Welcome back to our two-part series on hats around the world!…
The Mountaineers are among the world’s foremost authorities on mountain climbing. So much so that they literally wrote the book on mountaineering!
If you’re new to mountaineering, you might have heard a little about them already, but we’re here to give you the TL;DR on what they are and what they stand for.
- Founded in 1906
- Teach courses in how to navigate the outdoor world safely
- Classes not only in hiking and climbing, but also first aid, photography, skiing, and navigation
- Conservation group
- Core values: Adventure, Advocacy, Community, Education, Volunteerism
One of the things they are most known for is the “Ten Essentials,” which is a list of what they view as the most important things to bring with you as you head out into the great outdoors. According to them, the Ten Essentials are supposed to help you answer these two questions:
- Can you respond positively to an accident or emergency?
- Can you safely spend a night (or more) outside?
In their most updated list, they consider the following items as essential:
- Sun Protection
- First Aid
- Extra Food
- Extra Water
- Extra Clothes
That’s not to say that you should only take ten things with you on your next mountaineering adventure. Within each of these essentials, there are a few different items. Navigation, for instance, recommends that you have a good, old-fashioned topographical map, altimeter, compass, altimeter, GPS, and satellite communicator. You can check out the full list on their website, and when you’re cutting down on weight, the more multi-use tools, the better. A hat (or multiple hats) can serve several functions including sun protection and extra clothes, so we are going to hit on which hats make the best mountaineering gear.
Best Hats for Mountaineering
Ultimately, the headgear you choose is a personal preference, but many mountaineers take a few different kinds of hats on their treks. It’s important to note that you can find just about anything online these days (you want a balaclava with a brim? No problem!), so if you want something really specific for your needs, you can probably locate it with a little research. That said, these are the most popular styles for mountaineering:
- Beanies are a great way to protect your ears from the cold, ice, sleet, wind, and hail. You should look for one with breathable material that wicks moisture away from your face so that you don’t get overly sweaty or frostbite.
- Balaclavas look a lot of like a ninja mask or a ski mask. They are designed to limit the amount of skin exposed to the weather. They generally only have the eyes showing, though some styles also have a hole for the mouth. Like the beanie, it is also designed to protect your face and ears from the weather and prevent frostbite by wicking away moisture from your skin.
- Neck Gators or Buffs are one of the most versatile pieces of headgear you can bring with you (though there is debate over whether a cloth handkerchief is as effective while being even more useful). It looks a little like the sleeve of a t-shirt and comes in different materials like wool and nylon. While buffs come in black, grey, and other neutral tones, they also come in crazy colors and patterns. It is designed to protect the face and neck, but you can wear it about a million ways. Some of those ways include as a:
- Half mask
- Full mask
- Wrist cuff
- Hair tie
- Hat Liner
- Ball Caps are a no-brainer as far as protection from the sun, and they are getting more durable and rugged as time goes on. Check out our recent article about hats for long-distance running for a list of great, ultra-lightweight ball caps that wick moisture and protect your skin from the sun. Look for ball caps with a crushable brim if you’re planning on bringing more than one kind of hat on the trail.
- Down Beanies are the perfect hat if you know you’re going to very cold places. The high-fill power goose down is ideal for lounging around camp and keeping your head warm while sleeping.
- Other hats include wide brim or medium brim hats (ex: bucket hats) and even cowboy hats if you’re not planning on going too far and the weather stays relatively warm.
Your hat is an extension of yourself and your personality, but it’s also an essential as you hit the trails this summer. Not only can hats keep you both warm and cool, but they can serve a plethora of other purposes to help you stay safe on your hike. And if you want something tailor-made for your hiking group, consider affordably-priced, easy-to-order customizable caps to fit your style and practical needs.