Just because you’re hitting the international scene doesn’t mean you have to leave behind your flair for fashion. The Crush Felt Hat achieves what other stylish lids haven’t been able to offer—the ability to travel with a real hat that retains its shape, whether it’s on your head or smashed into your carry-on or the overhead bin. Made of 100-percent felted wool, the Crush will also keep you surprisingly warm. The other all-natural merino wool attributes apply, including wicking without any odor retention, and warm-when-wet comfort. We love the slight, almost pill hat-style brim as well as the circles of gray stitching around the hat base. You’ll love its all-natural, classic fashionable function.
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When we say we love the cycling aesthetic, it doesn’t mean we yearn to constantly wear body-hugging polyester adorned with Tour racing graphics. We know that there’s a time and a place for everything. But we also must admit that the British cycling apparel company Rapha makes us wish that tight-fitting jerseys were a bit more socially accepted. Thankfully, appropriateness is less of a question when it comes to their new, limited-edition La Doyenne Classique Cap. This black, all-cotton, three-panel cycling cap boasts classical peloton styling, with a dark green strip racing down the center, a La Doyenne Classique crest on each side panel, and “Rapha” written in subtle cursive under the narrow brim. It fits snugly under your helmet, adding another layer of protection from the sun and rain. And it looks cool—which is sometimes all that we ask of our gear. It comes in one size only–and fits like a cycling cap should; don’t expect a flat-billed baseball hat.
www.tilley.com, five ounces
The classic fedora never goes out of style, but the venerable Canadian manufacturer Tille makes stylish lightweight hats that reinforce the timeless style and provides the outdoor lovers the sun protection we need once our sartorial impulses have been sated. Certified for UPF 50+ protection (the maximum rating), the Tilly Town is made from the fronds of the raffia palm—a species of palms native to the tropical regions of Africa like Madagascar. The soft, supple material is extremely flexible, but nicely bounces back into shape, as one review can attest after a large seatmate accidently sat on the hat mid flight. The hat is designed for sun—it has a DWR finish (Durable Water Resistance), so it will thwart sudden squalls; you just might need to reshape the crown if it gets too soaked. Inside is a tuck-away wind cord, a cool mesh lining with a hidden, velcro-closure pocket that can hold a key and cash (it’s not quite deep enough to secure credit cards, driver’s licenses, and most business cards, but they’ll fit without the velcro being engaged). The inner hatband is lined with a luxuriously soft microfiber with a removable sweat band (you get two extra to help with washing). The Town Hat is ideal for travel, touring, day hikes, and picnics, and comes with a two-year insurance policy in which Tilley will replace the hat for 50 percent of the current catalog price, no questions asked.
Pistil answers the season-long quandary: what makes the perfect winter hat? This boutique knit-centric company hails from Hood River, OR—so they know a thing or two about bad weather. That first-hand experience shows in the Fergus. The 100% Lana Cotta boiled wool hat fits snug and comfortably on your head (nothing baggy about this beanie), and boasts a fleece inner lining to keep your forehead and ears armored against the elements. Better still, the earthy stripe graphic strikes the perfect balance between boring and gaudy. One tester hasn’t taken the thing off in months (even when an unseasonable East Coast winter often made the hat look more like a fashionable affectation than a pragmatic accessory).
Some days seem too cold (or hot) to venture outdoors. Neck warmers work to a point, but if you pull them up over your mouth and nose, they inevitably inhibit breathing and steam out whatever eye protection you’re wearing. One option is the ColdAvenger Pro Soft Shell Face Mask. Made of lightweight Polartec Wind Pro the fleecy material regulates temperature and wicks sweat. A built-in ventilator gives you room to breathe, and humidifies cold, dry air. While skiing in 45-mile winds, zero degrees, and blizzard conditions, one tester reported that he was the last person left on the slopes; everyone else had headed for the lodge. While our testers loved the ability to keep their faces warm and comfortable, without compromising their ability to inhale and exhale, female testers wished for a color other than “Darth Vader” black or the adventurous-only-by-comparison gray.