Warmest Hat Ever?
December 2, 2010 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Warmest Hat in the Multiverse?

I'm one of those people who are constantly cold. I'm sure you're heard that "you lose 70% of your body heat through your head," or something similar.

I'm looking for the absolute warmest hat in the world. I ain't talking 'bout them flimsy lil' fleece hats. Tried 'em - hate 'em.

Hats I'm considering - found through a cursory google search ("warmest hat") include the Astrakhan and the Technical Advantage Gear Windblocking Arctic Thermal Hat (used in the Iditarod, according to their webpage).

My only restriction: NO REAL FUR, for ethical reasons.

posted by halfguard to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I wear two lightweight smartwool balaclavas and a wool beanie in the winter and it's warm enough down to well below zero. Perhaps not the best looking solution, but it's nice being able to strip layers off as I get warmer and all three hats together are still smaller/lighter/cheaper than some of the more outrageously warm fur hats I've worn.
posted by pjaust at 9:10 AM on December 2, 2010

Try a knitted hat, which is much nicer looking than some dog sledding hat. Alpaca is very warm fiber because is is hollow. Qiviut (Inuit for muskox wool) is said to be even warmer, but it's expensive. A double knitted hat like this one has two layers of knitted fabric for additional heat retention.
posted by amber_dale at 9:12 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Definitely a knitted hat and if you can find one that's thrummed, you'll be super-warm. Try Etsy.
posted by pised at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2010

The warmest hat I have ever known was one I knit out of Blue Sky Alpaca's "Bulky" yarn. It was too bulky to be functional for me (living in the Northeastern US at the time.)

Alpaca is very, very warm. Knit things don't do their best against wind, but can be combined with a man-made material. If you're just cold all the time indoors, I really recommend a knit alpaca hat.

(Bonus: making a hat out of bulky yarn is a total snap. You could even pay someone a fair price for the labor and not be out an arm and a leg.)
posted by endless_forms at 9:26 AM on December 2, 2010

Icebreaker, Smartwool or Ibex hats make the warmest hats I have. I find Icebreaker the softest. However, of all the 100% merino wool stuff I have, the only thing that itches is my Smartwool hat, which is 85% merino & 5% elastic. Something about the combination makes me itch, where everything else from all three companies is not at all itchy to me.

I particularly like the mogul hat from icebreaker, which has a layered construction.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:29 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Filson Double Mackinaw cap. The earpieces are lined with sheepskin, which has the advantages of fur without the ethical problems of the fur trade... if you're not vegan, it's acceptable. If you are vegan, check out the Stormy Kromer Double Mackinaw.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:32 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

2nding pjaust's suggestion of multiple cheap hats rather than one really expensive one; I usually do pretty well with multiple dollar store hats, a tight weave one on the outside as a windbreaker and one or more thicker, loose weave ones underneath.

Also, if you do not normally wear a scarf or muffler or anything around your neck I would recommend trying that... I have always suspected that a large percentage of the "you lose most body heat through your head" thing is the loss from the jugular veins and the carotid artery circulating large volumes of blood near the surface of your skin.
posted by XMLicious at 9:39 AM on December 2, 2010

I have a cheap fake fur ushanka, bought off a market stall, a lot like these ones - and it's so seriously warm that it's useless for a UK winter because it never gets cold enough (and I'm including in that some northern Scottish winters).

I'm with XMLicious on the scarf issue as well - sometimes a hooded top/coat over a hat and scarf is good too, as a sort of top-seal layer over both of them.

The 70% thing is a myth, btw. It affects your perception of how cold you are, so you should go ahead and get a good cozy hat (and scarf) anyway.
posted by Coobeastie at 9:55 AM on December 2, 2010

As Coobeastie points out, the whole 70% thing is a myth, heat loss is pretty much proportional to the areas of your body+head that dont have any insulation.

The warmest hat I have ever worn (so hot I had to keep taking it off) was a full face balaclava something like this.
posted by Lanark at 10:17 AM on December 2, 2010

I got a Mountain Hardware hat and love it. It's two layers of fleece / insulating material sandwiching a windblocking layer. REI had them on sale for $20 a few weeks ago.
posted by reddot at 10:26 AM on December 2, 2010

My ears are really sensitive to cold, so I need a hat that is ultra warm or they start hurting. My ultra-warmth hat is a watch cap, like what they wear in the military. The one I have is acrylic, but wool ones are probably more common. For some reason, they are super cheap. This isn't the one I have but it looks similar: Watch Cap
posted by wondermouse at 2:32 PM on December 2, 2010

My super-cold-weather foolproof hatting method was two-prong. (linked items are for your consideration but I offer no guarantees about their particular awesomeness)
1) Take a knit scarf, not particularly bulky, wrap around head babushka-style. Wrap extra around my neck
2) Put watch-cap-style hat on over scarf.

I had an awesome fleece hat that has disappeared the way that most hats in my possession do, but this should work with any hat that covers your ears. This works really well for those near-zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures with negative wind chills in Pittsburgh. My main problem with hats is that they seem to not properly cover my ears--this method solves that problem.
posted by that girl at 4:10 PM on December 2, 2010

Ah, I linked to a cotton scarf. A wool (merino, cashmere) or other animal fiber one will be warmer and more awesome.
posted by that girl at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2010

Also, if fur is out for ethical reasons, I'm confused about you looking at Astrakhan hats. Astrakhan generally involves skinning very tiny lambs. Is there some fake-Astrakhan hat out there you've found?
posted by that girl at 7:01 PM on December 2, 2010

+1 Mountain Hardware hat, per reddot. It's the windblocking layer that gives the xtra luv™ to the fleece!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:19 PM on December 2, 2010

This is the warmest hat I own and I stand around in the cold all night at work sometimes.
posted by silsurf at 7:13 PM on December 3, 2010

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