Jan 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm #1312511
I bought a down hat which I have for the most part loved. However, I've noticed that it's lost a good percentage of its initial loft.
I think this could be due to:
– my tendency to shove it in my pocket (and compress the down) when I get hot
– the fact that the baffles are a bit smaller and It think contribute to compressing the down
– gets wet and dries faster which might also be damaging the down.
I was thinking that a least for a hat, wool makes more sense.
– if it rains, wool will still keep you warm. And it tends to rain on your head first!
– when you're wearing it while you sleep, it's not going to compress as much underneath you. Which means more heat.
Of course, it's slightly more weight. And slightly more volume. But it's just for your head so it's not the end of the world.
Thoughts?Jan 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm #2066842
Would you hike in a puffy layer?
Sweat, salts and other moisture compromises the loft.
A down hat is good for stationary activities and sleeping IMO.
Again, just like a puffy layer.Jan 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm #2066854
I prefer wool for hats. Contrary to just about every other place in my kit, I tend not to overthink hats. Whatever the girlfriend crochets or whatever I thrift will do in this category.Jan 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm #2066856
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I prefer fleece hat. Keeps it's loft if damp. Stretchy around head so it stays in place.Jan 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm #2066860
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Down beanies have always struck me as really, really silly.Jan 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm #2066888
You could use two hats, one for hiking and one for camp, as indicated here:Jan 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm #2066901
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Fleece works pretty good for a winter hat.
An Army issue balaclava or helmet liner can also be very useful, since the flaps come down.
A down beanie will work, but it gets compressed too easily.
–B.G.–Jan 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm #2066920
I usually wear a PowerStretch fleece beanie or balaclava in the winter. I have several. They get sweaty, I rotate them, and wash 'em. Easy. Comfortable.
However, down is very easy to care for. Easy to wash and you can restore the loft by tossing in a low-heat dryer with three tennis balls bouncing around. I would do the dryer trick to any down hat or gloves or jacket that had gotten damp hiking…or that just needed to be fluffed up.Jan 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm #2066959
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Down is good for sitting around or sleeping with a quilt. Wool is good, I like a fleece cap best.Jan 28, 2014 at 10:40 am #2067201
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
My favorite beanie is Possumdown, made from NZ merino wool and NZ possum fur (light, warm, can literally shake out water if it gets wet and put it right back on). I have used a down beanie from Black Rock in camp or while sleeping.Jan 28, 2014 at 11:29 am #2067216
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Hats take a beating, scrunched up in a pocket or pack and rarely threaded with the care of an expensive down jacket or bag. I have this pet therory about thin down garments loosing a higher proportion of loft: If a thick puffy loses 1/4" loft, you would hardly notice, but if you only have 1/2" to start with, that's a 50% drop. The assumption is that those outer tufts of down are taking the beating and with a thin garment, it's ALL outer layers.
Fleece is cheap and light, it wicks and dries well and it feels good. Wool is more durable. There are all kinds of wool/fleece hybrid beanies.
It really comes to how much loft you really need. I find that I usually need a little insulation on my head and will just be a sweaty mess if I overdo it. I have a light patagonia R.5 beanie and an Ibex wool beanie that are my first choices. The hood on my wind or rain shell is taking the brunt of the weather and the beanie under that just needs to keep a warm layer of air next to my skin
A light balaclava may be a better bet in cold weather as it is my face, chin, neck and ears that are feeling the cold. Likewise, a simple fleece headband will keep my ears warm without overheating my whole head.
A down beanie might be better in camp, with the same pros and cons as down vs synthetic jackets and sleeping bags. At that level of cold I would be wearing an insulated jacket with a hood anyway, with the option of a fleece or wool beanie under.
I use a bag with a hood, so it's the same scenario for sleep as with a hooded jacket. I would want a warm hat with a hoodless quilt for cold weather, but if it is that cold, a balaclava would be my choice— I have a thick head of hair and my face, chin and neck feel the cold more.
