snug and will retain heat very well. Hats with earflaps are also a popular look to go for when purchasing a hat for skiing. This style of hat allows for extra ear protection and warmth. There are also hats with small brims or even the ever-popular ball on top for a cute finish. Some are even fur lined or fleece lined for extra warmth and comfort.
Micro fleece, also called polar fleece or just fleece, is a soft, napped, synthetic material often made from polyester. Fleece hats are warm like wool, but it is much softer and easier to wash. There are different weights for fleeces - the heavier types being the warmest. Fleece also has excellent water repellent tendencies, so Fleece hats will keep your head warm and dry even when its snowing. When fully soaked, fleece holds only one percent of its weight in water and remains breathable, making this material great for wicking away sweat. This is a great feature for when you start to warm up on the slopes from all the movement, and being to perspire.
Wool hats can be found as knitted or woven and is highly durable, able to stretch up to 50% when wet and 30% when dry. In addition, wool has excellent natural moisture wicking properties, pulling moisture into the core of the fiber so that it doesn't feel wet or soggy to the wearer. This means that your head will stay warm and dry even during very wet weather conditions.
Merino wool is different from regular wool as Merino is one of the softest types of wool available. This type of wool is created with finer fibers and provides a higher warmth-to-weight ratio. Merino wool is an excellent fabric for regulating body temperature. This type of fabric gives enough warmth that you won’t overheat nor will you experience uncomfortable chills. Merino wool has great wicking abilities as it draws moisture away from the skin.
Acrylic hats can be an excellent wool substitute and certain blends are exceptionally soft. Acrylic is also lightweight, making it a popular fabric. For those who love wool but unfortunately may experience some allergic reactions to the fabric, acrylic can be an excellent substitute. Acrylic hats keep their shape and are highly elastic. They are warm, soft, hold color well and are both stain and wrinkle resistant.
Fur or Faux Fur
Fur and faux fur are hats can really accentuate a ski look. Some manufactures are using fur accents to add sophistication to traditional ski hats. This particular detail is very popular among the posh ski crowds because it gives a nice fashion-forward look. Additionally, fur and faux fur may be found on the inside of hats as an extra warm liner.
Another choice for headgear are headbands. Headbands are typically made from the same materials as hats and are mainly used to keep your ears warm because they do not cover the rest of your head. These are not as warm as wearing a hat, so they are typically reserved for warmer, sunny skiing days. The upside to wearing a headband is that your hair doesn’t get crushed, so transitioning your ski look to an après ski look becomes much easier.