Best Hiking Har For Winter

Best Hiking Hat For Winter: Top 5 of 2021

Anyone that plans on hiking during the winter will need to prioritize warm clothing. Being underprepared can leave you feeling cold and uncomfortable.

It’s no secret that a significant percentage of body heat is lost through the head. Recent studies estimate that figure is around 10%, although some will argue it’s around 40%.

Either way, wearing a winter hiking hat is a great way to retain body heat. By reviewing the best products on the market, we aim to keep you warm throughout your cold-weather outings.

Ranking The Best Winter Hiking Hats

  1. Smartwool Merino 250 Beanie
  2. Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Beanie
  3. Columbia Trail Shaker Beanie
  4. Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Pro
  5. The North Face Bones Beanie

Best Hiking Hat For Winter Comparison

Name

Price

Overview

Superb hat that will keep you warm in alpine weather and wick moisture during intense treks

Great warmth and wind-resistance with a snug and low-profile design 

Incredibly warm and waterproof hiking hat that's built for the toughest winter weather

Comfortable and stylish winter hat that has a snug and secure fit that will keep you warm

Value for money hiking hat that provides ample warmth and moisture-wicking

Best For

Overall

Low-Profile

Warmth

Comfort

Budget

Pros

Insulated, breathable, moisture-wicking, anti-odour, quick-drying, lightweight

Warm, windproof, helmet compatible, comfortable, water-resistant

Warm insulation, waterproof, durable, lightweight, comfortable, packable

Comfortable, fashionable, versatile, snug earband, soft lining, good fit, warm, soft

Budget friendly, lightweight, retains heat, wicks sweat, durable, good fit

Cons

Size runs small

Very snug fit, style doesn't suit everyone

Expensive, not breathable

Fabric not so durable, prone to pilling 

Not so stylish, not great for wind

Overall Rating

Material

100% Merino Wool

94% Nylon, 6% Elastane

20D ripstop polyester, 650-fill down

100% Acrylic

100% Polyester

Weight

1.06oz (30g)

1.7oz (50g)

1.02oz (29g)

2.88oz (82g)

1.13oz (32g)

Why Do I Need The Best Hiking Hat For Winter?

Winter hiking is all about preparation. The weather can often be unpredictable and you will need to be prepared for hostile conditions.

Cold climates are also common place, with body heat retention paramount to your safety. One of the best ways to stay warm is by wearing a good winter hiking hat that can reduce heat loss.

It’s worth noting that not all hats are created equally. Although it might seem like a simple piece of clothing, every product has significant differences that make them more or less suitable for use on the trail.

By reviewing and comparing the best products; we aim to find you a hat that is warm, comfortable and durable enough for serious adventures. Each option is best suited to a different type of hiking, allowing you to easily find the hat that suits your style.

Best Hiking Hat For Winter
Getting the right hat will improve your time on the trail

How To Choose The Best Hiking Hat For Winter

Material

Synthetics (Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic)

The majority of winter hiking hats are made from synthetic materials. Nylon and polyester are both popular choices that have a range of beneficial properties.

Synthetic materials are quick-drying and have a natural moisture-resisting abilities. They also offer great durability without adding too much weight.

The main difference between nylon and polyester is breathability. Polyester will is generally more breathable, while nylon tends to be better at retaining heat.

Wool (Merino)

Wool has become an increasingly popular choice for winter hiking hats. Especially merino wool, which has a great range of benefits.

Merino wool is great at retaining warmth without sacrificing breathability. It’s also anti-odour, lightweight and durable.

The main downside to merino wool is financial. It’s generally more expensive than synthetic products.

It’s also worth noting that wool rarely offers the same durability as synthetic fabrics. However, it can still provide ample strength if you purchase from a reliable brand.

Best Hiking Hat For Winter
Hiking hat material has a big impact on performance

Fit

Comfort should always be a priority when choosing a hat. You need it to feel secure, while also providing the protection you require.

