Last Updated on 31/01/2024
In this guide to the best hiking beanies, we share which winter hats keep your ears warm without causing you to overheat when hiking. It can be hard to find the right balance between warmth and breathability, which is why we tested so many beanies for hiking. Here are the results.
What Are the Best Hiking Beanies to Keep You Warm?
When hiking in cold temperatures, your ears are one of the first places to get cold, and you actually lose the most body heat through your head. The best hiking beanies will keep your head and ears warm without overheating you on strenuous hikes. Some are made from wool, while others are synthetic, which both have their pros and cons. I personally prefer wool hats as they tend to be warmer while still being breathable.
Fleece-lined wool hiking hats are even warmer and more comfortable still, but they tend to absorb moisture more freely. Merino wool is slightly better and incredibly lightweight, making it an appealing material for hikers and backpackers. This list of the best hiking beanies shares some of the most popular wooly hats for hiking.
10 Best Beanies for Hiking
Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie
If you’re after one of the best waterproof beanies in the market, this Minus33 Merino will ridge cuff beanie is a start. The super-soft material delivers maximum comfort around the head. Now, that’s only for the comfort department; the material is breathable, moisture-wicking, waterproof, odor-proof, and insulates well.
If you don’t find these impressive, you’d undoubtedly give it a pass mark for also being fire resistant. Now we’re not saying you should light a campfire and throw the hat right in when you go off on a camping trip. Rather, what’s certain is that the Minus33 Merino wool ridge cuff beanie is tough enough to protect you from accident fire exposure.
As for maintenance, the material is totally machine washable and machine dry-able. So you can circumvent the hassle of hand washing without the risk of shrinking the material. Even better is that this beanie can be optionally cuffed when ready to use. It has a finished circumference of 17 inches, which will expand to 25 inches and a little over. Furthermore, the hat’s maximum height is around 12 inches, so we can safely say that it’ll fit perfectly with most head types, especially when you consider its flexibility.
VERDICT: All in all, you can use this beanie for any extreme outdoor activity. It’s also suitable for snow and waterborne engagements. So, you don’t have to worry about your hat getting waterlogged. The best part is that this ridge cuff beanie is lightweight and will offer you all the warmth you need even when you take your engagements to subzero terrains.
UnderArmour Men’s Storm ColdGear Infrared Elements 2.0 Beanie
When it comes to the beanie-making business, there are “boys,” and of course, there are “men.” UnderArmour is undoubtedly one of the big players in the market, and that’s not by chance. They have been consistent in delivering top-quality sportswear, so this Storm ColdGear Infrared Elements 2.0 Beanie won’t be different from their myriads of quality craft. It features UnderArmour’s storm tech fabric, famous for its durability and impressive waterproof capabilities.
Furthermore, the inside has a soft coat material furnished with a patented fabric technology known as the ColdGear infrared. The technology delivers superior insulation through its thermo-conductive fabric, which impressively retains the wearer’s body heat. This way, it doesn’t overheat and, therefore, won’t make you sweat unnecessarily.
Apart from those who want to utilize it for extreme outdoor activities, the ColdGear infrared feature makes it an excellent option for those who like to take long jogs during winter. You won’t be wrong if you class this bad boy as one of the best water-resistant beanies on the market. The design might run a little large. That’s because it’s a men’s design beanie. Look on the bright side; you are in luck if you have a large head or got a high-dense dreadlock hairstyle.
VERDICT: If you love classic beanies, you’ll also like the fact that it fits just at the top of the ears. So, if you are looking for something that will offer maximum ear cover, this might not be the perfect option for you. A little heads up for those who might be allergic to polyester, UnderArmour made this one an all-polyester craft.
The North Face Men’s Bones Beanie
Here’s another top-quality beanie for men from North Face—makers of extreme weather gear. Perhaps you are allergic to polyester or even wool? If so, this North Face Men’s Bones Beanie is the perfect snug, waterproof winter hat for you. It features a combo of synthetic materials that are an excellent option for individuals with sensitive skin types or allergies.
