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Wool Watch Cap Recommendations
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Nick K
(nkline) - MLife

Locale: Northeast U.S.
Wool Watch Cap Recommendations on 02/11/2014 09:07:35 MST Print View

Hey guys,

I am looking to purchase a 100% wool watch cap just like the ones shown at this site:

The trouble is, I have read mixed reviews about the quality of Rothco products and also about internet army surplus stores in general.

Can anyone recommend a quality source to purchase from?


Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Mountain Goat Hat and Goods on 02/11/2014 09:30:12 MST Print View

Mountain Goat Hat and Goods. Katharina is a BPL member here. I've purchased a few hats from her; all of them are of excellent quality.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 02/11/2014 09:31:50 MST.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Wool Watch Cap Recommendations on 02/11/2014 09:32:24 MST Print View

Military Surplus here:

I love wool…but…I prefer the USGI Polartec caps, FWIW:

-Mark in St. Louis

Edited by buldogge on 02/11/2014 09:34:32 MST.

Joshua Abel
(Aberrix) - M
USGI Polartec on 02/11/2014 09:44:27 MST Print View

I've had my USGI Polartec watchcap for 10+ years now, I love it - quite possibly my favorite piece of gear, at least the one I'd be most disappointed about losing/destroying as it's been all over the world with me.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
wool watch cap on 02/11/2014 10:59:01 MST Print View

At this time of the year, winter clothing is deeply discounted.

I picked up my favorite merino wool beanie at this time last year at Sports Authority. It was a 100% merino wool beanie (nice and light for active skiing), Canadian made IIRC and for the princely sum of $10. Seriously. It was their house brand of Alpine Designs.

Ski shops, other big box stores, REI, etc. will all have hats, gloves, mittens and so on at a good discount.

If you are looking for the watch cap look, any surplus store locally should have the good-ole wool watch cap. You'll be able to see if it meets the quality standard you are looking for.

I will say I use Rothco wool liners (also picked up at a local place) and they have been my "go to" hand base layer for almost a decade now. Wouldn't be surprised if the basic wool watch cap is similar. Kinda hard to screw up. :)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: wool watch cap on 02/11/2014 11:29:57 MST Print View

Ll bean

A have an Ibex beanie that works for me. Thinner, but a tighter weave. Packs well in a pocket for easy swaps.

A handmade one from Kat would be a classic and unique.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

No Dice for Mountain Goat... For now on 02/11/2014 12:05:28 MST Print View

Kat has a carpal tunnel injury and can't make hats as of 5 days ago :(

Richard Fischel
the tale of the little red hat on 02/11/2014 13:23:19 MST Print View

this may be a wild goose chase but i have a handmade wool diver's comforter (hat) in red from knotty ash and it rocks. here's his email address and here's the (not my)story behind the hat as copied from here

Knotty Ash and The Little Red Hat

While checking out eBay recently, I ran across a red divers hat (comforter) up for bid. Along with the hat was this intriguing story of how it originated and the replica now being sold by Tony "Knotty" Ash of Ash Diving Services, Isle of Wight, England.

The cherished red woolen hat was originally owned by William Walker, the famous diver who saved one of England's 11th century Coronation Cathedrals from collapsing. Walker also achieved the position of Chief Diver for Siebe Gorman, responsible for over 200 divers, working around the world.

William Walker was born in 1864 and started his diving career in 1887 at the Royal Naval dockyard, Portsmouth, England. Starting as a pontoon nipper, then divers tender and finally qualifying as a Standard diver. Beginning in May 1906, William Walker was to spend over five years, single handedly underpinning one end of Winchester Cathedral. In that time he laid more than 25,000 bags of concrete and 115,000 concrete blocks. This was all achieved blind as the work was carried out in black water. To acknowledge his service to the Church and his profession, there is a bust erected at Winchester Cathedral celebrating his achievements.

William Walker's red woolen hat was obtained by Knotty Ash when auctioned at a Royal Navy divers reunion in 1976. Supported by an excellent provenance confirming original ownership, it is known to be the hat worn by 'Billy' while on the Cathedral job. The hat can also be identified by several well-known photographs, in particular the front cover and page 20 of the book "William Walker the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral'' by Frederick Bussby (available from the HDS-USA).

Due to age and poor condition of the original hat, Knotty is no longer able to wear the hat as a divers comforter, so he decided to have a replica knitted to replace it. After several requests from other divers to obtain one of the hats, Knotty coerced a local retired lady into knitting a limited number. She has produced an exact, hand knitted, authentic reproduction of William Walkers red woolen hat, paying close attention to the yarn, weight, needle size, stitch, dimension, construction and of course color, Guards Tunic Red.

This style of hat was not only used by the famous Cathedral diver as there are many early photographs of divers wearing this 'sandcastle' style hat. If you are interested in obtaining a true piece of diving history for your next hard hat dive, check out eBay (diving helmet) to purchase one of Knotty's replicas of William Walker's little red hat or email Knotty at to order one direct.

that's the (not mine) story.

who knows, maybe you'lll be confused for jacque cousteau.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Wool Watch Cap Recommendations on 02/11/2014 13:53:34 MST Print View

For years I wore what I thought was military wool watch cap.
None of my other hats could match it for wet cold weather.

I was even known to roll my kayak in the winter with mine on.

It was quite warm when wet and very durable.

Eventually I decided to get a new one and ordered it online.

The new ended up not being as warm as my original when wet and it absorbed more water.

I did a little research and realized that the one I liked so much was made of acrylic and I bought it for $1 from a street vendor.

Carhart make one similar to my favorite, two thicknesses. The thicker one sells for $8.
I prefer the thinner one myself. The thick one is too thick, except in maybe sub zero weather.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 02/11/2014 15:12:17 MST.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
hat on 02/11/2014 14:07:11 MST Print View

I just bought this one:

it's a bit pricey when compared to army surplus but I'm still pretty happy with it.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Wool Watch Cap Recommendations on 02/11/2014 14:28:51 MST Print View

I think the one I have is Rothco, not sure though. It has held up fine under light use. (Sometimes I use the fleece one.)

Not sure how their online sales are, but I purchased mine in person here:

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Polartec over Wool for field (maybe not city) on 02/11/2014 14:38:00 MST Print View

Polartec as a fabric is hard to beat. For urban wear, maybe the classic GI issue M*A*S*H style hat is tough to beat, but the fleece is lighter, also insulates when wet, and more comfortable on the head all day (100% US Army wool gets my brow a bit itchy after a while, especially when active. Plus, for $6-8 new surplus, you just can't beat it.