Three Things To Consider When Buying A Watch Cap

Whether you call it a watch cap, sock hat, skull cap or beanie, this type of winter headwear can keep your head warm with style.

man wearing beanie hat on a hike
Watch caps pack small, look cool, and keep your head warm.Luke Pamer via Unsplash

While the old saying that a person can lose half his or her heat through the head in very cold weather has been disproven, the fact that you can lose 10 percent of your body heat through your head makes a good hat/cap important when it’s cold out. A good watch cap will keep warmth in and cold out, making any cold-weather outdoor activity more comfortable.

But not all watch caps are created equal. In order to make a good selection, you should consider three important factors—type of watch cap you need/prefer, the materials used in making the cap and what color you need for the activity you have planned.

Type

Black Carhartt beanie cap
This classic acrylic watch cap is available in 40 different colors.Amazon

While many people wear watch caps for fashion purposes only, this type of headwear can be an important tool for many kinds of cold-weather outdoor activity. But the watch cap category covers many different styles, all with their best uses. The old-fashioned knit-style sock hat is still a favorite of many and great for many outdoor recreational uses since it keeps heat in and cold out. Tight-fitting beanies are also good for outdoor recreational uses, although some wearers don't like the tight fit that seems to squeeze the head. Skull caps are typically made to be worn under another kind of headgear like a safety helmet but can be great for wearing under a billed hunting cap in order to keep your head warm and also shield your eyes from the sun. In the end, though, the style you choose is mostly a matter of personal preference.

Materials

man wearing black beanie hat
This skull cap beanie is made of a 60/40 cotton and acrylic blend.Amazon

Historically made of wool, watch caps are now made in a wide variety of materials. Sock-type caps can be made of wool, but acrylic watch caps are tops in popularity these days. That's mainly because acrylic is very warm and comfortable, and sheds water well. Beanies are often fleece or some type of cotton/polyester mix. Cotton is warm but tends to stay wet when it gets that way. Mixed with polyester, though, it dries much better. Fleece is warm and dries quickly from just the heat of your head. Skull caps designed to be worn under another type of headwear are typically made of some kind of moisture-wicking material that carries sweat and perspiration away from your head to keep it warm and dry.

Color

reversible beanie
This reversible watch cap can be easily swapped from brown/green camo to hunter orange.Amazon

While color can be largely a manner of personal style and preference, too, it is a critical consideration for some activities. A black watch cap seems to be a fashion statement made throughout the country by everyone from Millennials to senior citizens. But if you are going to use your watch cap for hunting purposes, black is probably not the color for you. If deer hunting, many states require hunter orange headwear, so a blaze orange cap is going to be your best bet. Likewise, for deer or waterfowl hunting—activities where hiding is critical—a camouflage watch cap will keep your head warm while keeping deer, ducks and geese from spotting you before the shot.