Black Rock Gear Original Black Rock Hat
The Black Rock Hat is a 900-fill Goose Down Beanie…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
The Black Rock Hat is a 900-fill Goose Down Beanie that became my new best friend during the Winter of 2014. Though price is a consideration, I have found it to be worth every penny.
- American made
- 900 fill goose down
- 0.9 ounces
- Full coverage, including lower ears
- Comfortable fit, even with glasses
- “Friend” makes fun of the shape
When I told my wife I was buying a down beanie with my Christmas money, she said, “That’s nice dear.” When the bank statement arrived, she freaked a bit. I’ll admit $65 for a hat is a hit to the wallet. But this review will show why I think it was worth every penny.
First, Black Rock Gear is a cottage industry manufacturer. It’s made entirely by a guy named “Evan” living in Seattle, Washington. There is no Chinese sweatshop involved. No 10-year-old child in Malaysia earns 25 cents a week to make this. It’s an American made product, and when you order it, you talk to the guy who makes it.
Second, the quality of this hat is outstanding. 900-fill Goose down is baffled in 15d Ultralight Ripstop fabric. Stitching is even, and there are no loose threads. Inside the hat is a band of Dryline (Elastic Stretch Polyester) material to wick moisture when you start to sweat. The band is soft and comfortable across the forehead and ears.
Third, the fit is perfect. One of my beefs with beanies is they leave the bottom of my ears exposed to the cold. The Black Rock Hat covers my ears completely.
Fourth, I can wear it comfortably with glasses. Glasses wearers can tell you that one of the worst things about winter hats is the pressure they put on your ears where your glasses sit. In the short term, it is not a big deal, but when you wear a beanie for hours, the pressure points begin to get sore. Options are usually adjust your glasses to an odd placement on your face or even put your ear pieces on the outside of the beanie (a precarious way to wear them). The Black Rock Hat is loose enough on my head that I can wear my glasses all day long without any discomfort.
Fifth, it is warm. Officially, this hat is rated 20°F-50°F, but I have worn it comfortably into the teens. Because the fit is a bit looser than most beanies, I can combine it with my Ibex Zepher Skull Cap and take it down into the subzero temperatures that have been common this season. All this warmth is wrapped up in only 0.9oz of weight.
When I mentioned this hat in the forums a couple months ago, the first comment was a down beanie is worthless when it is wet. I have worn this hat in several heavy snow storms this winter without any dampness occurring. In rainy conditions, the hood on my rain jacket has dealt with this issue—just as it would with my old fleece beanie.
Heavy snowfall in this promotional picture
done for work. My head is warm and dry.
Summary: This hat is so light and packable, I can stuff it in a pocket and forget it is there. At 0.9oz it is an obvious choice to put in the Ultralight backpack. I have no doubt it will last me every bit as long as my mass produced hat from the store. When you actually know the name of the person who made it, you know you are promoting an American entrepreneur who works hard to make his customers happy. I highly recommend you spend the money on this hat.
This is simply the warmest, most comfortable, most…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
This is simply the warmest, most comfortable, most durable, lightest beanie available at any price. I now own two of them, and I will buy another if my older one ever dies.
- Good fit
I bought my first original Black Rock hat two years ago. I have worn it on several extended backpack trips to high elevation cold, and it has always kept me warm.
It is, of course, 900+ fill goose down, and that's not just a sales gimmick. It is sewn with quilts, or baffles, to keep the down in place, but you notice no cold seams due to the stitching. The liner is just the right size in just the right place to keep any sweat away from the down, and it also acts like a collar to keep the hat in place, in winds or in the sleeping bag.
This past December I thought I had lost my original hat, and waited for Evan to get back into production on the hats. The day he announced that he had inventory, I ordered a HadronS, which is the exact same hat but with a lighter, more water resistant outer shell and slightly heavier fill.
Since this is a review for the "Original" hat, I will just say that the original is equal to the more expensive HadronS in nearly every way. I have since found my original (now over 2 years old and going strong.) So, I wear it as my "daily driver" and it gets worn nearly every day in my woodshop in the winter, but it takes the wear and tear of daily work and shows no sign of wear...only surface sawdust.
It is a product made by hand, in the U.S.A in a private cabin industry owned by an individual who cares about his customers.
This is a great product, and a great company. I recommend it highly.
I was highly skeptical of the idea of a down hat when…
I was highly skeptical of the idea of a down hat when I heard of Black Rock Gear. I figured when I was climbing hard and sweating I'd be putting my hat on at belays or whatever and it would wet out and turn into mush on my noggin. Light is right is great, so why not use primaloft? Then Evan happened to leave one in my car after a climbing trip and I started wearing it around a bit.
At first I treated it all nice and gentle and tried to keep it dry, then I forgot about it in my pocket, wore it in the snow, and just forgot about it being light and down filled. Now it's generally the only hat I bring (except for a thin helmet liner when working hard).
