Skiing is an addictive activity that can give you a good dose of adrenaline, joy, and freedom. However, as in any winter sport, your body is going to be constantly exposed to low temperatures and strong mountain winds. Therefore, you must protect yourself with high-quality warm clothes. If you already have a reliable jacket and a pair of insulated pants, it’s time to find a good ski hat.
Hundreds of models are on the market, and it’s not easy to make a choice. To find the right model, you must think about the weather conditions of the place where you are going to be skiing, the compatibility with your helmet, and the intended use.
Don’t worry! In this article, I am going to talk about types of ski beanies, thermal protection, breathability, materials, and other important features. In addition, I’ll review the best models of the year so that you can find the one that best suits your needs.
THE BEST SKI HATS
NORTH FACE BONES BEANIE
“With inner fleece earband”
MATERIAL: Acrylic / Fleece
FEATURES: Unisex. Inner fleece lining. Slim fit. Available in several colors.
DESCRIPTION: The North Face Bones is one of the most popular models on the market because it offers great cold protection in a compact and stylish design. This model has an inner fleece earband that improves thermal sensation on your ears. It’s built with high-resistance acrylic fibers and is sold in one size.
DESIGN: Skull cap
MATERIAL: 89% Polyester / 11% Spandex
USE: Under helmet
FEATURES: Unisex. Multi-sport. Antibacterial. Super flexible. Soft touch. Quick-drying.
DESCRIPTION: The Tough Headwear is a thin skull cap that is perfect for wearing under your helmet (or under another hat for extra insulation). This a highly versatile model that you can use for running, hiking, or biking. It’s built with flat seams that reduce friction with the helmet, which makes it comfortable to wear. Despite being lightweight and thin, this model perfectly fulfills its basic functions: It protects your head from the wind, it wicks away moisture, and it retains a good amount of heat.
“Lightweight and durable”
MATERIAL: Polyester / Acrylic
CHARACTERISTICS: Warm inner lining. Resistant construction. Unisex. Available in several colors.
DESCRIPTION: The Salomon Logo has a casual design that makes it perfect for both winter sports and city use. This unisex model features a soft inner lining that will keep your ears warm throughout the activity. In addition, it efficiently wicks away sweat, and it’s so light that you may even forget you are wearing it.
MATERIAL: 100% Polyester
FEATURES: Primaloft insulation. Lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. Available in many colors.
DESCRIPTION: The Buff Thermonet is the most versatile model on the list, as there are dozens of ways to wear it: on your neck, on your head, covering your neck and head, covering your neck and half your face, etc. The main advantage is that despite its light weight, it’s built with Primaloft insulation that mimics the thermal protection of down.
MATERIAL: Acrylic / Polyamide
FEATURES: Unisex. Urban style. High-quality, stretchy fabrics. Available in several colors.
DESCRIPTION: The Helly Hansen stands out for its sober design, slim fit, and slightly pointy tip. This model is made primarily of acrylic fabric, but it includes some elastane fibers that make it more stretchy and comfortable to wear. Overall, it is a warm, resistant, and durable beanie at a reasonable price.
MATERIAL: 3-Layer Composite
CHARACTERISTICS: Lightweight and stretchy. Unisex. Available in two sizes: M and L.
DESCRIPTION: The Unigear Balaclava offers maximum protection against wind, cold, and UV rays. It’s ideal for skiing, winter hiking, and biking. This model is built with 100% stretchy materials, a soft inner lining, and breathable mesh around the mouth and nose area that allows you to breathe easily. Also, it can be worn under a helmet.
“Beautiful design for women”
MATERIAL: 100% Acrylic
FEATURES: Casual design with pom-pom. Loose design. Available in several colors.
DESCRIPTION: The Burton Chloe is a casual women’s hat that can be worn both on the ski slopes and in the city. This model has a soft touch and efficiently wicks away moisture. In addition, it’s quite thick, providing great thermal insulation. However, be aware that it’s too bulky to be worn under your helmet.
“For cold weather”
DESIGN: 2 pieces
MATERIAL: Acrylic and Fleece
USE: Ski, city
FEATURES: It comes with a scarf for added protection. Versatile. One size, unisex.
DESCRIPTION: The Vbiger is a 2-in-1 option that includes a beanie and a scarf, both built with highly-resistant acrylic materials and a soft fleece liner that offers great thermal insulation, even on the coldest days. The scarf can go up to eye level, thus protecting your entire face. Keep in mind that it’s quite thick and loose, so it’s not compatible with a ski helmet.
NORTH FACE EARBAND
USE: Winter sports
FEATURES: It wicks away moisture. Lightweight. Soft touch. Sporty design. Unisex.
DESCRIPTION: The North Face Earband can be worn for skiing in mild weather, for example in autumn and spring. This model protects only your ears, which are always more sensitive to the cold, while keeping your head fresh and ventilated. Also, the fleece fabrication makes it incredibly soft to the touch and comfortable to wear.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE CHOOSING YOUR BEANIE:
DO I NEED A SKI HAT?
A good hat will protect your head from low temperatures, even on the coldest day. Whether or not you need a hat comes down to your resistance to cold, and the type of helmet you are wearing. For instance, some helmets feature really warm liners that provide enough thermal protection while skiing. However, if you don’t wear a helmet (although I recommend that you do), then you will definitely need a ski beanie.
