Best Winter Hats: Choose a Great Cap for Every Winter Situation
The best winter hats for hunting, skiing, and everything in between.
The search for the best winter hat is over. From ski hats to hunting camo, we’ve lined up the warmest, most functional, and stylish hats out there. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all item. Different outdoor activities involve a variety of activity levels, so you need to match the hat to the job. Will you be sitting around in a hunting blind or sports arena? Hitting the slopes? A wool hat or well-insulated beanie might be the tool for the job, or you might want to choose a balaclava or a classic, such as a Stormy Kromer hat. Finding the best winter hats takes a bit of insider knowledge on how hats are made and the materials you can choose from. Here’s what to think about.
- Best Basic Beanie Hat for Quick Warmth: Carhartt Fleece Hat
- Best Winter Hunting Hat (Camo): Ergodyne N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava Ski Mask, Wind-Resistant Face Mask
- Best Winter Hunting Hat (Orange): RedHead Heavyweight Blaze Hunting Cap
- Best Winter Hat with Ear Warmers: Stormy Kromer Original Kromer Cap
- Best Cheap Winter Hat: Ascend Striped Beanie with Cuff
Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Winter Hats
A comfortable warm winter hat is your first line of defense against the cold. You can lose a lot of body heat through an uncovered head, and once you warm up your noggin, it’s much easier to keep the rest of your body warm. If you plan on being active outside, in a sport such as hunting or skiing or even on a brisk walk around the neighborhood, you’ll want to balance pure warmth with breathability. You don’t want your head to sweat, which could make you colder in the first place.
So look for a hat that either comes with ear warming flaps that you can pull down or keep up, or an unconstructed hat like a fleece or acrylic beanie that you can pull down over your ears for maximum thermal properties, and scoot up above the ears to let some fresh air flow when you’re generating body heat. And if you plan on hanging out outside in bitter weather, think about a hat that comes with an integrated face covering, such as the balaclava style.
Whatever type of winter hat you choose, make sure it will work with sunglasses or ski goggles if you plan on wearing them. And consider buying more than one, and keeping one winter hat stashed in your vehicle so you’ll never be without a toasty topknot.
Our Picks for Some of the Best Winter Hats
Best Basic Beanie Hat for Quick Warmth: Carhartt Fleece Hat
Lightweight and Versatile
Fleece is one of the best materials to use for a winter hat, especially if it will double as a hunting hat. Fleece has great thermal properties, and will breathe when you’re on the trail or hauling hunting equipment through the woods. And it will dry quickly and stay warm even if it gets a bit wet. This model has a multi-panel design, with a dedicated ear warmer band for maximum comfort.
Best Winter Hunting Hat (Camo): Ergodyne N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava Ski Mask, Wind-Resistant Face Mask
With the ability to be worn as a beanie, neck gaiter, and full-coverage face mask and head cover, this do-it-all hat will be a constant winter companion. Ergodyne
A great winter camo hat needs to be warm enough for long hours in the woods, breathable enough to wear while walking and hiking, and provide full-face thermal protection and camouflage. A combination of a balaclava and ski mask like this one is perfect for outdoor activities with changing conditions.
Best Winter Hunting Hat (Orange): RedHead Heavyweight Blaze Hunting Cap
A baseball-style hunting cap is the most versatile approach to a winter hat for hunting. RedHead
A full-coverage, non-mesh, orange hat for hunting helps hold in the heat and keeps you visible while walking through the woods or sticking it out until the last hours on stand. And what’s great about this style of hat is that it works all day long. It’s lightweight and breathable enough for long hikes to the deep woods. And when you need extra insulation, simply adjust the headband so a beanie hat fits under, or pull a beanie cap over the top for double-layered warmth.
Best Winter Hat with Ear Warmers: Stormy Kromer Original Kromer Cap
A hunting and fishing staple for more than 100 years, the pull-down flap makes for a great ear warmer. Stormy Kromer
Recognized the world over, the Stormy Kromer hat is one of the best winter hats ever designed, with ear warmers and all. The wool and nylon hat holds the heat in, while a cotton liner keeps it comfortable to wear all day long. It’s a great hat for everything–skiing, hiking, hunting, and casual wear.
Best Cheap Winter Hat: What You Get for Under $20
You can spend more money on a hat made with classic materials such as wool, but for the bucks it’s hard to beat a toasty acrylic hat constructed of thick, textured layers to hold in the heat. This winter hat works great with a ski mask or sunglasses, and its snazzy design helps it pull double duty when you head out for a night on the town. Synthetic materials such as acrylic last a long time, and are easily washable. So your least expensive winter hat might just turn out to be your favorite.
Best Cheap Winter Hat: Ascend Striped Beanie with Cuff
Pull this 100-percent acrylic cap over your ears and you’ll laugh at the cold. A beanie is great for those days when you’re out walking in the cold, because you can scoot it up above your ears for ventilation. But once you’re hunkered down on the ski lift or sports bleacher, pull down the added ear cuff over your years, and ignore the plunging thermometer.
What’s the best winter hat for active outdoor use, such as skiing or hiking?
If you’re going to be moving around a lot, such as in an active sport like skiing or walking for long periods of time, you’ll want a hat that’s breathable and won’t hold moisture. A wool hat can be a good choice, as long as it’s not too heavy. But a better choice is a fleece hat like this one, which will help transfer moisture from sweat away from your skin.
What’s the best winter hat for larger heads?
If you wear a larger hat size, definitely look at hats that come in sizes, such as the Stormy Kromer. That way you can match the hat to your specific size. Or choose a relatively unconstructed hat like a beanie, made of stretchy fleece.
What winter hats can be washed in a washing machine?
If you plan to toss your hat into the wash, choose one made of acrylic or fleece. They’ll launder easily, and handle both the washing machine and the dryer. Avoid washing wool hats as they can easily shrink and lose their shape.
Best Winter Hat Brands to Know
Stormy Kromer Mercantile is a legacy brand known for its long-lasting and timeless gear and clothing. The classic Stormy Kromer wool cap—which comes with a lifetime guarantee—has been popular with outdoorsmen for decades.
RedHead Apparel is an in-house brand owned by Bass Pro Shops and sold at Bass Pro, Cabela’s, Amazon, and some other retailers such as Walmart. RedHead focuses on outdoor clothes from hats to jeans to fleece jackets and more.
Carhartt, Inc., was founded in 1889 as a company that made overalls for work. In the last century-plus, Carhartt has expanded their offerings again and again and now offer durable and affordable jackets, vests, shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, hats, hunting clothes and more that are suitable for outdoor pursuits and work alike.
A Final Word on the Best Winter Hats
A great winter hat needs to match your activity level, especially if you’ll be active outdoors in sports such as hunting, hiking, and skiing. And thanks to such a wide variety of hat styles, from trapper hats to deerstalker hats to beanies, you’ll have no trouble finding a great winter hat.