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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Black Rock Gear Original Down Hat > Owner Review by Steven M Kidd

November 24, 2014


NAME: Steven M. Kidd
EMAIL: ftroop94ATgmailDOTcom
AGE: 42
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 185 lb (83.90 kg)

Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.


Image Courtesy of Black Rock Gear

Manufacturer: Black Rock Gear
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $65
Listed Weight: 27 g (0.95 oz) {Based on a size Large in Black}
Measured Weight: 25.5 g (0.9 oz) {Based on a size Large in Black}
Available Colors: Black*, Blue, Red, Green
Available Sizes: XS/S, M, L, XL & Specialized Sizing
*Black hats are made with a lower denier material than the other colors and the manufacturer claims they are 10% lighter. {I've only worn a black hat}

The Black Rock Gear Original Down Hat is a 900 fill goose down hat that is hand made in the Seattle, Washington area. The vendor offers the hat in several sizes and colors. The shell is made with a lightweight polyester material and the down is secured with sewn through construction. Each stitched chamber is roughly 2 x 2 in (5 x 5 cm). The stitching toward the top of the hat tapers into a triangle pattern that helps create a rounded crown. In all there are 48 sewn through chambers that each contain down. It lofts to about 0.75 in (2 cm)
Triangle Stitch Pattern

If I'm to look down on the hat from above it's not a truly rounded shape like a traditional watch cap, Based on the triangle sewing pattern at the top of the hat the overall shape at the crown has a bit of a pyramid-like form to it. Rest assured it is no conical dunce hat! When I put it on the hat takes on a rounded shape. There are three primary seams on the interior of the hat. I find it best to don the hat so the Black Rock Gear logo rests just above my right eye. This allows my forehead to center between two of those primary seams thus stretching out the triangle form and creating a rounded appearance.

The website states the headband is made with sweat wicking DryLine. The entire hat is soft to the touch and very comfortable, but the headband material is even softer than the shell and it has some stretch to it. I'd presume the DryLine material is elasticized. Black Rock also clarifies that Gutterman brand polyester thread is used to sew the hat.


Cold Christmas Eve at Ravens Point
The Black Rock Down Hat, a cottage industry manufacturer, has been a staple of my winter camping for over two winters. Since the item weighs so little and easily balls up to tangerine size I've tended to carry it not only in the coldest of temperatures, but also on the shoulder seasons.

I find the handmade hat to be an ideal source of warmth around camp and while I'm sleeping. I primarily hammock camp, and as such I use a topquilt and underquilt in place of a sleeping bag. Topquilts lack a hood, so I need an item to keep my head warm when I'm slumbering. This lightweight down hat easily does the trick for me.

I generally wear the down hat in the cooler morning hours around camp and sometimes as I'm hitting the trail on early mornings, and once I've set camp in the evening. The down traps heat quite well and I generally only wear it on the trail on the coolest of mornings. Even then I tend to vent the hat by wearing it high on my head well above my ears.
The 'Colder, Higher Hang' at Roan High Knob

After a long day on the trail and after I've set up camp, I generally always don the hat on cool evenings around the campfire. It is very comfortable, extremely lightweight and doesn't cause me to perspire.

I've always had trouble wearing a watch cap style hat in the winter as the materials often caused perspiration and in the end made me chillier in the long run. This down hat allows my head to breathe while still keeping me warm and I find it barely noticeable on my head.

The hat does a great job of covering my ears and whole head when it is fully needed. I can roll the hat up in what I'd call beanie style if I need to cool my head and not cover my ears. The great thing I find about this is that it tends to retain its shape and doesn't stretch out even when I abuse it like I mentioned. I simply find it to be a great hat!


I've been thoroughly impressed with this hat for several years. In fact, I was so impressed with it that when I recently noticed that Black Rock had a one day sale I decided to acquire a second hat. I like the hat so much that it stays in my gear stash for exclusive use on backcountry trips. However, I recently relocated to the Midwest where the winters are expected to be much colder than the mild southern Tennessee winters I've been used to dealing with. I, therefore, decided I'd pick up one for routine wear in the winter and continue to have one dedicated to backcountry use.

Black Rock hats are certainly not inexpensive in my personal opinion, but as I've bought two I can easily confirm how much I enjoy them!

I love the lightweight nature and breathability of the hat. I like that they easily retain their shape. I think the Black Rock is an excellent piece of winter gear. In fact, I have no thorns to share concerning this product.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Black Rock Gear Original Down Hat > Owner Review by Steven M Kidd

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