Seal Skinz Waterproof beanie hat made me look like a radioactive Smurf. Not the most flattering effect perhaps, but it's actually just what's needed for murky commutes and training runs.
Crudely, it's the same technology that goes into the brand's other waterproof, breathable kit which for the uninitiated is a three-layer system comprising a polyester fleece, Porelle waterproof/breathable membrane and knitted acrylic outer. On paper at least, this allows sweat an easy escape while keeping rain out. The membrane is crinkly, but easily ignored.
My November outings proved a very mixed bag. At the milder end, steady club run speeds turned things very clammy within 20 minutes and it takes a while before the fibres wake up to wicking. Odour control's pretty good mind, machine washing's no chore and it emerged unscathed from accidental tumble drying.
When Mother Nature tweaked the thermostat a few notches and threw in some icy crosswinds and persistent drizzle, the wet, cold conditions brought out the best in the material. Haring into sweeping bends, I sensed the air temperature falling and the acrylic outer slowly saturating but I felt perfectly warm and dry underneath.
As a visibility aid, it's grabbed driver attention faster than blinkies alone and training partners had no problem tracking my progress.
Versatile training hat that works best in winter's meanest months.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sealskinz Waterproof beanie
Size tested: Hi vis yellow, L/XL
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?
"Our best selling, totally waterproof, windproof and breathable knitted beanie hat. Suited to a multitude of outdoor uses, could this be the most versatile hat on the market?"
Generally agree but moisture trafficking could be better.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Totally waterproof, windproof and breathable
* Acrylic knitted outer for maximum water repellancy
* Close fitting knitted construction with IMPROVED fit
* Micro fleece lining for warmth and moisture control
THERMAL RATING 4
Correct Sizing for this product is:
S/M = 55-57cm L/XL = 58-61cm XXL 62-63cm
A bit too toasty for milder outings.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's no doubt the beanie fits well, is genuinely waterproof and works a treat in cold, blustery conditions. However, breathability lags behind, especially when air temperatures hit double figures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Attention grabbing design, nice fit, generally very tactile too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wicking not on par with natural fibres - especially if you're blessed with a good head of hair.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)