Hats and headwear

A hat is an essential piece of clothing when its really cold, and also offer some slight protection to bumped heads on low branches when foraging.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on a hat, but having one in your kit-bag is a great idea.  If it’s very cold at night, it can keep your head warm while you sleep.

 

Features to look for:

  • Snug fitting but not tight
  • Breathable
  • Ideally wool or polyester

Features to avoid:

  • Anything tight fitting – it can affect the circulation and make your head colder.
  • Anything cotton

Woolen beanie

For
  • Cheap
  • Easy to care for
  • Warm and versatile
  • Can be pulled down over ears and eyes at night when sleeping
Against
  • Not waterproof
  • Not very windproof
Stockists and Price

Can be bought in many camping shops for £10 and under, Decathlon do beanies under £6. Stuff one in a coat pocket for emergencies.  Steer clear of branded ones which offer no real advantages over more generic ones.

Deerstalker / aviator

For
  • Water resistant
  • Very warm
  • Windproof
  • Cover ears and back of head well
Against
  • Can get waterlogged if it is very wet
Stockists and Price

A great piece of kit if you plan to spend a lot of time being still in the wild, such as watching nature in the winter months.  Prices vary greatly, but entry level polyester ones can be bought online for under £10.  Full Sheepskin ones – which are ridiculously hot and only for the most extreme of british winter – can retail for over £100.

Leather bush-hat

For
  • Good waterproofing
  • Light
  • Easy to pack away and take up little space
Against
  • Not particularly warm unless lined
  • Ray Mears is condescending towards people that wear them for some reason
Stockists and Price

Quite a traditional bit of bushcraft wear, more suited to the summer and keeping the sun out of your eyes than winter cold, but still better than nothing in cold weather.  If they do get wet, make sure you don’t scrunch them up otherwise they will ‘set’ that way and lose their shape.  Can be bought for around £30.

Terry’s favourite

“I always wore a leather hat as it kept the rain out of my eyes as well as the sun and kept my head warm enough in the cold.”

Adrian’s favourite

“My long hair acts as a great insulator, so I don’t worry about hats in general, but I will generally opt for a Beanie when it gets very cold.  The downside is that if my hair gets wet, it takes ages to dry, so i go straight for a hooded jacket when it starts to rain, with a beanie as an optional extra.”