You can use it at the beach, kayaking, or simply for outdoor work activities. What’s more, maintenance is easy as the fabric is machine-friendly. However, you don’t want to machine-dry this North Face bones beanie, as it could cause the material to shrink and lose its unique shape. So, your best option after washing is to hang it out to dry.
VERDICT: As for the entire design, it’s what you could call a slim fit or a medium-thickness hat. So, expect this lightweight one, and it won’t feel heavy or uncomfortable. Furthermore, its slim fit means it will blend in well with helmets and hoodies without feeling uncomfortable or too bulky.
Patagonia’s Women’s Cable Beanie
If you’re after something warm and cozy, this Patagonia’s Women’s Cable Beanie delivers pretty well in both departments. This women’s beanie features a combination of recycled wool and nylon. Now, that’s a brand that takes environmental responsibility seriously. So, If you are all pro-environment, this is your stop for a beanie.
As for the material, it’s constructed from recycled waste fiber, yarn waste from spinning factories, and waste materials from weaving mills. These materials have become new trendy knit-cable beanies with modern processing. The design is one size fits all, so you don’t need to worry when ordering.
Furthermore, the material’s flexibility makes it an easy fit for most women, regardless of hair density. You’ll also love that the length is long enough. It’s excellent for cold terrain as the material is thick enough to keep you super warm yet lightweight for a comfortable fit. Finally, this beanie’s many color designs offer you the liberty to express your style with different colors of clothes.
VERDICT: We love this hat for both men and women, and the cable weave not only looks good but has fantastic breathability. Patagonia is one of the best and most ethical outdoor gear companies on the planet, so definitely check out this hat.
The North Face Cable Minna Beanie
This North Face Cable Minna Beanie is where exquisite knit, durability, and comfort meet. Talk about superior warmth delivery; this waterproof beanie is perfect for winter. The material is a blend of fabrics designed to deliver a wool-like performance and is ideal for those sensitive or allergic to wool.
This beanie will also keep you warm on your outdoor trips and will not fail to turn up your style. Even better is the fact that there’s enough room in the beanie to accommodate different hair densities. What’s more, it comes in a small (21-22.5 inches), large (22.5-23.5 inches), and one-size-fits-all (21-23.5 inches) design.
Furthermore, this beanie comes in cuffed, so that’s additional warmth around the ears. You’ll also love that it offers full ear coverage. Even better, it’s breathable and waterproof. A little heads up, North Face made this one extra thick, so it may look a bit extra bulky if you already have a large head. That being said, it’s not really a big deal considering the great warmth this beanie can deliver, especially in freezing weather.
VERDICT: All in all, this is a great beanie option available in green and vintage white colors. So, be ready to look classy as you stay warm.
Columbia Sportswear Thermarator Hat
You can’t overemphasize the need to protect yourself from the elements, especially when winter comes knocking. Therefore, whether you only need to go out on occasions, work, or participate in extreme weather sports, check out this waterproof, Thermarator Beanie from Columbia.
It’s 100% polyester furnished with an Omni-heat thermal reflective material. That’s a big-worded way of saying this hat reflects and retains body heat so you can keep warm when you are outdoors. The hat’s thermal-retention design is impressive, so you don’t want to miss out on this beanie if you are into activities like snowboarding, skiing, etc.
Furthermore, the material is not very bulky. So you can swing it under a helmet if you drive your bike to work or are into snowmobile driving and other engagements that require extra headgear support. You might also notice the metallic dot patterns on the beanie. These help with heat retention, while the breathable fabric balances by promoting heat and moisture dissipation.
In terms of maintenance, you can hand wash if you like, but the 100% polyester material and the heat-retainment tech are totally machine-friendly for both washing and drying. What’s more, this beanie works well if you aim to keep warm and dry.
VERDICT: Another great thing about the hat is that it’s got full ear coverage to block out the snow and cold air. That’s another feature to ensure extra insulation for your body. In addition, the sizes available are large/extra-large and small/medium. So, whether you’ve got a relatively small or large head, there’s a Columbia Thermarator beanie just for you.
