One size does not always fit all. My larger than average head means that I have quite a bit of trouble finding any hats that fit. This can be a problem as a woolly hat is essential for keeping my head warm on cold, windy mountains (particularly as I increasingly have less hair to do this job). I don’t think that I’m the only person in this situation as people keep coming to an earlier post of mine via Google searches for climbing helmets for people with bigger or extra large heads. So, for those of us blessed with a generous cranium and a love of the mountains, here are my reviews of some of the woolly hats for hiking and climbing that I’ve found fit my head.
Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon
The Dome Perignon is a thick, windproof hat that has kept my head toasty warm on cold, snowy Scottish mountains. Older versions of this hat were made of a combination of Polartec Thermal Pro with a Gore Windstopper liner and a Windstopper ear band. The materials have now changed to Mountain Hardwear’s equivalent own fabrics of Jacquard Sweater Fleece with an Airshield Fleece liner and an Airshield Fleece ear band.
The Dome Perignon comes in sizes small to extra large, with the extra large billed as fitting a head with a 64cm circumference. There is even a bit of stretchy fleece at the back of the ear band to help with the fit.
This is a comfortable hat that provides really good insulation, but it can be too warm and I only ever use it on freezing winter days. The Dome Perignon is also fairly bulky and a slightly odd shape, with an unnecessary excess of fabric rising to a crest above the crown. This means that I find it’s a hat that is better used for hiking rather than for wearing under a climbing helmet.
Mammut Eisberg Beanie
The Eisberg Beanie is part of Mammut’s top-end Eiger Extreme range aimed at serious mountaineers and alpinists. I don’t exactly fit that description, but I do like how well designed this hat is.
The Eisberg Beanie is only available in one size, but its fit is snug and comfortable rather than tight. It’s cut to give a fairly close fit and to be without excess fabric. The cut also drops down to cover the ears and curves up at the forehead to stop the hat riding low over the eyes and at the nape of the neck to prevent fabric bunching up as you move your head. This close fit and cut make the Eisberg Beanie good for wearing under a helmet. However, it does leave the neck more exposed to cold winds than some hats.
It’s a knit of 50% wool and 50% acrylic with a lining made from Polartec Powerstretch to help it dry faster. The Eisberg Beanie is a medium weight and warmth (not as warm as the Dome Perignon, for example). It’s also wind-resistant rather than windproof.
This is a Goldilocks hat for me – not too hot, not too cold and useful in a wide range of situations. But the mountaineering focus of its design may mean it’s not to everyone’s taste. The price, like the rest of the Eiger Extreme range, is also pretty high (£40).
There seem to be a few other options on the market for those with a good-sized head, although I’ve not tried them out.
The OR Peruvian Hat is a lightly insulated hat made of Gore Windstopper fleece and with long earflaps that can be held in place with a chinstrap. It’s available in small, medium and large sizes. Although Windstopper fabric doesn’t really stretch, the large size seems to have a cut that is generous enough to cover a larger head.
Although Mountain Equipment’s Committed Hat and Branded Beanie only come in one size, this size is just enough to snuggly fit my head when I tried them on in a shop. The Committed Hat is merino wool while the Branded Beanie is 50% wool and 50% acrylic.
I’d be interested to know if anyone else has found another type of extra large woolly mountain hat that works.
Keep a warm head.