Should I Really Wear a Hat Under My Ski Helmet? (Best Way To Stay Warm)

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

Newer skiers may be confused when they see some other skiers wearing hats underneath their helmets, while others only wear just a helmet.

This comes down to personal preference, although it's advised, to be safer, that you don't wear anything under your helmet. If you do wear an extra layer, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your safety is prioritized.

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What Type of Hat Should You Wear Under Your Ski Helmet

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If you decide you want to wear a hat with your helmet there are some different options to choose from. If you like beanies, you'll need to find a thinner one, as opposed to a thick winter one that's really designed to be worn on its own.

Skiers often choose skull cap beanies, as they are very thin. They're successful at keeping you warm, but don't cause any discomfort underneath the helmet.

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Pros and Cons of Wearing a Hat Under Your Ski Helmet

Some people will argue that you should never wear a hat underneath your ski helmet. However, when you look around you on the slopes you're likely to see many people doing just that.

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After all, it's cold outside and your head can get chilly as you're racing down the slopes in sub-freezing temperatures.

One of the main downsides of wearing a hat under your ski helmet is that it can affect the safety performance of the helmet, however, this doesn't have to be the case. There are several tips and tricks that skiers can use when wearing a layer underneath their helmets that still ensure their safety.

Most modern ski helmets are lined and insulated, providing good insulation for the user. However, if you notice that your head is getting cold and it's causing your discomfort, there are solutions.

The number one priority is ensuring that your helmet can effectively serve its purpose, which is to keep your head fully protected while you're skiing. Some skiers are still reluctant about using a helmet but it's arguably the most important item that you wear on the mountain.

How to Safely Wear a Hat Under Your Ski Helmet

When choosing a hat to wear underneath your ski helmet, it's important that you choose one that doesn't alter the fit of your helmet. If you choose something too thick, your helmet won't fit snugly against your head anymore, which can leave you exposed to more risk in the event of a collision.

Thin Hats Are Better

Thinner beanies or balaclavas are ideal for skiers, as they allow the helmet to still fit properly. They also give you the added benefit of an extra warm layer on your head, which provides added comfort and warmth throughout the day.

Often, you'll see that skiers who wear hats underneath their helmets tend to push the helmet too far back. Before heading out on the slopes, put your hat on and then put your helmet on and ensure they are both situated properly.

Check Your Helmet is Positioned Correctly

A quick check in the mirror should let you know whether or not your hat and helmet are sitting correctly. If you find they're not, you may be better off skipping the hat to ensure the helmet can do its job.

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Another important factor is to ensure that your hat never interferes with your goggles. If you wear a beanie too low, it may affect the fit of your goggles, which can alter your vision while you're skiing.

Your helmet should fit low down enough on your forehead so that there's no visible gap between the helmet and your ski goggles. If there is a gap, the helmet has been incorrectly placed. The purpose of this close fit is to ensure that your forehead is fully protected, in the event that you had a collision.

Why a Snug Fitting Ski Helmet is Important

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Naturally, you want to avoid any injury while you're skiing. However, most skiers or snowboarders have a tale to tell about a fall or collision.

Helmets are an important part of your gear, as they protect the most important part of your body, your head, and your brain. If you have a bad accident, for example with a fellow skier, a rock, or a tree, you hope your helmet will protect you from any type of serious head injury.

Where Most Accidents Happen

A properly fitting ski helmet can significantly reduce the risk of a serious head injury by up to 60%. This is why helmets are recommended for everyone, whether you're a beginner or someone who's been skiing for your entire life. It's a known fact that most accidents don't happen on steeper slopes.

Most accidents happen on mild to moderate slopes, involving young teen males, who may be reluctant to wear a helmet or wear one but not properly done up. Helmets should never be loose, they should feel snug on your head, though not uncomfortably so.

Choose a Helmet That Fits Your Head Size

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Any ski or outdoor store should allow you to try on different helmets. This allows you to determine which one is most comfortable and which offers the best level of protection. The staff should be able to measure your head if needed, to ensure that you get the right size helmet.

Helmets have padding on the inside to provide insulation and comfort while wearing them. When you put the helmet on, it shouldn't be loose, this means it's too large and it should either be adjusted or changed for a different size.

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Some skiers prefer balaclavas, as they offer better coverage and are generally pretty thin. This prevents the ski helmet from feeling overly tight with the added underlayer. Keep in mind though, that helmets should be snug but not uncomfortably tight.

If you find your ears are getting cold while you're skiing, you can purchase a helmet with built-in earmuffs. This allows the helmet to fit correctly, while also ensuring your ears are snug and warm.

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Some skiers prefer to where a buff, which is another thin and lightweight option. Like a long tube of fabric, they won't cover the top of your head but they're good for keeping your neck, lower face, and ears warm. They also won't negatively impact the fit of your helmet, which is a major concern for many skiers.

What Wear Under Ski Helmet?ProsCons
Neck GaiterMultiple configurationsCan become untucked easier
BalaclavaInsulates face & headMight be too sweaty for some
Skull CapInsulates headNeed a separate face protector
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Is a Hat Right For You?

Whether you opt to choose a hat or not, there are plenty of options today for skiers who like the added "coolness" factor of wearing a hat under their helmet. However, those who choose to go hatless are just as cool and may even be more comfortable without one.

The main thing to keep in mind is that a hat should never prevent your helmet from fitting properly. If your head becomes exposed, it's recommended that you stick with just the helmet and find other ways to keep warm.