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The Outdoor Research Exos Beanie will keep those pointy elf ears of yours toasty warm while you take care of the reindeer.

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Not for High Exertion Activities

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:Runs small

Overall this is a nice soft-shell hat - it runs a little small (I usually am on the smaller side of a hat but definitely was glad I ordered the larger one). It doesn't stretch as much as a wool or fleece hat which is probably partially what causes this sizing.

The soft shell material cuts wind really well and the fleece lining is nice and comfy. The only downside to the soft shell material is it is much noisier than a wool or fleece hat - but obviously those don't cut wind quite as well (for the most part). For windy days skiing or hanging around this is a great hat.

However, I can't say the same for higher exertion activities (such as hiking or running). Even when the temperature is below 0 (-2F the other day when I was using it) this hat gets WAY too warm for me. I don't find it very breathable at all, so just a few minutes in to any activity, my head starts to sweat. The lack of breathability means this moisture remains in the hat - and the materials chosen seem to really absorb it all. I suppose the hat absorbing the moisture is good as it is at least wicked away from my skin, but it still means the hat is useless to me after a short period of use. I definitely get warm fast on the trail so someone who doesn't run as warm as me might not have this problem.


Cuts wind well

Nice fleece lining


Runs small

Gets warm and wet fast

My go-to ski hat

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

I wear the Exos Beanie on almost all my backcountry-ski trips. It's fits tight over my head and keeps out the wind and cold. What I like most is that it's so light and not at all bulky. When I warm up, I can ball it up and stuff it in my pocket. For this reason, it's also a good hat to leave in your summer day pack in case of an emergency overnighter.

a softshell for your dome

    This is a soft shell for your head. Cut wind well, very warm. Unable to comment on beathability at this time. Seems on the small side. I wear a 7 1/8 hat, ordered the L/XL and I wouldn't want it any more snug, it's not super stretchy. If you have a huge noggin, maybe this one is not for you.