Hats, Gloves and Neck Gaiters for Hiking

For hiking in the winter, and on overnights the rest of the year, keeping your head and hands warm is essential. These are my favorite hats, gloves and neck gaiters.

hats and gloves for cold weather hiking

Hats

When I’m hiking in the winter, I typically use the hoods on jackets to keep my head warm instead of wearing a beanies or fleece hat, which tends to be too warm for use in high activity. But in frigid temps or on high wind days, they can make a big difference in comfort. On overnight trips, even in the summer, I take a wool beanie to wear at camp or for keeping my head warm at night when I’m sleeping. Bonus: if the beanie is long enough, I like to pull it over my eyes to keep early morning light out and to cover my nose to stay warm.

  • Smartwool beanie (2.1 oz)
  • Columbia Sportswear fleece-lined beanie (no longer available, but they regularly have new versions)

Gloves

I always need gloves on cold weather hikes and carry two pair: one lightweight pair of liner gloves, and a heavier fleece-lined glove. I only buy gloves with sensors so I can use my phone for navigation. Even on summer overnight trips, a lightweight pair of gloves can make morning camp chores a bit easier if your hands tend to go numb like mine do.

  • lightweight gloves: Black Diamond Lightweight Screentap Gloves
    These gloves are made from a super thin layer of stretchy Polartec fleece are good for keeping the chill off your hands in wind.
  • midweight gloves: Black Diamond Midweight Screentap Fleece Gloves
    Lined with a heavier Polartec fleece than the gloves above, these midweight gloves are warm yet not bulky.
  • heavyweight gloves: REI Co-op Tahoma Gloves (no longer available)
    When my hands get numb while hiking, these fleece-lined gloves are my go-to. They are super warm, yet I can still use my camera and phone while wearing them.
  • rain mitts: Borah Gear eVent Rain Mitts (1 oz)
    I wear these waterproof rain mitts over lightweight gloves when hiking in the rain.

Neck Gaiter

For an extra layer of warmth and to keep drafts off my neck, I prefer wearing a neck gaiter instead of a scarf while hiking. Look for merino wool or fleece for use in the winter.

  • Buff Polar Neck Gaiter
    This two-layer neck gaiter is lined with fleece for extra warmth. I cut mine in half to make it less bulky when wearing layers.

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