The Warmest Winter Hat? Everest Designs Has Some Contenders

Wool is warm. Fleece is warm. Fleece-lined wool? Extra toasty.

That's the core design feature of hats made by Everest Designs, which feature thick wool on the outside and cozy, soft fleece on the inside. The result is some extremely warm headwear.

I like these hats a lot—they are consistently some of the warmest I've come across—and have given them to my wife and extended family as Christmas gifts several times over the years. There are numerous styles available, but the two warmest versions are the Sherpa (pictured right) and Bitterroot (below), which both feature extra-thick wool and ear flaps for full coverage from the cold; tassels extend down from the ear flaps to tightly secure the whole package on your head.
I also appreciate the fact that buying these hats helps support a greater cause. Per the company's incredibly scant, retailer-focused website, these hats are handmade in Nepal and "created by women's knitting cooperatives working in a fair trade environment. A portion of sales goes back to women's health and development programs in Nepal."

(That being said, I could find no information anywhere online that details exactly what that means, which leads me to cast a somewhat wary eye on the claim. Nevertheless, the fact that they are hand knit in Nepal almost certainly indicates that they provide some local economic benefits in one of the world's poorest countries.)

There's one small catch: style. You've got to be up for rolling with the unique look of these hats, which feature patterned designs, the aforementioned ear flaps, and a bonus tassel on top. But on those really cold days, I'll take warmth over style any time.

Hats come in only one size, and tend to run a bit on the bigger side. Definitely follow the tag's cleaning advice—hand wash and air dry only. If you run them through the washing machine and dryer, they will shrink significantly (though they can be stretched back out with additional use).

Everest Designs is a wholesaler only. You can't buy their hats from the company website and will need to look for retailers that carry them. REI usually carries a good selection, including some fun children's styles. They run $25 to $35, depending on the style.

 For more on staying warm in the winter, check out my recent AMC Outdoors articles:
Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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