Gear Review: A Near-Perfect Winter Hat

Outdoor Research's Peruvian Hat has features to beat other beanies

With winter on the way, it's time to start thinking about hats. We're talking about performance hats, not the pom-pom-topped numbers you remember from your snowsuit and sledding days. A perfect candidate for the job is Outdoor Research's Peruvian hat, an uber-beanie featuring a solid tick-list of alpine necessities.

The Peruvian looks like a standard four-panel crown construction beanie, of which there are many good ones out there. What sets it apart are four critical features for serious backcountry use. First, it's made out of Gore-Tex WindStopper to keep your ears attached to your head in alpine conditions. Second, the earflaps are long enough to cover even the most elephantine of ears. Third, the earflaps can be secured by a chin drawcord, which for some reason is rarely shown in the product pictures (rest assured, it's there). Finally, the Peruvian is slim enough to sit seamlessly under a helmet or tight hood.

Like all WindStopper head gear, there's a certain deadening of sound with the earflaps down. If you need to hear really well, the earflaps easily fold up either inside or outside the hat, thanks to the elastic trim. The Peruvian is a fantastic hat and, at only 1.9 ounces, there's no excuse to leave it behind next time you're headed out for an epic.

Hits: Windproof, snug helmet-compatible fit, big ear flaps, chin cord
Misses: Earflaps make it a little hard to hear, but that’s just WindStopper
Price: $32

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