Rapha’s Merino Hat is a pretty simple design and it does its job well whether worn on its own or underneath a helmet.
It’s a beanie, basically, made from four different panels that are flat-stitched together, plus a double-thickness band around the edge. Aside from a little pink Rapha tab, that’s about it in terms of design features. Like we said, simple.
The hat is available in just one size but it’s so stretchy that we can’t imagine there will be many people who it doesn’t fit, and a bit of nylon in the mix (5%) ensures it bounces back into shape rather than staying stretched.
The merino wool keeps your head nice ’n’ cosy however cold the temperature. Remember that freezing spell before Christmas? You know, when the UK shut down for a fortnight and everyone went a bit nuts. Well, this hat kept the old swede warm right through all that, as I drafted the gritting lorries through the arctic wilderness… Okay, Wiltshire. The dual-thickness section around the edge is particularly welcome for keeping the cold air of your ears and temples.
The merino is super-soft and stays comfortable enough when you sweat too. Start to puff and pant on a climb and the wool wicks the moisture away well and it dries out reasonably fast.
All that insulation does mean that this hat is too warm for hard riding once the mercury climbs far above freezing, although it’s still useful for stop-start journeys around town when it’s that bit warmer. You can always wear it off the bike too.
Rapha’s Merino Hat is available in several different colours and it’s reversible. Most are black on one side, coloured on the other. Two for the price of one. Kind of. £35 is pricey for a beanie, even if it is merino wool, but it's well made if you fancy treating yourself.
It goes through the washing machine and tumble dryer fine.
Understated merino wool beanie for keeping your head warm in the coldest winter conditions
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Merino Hat
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Rapha say, "The Rapha Merino Hat is made from a luxury merino wool to keep your head warm and comfortable even in the harshest winter conditions. The hat has a small amount of nylon woven into the fabric to make it more durable and to ensure a snug fit. The natural fibre of merino wicks sweat away from the head and the fabric is quick drying, even after a downpour.
"The hat is designed to be worn with or without a helmet and is fully reversible. It is black on one side and available in a choice of colours on the reverse. The two-inch earband can be folded up to help regulate body temperature as well as to provide some stylish versatility. The hat is finished with a black Rapha logo tab."
Seems reasonable (although the tab is actually pink, on ours at least)
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? It's pricey, but if I thought I deserved a treat...
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.