This thing is awesome, super warm for the weight, super compressible, and I haven't really had any of the moisture issues I worried about. I've had mine up Mt. Rainier, backcountry ski tours, ice climbing, and just for generally camping or wearing around town on cold days. I'm not giving it back (so in full disclosure, I didn't pay for my hat)! It's worth the price though, I'm totally sold.
I do not understand the above post at all, that originally rated…
Price Paid: $59
I do not understand the above post at all, that originally rated it low.
This is an awesome hat and keeps my bald head warm down in the single digits. Warmest hat I own. Very compact and lightweight. Has ample amounts of loft in my opinion.
This hat is made well, but almost no loft. This hat…
Price Paid: $60
This hat is made well, but almost no loft. This hat is not warm in any temp under 35 degrees. I wish it were.
Update: October 18, 2010
I wrote a review on this hat earlier and would like to clarify why I hadn't given it a four and a half or five.
It's put together like a five star product, workmanship is the best. But I'd like to make plain why the hat may not be keeping me warm. I mostly have tried using it at the shooting range last winter. We shoot for a minimum of three hours no matter what the temperature. Just standing around and practicing shooting targets is all the activity we are getting out there. So perhaps the reason I thought it would not keep me warm is the way I am using it, AND the fact that I NEVER really get warm out there in some of the cold weather, wind and all. That said, I shouldn't blame the hat, rather, my cold weather layering in general.
One of my close friends turned me onto this hat so I bought one, and he uses his backpacking down into the single digits. So, perhaps I was over critical given the circumstances. I will be using it backpacking this winter, and I would buy the hat again. Sorry for the confusion, but fair is fair.
This hat is SWEEET! I wore this hat on a recent trip…
This hat is SWEEET! I wore this hat on a recent trip to the Inca Trail in Peru. It didn't get extremely cold but it was great having this hat to sleep in at night. Everyone that saw it was extremely impressed and was like "wow, is that a down hat". Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've ever seen a down hat either. If so, it obviously wasn't of this quality.
With just the right amount of 900 power fill the hat is extremely light and packs down to nothing. On the trail or camp it is great. Wearing it around town you could easily stuff it into a front jean pocket and never know it was there. I looking forward to using it again on a winter trip on the Appalachian Trail.
Around town or on the trail this hat keeps you toasty. The quality is amazing! You can definitely tell it is handmade by someone that cares about their product. Not to mention dealing with Evan is great!
This hat has rafted the Grand Canyon, worked two week…
Fabric: Momentum 90
Price Paid: $50
This hat has rafted the Grand Canyon, worked two week shifts at wilderness therapy, gone to Indian Creek to climb and the Brewery right after. It's been snowed on, rained on, sat on (I've actually lost it in my pocket a few times, ends of getting so compressed that you can't even feel it) and worn to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
It gets wet like any hat when its dumped on but while that's a concern because of the down, the warmth from your head dries it out faster than any other hat I've worn. It's super light and compressible and the Dryline headband liner keeps it stuck right on your head.
Helmets might compress it a bit, and after being stuffed in a pocket it takes a minute to get its loft back. I mostly noticed that up on the very top where all the stitches come together, while the bottom two bands of down rarely got over compressed.
People recognize the hat for exactly what it is all the time. "Is that a down hat?" Why yes it is. No visor or ear flap models yet, but its a solid hat for every adventure.
The PCT, the Grand Canyon, El Capitan; day trips, touring, expeditions; Mom, partner, kid.
I had heard rumors that there was a down hat available…
Price Paid: 50$
I had heard rumors that there was a down hat available somewhere and with a little research found Black Rocks down hats. I rock and ice climb about 200 days out of the year and was looking for hat that I could count on to keep me warm in the process.
I have fallen in love with this hat and take it with me everywhere. It is lighter, warmer, and more water resistant than ANYTHING else on the market. It is designed super well with a bit of stretch, it breaths better than you would think, and it doesn't seem to get wet even in the rain????
Bravo, Black Rock!
The only hat I carry around now! I got the hat as…
Fill: 800 fill down
Price Paid: Gift
The only hat I carry around now! I got the hat as a gift and I was originally skeptical of how well it would work (I mean come on, it's only a hat). I have taken it out climbing this winter several times, and it definitely gets the job done. I was amazed that I could either wear a fleece jacket on a route (restricting movement), or just wear the hat.
The hat compacts to almost nothing, so I can stuff it in my pocket and take it on multipitch routes to stay warm at belays. Since the hat is down, it expands once you put your helmet on keeping you nice and toasty ice climbing. I can’t wait to use it this spring on longer fast/light routes.
This hat is an integral part of my hiking/camping…
Price Paid: $49
This hat is an integral part of my hiking/camping gear collection now. I used it this past weekend in the Grandfather Mtn District area (NC). Hard to believe a quality hat can make that much difference. 28^ temps with an unknown wind-chill factor really put it to the test. I'm really impressed. Evan at Black Rock really knows what he's doing. Kudos!