Kids Winter Hats: Beanies to Balaclavas

Kids Winter Hats: From Beanies to Balaclavas – The Best Winter Hats for Every Activity

From hitting the slopes to running errands in the city, a good winter hat is a must have accessory for any cold-weather activity. But with so many different styles and materials to choose from, finding the perfect hat for each family members and their needs can be challenging.

That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to the best winter hats for every activity. We’ve built a list of hats by age and material and end with a list of hats for adults organized by activity. That’s a lot of hats! Next we need to write about how to store and organize all those hats but first here are a few reasons hats are the perfect winter accessory.

4 Reasons We Love Winter Hats

1. Warmth

Winter hats are designed to provide warmth and insulation for your head, which is one of the areas of the body that is most vulnerable to heat loss. By keeping your head warm, a winter hat can help regulate body temperature.

2. Style

Winter hats come in a variety of styles and designs, which means everyone in your family can choose one based on their personal preferences. From classic beanies to adorable pom-poms, there is a hat out there for everyone.

3. Protection

In addition to keeping you warm, a hat can protect your head and ears from cold winds, snow and other winter conditions. This is especially important if you spend much of the day outside for either work or leisure.

4. Versatility

Winter hats (and ear bands) are a versatile accessories that can be worn with a wide range of outfits. They can be dressed up or down and can be appropriately worn in both formal and casual settings.

We often trick our children into wearing hats because kids have a tendency to fuss putting them on but quickly forget once they start playing. They then stay out longer because they are more comfortable.

My youngest hates wind but also wasn’t a fan of hats. I purchased many on sale and thrifting to figure out a style, texture or design that worked for her. I also bribed her with gummy’s to try each one. Now we have a bin of hats in all styles and materials that she can pick from depending on our activity.

How to Find the Right Winter Hat

Finding the right winter hat for both you and your child will depend on many factors including the temperature outside and the strenuousness of an activity to each individuals preference for material. I have one child that loves wool and one that hates it.

We highly encourage you to try on many styles with varying degrees of coverage, thickness, texture and fit. Some beanies are meant to fit tight while trapper hats tend to fit looser.

Think about the materials are most comfortable for you and consider the warmth you need, blended acrylic, cotton and polyester tend to be cooler than wool, down and fur.It may be below freezing but a high intensity workout may only require a thin wool beanie.

Allowing the body to regulate temperature during high intensity exercise keeps it from over-heating and sweating excessively which would cool the body down more than necessary. Check your child to see if they are over-heating by feeling under the hat or around their chest.

Baby and Toddler Winter Hats

The hat your newborn wears may not be the same one you would pick for your toddler but generally picking hats for our smallest family members depends more on the child’s preference for material and whether or not they need a style that will help keep it on.

The style of hat you pick for your baby or toddler depends on the activity and climate you’re going to be recreating in. If a child is outside but not moving around a lot, an extra layer of warmth is required. A thicker hat is helpful as well.

Best Wool Baby Hat and Toddler Wool Hats

Wool hats for babies and toddlers are a popular pick because they are both warm and thin. They are easy to pack and can be worn in many climates.

Iksplor Merino Hat

Many of our teammates love the Ikslpor beanies. Buttery soft, easy to clean and biodegradable. There is so much to love about Iksplor’s beanies. We even wear them in the summer for sun protection. They are SPF 50 and breathe very well. Use code MTNMAMA to save 10%!

Smart Wool Kids’ Mountain Pattern Beanie

Fun bright prints combined with the softness of wool and the durability of polyester make this double layer hat very warm. What I love most about Smartwool is its durability. We found this hat used five years ago and it’s still going strong.

Reima Fleece-Lined Merino Wool Winter Hat – Nyksund 

The warmth of wool combined with soft plush fleece make this Reima hat a team favorite. Windproof ear pieces and reflective stripping are some of the careful details we love Reima thinks about.

Wool is considered one of the warmest materials and easy to layer.

Baby and Toddler Winter Hats – Fleece

Fleece is an easy to find cost-effective material to trap in warmth. Children often prefer the softness of fleece to the itchiness of (non-merino) wool.

L.L. Bean Infants’ and Toddlers’ Mountain Classic Fleece Hat and Mitten Set

While we haven’t tested this set, it’s very similar to a soft, snug fit fleece hat my daughter loved. Sometimes having a strap to cover the ears and velcro to keep it on made all the difference. I love this set comes with matching gloves that are designed to fit on either hand for toddlers. I also trust the quality of L.L. Bean and love the bright colors.

Mountain Wharehouse Kids Unicorn (or Owl) Hat

We’ve gone through several Mountain Warehouse kids hats. They are fun looking, warm and cheap. I send them to school in these hats but they often choose them to play out in the snow at home.

