The ray mears beanie

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punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
714
529
yorks
I'm on the edge of ordering this hat. I've tried one on in the past, very comfy and warm, I just wondered what the performance is like in wet weather? It's not expensive in the grand scheme of things but for a hat it's quite a high budget in my mind. I'm probably just stalling from spending the pennies to be honest! Or perhaps there are some better alternatives out there? I did see the buffy hat from the orford's. No colours in stock that I'm mega keen on though
 

Dark Horse Dave

Full Member
Apr 5, 2007
1,707
45
Surrey / South West London
I'm on the edge of ordering this hat. I've tried one on in the past, very comfy and warm, I just wondered what the performance is like in wet weather? It's not expensive in the grand scheme of things but for a hat it's quite a high budget in my mind. I'm probably just stalling from spending the pennies to be honest! Or perhaps there are some better alternatives out there? I did see the buffy hat from the orford's. No colours in stock that I'm mega keen on though
Had one, liked it, then shrank it in the wash. My fault of course. I've got a couple of the merino wooly hats from Varusteleka now, which I actually prefer - and I've washed them without shrinking
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,909
827
Lancashire
I got a plain, black woollie hat in Sweden on a ski trip when I thought I'd lost or left my fjellraven hat behind. Cheapest 100% wool one I could find, actually very hard because almost all the hats were wool/viscose mix or just viscose surprisingly. It's actually thinner but warmer than the pure wool fjellraven one. It's not the first time I have been bought the cheapest, wool beanie I could find and ended up with a great hat.

Sometimes spending more money doesn't buy you better. My warmest beanie is the first wool hat I bought for myself as a student for a hiking society trip. Cost £4 and was a plain ridge knit in a double layer. It's shrunk many a time but always returns to normal size to fit me. It's a tight enough knit to cut even strong winds down in the two layers and I never had a cold had wearing it, even with snow and ice sticking to the outside of the hat in the worst of British winters.

My advice is get a simple wool beanie, if possible in a thick, double layer. It'll be warm enough in winter without splashing too much cash.
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,618
712
Canada
I have loads of the Mears hats. The kids love them, me too. They get lost, we buy more, we find the old ones.

They are great in the cold and wet. Personally, I rate them over the Varustelekas

Also, if you are thinking you might ever need an excellent wicking and warm mid-layer, go to NZ Nature and buy a possum and merino crew sweater. You will basically live in it. Prices have gone up since I bought one in 2006, but it is my go to midlayer for everything October-March and still looks entirely presentable in public.

I may have just convinced myself to buy another
 

punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
714
529
yorks
Thanks for all the replies folks. I have just been in to cotswold, thinking they might have a good range of hats, plus I get 15% discount there with my British canoeing membership. Wow turns out the ray mears beanie is very good value for money. The fjallraven stuff was crazy, £55 for a full wool job, £30 for synthetic. So I've just placed an order for the mears one.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,985
1,543
W.Sussex
Good move. I’ve got a couple of them and a Varu. I tend to wear the Varu more because the Mears hat can get a bit itchy after while, but also because it is actually too warm at times.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,494
646
Vantaa, Finland
I’ve got a couple of them and a Varu.
Very OT: Varusteleka consists of "varuste"=equipment, gear and "leka"= sledgehammer. Some years ago it was situated right next to an outdoors company called Varuste.net. So no sense of calling either one varuste, I guess most ended up calling them "Leka" and "Varustenet". Leka's logo is a kind of Thor's hammer.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,985
1,543
W.Sussex
Very OT: Varusteleka consists of "varuste"=equipment, gear and "leka"= sledgehammer. Some years ago it was situated right next to an outdoors company called Varuste.net. So no sense of calling either one varuste, I guess most ended up calling them "Leka" and "Varustenet". Leka's logo is a kind of Thor's hammer.

And is pronounced in English as “where is the liqour”. :)
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,256
1,253
Bedfordshire
I have a Mears possum/merino beanie. I find it too warm in the UK most of the time. I can't remember the last winter I used it here. Great when work sent me to Minnesota in January and when I was in Canada in winter. Its not bad in the wet, but I find that if it is warm enough to be drizzly, it is too warm for that hat! I have a couple of cheap acrylic things that get more use in the UK, but my best hats are an old single layer fleece Extremities PowerStretch beenie and an Aklima Lightwool hunting beanie. Very very thin, light, enough to keep warm while moving and not build too much sweat.
 

punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
714
529
yorks
Cheers for the input guys! Chris that is actually very good news! I want something for those camps/kayak trips where it's been miserable and wet and perhaps you are cooling down and need that boost in insulation, frankly if it's too warm to use then I'm winning if you get me
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,985
1,543
W.Sussex
Not quite. My suggestion would be: Varus The Lake´ah.

I think they like the alternative. However, they are a little crazy. :)

 

Tiley

Full Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,100
194
57
Gloucestershire
An alternative to the Mears and Varusteleka offerings are the Buffy hats which you can get from Ben Orford's website. I've got a couple - they are wonderful and not too hot for all uses in the U.K. - and this from a very reluctant hat wearer!
 

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