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Warm hats for big heads?
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Locale: Greater Gila
Warm hats for big heads and more on 03/30/2008 18:44:04 MDT Print View

I tried wearing a possum fur beanie this weekend on a windy, 36* ridgewalk, and while camping in a bivy around 40*. The beanie is by far the most comfortable I have ever worn, but as others have noted, it's worthless when a wind is involved. The wind cuts right through, and chills my ears even though there is a doubled layer of fabric over them.

This leaves me in an awkward position.

Having a large head typically means that I can't comfortably fit into the Windstopper watch caps that everyone else wears. These seem to be the lightweight method of keeping a head warm. The possum fur appealed to me since it is double layered, stretchy, and thus would comfortably fit over my head. What now? I've heard people recommend the Integral Designs Primalid, but I'm worried that this won't fit either, even though they do offer a 'large' size. Do any companies make these watch caps in larger sizes? Surely someone else on here has a large head with a lightweight, warm, beanie.

Second: Can anyone compare the warmth of using a thin watch cap with windsopper fabric with another thin balaclava to wearing a thicker beanie only, like the Primalid?

Edited by vaporjourney on 03/30/2008 18:52:09 MDT.

Kevin Lane
Big Heads on 03/30/2008 19:54:59 MDT Print View

I have a 7 7/8 hat size. The Golite Polarguard fits fairly well. Have you checked out Their XL is actually too large for me

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
OR Novo on 03/30/2008 20:46:24 MDT Print View

I have the Outdoor Research Novo cap from Bunny in the Gear Swap. It is a very light cap, great into the 20's or even a little colder when moving, sweat moves right thru it. Any colder and the hood from my R1 Hoody goes up, and colder than that my softshell hood goes up.

I have a Texas size noggin that the BPL Sweats cap looks like a Yamaka on me.

Mark Bishop
(mark_b) - MLife

Locale: Northwest (WA)
Warm hats for big heads on 03/30/2008 22:29:16 MDT Print View

The ID Primalid comes in an extra large size and the website sizing guide will help you determine if it will fit you or not. I recently got a Primalid hat (large size) and find it very warm and comfortable.


Locale: Greater Gila
re: primalid and hiking on 03/30/2008 22:41:05 MDT Print View

But is the Primalid too warm to hike in? I find it hard to justify carrying two different hats. Too bad a bandana just isn't warm enough while hiking. Am I expecting too much?

Mark Bishop
(mark_b) - MLife

Locale: Northwest (WA)
re: primalid and hiking on 03/30/2008 23:32:59 MDT Print View

If it were windy and 36 degress I probably wouldn't find it too warm althought this is a warm hat that I'd use more around camp and while sleeping. I generally find that supplex ball cap is all I want while hiking and cover up with a hood when windy & cold.

Another alternative for you might be to get a windstopper ear band that you could wear under the possum down hat.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Paramo hat on 03/31/2008 10:55:38 MDT Print View

Being blessed / cursed with a size 8 head I sympathise with you. My usual hat for hillwalking is a Paramo cap ( ) which just fits nicely - although I notice that they've made a few changes recently, so it might be worth trying one on if you can. Not a watch cap, but very soft and comfortable.

It's windproof, waterproof and reasonably warm (less so than the Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap, which I find too warm for general use), as well as being considerably more breathable than most hats with a membrane and having rather handy fold-down ear flaps.

Edited by bigjackbrass on 03/31/2008 10:56:51 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Warm hats for big heads and more on 03/31/2008 18:15:00 MDT Print View

Hi Eric,
I take a size 7 7/8 in headwear. My solution is a Mountain Hardwear Transition Featherweight Dome(Windstopper membrane, weight 1 oz), with a MH Powerstretch balaclava(weight 1.75 oz) in reserve. To date I have only had to use the balaclava for sleeping when the temperature dips into the low 20's, and I have hiked in some pretty cold windy weather(Sierra and Cascades). It's a combo worth considering. The Dome pulls down over my ears quite nicely, BTW.

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Big English Heads on 04/01/2008 10:33:05 MDT Print View

My mother is English from Cheltenham. I wonder if thats where I got my oversized noggin and my tendency to eat to many pastries.

steven dunstan
(sdunstan) - F
Big Head on 10/03/2010 08:41:41 MDT Print View

I have a size 8 head and fall outside the normal bell curve range of manufacturers. I have searched far an wide and found the following hats/caps fit:
1. Mountain Hardwear Dome Ruinart Hat (windstopper fleece cap, my favorite go to cold weather cap, I own 3, just fits).
2. Tilley LTM5 Airflo, wide brim hat with full vent, Size 8 (best for cool and hotter weather, works with bug headnet. Order directly from manufacturer Tilley in your size. Replace foam in top pocket with reflectix to relect sun in hot sunny weather.
3. Various others (out of production) I have found at REI by trying everything on I can find.
Best of Luck

Joe Wilson
(bigjoe) - F
Re: Warm hats for big heads and more on 10/05/2010 10:49:41 MDT Print View

Lamood Big Hats has big beanie caps at I have a size 8 head and the black sleek beanie is great for when I go snowboarding.

Edited by bigjoe on 10/05/2010 10:50:20 MDT.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Warm hats for big heads and more on 10/05/2010 23:13:32 MDT Print View

Nice thread!

I don't have a clue what my actual head size is, because I've been growing my dreadlocks about as long as I can remember anymore, but with the hair factored in, I'm between a size 8 and 8-1/8, so I also find it difficult to find off the shelf options.

Here's what works for me so far, but not exactly hats:

1. Mountain Hardwear Gore Windstopper "Flex" Balaclava in size L

2. Smartwool OSFA Balaclava

I just picked up the smartwool today, and it fits better than the other due to stretch, very comfy.

Otherwise, I find a long bolt of polartec power-dry works great as a turban!

I could make some size XL hats out of the polartec I have on hand if anybody is interested, I've got tons of the stuff on hand. It's pretty much the same material used in the Patagonia R1, although it's not massively windproof I'd say.

Brendan Mulholland
(dools009) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Big head high ventilation sun hat? on 10/06/2010 01:24:22 MDT Print View

Great thread for the big headed.

My name is Brendan Mulholland and I am a big headed person.

Feels like AA.

Anyways, looking for a REALLY well ventilated stiff brimmed sun hat. A buddy of mine had a Dorfman Pacific Solarweave

This hat seems ideal but not in large head (7 3/4+) sizing. Any ideas?

Note: In addition to bigheadedness I am a profuse sweater and the Tilley airflo make me feel like my head is in a shower cap in temps above 65 deg.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Warm hats for big heads and more on 10/06/2010 09:27:07 MDT Print View

Duluth Trading Company makes a windproof fleece cap in XL and even 2XL for a mere $14.50.

Brendan Mulholland
(dools009) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
answer to my own question on 10/06/2010 13:28:52 MDT Print View

after some digging last night came across the Henschel Hat company on a recommendation from another BPL thread -

have sizes up to XXXL (8 1/4 I think)

the Breezer 5320 has a wire rim and lots of ventilation
just picked one up online so we'll see

Alright, warm hat threadjack ended


josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
another on 10/08/2010 08:43:37 MDT Print View

i would be "blackrock" would make you a custom hat if you asked...