Many of the best hiking hats for winter use a stretch fabric blend to improve fit. Lycra, spandex and elastane are common options that will help your hat feel snug.

Stretchy fabrics are also a great way to retain the structure of your hat over time and stop it from getting pulled out of shape.

Some hats don’t use any stretch fabrics at all. Although they might provide a less adaptable fit, many of them can still feel secure if you find the appropriate size.

Water-Resistance

If you’re regularly going to face wet weather, water-resistance is key. Once your hat is soaked through, its ability to provide warmth will be compromised.

Most winter hiking hats offer some level of water-resistance that can withstand light rain. Some use a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) finish, which is designed to make the water bead-up and roll away instead of penetrating the fabric.

Keep in mind that wool and synthetics do offer a degree of natural water-resistance. However, they are not fully waterproof and can leave you feeling exposed in torrential rain.

Warmth

The reason that you’re wearing a winter hiking hat is to retain heat, so it’s no surprise that warmth is a top priority. Every hat will offer a different level of warmth that is predicated by a few key factors.

The type of fabric used will always make a difference. Wool has the ability to trap warm air within its fibers and is great at stopping body heat from escaping. Synthetic fleece and nylon also do this to a certain degree, while polyester will often let the most warmth escape.

Fabric thickness also plays a vital role in warmth. One key feature to assess is density, which is measured in g/m2. As a general rule: high-density ‘thick’ materials will retain the most heat.

Added warmth retention features can also be important. Some hats will use specific technology, such as: ‘thermo-conductive coating’ or ‘double layer fabric’. Each brand can differ in their design, so it’s best to check the key details and assess product reviews to get a true gauge of effectiveness.

Best Hiking Hat For Winter
Warm hiking hats are crucial during alpine ascents

Best Overall Winter Hiking Hat

Smartwool Merino 250 Beanie

Smartwool Merino 250 Beanie Winter Hiking Hat

Weight

Comfort

Warmth

Water Resistance

Breathability

Durability

Style

Overall

Smartwool have become a popular hiking clothing brand thanks to their high-quality wool products. The Merino 250 beanie has been no exception, with superb all-round performance making it our favourite winter hiking hat.

As you might expect, the beanie is made from double-layered merino wool. Its quality fabric design makes it excellent for anyone looking to retain heat without adding too much bulk.

The merino design also boasts anti-odour, breathable and moisture-wicking abilities; all of which are essential for a quality hiking hat. The wool also has a soft and comfortable feel against the skin, with the classic roll up design giving it a casual look that could also be worn away from the trail.

The reliability of merino wool is well-known within the hiking community, with Smartwool being one of the best providers around. If you purchase the 250 Merino Beanie, you can expect to be kept warm and comfortable throughout the winter months.

Pros

  • Warm insulation
  • Lightweight
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Quick-drying
  • Temperature regulating
  • Anti-odour
  • Soft against the skin
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Size runs small
  • Can get a bit fuzzy over time

Best Low-Profile Winter Hiking Hat

Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Pro

Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Pro Winter Hiking Hat

Weight

Comfort

Warmth

Water Resistance

Breathability

Durability

Style

Overall

Anyone looking for a warm winter hiking hat without adding bulk will be impressed by the Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Pro. It uses a low-profile design that conforms to your head, while still blocking out the elements.

In oder to maximize weather resistance, Mountain Hardwear have teamed up with Gore-Tex by using their renowned ‘windstopper fleece’. It’s a fabric that has reliable windproofing and water-resistance, while still maintaining a decent amount of breathability.

The low-profile shape is helmet compatible, making it a great choice for winter mountain sports enthusiasts. In addition, it uses a good quality design that has reliable durability in any scenario.

If you’re looking for a lightweight winter hat that can withstand tough weather, the Mountain Hardwear Dom Perignon Pro will suit your needs. It’s versatile, reliable and has superb weather-resisting ability.