My real go to cold weather hat is a Peruvian style beanie with the long ear flaps in a Windstopper fleece. OR makes good ones. I'm using a North Face version now because I found one that fits my XL noggin better. If the Windstopper fleece and a hood won't cut it, I need a cabin with a fire!
Carhartt has a few models worth looking at. They have a few that are cut like the Peruvian caps, sans a chin strap. They are long in back and give excellent coverage down to your neck. They also make a helmet liner face shield that most of us would call a balaclava, but the chin portion is easy to pull down out of the way. The prices tend to be better than hiking clothing.Jan 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm #2067228
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
The good news is you can most likely restore the down beanie by washing and drying it correctly. I love my black rock hat, and I gave two of them this year as Christmas presents, but there really is a very narrow (one might argue negligible) range of conditions when it would be a hat you should do anything but sleep and lounge in on a backpacking trip. Still for the weight….Jan 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm #2067246
If the down is one of those with high powered non DWR fill … Theres a good chance it is losing its loft from humidity
The old 500-600 fill caps tend to not lose loft so much as its more resistant to normal humidity
For items in humid environments which you take out of thr pack regularly, the benefits of high fill power non DWR down are pretty questionable
My favourite is whatever synthetic one looks thick and fuzzy thats cheap … Hats tend to get damp, fast drying is good
Ive been trying to convince my AZN relatives to bring me back one of those fur lined commie ones with the big red star
;)Jan 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm #2067249
In three season hiking conditions, I rock a polypro balaclava only. It is so versatile. I can roll it up as a hat, use it as neck gaiter, ear muffs or "ninja ski mask mode" for fuller face protection. I pack it in all four seasons.
For three season plus (and spring skiing when the conditions can be wet and sloppy), I have my light weight fleece beanie that I paid $4 CDN at the MEC in Jasper. It is actually one of my two favorite hats. :) I wear it to bed or on esp cold mornings. I'll wear in conjunction with the balaclava above at times.
In winter? I often will use the wool beanie because of the "warm when damp" properties in the snow. It is often worn with the polypro balaclava balaclava in certain conditions. The wool beanie is almost always worn, so I do not mind the extra weight/bulk vs a fleece beanie
For REALLY cold days and windy days (and often at night when winter backpacking), I have an old, worn but effective wool/acrylic balaclava that was a stocking stuffer one year.Jan 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm #2067308
@baltLocale: East Coast
I have an UnderArmour fleece beanie. Use it for cold-weather running too. Reasonably warm, and you can wash/rinse the sweat out.Jan 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm #2067340
Do you know the brand of the balaclava you have pictured?Jan 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm #2067345Jan 30, 2014 at 12:25 pm #2067967
I meant the first one, where you mention rolling it up into a hat. Thanks!Jan 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm #2068092
I bought it 13 yrs ago at Sierra Trading Post. The name is long forgotten, sorry. :)
Though, now that I think about it, STP has sold Kenyon thermal products for a loooong time. Probably similar to this one: http://www.kenyonconsumer.com/store/product.php?productid=17&cat=6&page=1
Looks like it too (except mine is green).Jan 31, 2014 at 7:16 am #2068217
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
The description on the website:
"Kenyon’s Balaclava has state of the art moisture management which wicks perspiration to the outer layer of the fabric to keep you dry and comfortable in any climate or condition. … "
Don't you wish some companies would just have written: "It's a freakin' balaclava" and left it at that.Jan 31, 2014 at 7:57 am #2068227
The KISS principle is sometimes lacking in practice! :)Jan 31, 2014 at 8:38 am #2068247
which down hat did you buy? was it a lower quality fill? i know that lower fill power has less resiliency than higher. i've had a blackrockgear down hat for a number of years that i use all winter long. love it…Feb 1, 2014 at 8:01 am #2068570
Because of this thread and similar ones else where, wrote up this article:
BTW, not sure of the quality, but this down hat may be of interest to some :
Short link: http://is.gd/ef5jLG
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