WIGWAM THERMAX CAP
BY STEVEN M. KIDD
October 12, 2010
Steven M. Kidd
Franklin, Tennessee, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
220 lb (99.80 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 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 gained a renewed enthusiasm for the back country. I generally go on one or two night outings and now try to average a 30 lb (14 kg) pack.
|Wigwam Thermax Cap|
Manufacturer: Wigwam Mills, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.wigwam.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2.19 oz (62 g)
Materials: 100% Thermax cm Polyester
Colors Available: Black, Navy
One Size Available
The Wigwam Thermax Cap is a style often called a stocking or watch cap. This one is made of Thermax polyester. Per the manufacturer, this material has hollow core fibers that trap warm circulating air and transport moisture to the outer layer. The cap is 10 1/2 in (27 cm) long and 10 in (25 cm) wide at the widest point. Many traditional stocking caps have large ribs that run vertically down the hat. The fibers of this hat do run vertically also, but the ribs are less than a 1/16 in (0.5 cm) wide and aren't noticeable to the touch or eye unless I look very closely at the cap. The material is two layered and sewn together in a perpendicular pattern at the top of the cap. These stitched patterns are each 8 in (20cm) long.
|Cap rolled 3 in (8 cm)|
To don the cap I pull it down over my eyes and nose, and then I flip the front side of the cap up above my eyebrows. I also turn the back side of the cap up a few inches so as to keep my ears covered. A good fit for me is approximately a 3 in (8 cm) turn as noted in the photograph to the left.
Care instructions suggest turning the garment inside out and washing in warm water. Neither bleach nor fabric softener are suggested with Wigwam products. It can be tumble dried on low, but I typically air dry mine.
The Wigwam cap is made of a very soft yarn that in my opinion feels much more like a natural fiber than the synthetic product from which it is created. The Wigwam Mills website states nothing about antimicrobial or anti-odor material, but I've been fortunate to never have an appreciable odor to the cap even after several days of field wear. I do, however, typically only wear it when the weather outside is hovering around or below freezing.
I acquired this cap on a Canadian kayaking expedition in the fall of 2005, and was fortunate to have it after I took a twenty minute dip in the drink that was roughly 50 F (10 C). Over the last five years I have had it in my pack on every winter excursion when the weather was supposed to be near freezing. Guessing, I'd have to say I've worn it forty or more times between backcountry use and wearing to college or professional football games in the middle of winter. I have two of the caps, and my go to hat doesn't look any worse for wear than the one that has only been worn two or three times. I haven't noticed any fading, wear or picks in the material.
I sweat profusely when on the trail, even in cold weather climates. When I'm hiking in cold weather I generally wear an ear band that allows heat to escape from the top of my head, and I will often wear this watch cap when I set camp and I'm not as active. I can recall one outing in January 2008, when the temperatures were around 15 F (-9 C) and the wind-chill was well below that. As noted in the accompanying photograph, I most definitely did wear the cap on the trail for that trip.
|A Cold Weekend at the Fiery Gizzard|
I personally find that this material is thin enough that when I do wear the cap that I don't tend to get too hot. I've worn traditional knit caps in the past and can't keep them on because I get to hot and sweaty. Then after I take them off I would only find myself both wet and colder than before I ever put it on. Because of these issues, I often never wore a winter cap and would just use a jacket hood or the aforementioned ear bands. To further explain, when I see a college kid in the fall or spring wearing a stocking cap inside when it is easily 70 F (21 C) my skin crawls. This isn't due to their fashion choice, but at the thought of sweat dripping down my eyes and ears. All that said; this is the first watch cap I can recall owning that I do not hesitate to wear in freezing conditions.
As a person who rarely ever wore a winter stocking cap, even when my head was cold, I have come to love the Wigwam Thermax Cap. At a scant weight of just over 2 oz (62 g) I never have an issue tossing it into my pack if the temperatures are going to be anywhere near freezing, or if the weather is going to be windy. It folds up smaller than a tennis ball, and I typically keep it in my top lid or a front pouch for quick access.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I really do like this cap, but for me it is an item that I most often wear once I have set camp. In camp I'm less active and not as apt to start sweating, which in freezing weather can be worse than wearing no cap at all. There are a few occasions that I have worn the cap on the trail, but those are few and far between.
Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd