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Updated Oct 27, 2022 10:34 AM
The search for the warmest winter hats is over. From ski hats to hunting camo, we’ve lined up the warmest, most functional, and stylish hats out there. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all item. Different outdoor activities involve a variety of activity levels, so you need to match the hat to the job. Will you be sitting around in a hunting blind or sports arena? Hitting the slopes? A wool hat or well-insulated Carhartt beanie might be the tool for the job, or you might want to choose a balaclava or a classic, such as a Stormy Kromer hat. Finding the best winter hats takes a bit of insider knowledge on how hats are made and the materials you can choose from.
Why It Made the Cut: A simple fleece beanie hat is the perfect hunting hat: easy to carry and easy to layer, with ear-hugging warmth.
Fleece is one of the best materials to use for a winter hat, especially if it will double as a hunting hat. Fleece has great thermal properties, and will breathe when you’re on the trail or hauling hunting equipment through the woods. And it will dry quickly and stay warm even if it gets a bit wet. This model has a multi-panel design, with a dedicated ear warmer band for maximum comfort.
Why It Made the Cut: With the ability to be worn as a beanie, neck gaiter, and full-coverage face mask and head cover, this do-it-all hat will be a constant winter companion.
A great winter camo hat needs to be warm enough for long hours in the woods, breathable enough to wear while walking and hiking, and provide full-face thermal protection and camouflage. A combination of a balaclava and ski mask like this one is perfect for outdoor activities with changing conditions.
Why It Made the Cut: Not only is this a good-looking beanie, but the thick, cushy material makes it a great choice for winter days and nights.
Pull this 100-percent acrylic cap over your ears and you’ll laugh at the cold. A beanie is great for those days when you’re out walking in the cold, because you can scoot it up above your ears for ventilation. But once you’re hunkered down on the ski lift or sports bleacher, pull down the added ear cuff over your years, and ignore the plunging thermometer.
You can spend more money on a hat made with classic materials such as wool, but for the bucks it’s hard to beat a toasty acrylic hat constructed of thick, textured layers to hold in the heat. This winter hat works great with a ski mask or sunglasses, and its snazzy design helps it pull double duty when you head out for a night on the town. Synthetic materials such as acrylic last a long time, and are easily washable. So your least expensive winter hat might just turn out to be your favorite.
Why It Made the Cut: It’s breathable yet well-insulated—perfect for your cold weather hunts.
A full-coverage fleece-lined beanie for hunting helps hold in the heat and keeps you visible while walking through the woods or sticking it out until the last hours on stand. What’s great about this hat is that it works all day long. It’s lightweight and breathable enough for long hikes to the deep woods yet has plenty of warm insulation for frigid nights. It’s also both windproof and water-resistant, should you get stuck in less than ideal weather conditions.
Best with Ear Flaps
Why It Made the Cut: A hunting and fishing staple for more than 100 years, the pull-down flap makes for a great ear warmer.
Recognized the world over, the Stormy Kromer hat is one of the best winter hats ever designed, with ear warmers and all. The wool and nylon hat holds the heat in, while a cotton liner keeps it comfortable to wear all day long. It’s a great hat for everything–skiing, hiking, hunting, and casual wear.
Things to Consider Before Buying Winter Hats
A comfortable warm winter hat is your first line of defense against the cold. You can lose a lot of body heat through an uncovered head, and once you warm up your noggin, it’s much easier to keep the rest of your body warm. If you plan on being active outside, in a sport such as hunting or skiing or even on a brisk walk around the neighborhood, you’ll want to balance pure warmth with breathability. You don’t want your head to sweat, which could make you colder in the first place.
So look for a hat that either comes with ear warming flaps that you can pull down or keep up, or an unconstructed hat like a fleece or acrylic beanie that you can pull down over your ears for maximum thermal properties, and scoot up above the ears to let some fresh air flow when you’re generating body heat. And if you plan on hanging out outside in bitter weather, think about a hat that comes with an integrated face covering, such as the balaclava style.
Whatever type of winter hat you choose, make sure it will work with sunglasses or ski goggles if you plan on wearing them. And consider buying more than one, and keeping one winter hat stashed in your vehicle so you’ll never be without a toasty topknot.
What’s the best winter hat for active outdoor use, such as skiing or hiking?
If you’re going to be moving around a lot, such as in an active sport like skiing or walking for long periods of time, you’ll want a hat that’s breathable and won’t hold moisture. A wool hat can be a good choice, as long as it’s not too heavy. But a better choice is a fleece hat like this one, which will help transfer moisture from sweat away from your skin.
What’s the best winter hat for larger heads?
If you wear a larger hat size, definitely look at hats that come in sizes, such as the Stormy Kromer. That way you can match the hat to your specific size. Or choose a relatively unconstructed hat like a beanie, made of stretchy fleece.
What winter hats can be washed in a washing machine?
If you plan to toss your hat into the wash, choose one made of acrylic or fleece. They’ll launder easily, and handle both the washing machine and the dryer. Avoid washing wool hats as they can easily shrink and lose their shape.
A great winter hat needs to match your activity level, especially if you’ll be active outdoors in sports such as hunting, hiking, and skiing. And thanks to such a wide variety of hat styles, from trapper hats to deerstalker hats to beanies, you’ll have no trouble finding a great winter hat.