Hats, Gloves and Headgear
Hats are a vital and often overlooked piece of kit. With a good hat you can pretty much take on the world.
A good hat depends again on the season, but also to some extent (more than for other pieces of kit) you’re ability to pull it off as a fashion statement.
So wool is good, fleece is always good. Bright wool, especially with those tied down bits you get in Peruvian headgear, not so much.
Wide rimmed hats are a great choice is you know it’s going to be raining for most of the trip. It keeps the rain off your face and deflects a lot of the wind. With a good wide-rimmed hat you can almost, almost pretend that it’s not raining sometimes, unless its actually hammering down.
Main drawback of the wide rimmed hat is two fold. Firstly, it’s got a lot of surface area, so you kind of need to lash it down to your chin or it’s going to leave you rapidly. Second thing, you do end up looking a bit of a d*ck. Remember, this is the hat the the British Army uses as standard issue, and it even makes them look less than hard. So just be aware, and if you’re trying to impress someone on the trip, go for the branded black fleece scull-hugger instead, and just be prepared to have a wet face.
For gloves, for anything less than baltic conditions with driving snow, go light. Just having any kind of cover over your hands makes a difference, even if it’s warm, because these are at the extreme ends of you, get cold easily, and are usually out in the wind, rain and cold. Gloves will take all of that pain away.
But bulking up on gloves when it’s not strictly necessary can really slow you down. If you need to pull your hands out of a big puffa-style glove every time you want to get a bit of nutty out of your pocket, this will quickly annoy you. Not least is that water will tend to immediately run off your jacket onto your hand, then into your pocket when you go to get a piece. Wet pocket, wet nutty, sadness.
I’d avoid mitts if you can. They’re fiddly, and even less practical than puffa-gloves. You’ll wear them for about an hour, then take them off and stick them in your pack for the rest of the trip.
There are some pretty sexy pieces of neckwear than you can get. These are loops of material that usually live round your neck, and can also be pulled up over your ears and sort of over your head to act like a hat. It is a hat with a big hole in it (where your head used to be), but it kind of works. And it is very cool.
Outside of this, I’ve never been one for wearing a scarf on an exped. They seem to just get in the way when you get into the tent, and end up wrapped around stuff they’re not meant to be wrapped around. Get a decent fleece and jacket that zips all the way up to your chin and you’re sorted.
Hmmm, yes, these can be handy. If it’s blue sky out there then you’re likely to get it in your eyes, right? But other than looking the dude, there’s not a hell of a lot of point in carrying sun glasses with you. They’re expensive, breakable bits of kit of dubious value.
Still, if you’re going to do it, get those wrap around Oakley types…