Posts Tagged travel hats
I think it’s fitting that as I write this review, I’m sitting on the balcony of a ski condo in Squaw Valley, CA, with my feet up after a warm spring-skiing day. On my head is a knit Chaos beanie which is doing double-duty keeping the spring sun at bay and taming my helmet hair.
I’ve reviewed several Chaos hats for winter wear for women and children in the past, and am back with two more for warmer winter days, spring outdoor travel, and summer travel in cooler climates. Chaos is a solid pick for a quality hat at a budget price. I love that most of their selections are under $30, including the two below. Both the hats I tried out for spring come in men’s or women’s versions, and both look great as well as perform well.
The Evo Beanie is deceivingly simple. It’s a 100% acrylic knit beanie, adds some flair with fun stripes and bold colors. I can wear mine on a cold spring day and still feel like summer’s close at hand. The lining is polyester with 11% merino wool with a pinch of spandex thrown in, which keeps moisture wicked away in dry-release fashion, and the small logo is reflective for early morning runs or evening hikes. This is a basic beanie that is thick enough to perform on not-so-chilly winter days but take you all the way through spring.
The Genetic Beanie adds a trendy slouch style to your winter and spring wardrobe, and can be worn back on the head or snug on the forehead. It’s 100% acrylic and thinner than the Evo. I’ve sported it at spring soccer games and at ski resorts where I know I’ll be going inside lodges and out again with regularity. The knit of the Genetic is wider spaced so air does flow more easily, making it a great pick for warmer days when you need just a touch of protection (and pizazz).
You can find a selection of Chaos hats on Amazon, such as the men’s Evo in limited colors, but Chaos rolls out new styles quite often, so your best selection in the newest styles will be on Chaos.com. The Evo retails on Chaos for $26.99 and the Genetic retails for $20.99.
You can also find a great selection of new and discounted styles at Sierra Trading Post.
Would you like to do some good somewhere when you buy a winter hat? Get a great travel and outdoors hat from Sherpa Adventure Gear and you’ll be making a difference in one of Asia’s poorest countries—Nepal.
I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of this company recently and he’s got a story that goes far beyond trying to make better outdoor clothing. His uncle, Ang Gyalzen Sherpa, was on the original Everest expedition in 1953. So when Tashi Sherpa moved from a clothing import company to founding his own line, he didn’t just name it after his people. He made clothing for the Sherpas and had it produced in Nepal. So the company gears up the guides and porters, creates manufacturing jobs in a country that many shunned when the political climate got tough, and gives back a portion of profits to under privileged Sherpa children.
Thankfully the products are as good as the story. When I was in Salt Lake City and Park City recently, I split my hat time between a wicking Outdoor Research beanie and this fleece-lined wool Renzig hat from Sherpa that I got as a sample. This one came out on top for pure warmth in the sub-freezing cold, but I also liked how it looked, with real wool instead of some technical fabric. The lining did the trick in feeling soft against my skin and itchiness never came into play. It’s got a little natural stretch to it to fit multiple head sizes and shapes.
Fortunately for Sherpa Adventure Gear, this must have been a strong seller this winter because it’s in “sold out” mode at most online retailers. You may have better luck in the actual stores.
Otherwise, go for one of the other similar styles like the Khunga pictured here. It comes in seven colors and has the same combination of pure lambswool and a Polarfleece lining.
Or if you want something more feminine, the Rani hat pictured at the end here might do the trick. All three of these styles generally retail for under $20 a pop, so you won’t be breaking the bank when you find one you really like.
There are more Nepali-looking ones with tassels that can tie underneath, some that are more urban and less beanie, and others that are solid or retro. See the whole Sherpa hat lineup at their site.
Many Sherpa styles are available at independent retailers, REI stores and at REI.com. Despite the frigid weather out, retailers are already thinking about spring, so buying in February often means buying on sale.
Of course the company makes jackets and pants too: those climbers need more than hats at that altitude. More on that later…
How have I not known about Chaos Hats? I spend most of my winter with a beanie on my head (mostly so I don’t have to brush my hair). My favorites are colorful, fun, and cozy…exactly what Chaos delivers. If you’re a winter hat wearer, or have one on your holiday gift list, you’re going to want to bookmark this page: all of these offerings from Chaos would fit nicely in a holiday stocking. And they’re competitively priced, too.
The Spindel doesn’t mess around: it’s thick and bulky, with chunky braided knit and a full fleece lining. It fits over the ears, and includes cute pom tassels and a pom on top. It’s 100% acrylic, and will keep your head warm in serious snow conditions. The Spindel might be over-doing it for a night out on the town or other casual wear, but for a day sledding, tubing, ice skating–you get the idea–it packs some serious warmth. It’s available at Chaos for $26, and comes in three colors (shown is Isis).
