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The head is a particularly sensitive part of the body, especially when it comes to heat or cold. Nevertheless, he is often neglected when assembling the equipment.
Hiking & trekking.
In the cold
When it’s cold, you lose a lot of heat through your head. The head is well supplied with blood and poorly insulated. If damp hair is added, the heat loss becomes particularly dramatic and can hardly be compensated for by clothing that is otherwise warm.
The following dialogue can be heard again and again: The hiker: “I am cold!” – The mountain guide: “Then put on your hat!” – The hiker: “But I don’t freeze on the head!”. – You rarely freeze on the head, but the heat lost through the head is missing from the rest of the body (the same applies to the legs and arms in a weakened form, by the way). You can also significantly reduce nighttime freezing in a sleeping bag with a hat and scarf.
There are all kinds of hats against the cold. The warmest are hats or hoods filled with down or synthetic fibers. In extreme cold and icy wind, hats that cover the face and have holes or slits for the nose, mouth and eyes (balaclava) are also useful in combination with the hood of the down jacket. For easier tours, a simple beanie is usually sufficient as a versatile cap replacement.
The head is also at risk when exposed to heat or high levels of radiation. Here one notices the damage, especially when there is a lot of radiation in an otherwise cool or windy environment, only when it is too late. Heat stroke or sunstroke can be life-threatening.
A hat with a wide brim, a cap with a large (!) Peak, or a headscarf can help against the sun. Wide-brimmed felt hats are very useful in rain and sun. Very good cotton hats come from Australia and New Zealand, which are impregnated and stabilized with a wax. (We are familiar with the principle of the Barbour jackets, which are used particularly in equestrian sports.) These hats are easy to crumple and pack in a backpack. They have to be rewaxed from time to time (warm the wax until it is liquid, apply with a brush, and heat with a hair dryer so that the wax is absorbed by the cotton).
By the way: If you think a cap with a small umbrella is enough to keep the sun in high mountains at bay, you are mistaken! A baseball cap is not enough for tours in the high Alps or even the Himalayas.
In the rain
There are a lot of good waterproof hats out there. Many of them are made of felt and impregnated or of cotton and waxed. The advantage: such a hat is much more comfortable to wear than a hood. You also stay well ventilated, you can turn your head and the water doesn’t run through your face. When taking photos in the rain, the smartphone or (small) camera stays dry.
In the sun and cold
Fleece softshell caps with a sturdy visor keep both the heat on the head and the sun’s rays away. The better ones have fold-out ear protection. One example is the Texapore Winter by Jack Wolfskin.
A hat always looks a bit old-fashioned. But when hiking and mountaineering as well as paddling it has some advantages. In high solar radiation, a wide brim shields much more than the much cooler looking small caps with a narrow visor.
Regardless of the direct sunlight, the shadow of the hat creates a microclimate around the head, which is much more pleasant than in the environment, and which significantly increases the performance of the hat wearer at high temperatures and sunlight.
But even in the rain, a hat like this works well. The prerequisite is that it is constructed to be reasonably water-repellent. Even cotton hats, when oiled up, can keep out a lot of rain. The classic leather cowboy hats, which are known from various holiday regions, are also only suitable in the rain if they are well oiled.
The advantage of a hat over a hood is that you have a clear field of vision and your ears are open. It is also much more airy under a hat than under a hood.
In order to be well equipped for mountain tours and hikes, you should get a hat that can also be rolled up or crumpled up. So you can stow it in your backpack and only take it out if you want to put it on.
There is actually no ultimate hat brand for outdoor enthusiasts, it always depends on the place of use. Very stable, good looking, very British. Some models are made of waxed cotton, but there are also other materials. I have e.g. for warm, dry climates, one made from hemp. The hats are well prepared against UV radiation, rain and other adversities. They are buoyant, machine washable and very durable. There are extensive guarantees. They are well thought out. So there is e.g. a special lacing that keeps the hat on the head even in stormy weather.
There are also softshell caps for winter with a retractable ear piece and a fixed shade, e.g. from our store. They are windproof and water-repellent on the outside and made of soft microfleece on the inside. This is a very good combination of sun and cold protection for high mountains and cold areas.
Beanie: wool blend on the outside, fleece on the inside. Nice hat that comes in different colors.
Balaclavas are full-head hats for cold tours. There is only one slit that you can e.g. can close with ski goggles.
There are many hats for the outdoor at Campers-Shop.com. Ultimately, it is mostly the taste that decides – the functional differences are limited.
Of course, all our hats are made of high quality material and can be the perfect companion for your next hike. Just take a look around our store, you will definitely find something there.