Hats, Headbands and Masks

I always believed the apparent myth that we lose 80% of our body heat through our head. I guess that’s only true when the rest of our body is clothed. Which, hopefully, is most of the time if we’re worried about staying warm!

(So, actually we lose body heat from whatever part of our body is exposed…makes sense.)

At any rate, keeping our faces, ears and heads warm is an issue if you — like me — live in a northern climate and want to stay active outside during the winter.

Thankfully there are tons of styles, materials and colors to choose from, many of which do a very good job of keeping the wind, wet and cold out. Or if letting the heat out instead of keeping it in is what you’re after, that’s available too.

Besides style and color there are a number of materials to choose from too. Wool, fleece, cotton knit, synthetics…what works best?

It depends on what you’re doing and what you need to head gear to accomplish.

Hopefully we’ve all gotten past where we just worry about looking cute, and really want our gear to perform!

Assuming that’s the case, I can tell you what I look for:

  • WIND-BLOCKING. Wool and cotton knit alone will not block the wind. I’ve found that even if it’s a perfectly calm day, I can’t wear just a knit hat when it gets cold enough (below 20). What works? I have a wind-blocking fleece headband, and also a thin little nylon skull-cap-looking-thing with Omni-Heat® (by Columbia) that works great.
  • WARMTH. Wool or fleece. Fleece, if you want an easy-care, machine-washable item. Wool if you want cool looking. When I want to wear my wool stocking hat, I wear my Columbia Omni-Heat little nylon skull-cap-looking-thing under it. Works perfect, even in -20 and wind (it’s been tested!).
  • WATER-RESISTANT OR -PROOF. Needed more for rain than snow. I wear a synthetic baseball-style hat with a brim to keep both the sun and rain off my face. It’s adjustable so if I need to wear a headband over my ears, I can.
  • HEAT-RELEASING. In hot weather, we need the opposite — a hat that’ll let out the heat we generate. I like the tech materials for that, like my baseball hat has. They dry faster than cotton.

I’ll review the gear I own and wear. Please send me your suggestions too: info@activeoutdoorwomen.com

Hats

Headbands

Masks

(*This is in all three categories because it’s so versatile!)