Similar to the Spindel in thickness, the Joses hat is styled after your traditional winter stocking cap: you get a folded hem and a big fat pom on top. Also like the Spindel, it’s 100% acrylic but with only a partial fleece lining (in a band around the forehead area). It comes in three colors, including Real Red, which sounds like it would be obnoxiously bright, but is instead a really pretty reddish-coralish color. $29 at Chaos.
This one’s my favorite. The Actier is a knit beanie bonnet style. What, you say? It looks like a stocking cap, but because of the placement of the dangling poms, once on, it hugs the face like a bonnet, allowing the top of the stocking to sit back a bit on the head. It’s cute as could be, trust me. The Actier is hand knit mixed yarn that’s very soft and quite light. It’s not nearly as chunky as the Joses or Spindel, and there’s no lining. It comes in five colors, including Silex, shown here, which is a soft heather gray. It sells on the Chaos site for $29.
This one’s for the kids. It reminded my boys of Angry Birds, but really, it comes in five different colors, each depicting a different birdlike face. It has cute tassels and knit eyes, nose, beak, etc. At $29 on the Chaos site, the Angries is a little steep for a kids’ hat, but totally worth it in the cuteness department. One size fits all: ours fits our seven-year-old and 11-year-old easily.
There’s still plenty of sunny days left in the summer and fall to make use of quality sun hats for you and your family. OR (Outdoor Research) has a couple models that work well for casual wear and travel. The women’s Radar Cap has a nice flair of urban style while still being lightweight, flexible to pack with its foldable bill, and colorful.
You get 30 SPF sun protection with the Radar, and a ‘Transaction’ headband absorbs sweat. It comes in the bright (very bright!) pink shown, or a much more understated khaki or black. It’s made of 100% Supplex nylon, and weighs just 1.8 oz. My only complaint: it runs a bit big, and is not adjustable, so check the OR size chart before purchasing. (Hats are available in S, M, and L.) Pick up a Radar cap for $26 at Outdoor Research or for a little less at Backcountry or Amazon.
If you have kids old enough to keep a hat on their heads without use of a chin strap but young enough to want to wear a bucket hat (that’s a small margin in my house), the Solstice Bucket is a nice, no-frills, economic option. It’s super lightweight, so my 10-year-old barely remembered he had it on (he normally dislikes hats), and we both liked that the brim is short: just wide enough for sun protection without being bulky or getting in his way.
The Solstice comes in a rusty orange or a ‘glacier’ blue, and the design along the outside is a fun but understated (read: not babyish) outline of mountains and trees. This hat would work for girls, too, but if yours wants something more ‘girly’, there’s aSolstice especially made with girls in mind. The fabric is SPF 30, and has a wicking headband like Mom’s. Weight is 1.2 oz, and it comes in sizes XS-L. Like the Radar, they run big in our experience, so order accordingly. Pick one up for $24 at Outdoor Research or the other usual gear store suspects: Amazon, Backcountry, and Altrec.
When you want to protect your skin but you don’t want to wear a typical khaki sun hat, this Plaid Hat from Tilley Endurables will have you looking a bit more stylish.
We’ve sung the praises of Tilley hats plenty of times here and after trying lots of other brands, still look at these as the gold standard. They’re always well-made, rugged, and built to last, all coming with a lifetime guarantee. Yes, they’re pricey—this model has a list price of $79—but they want you to use it for decades. If you manage to wear out yours, send them a $7.50 check for shipping and they’ll replace it for free.
The look of this Plaid Hat is unique, standing out from the sea of sun hats that are usually a solid color and floppy. This one is a little more refined, looks a little better when you’re wearing something nicer. The appearance is just part of the appeal though. This travel hat tips the scales at a mere 2.8 ounces, making it lighter than most of the baseball caps I own.
It’s a nylon-cotton blend that’s also treated with a weather-repellent feature, so when I got caught in a misty drizzle one day while wearing it, the water just beaded up on top. Naturally the main reason you’re going to wear a hat while traveling is to keep the sun at bay and this delivers a “UPF 50+” sun rating. It comes with a string to loop around your chin if you want, but you can easily remove it if not.
The thing I found most surprising about this Plaid Hat was the ventilation. It has four oversized metal eyelets near the top to let heat escape and I found that they did an excellent job letting the breeze flow through as well. Those combined with the lightness have made this a cooler hat than I expected where I’ve been trying it most: in the hot Florida sun. I also love the feature you find on all Tilley hats of a little pouch on the inside top where you can store some emergency cash or a credit card. Always useful.
This fabric in this hat is pre-shrunk and you can throw it in the washing machine or sink wash it as needed. See the four-page owners manual for tips.
See more on this hat at the Tilley site and you can get it there or look for it in your local gear store. For now this is a hard one to find outside Canada except at Paragon Sports. Follow this link to order it from there online.