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If you ride whatever the weather, you need a Belgian winter cap. Stolen Goat's Mekon should definitely be on your list as it's warm, breathable and surprisingly compact once tucked under your helmet.
One thing I've found over the years of riding through all weathers - including snow and ice – is that the amount of accessories you need easily outweighs the actual clothing you need to buy.
I'd dread to think how many gloves I have. I could get away with just a couple of pairs, but I seem to have amassed one for each little micro-climate. And it's the same with hats. But when it's cold and the weather is crap, you can't beat the Belgian cap for its versatility.
The Mekon uses a Windtex windproof fabric with a bit of water repellency to keep the elements out, and a mesh liner creates a bit of space between your head and the Windtex for breathability and wicking.
I found the Mekon to be comfortable from about 5°C down to freezing (it'll easily go lower, we just haven't had the temperatures yet) and the fabric does a very good job of keeping cold winds at bay.
The Mekon looks quite bulky, but it's much thinner than you'd expect and – so long as you've got a couple of clicks on your helmet adjuster – you should get it underneath without any trouble.
To keep your ears warm, Stolen Goat has used a ribbed merino band which both feels snug and keeps the hat in place. This helps the 'one size' style of the hat. It's very soft against the skin, and really warm considering its minimal bulk.
The stiff peak gives plenty of coverage for keeping the wind and rain out of your eyes. If you're not used to a cap it can feel a little restrictive having the peak above your eyes, but you get used to it. You'll be thanking it the first time you find yourself riding into a hail or snowstorm too.
Priced at £35, this Italian-made hat is pricier than many competitors, but it's very well manufactured and works impeccably well.
I have the Lusso Repel Belgium Hat (now known as the Thermal Repel Belgian Hat) which I've worn a fair amount over the last few winters. It's still priced at £19.99. They do a Merino Reversible version for £24.99, too.
We tested the Prendas Ciclismo Belgian Style Winter Hat back in 2015 and were generally impressed. It's still available for below twenty quid. In my opinion though, the Stolen Goat is a step above both in terms of performance, and justifies its price.
If you want to step things up a notch further there's the Velobici Belgian Ride Cap, made from herringbone fabric, for £45.
I'm a big fan of the Stolen Goat Mekon Belgian Winter Cap thanks to its performance, comfort and quality. I actually can't wait for the mercury to plummet so I can really exploit its abilities.
Warm, breathable and impressively finished hat for the worst the weather can throw at you
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Stolen Goat Mekon Belgian Winter Cap
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for
Stolen Goat says: "A deep winter cycling cap is finally here by popular request! With a peak to keep rain and low-lying winter sun out of your eyes, a Windtex windproof fabric on the head to prevent wind and rain from penetrating, a mesh-lined interior to help wick sweat away and a luxurious, warm merino ear covering. This really is the ultimate cycling cap for the coldest days."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Windtex fabric for main body
Merino ribbed band for ear covering
It's one size and I had no issues with it. There's a fair amount of stretch in the merino band.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Follow the washing instructions and you'll be fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The fabric keeps the elements out while remaining breathable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very warm and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's expensive. Lusso and Prendas, to name just a couple, offer similarly good hats for less.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Stolen Goat Mekon hat is very well made from some high performing fabrics. There are cheaper options out there that do a decent job too, but the quality justifies the premium here. It's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!