Although there is much evidence to support the fact that the old statistic of 50% of heat lost through the body is not true, I know from personal experience that wearing a hat in very cold weather makes an enormous difference to how warm you feel inside.
Of course, ski hats are major fashion items and choosing the right design can be important for some. This is a subjective issue so I can’t comment on your preferred style. All I can say is that I like good quality hats that fit well and the ones with floppy bits around the ears or ‘novelty’ hats with characters, faces or even items of fruit are definitely out for me.
That said there is no reason why a novelty hat would not keep you head perfectly warm.
For most skiers, the priority is warmth, style and of course comfort. Baseball caps are not ideal as apart from not being the best insulators they tend to fly off at even the slowest speeds. So you will mostly see ski hats in the category of ‘woolly hat’ or ‘beanie’ style. These fit snugly around the head and cover the ears, without any extending parts that might catch the wind.
There are essentially 3 or 4 different types of fabric used to make ski hats. Acrylic is a popular material as it stretches easily and is tightly woven. Fleece material, which is essentially polyester, is also common and certainly provides a lot of warmth in cold temperatures. A mixture of wool and acrylic can give a good balance of comfort, warmth and quality which will keep you warm and last a long time. Merino wool has become a popular choice of fibre as it has an extra fine weave which feels soft and insulates very well.
There are several excellent manufacturers of ski hats in the market today. Some of my favourites include: Icebreaker (A New Zealand company specialising in wool garments), Patagonia (Fantastic outdoor clothing that you just can’t fault) and Oakley (Famous for their glasses but I like their hats too).
A ski hat is never going to be the most expensive item of clothing you purchase, but whatever one you choose make sure you always have it with you when in the mountains.
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