I do a lot of backcountry skiing, and so over the years I have collected a half-dozen pairs of skis. Not as many as some skiers, but enough to make some people wonder if I’m obsessed.
Maybe I am, but not about skis. I have far more ski hats. I must own nearly twenty: wool, synthetic, thick, thin, beanies, Peruvian models with ear flaps, balaclavas, you name it.
I didn’t set out to collect hats, but I was always searching for the perfect hat, one that fit right, kept my head warm, and looked good. I now have several that fit the bill, but I’d say my favorite is the Exos Beanie by Outdoor Research.
I’ve tested a number of hats for OR. One thing I especially like about the Exos Beanie is its thinness: when you start to heat up on the trail, you can crumple it up and stuff it in a jacket pocket. I have found that the beanie is thin enough to fit under my ski helmet.
Despite its small size, the Exos keeps the wind out and warmth in. It’s 50 percent nylon, 43 percent polyester, and 7 percent spandex, with a micro-fleece ear band. The spandex probably accounts of the snug fit.
The Exos has small slits near the ears to accommodate sunglass arms. That’s a nice touch.
Although the Exos Beanie will keep your head warm in most situations, I would put a thicker hat in your pack in case of emergencies or if you’re winter camping.