Land’s End Kids Fleece Hat

The cost effective simple hat may be all you need. Easy to stuff in a pocket or in a back pack just in case the weather turns. Sometimes less is more.

Baby and Toddler Winter Hats – Synthetic/Blended

Don’t let synthetic blended hats fool you, often they are very warm and maximize comfort. Remember the hat that is worn is the perfect hat.

Primary Cotton Beanie

Because finding a beanie in your kids favorite color should be easy. Cost effect, high quality and bright as the first day you bought it, there are many reasons to love Primary.

Jan and Jul Toasty-Dry Trapper Hat | Dinoland

This little Jan and Jul trapper hat has all the bells and whistles. A water repellant and windproof outer-shell provides protection against the elements. It boasts and adjustable grow with me cinch and has an insulation of faux fur rated to five degrees. I really appreciate when brands give me a temperature rating. Adorable prints top of the team favorite.

Reima Cotton Beanie – Hattara

Amelia tells me her kids love this cotton beanie and it’s surprisingly warm. A warm 100 percent cotton beanie that comes in new colors each season shouldn’t be missed.

Best Baby and Toddler Balaclavas

When skiing, snowboarding, sledding or ice skating, we highly recommend wearing a helmet. Even the smallest of heads are can ice and snow very hard. We recommend using a balaclava under helmets on the coldest of days.

They are a great additional layer of added comfort. My kids prefer to ski more often with their balaclavas than without.

Reima Toddler & Kids Base Layer Balaclava – Aurora

Several teammate’s have boasted about the warmth and softness of this easy to wash lightweight wool mix. The comfy design protect heads and necks.

Turtle Fur Kids’ Playful Print Shellaclava

Built for extra cold days this double fleece balaclava comes in new fun prints each year. The shell head is easy to fit under helmets while the plush neck keeps your little rider super warm.

Ridge Merino Wool Balaclava

The team loves this merino wool brand. I like the deep hinged construction making it comfortable to pull up the shield over the face. There’s a wool mesh panel over the mouth for easy breathing. To top it off, it’s on sale for under $20 dollars which is pretty good for 95% wool.

Happy kids showing how to layer.
Kristen’s kids showing us how to properly layer in their Reima balaclavas

Best Kids Winter Hats

Jami’s kids Kylie and Nora in Sunday Afternoons and Obermeyer

Best Wool Hats for Kids

We love wool and we think you should too. It’s warm, environmentally sensitive and easy to layer. The brands below are the softest and easiest to wash that we’ve found.

Iksplor Beanie

The Iksplor beanie is soft, breathable and almost unnoticeable when wearing. This is by far the best hat we’ve tried. I would size up as we’ve noticed they are a little tighter than preferred. Use code MTNMAMA to save 10%.

Ridge Merino Layton Wool Beanie

We haven’t tried this thick wool beanie but it sure looks warm and the price is right for the level of warmth. The team loves this brand!

Kids’ Smartwool Merino 250 Reversible Pattern Cuffed Beanie

Another team favorite. We love the comfort and ease of care when it comes to Smartwool beanies. We especially like the double layer on this model.

Best Fleece Hats for Kids

Dome P | Mountain Hardwear

I’m told while dorky looking, this hat is incredibly warm. Great for a kid that really likes to immerse themselves in the winter environment and go for the snow play.

Obermeyer Kids Orbit Fleece Hat

Teammate Jami’s daughter Nora really likes the warmth and softness of the Obermeyer Orbit fleece hat. We especially appreciate the reflective detailing on the Orbit.

Kids’ L.L.Bean Heritage Earflap Hat

Bright playful colors, soft sherpa fleece lined ear flaps and cute tassels. What more could you want in a hat? We love the design and quality of LL.Bean hats.

mom and daughter cross country skiing in hats
Teammate Jami in Iksplor and her daughter, Nora in Obermeyer Orbit

Best Synthetic Blended Hats for Kids

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit my girls often pick cheap Target hats. We find them in the clearance bin and they are usually made up of a mix of materials. It’s fine for school and errands but I insist of a better hat for real adventuring.

The hats below are of a bit better quality and can be used for a variety of activities. We use the Burton beanies for school and hiking.

Kids’ Burton Recycled DND Beanie (3 Pack)

We love our Burton Recycled DND beanies as they fit both kids and adults seemingly the same. They are made of a soft recycled polyester in a slouchy beanie style.

Columbia Kids Kids’ Whirlibird Cuffed Beanie

On sale right now for $9 dollars, you can’t go wrong with the classic knit beanie. Not every outing requires fleece or wool. Sometimes a cotton beanie will do just the trick running errands around town.