Also, it’s highly recommended that you wear a hat while you are not skiing. Think about those coffee breaks or the moments before you reach the ski resort. You must protect yourself from the cold and wind at all times. In addition to a beanie, make sure you have other important type of ski gear, such as a good jacket, pants, gloves, and boots.
TYPES OF HATS
There are many ways to protect your head from the cold, depending on exposure and temperatures. You won’t need the same model for skiing with a helmet or without a helmet, with strong wind or without wind, in extreme temperatures or mild weather, etc. These are the most common types used for skiing:
Skull cap or underhelmet
Skull caps are thin, lightweight, and very comfortable to wear. They are designed to be worn under a helmet and they provide extra thermal insulation. Often, they are so comfortable to wear that you will forget you are wearing one. Generally, they are made from polyester or other synthetic materials mixed with elastane, which provides greater stretch. These materials wick away moisture while keeping your head warm. They are easy to clean and quick-drying. These models are really popular for winter sports, hiking, climbing, cycling, and other outdoor activities.
Traditional winter hat
Winter hats can feature different designs, thicknesses, and materials. Thin designs can be worn under a helmet, while thicker models will protect you from the cold when you’re skiing without a helmet as well as when you aren’t skiing. These models have the most beautiful designs, featuring different shapes, colors, and even pom-poms.
Headbands come in handy in the spring months, when temperatures are mild. These bands cover part of your forehead and protect your ears from the cold. Keep in mind that they provide minimal thermal protection, so I don’t recommend that you wear one in the middle of winter.
Buffs are the minimalist version of ski beanies. Actually, they can be complementary, too. For example, you can wear a beanie on your head and a buff on your neck. One of the main advantages of buffs is that they are versatile; you can wear them on your head, on your neck, covering half your face, etc.
Most buffs feature advanced systems such as Windstopper (which protects you from the wind), Thermal Pro (which offers extra cold protection), and Thermo Fastwick (which rapidly wicks away moisture).
Where are you going to ski? Will it be a ski resort in the fall? An off-piste expedition in the dead of winter? I recommend that you find out the temperatures that each model can withstand before making a choice.
A thin model will probably be enough for skiing in the spring, but it won’t withstand the harshest winter months. Also, your choice will depend on the location of the ski resort. As you know, there are different weather conditions in Canada, the southern U.S.A., the Alps, and the Pyrenees. If you are going to ski in a very harsh climate, make sure you choose a highly-insulated hat.
Strong mountain winds have negative effects on a skier’s overall comfort because they drastically increase the sensation of cold. This feeling becomes even worse when the skier is descending at full speed or when the area is exposed.
I recommend that you choose a windproof model, which will provide greater protection. Some manufacturers feature advanced systems that prevent the wind from sneaking between the fabrics. Some garments, such as buffs and balaclavas, protect your face and neck from the wind, too.
The most commonly used materials in hat manufacturing are fleece, polyester, acrylic, and elastane. These materials perform very well because they are warm, breathable, windproof, and quick-drying.
Merino wool hats are extremely warm, breathable, and comfortable. Furthermore, they don’t retain odors, as they are naturally antibacterial. Polyester and nylon caps are highly resistant, breathable, and incredibly quick-drying.
Elastane can be mixed with other fabrics (typically with polyester) and provides great stretch to the garment. This material can be stretched up to 500% without breaking, so even with only 8% or 10% elastane, a fabric will be incredibly stretchy.
In addition to protecting your head from the elements, your hat must be comfortable to wear. You must find a model with a good design that doesn’t press too hard on your forehead or ears.
Also, you should avoid low-quality materials. Some inexpensive materials can feel itchy or cause a forehead rash. Most comfortable models are reasonably priced. Don’t buy a poor-quality model just to save a few bucks. You may regret it later!
Many stretchy models are available in one-size, unisex designs. Other models are available in various sizes, typically S, M and L. If you have doubts, check the manufacturer’s recommendations. In some cases, the manufacturer provides a size chart.
If you are going to be very exposed to the wind and cold, you should wear more clothes to increase weather protection. Most beanies will protect only the upper part of your head, but other garments can be helpful for other parts of your body. For instance, you can wear a buff to protect your neck or a balaclava to protect your face and neck. Some models feature special ear protectors.
Also, you can always wear multiple hats in a layering system. If your model doesn’t retain enough heat, you can wear a skull cap underneath. You can also wear a thin balaclava under a hat. Create the combination that you need until you get the thermal protection you’re looking for.
Some people like to wear a cap under the ski helmet to improve thermal protection. I recommend that you wear a very thin model, preferably a thermal cap. If you prefer to wear a traditional winter hat, bear in mind that it will be bulkier, which will make the helmet not fit well. In that case, I recommend that you choose a slightly larger helmet so that both elements are compatible.
OTHER USES FOR SKI HATS
The models on the list perform well for skiing, but this doesn’t mean that’s their only use. These hats can be worn for other sports such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, running, etc. Obviously, you can also wear them in the city, in the countryside, and on your trips.
Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 10 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.