Selecting Winter Hats & Gloves
No cold weather garment system is complete without gear to protect the body's extremities - head, hands and feet - from exposure to wet and cold. Because of their distance from the body's core, the extremities bear the brunt of frigid temperatures. The best way to remedy these concerns is to buy a good quality winter hat and pair of gloves before you hit the slopes. Here are some tips on selecting items that can protect you from the elements and ensure optimal comfort throughout the day.
Selecting a Winter Hat
One of the best ways to keep warm on a cold, winter day is to cover your head. Icy temperatures, precipitation and sharp winds can all be part of your day on the mountain, so your warmth and comfort will be significantly improved by wearing a good winter hat.
Things to consider when purchasing a winter hat:
- Look for one made from a synthetic material that is moisture-wicking and won't absorb moisture from rain and snow
- Good choices include knits or fleeces constructed from acrylic, polyester, nylon or various blends of these fibers that enable the fabric to stretch
- Linings can be constructed from a range of synthetic fabrics that provide excellent warmth and effective moisture wicking capabilities with low bulk.
- Check how lining is inserted, winter hats with a full lining will be warmer than hats that offer only a partial lining around the ears
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Winter Hat Styles
Winter hats come in several different styles that are suited to a range of activities and wearer preferences.
- Often include ear flaps that can be left down to provide extra coverage over the ears or snapped up when not needed
- Thin, stretchy, high-efficiency hats that fit snugly over the head
- Good choice to layer under a novelty hat for added warmth or to wear under a protective ski helmet
Also known as skull caps
- One-piece hat and ski mask combination that offers great versatility
- Shields your face from the cold conditions and elements on the slopes
Winter Hats Size & Fit
Whichever style of winter hat you select be sure to consider proper fit, which is important to both efficiency and comfort.
- Most hats are considered "one-size-fits-all", so be sure to try them on to make sure they fit right
- Well-fitted winter hats should fully cover the ears and be snug around the head
- Winter hats should seal off heat leaks and remain securely in place during sport and activities
- Loose enough to allow for proper circulation
- If you plan to wear a ski helmet - and we suggest that you do - be sure to select a close-fitting skull cap or beanie. If possible, try it on with your helmet to guarantee fit
Types of Winter Gloves
Since winter gloves are fundamental to so many different activities, there are a wide range of options available, some of which are specialized for active use in moderate climates, and others for extreme cold or wet environments. Gloves fall into four primary categories: fleece, liner, soft shell and insulated. Before you purchase a pair, it's best to understand the features and advantages of each.
- Usually made of synthetic fabrics that are tightly knit for superior warmth.
- Degree of warmth is proportional to the glove's weight
- Because glove bulk influences hand coordination, it's important to select the right balance of warmth and thickness for your specific needs.
Fleece gloves offer no water protection and minimal wind protection, so they are not a prime choice for skiing
- Best used for mild activities in moderate or cold environments
- Made of snug-fitting stretch-knit material
- Offer comfortable, lightweight warmth for moderate and high-energy activities
- Generally water and wind-resistant
- Versatile because they can stand alone in mild weather or serve as a liner under insulated gloves in colder conditions
- Dry quickly and provide moisture-wicking properties
Soft Shell Gloves
- Lightweight, wind and water resistant gloves
- Provide efficient protection against the effects of moisture and wind
- Deliver exceptional warmth and are ideal for using in low to moderate energy activities in cold temperatures
- Filled with specialized material - usually made of synthetic fibers - that is designed to trap body heat
- Outer portion can range from being waterproof to waterproof & breathable with all seams sealed
- Well suited for use in extreme cold and wet conditions.
- Select styles with the added advantage of breathability keep your skin dry throughout the day by wicking moisture to the outside
Share the same features as insulated gloves, but instead of offering separate sections for each finger, they feature only two sections - one for the thumb and one for the rest of the fingers combined
- Allow for completely unrestricted blood circulation among the fingers
- Trap and hold substantially more body heat than gloves, making them a great option in cold temperatures
- Offer far less mobility than gloves
- Compatible with touchscreen electronic and mobile devices
- No need to remove gloves when you use your mp3 player, phone or laptop mousepad
- Provide functionality during outdoor activity
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Winter Gloves Size & Fit
When selecting the right winter gloves for your needs, it's vital to make sure you get the proper fit.
- Gloves typically come in the small, medium, large size range and because the dimensions on these sizes may vary based on the manufacturer, it's important that you try them on and test the range of motion you expect your activity to require.
- Gloves should be large enough to allow for comfortable flexing of the thumb and all of the fingers, but snug enough to enable proper coordination and keep out cold air.
- Remember that gloves that are too tight could restrict blood circulation, actually making you colder.
- Most gloves have some sort of seal built in at the wrist, which could range from a simple elasticized band or sweater cuff, to an external strap that can be tightly cinched once the gloves are on to create an efficient barrier to snow, ice and cold.