Patagonia Men’s Brodie beanie
If you want a medium-thick beanie that will fit in well with your hoodies and helmet, then the Patagonia Men’s Brodie beanie might be what you need to counter the element during this winter. The hat is a full-coverage design with a ribbed cuff finish. This is perfect for fancy cuffed beanies for its cool look and extra warmth provision.
Patagonia is environmentally responsible for making its beanies from recycled materials. This one also features 79% recycled wool, 26% recycled nylon, and 4% fiber. What’s more, the hat delivers superior comfort in a lightweight and cozy package.
Additionally, the material doesn’t peel off, so you don’t have to worry about it itching or causing any form of skin allergies. Simply pick one or more when you are ready to order, as the circumference is one-size-fits-all. There’s also enough room and flexibility for all head shapes and hair lengths— whether your hair is a low-cut style, ponytailed or dreadlocked.
VERDICT: In terms of maintenance, this one doesn’t do well with washing machines, so you might have to stick to hand washing—to maintain the fabric’s structural integrity. It’s also a good idea to avoid bleaching when removing any tough stain.
Arc’teryx Rolling Stripe Hat
Many people prefer a slim fit when it comes to beanies. On the other hand, other people prefer their beanies to be a little larger. You’ll appreciate this next product if you fall in the latter category. The Arc’teryx Rolling Stripe Hat brings in this oversized beanie for a stylish classic look. With the different colors to pick from, you’ll certainly agree that it’s time to revamp your style this winter.
This beanie checks out the flexibility, breathability, and total comfort department. What’s more, the oversized design allows you to utilize the full ear coverage feature for extra insulation from the elements. You can also roll up the edge in a cuffed style to keep cold hair and moisture out for extra warmth.
Additionally, this waterproof stripe beanie features a lightweight, all-wool material with a moisture-wicking capability. It also comes with a medium-thickness design, so it’s okay if you want to swing it under any other protective headgear. The thickness also makes it easy to fold into your pocket if you want to tuck it away for safe-keeping.
VERDICT: While its design is not very thick, it can certainly keep you warm even to temperatures reaching -10°C. But a word of advice; if you can, avoid machine washing and tumble drying if you want to avoid shrinking the wool material. Instead, a simple hand wash will do the trick. Once the washing phase is over, lay flat to dry. In our opinion, this is the best way to care for your beanie.
Coal the Yukon Cable Knit Wool Beanie
We can’t deny that this next beanie is perfect for picky folks who are after an extra stylish option. The design of the Yukon Cable Knit Wool beanie is a super stylish, chunky crossed-knit made out of 100% wool. While that might not sound so great to those extra-sensitive or allergic to wool materials, this beanie is undeniably one of the most fashionable in the market.
So, if you totally dig wool-crafted material, you should opt for it. That’s not to say its aesthetic finish is all it has going. This hat’s thick yet breathable and cozy fabric is put together also to deliver superior warmth and comfort.
The Yukon beanie features a slim-fit design with maximum ear coverage to add extra protection from the elements. There’s more; the inner part of the hat has a soft fleece lining that provides a cozy feel when worn. Even more, the material is high-grade. So we are sure this one will keep its shape over a long period of many uses and washes.
And if you need additional re-assuring of the quality of this beanie, it might help to know that the makers of this cable knit waterproof beanie have been in the business for nearly two decades. Hence, it’s no surprise this product is the number choice for many adventure sports athletes.
VERDICT: As for maintenance, you’ll do well to maintain it by hand washing, but it’s okay if you want to care with the machine too. However, It’s best to hang dry. Adding to the already cool style is the multicolor option so that you can blend in with your many clothing options.
Outdoor Research’s Gradient Hat
Outdoor Research’s Gradient Hat brings in one of the funkiest color options on this list. The all-wool beanie features a breathable, waterproof material furnished with a micro-fleece inner lining. The wool material is durable and would stand the test of repetitive use and maintenance.
