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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > GOLIGHTLY CASHMERE EXPEDITION HAT > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Owner Review by Richard Lyon
June 22, 2108
Expedition Hat


Male, 71 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Hat size: 7 5/8 US
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Winter trekking often focuses on downhill skiing or ski touring; summer on flyfishing opportunities.


As opposed to Golightly Cashmere's signature watch caps [two of which I have reviewed on this site], which are marketed more as high fashion, the Expedition Hat is unabashedly a performance piece - in its maker's words, "for the snowy adventurer." It is knitted with a stout six-ply blend of cashmere and Lycra. Inclusion of Lycra and one design aspect distinguish this hat from the all-cashmere caps I have reviewed. These differences are related. Instead of an extra inch or so [2-3 cm] of length to fold up over the ears, watch cap-style, adding Lycra gives a heavier and thicker fabric that blocks wind and snow effectively without the second layer. It's a beanie rather than a watch cap.
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Manufacturer: Golightly Cashmere, El Prado, New Mexico USA
Year Acquired: 2017, as a birthday present in July
Size: Unisex Extra Large. Also available in Regular.
Color: Lumberjack, a red heather. Also available in Twilight [dark grey], Midnight [dark blue], and Camo [olive heather].
Related products: Golightly Cashmere now lists ten other cashmere caps.
Option available: A pom-pom in any of eighteen colors, for USD 12. The friend who gave me the hat knows me well enough not to have included one.
Weight, measured (no listed weight): 5.75 oz [163 g]
Measurements, measured (no listed measurements):  22 in [56 cm] circumference at the bottom; 8 in [20 cm] from top to bottom
MSRP: $145 US
Country of Manufacture: USA [and they're hand-knitted, not manufactured]


For me this is strictly a cold-weather topper, cold being defined by temperature and wind.  A wind chill of 20 F [-7 C] or so and out of the closet comes the Expedition Hat. I wore mine on at least thirty days, probably more, between November 2017 and May 2018, while hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ski touring, outdoor chores around the house, dog walks, and occasional casual wear around town. Temperatures were as low as -25 F [-32 C], often made colder by wind and blowing snow. The hat has been directly exposed to falling snow, blowing snow, and sleet, though in high winds or severe cold I'll draw the hood on my jacket over it.


Weather resistance. This hat excels at blocking the elements. With it pulled over my ears my head stays warm. The tight knit prevents even the fiercest wind from penetrating to skin level. Water resistance is excellent too. I've never worn this hat in the rain, but even heavy spring snow sloughs right off, giving any accumulation no opportunity to soak the wool.

Breatheability. The denser fabric has a cost in wicking ability. In bright sun or on a vigorous climb perspiration can build up on my head. Unless the exertion is prolonged, however, eventually the sweat will wick through.

Fit. It is this category in which the Expedition Hat far surpasses its all-cashmere brothers in my gear closet. Like the other hats [and unlike many other wool caps I've owned over the years] the Expedition Hat comes in a larger size for fatheads like me. All-cashmere is softer and plenty warm, but without a stretchy element it has a tendency gradually to creep up over my ears, Not the Expedition Hat. The Lycra in the fabric blend helps keep the hat firmly atop my head even when downhill skiing.

The Expedition Hat doesn't have quite the caressing feel of pure cashmere, but it's not scratchy or otherwise unpleasant, even after a perspiration build-up.

Durability. After its first winter my Expedition Hat looks as good as new. No stitching has worked loose, no snags on tree branches or other hazards, no distortion in shape, and no perspiration stains. This cap gets the same thoughtless treatment that all my other hats receive, being regularly stuffed into whichever pocket on jacket or pack is closest to hand, heedless of disfigurement or damage. Because of the cap's cost I am careful to remove it from pack or jacket at the end of the day for air drying, inside a tent or cabin in the field or in the laundry room at home. In my other reviews I've remarked on cashmere's durability and the high quality of each cap's knitting. That is true of the Expedition Hat, and the Lycra if anything adds strength.

Other uses. The fact that the cap doesn't ride up with head movement in a sleeping bag makes the Expedition Hat ideal for use at night with my quilts. While not touted for its good looks, I think it's sharp enough to wear around town. I like the heathery look of the fabric.

Care. I mentioned air drying after use. I have washed the Expedition Hat once, at what I mistakenly thought was after the end of winter, by hand in cold water with non-detergent soap. The hat was completely dry after thirty-six hours of lying flat on a towel.


Great fit. For me that's due to the manufacturer's offering two different sizes.

Stays in place, thanks to the Lycra.

Warm and weatherworthy.


Expensive. It's cashmere, after all, and made by hand by American labor. Cost wasn't an issue for me as mine was a gift, but it might deter me from buying another if this one is lost or stolen.

Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > GOLIGHTLY CASHMERE EXPEDITION HAT > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

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