Our greatest heat loss occurs via our head. That’s good news because it means we can prevent our greatest heat loss by covering our head. Protecting the head from the sun, rain, and bugs is also important. Here are some items that are useful to have.
A hat should have a bill or a rim. Billed hats are nice because they are more compatible with hooded rain shells. Wearing a billed hat under the hood of a rain shell helps keep rain from irritating your face. A rimmed hat can be nice because it keeps the sun off the back of your neck. Rimmed hats also work better with bug netting because they keep the netting off of the back of the neck. It also keeps the rain off the back of your neck when using a rain shell with no hood.
Lightest option: A runners cap is lightest option available. There are also several rimmed hats that weigh just over 1 oz.
Cheapest option: Check any thrift store or Ross for a runner’s cap or rimmed hat. You’ll surely find one for just a few dollars.
Sun Glasses are a must. You’ll be up at high altitudes with the sun glaring in your eyes for several hours a day. Eye protection is invaluable. Keeping your sun glasses readily accessible around your neck with a sports band is a wise choice. Polarized lenses reduce much glare and ease the strain on the eyes substantially.
Lightest option: N/A, most sunglasses weigh about the same.
Cheapest option: Ross, Wal-Mart, Target, etc., all have very inexpensive, polarized sun glasses.
A (non-cotton) beanie is a good warmth layer for your head. Even better is a fleece balaclava or ski mask. Balaclavas and ski masks can be worn full-face when you are very cold, and can be folded into beanies when you are just little cold. Wearing your beanie, balaclava, or ski mask when you are sleeping also keeps you much warmer on cold nights.
Lightest option: Thin, 1 oz balaclavas and beanies are available through many light-weight gear providers. Warmer headwhere (ie fleece) can be found for less than 3 oz.
Cheapest option: Thrift stores and Ross are probably your cheapest options. Wal-mart, Target, etc., are the second cheapest. Avoid sporting goods stores at all costs.
Bug protection is one thing you do NOT want to forget to bring. Few clothing items could bring more regret if left at home. Many options are available. There are some bug-hats that have a wide rim and thick bug netting sewed into the hat. You can also just get the netting itself and drape it over your own hat – and that’s what we recommend. You’ll save weight and pack space by doing so.
Lightest option: Bug netting draped over your hat – available at any Wal-Mart, Target, etc., in the sporting goods section.
Cheapest option: Same as above. The bug netting costs less than $6 at Wal-Mart.
Has the information above changed? Know something other hikers should know? Leave a comment below.