The material has a moisture-wicking feature that delivers impressively, keeping you dry and warm on the dampest days. You’ll also find it useful for extreme temperatures and will love that this beanie offers full ear coverage. That’s good news if you are planning many outings during this winter season.
If you’ve got a relatively large head, you shouldn’t have a problem swinging this beanie during your outdoor trips, as the material is quite flexible and adaptable for most head types. However, keep in mind that the hat runs a little small. What’s more, you might want to stick to hand washing as machine wash and drying could throw the hat out of shape.
VERDICT: Outdoor Research makes a wide range of hats, and this beanie is perfect for hiking to keep you warm without overheating. The Gradient hat has some of the nicest color combinations out there for a backpacking beanie.
Buying Guide to Beanie Hats For Hiking And Outdoor Work
When searching for the best waterproof beanies, many features are to look out for. The durability, comfort, and protection a beanie offers are just a few to name. Perhaps you love the sound of all the above-listed beanies, but you’re not sure which one will best suit what you’re after. Fret not because we’ve done the work on that front. The below buying guide will help immensely. Here are a few things to look out for when buying a beanie hat for hiking and outdoor work.
Here are some of the features you should consider before choosing a hiking beanie:
The thickness of a hat is important if your main aim is to protect yourself from the cold. You’ll no doubt keep harsh elements out if your beanie’s material has a relatively high level of thickness. So if you need a beanie to keep warm for outdoor engagements such as jogging or transiting from one place to another, medium to high thickness should be fine.
However, you shouldn’t opt for a material that’s too thick if you’ll be swinging your beanie under another protective headgear, such as a helmet. You may find it a bit uncomfortable. Also, if you’ll be layering, i.e., wearing another form of clothing used in extreme weather sports, you may find a very thick beanie uncomfortable.
Therefore, look out for medium thickness or a snug-fit beanie if you want to use your beanie under another headgear.
If you get cold easily, or the temperatures of the terrain you’ll be going to may hit subzero level, you might want to consider a long beanie if you don’t plan to use ear muffs. A relatively longer beanie will ideally offer maximum ear coverage, which will provide extra warmth by protecting your ears from the elements.
Some manufacturers make it possible for you to fold the edge of your beanie to offer more insulation. However, you can only utilize this feature if your beanie is significantly long. Also, you want to consider the length of your hair density. For example, a faulty hat may not cover your ears if you have many dreadlocks or much dense hair.
When people want to decide on the color of a product they desire, they sometimes opt for a product that’ll reflect their style or preference. So, while it’s not a bad idea to blend your beanie’s color with your clothes, you might also want to consider safety.
Choosing a reflective or bright-colored beanie might help make you more visible in a scenario where you get lost while participating in extreme sports or serious hiking. Therefore, it’s best not to trade off safety over style or color preference when you want to choose a beanie.
When winter gets extreme, wool material offers one of the best insulation. Polyester and a combination of other fabrics can also provide the warmth you need. However, make sure your skin isn’t sensitive to wool. If you are allergic to wool material, other materials can offer the protection you desire.
If you’ll be spending a long time in the snow, perhaps for sport or work, it’s best to look out for beanies with special heat-retention features to offer you superior protection from the elements. UnderArmour and Minus33 are brands that offer unique technology for insulation.
Concerning special features, some beanies also have fire-resistant features, which will protect you from accidental fire. So if you are going on camping or working in conditions where you are regularly exposed to fire hazards, it might be a great idea to opt for beanies with fireproof capabilities.
Can You Wear a Beanie to Hike in?
You can wear a beanie to hike in, but you have to choose wisely, or you will end up carrying it most of the time because it’s too hot. Beanies are perfect for any kind of hiking in cold weather, but they need to be fairly lightweight and very breathable. If you are climbing a mountain, then having a beanie to hand once you gain elevation will save your ears from bitter wind chill.
I hope this article on the best hiking beanies has helped you find the hat you were looking for, and if not, let us know what you choose instead.