Sunday Afternoons Kids’ Jupiter Beanie 

Teammate Jami’s kids love the Sunday Afternoons kids Jupiter beanie. The soft acrylic knit comes in two bright colors. Built to last and insulated just right.

Happy family in hats in snow
My eldest daughter and myself rocking our Burton beanies and my youngest in Patagonia

Best Balaclavas for Kids

Balaclavas have kept my kids skiing in negative teens, they are also part of our daily ski kit because they are soft and comfortable. These are our favorite balaclavas.


Fun designs, relaxed yet slim fit and fun designs. What more could you ask for? We really like the models that have a split head and neck. It’s easier to move the head and the neck can come up to cover the nose.


We love this over the hood model because it is soft and warm. My kids will wear 2 balaclavas when it’s very cold. One over their helmet and one under. It’s surprisingly warm and helpful to have an outer balaclava.


My youngest loves this Phunkshun Wear Balaclava. It’s true to its name and double the warmth with an added layer of soft fleece. We bought our on a very cold day when my girl when ready to call it a day on the mountain. She went back out for several more hours and insists on wearing it most days.

Our Top Picks for Winter Hats for Adults

My latest version of the Iksplor beanie is much looser than the first which I like.

Best all around winter beanie: iksplor beanie. Use code MTNMAMA to save 10%

Best Winter Hats for Alpine Skiing

Blackstrap Hood Balaclava

This unisex balaclava is a family favorite. It’s UPF 50, very breathable and has a Exo-Hinge dual layer that traps heat while protecting against wind. It’s also anti-microbial and boasts a four way stretch.

Brooks Notch Thermal Beanie

Antimicrobial soft notched fleece wicks away sweat while keeping you dry. This running beanie is also moisture wicking and quick drying.

Burton Burke Hood

I must admit I was late to the over the helmet balaclava movement. Then my friend gifted me this hood and I have worn it every day below 10 degrees for two years. My eldest steals it when she can. Try an over the helmet hood. It’s unlikely you’ll be unimpressed.

Best Winter Hats for Cross Country Skiing/Running/Cycling

Boco Performance Beanie Mesh Blue Gradient Mountains

The Boco Performance Beanie is an easily showable three season performance beanie with mesh lining. It’s great for high intensity activity, wears comfortably under a helmet and can be used for many activities.

Craft Core Essence Thermal Hat

The Craft Core Essence is a recycled polyester blend made of soft brushed thermal jersey. This moisture wicking, quick dry beanie is great for those cold wintery runs.

Oiselle Running Firecracker Earband

I must admit that I have three of these earbands after a decade of wearing them. My mom bought me more when she saw how much I wore the first. They come in fun colors and store easily. I stash them in packs just in case. I really love the softness of the Lux earband but picked this one for it’s reflective features.

Jami runs in her Boco Performance Beanie and Nora bikes in her Smartwool Kids Beanie

Best Winter Hats for Hiking or Ice Skating

Bocogear Digitally Printed Pom Pom Beanie Gradient Mountains

We love the beautiful digital print plus the high warmth to weight ration.

Smartwool Thermal Merino Pattern Reversible Headband

You can’t go wrong with this cold weather staple if you appreciate headbands. It’s easy to fit under a helmet or wear alone. Lots of styles to match outfits as well.

Patagonia Brodeo Beanie

My husband bought me this beanie two years ago and I’ve worn it well over a couple dozen times. Very warm, durable and comfortable.

Happy mom with two girls warm on a winter outing.
Jami enjoying her Boco pom pom beanie

You Can Never Have Too Many Hats!

Picking the right hat may take some trial and error. Thrifting, shopping department store sales and clearance bins can be a good starting place if you’re unsure what kind of hat you and/or your child might enjoy.

Play with weight, fluff and warm to find the right combination for you. Again, the hat you wear on a low intensity windy walk might not be the one you pick for a freezing skin up your favorite mountain. There are plenty of options to choose from so get out there and give a few hats a chance.

Related Articles:

Kids Winter Hats: From Beanies to Balaclavas – The Best Winter Hats for Every Activity

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  • Jen Gardner, a Colorado native is passionate about exploring and preserving nature. When not hiking, biking or skiing the Colorado Rockies with her family (and alone!), Jen enjoys traveling the world with her husband and kids. Diagnosed in 2006 with 3 cranial cavernomas (weak blood vessels in the brain that hemorrhage creating benign tumors), Jen has made it her mission to live life to the fullest. She writes about her journey getting her kids outside despite sickness on a blog called Gone With Groms. The better the gear, the longer and easier it is to stay outside, so Jen has made it her mission to find the best gear for outdoor families.

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