Pros

  • Gore-Tex windproofing
  • Water-resistant
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Quick-drying
  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Helmet compatible

Cons

  • Too tight for some
  • Not everyone will like this style
  • Not ideal for casual wear

Best Winter Hiking Hat For Warmth

Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Beanie

Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Beanie
  • Weight: 1.02oz. (29g)
  • Material: 20D ripstop polyester, 650-fill down
  • Retailers: Amazon, Backcountry
  • Alternate Models: N/A

Weight

Comfort

Warmth

Water Resistance

Breathability

Durability

Style

Overall

Down clothing has been a favourite amongst those looking to stay warm in winter weather for many years. Although most frequently associated with jackets, Outdoor Research have used feathers to produce their Transcendent Down Beanie.

The warmth this beanie provided was head and shoulders above any other hat in our review. The down filling provides superb insulation and is ideally suited to alpine ascents or cold nights around the camp fire.

The outer 20D ripstop polyester fabric also provides great waterproofing and is durable enough to last for many years. The Transcendent beanie was also the lightest hat in out review and provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.

The Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Beanie is definitely one of the best winter hats for hiking. Super warm, incredibly lightweight and highly durable; it’s a great choice for the coldest adventures.

Pros

  • Warm down insulation
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Durable design
  • Abrasion-resistant fabric
  • Great fit for most hikers

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Overkill for the average hiker
  • Not very breathable

Best Winter Hiking Hat For Comfort

The North Face Bones Beanie

The North Face Bones Beanie

Weight

Comfort

Warmth

Water Resistance

Breathability

Durability

Style

Overall

Finding a hat that’s comfortable and casual with the attributes required for life on the trail isn’t always easy. However, The North Face Bones Beanie does a great job of keeping you cosy during outdoor excursions.

It’s constructed from 100% acrylic that does a great job of retaining warmth. It also has a comfortable feel against the skin, which is aided by a soft interior lining.

The overall fit of the hat is snug yet secure and it well suited to hikers of all shapes and sizes. We also thought that hat provided the most fashionable look upon review and is a great option for casual wear.

The North Face have a great reputation for reliable winter clothing. The Bones Beanie is no exception, providing warmth and comfort during your time on the trail.

Pros

  • Comfortable feel
  • Ideal fit for most hikers
  • Soft interior
  • Good heat retention
  • Fashionable design
  • Naturally water-resistant
  • Versatile on and off the trail

Cons

  • Fabric durability questionable
  • Prone to pilling over time

Best Budget Winter Hiking Hat

Columbia Trail Shaker Beanie

Columbia Trail Shaker Beanie
  • Weight: 1.13oz. (32g)
  • Material: 100% Polyester
  • Retailers: Amazon, Backcountry
  • Alternate Models: N/A

Weight

Comfort

Warmth

Water Resistance

Breathability

Durability

Style

Overall

Columbia is a brand that’s favoured by many budget-conscious hikers. By producing the Trail Shaker Beanie, they have proven that a warm and reliable winter hiking hat doesn’t need to break the bank.

The Trail Shaker is constructed using 100% Polyester fabric that is lightweight and durable. The overall feel of the material is soft and comfortable, while it’s also quick-drying after a sudden downpour.

Inside the hat, you will find Columbia’s patented ‘Omni-Heat’ lining, which is specially designed to trap heat and retain warmth. The fabric also wicks away sweat when the going gets tough during steep ascents.

If you’re looking for warmth and reliability for a bargain price, we highly recommend the Columbia Trail Shaker Beanie. It’s designed with hikers in mind, providing warmth and comfort during any winter hiking trip.

Pros

  • Bargain price
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Warm lining
  • Can resist light rain
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Comfortable fit

Cons

  • Not great at stopping wind
  • Not stylish enough for casual wear

Summing Up

Finding the best hiking hat for winter isn’t always easy. However, the reviews in this guide are sure to help you find a product that suits your needs.

Every hat is designed for different conditions and will be ideal for various types of hikers. Be sure to review the product information carefully to find the pros and cons.

Keeping warm is paramount to your winter hiking excursion. Once you’ve found the perfect hat, it will be easier to brave cold climates.