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Wool watch cap that doesn't itch?

Discussion in 'EDC Clothing' started by Akilae, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Akilae

    Akilae Loaded Pockets

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    For years I've been getting terrible itches whenever I wear my wool watch cap. After I take it off I scratch furiously at my head like I have lice... I've finally had enough and am now in search of something that doesn't itch.

    Having since been educated somewhat on different types of wool, I was greatly impressed with my merino and ragg wool socks/sweaters, which don't itch when I put them on. Does anybody know a good source for watch caps made out of these types of wool? I looked at a few, but what few I can find seem to make watch caps that are far less substantial than my itchy cap right now, i.e. won't really stand up to the cold weather.
     
  2. Corporal Punishment

    Corporal Punishment Empty Pockets

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    Does it have to be wool? I have nothing against wool. It's warm, stays warm even when wet, gets the job done. On the other hand, it can be a little itchy, thick, have odd colour patterns, and wet wool stinks.

    I've experimented with various synthetics from Polartec to polypropylene to Nomex with various levels of success. All of have their little advantages and disadvantages. I finally settled on a synthetic watchcap that isn't really a watchcap. It is really a Nomex hood (like firefighters or race car drivers wear). It entirely covers the head and protects the skin from burns and won't melt on like other synthetics. It also provides full face insulation when it's very cold or windy. And finally, when I just want to minimize heat loss off the top of my head, I just roll up the Nomex mask and it forms a nice watchcap.
     
  3. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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  4. Valerian

    Valerian Tea-powered admin

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    Some people can be very sensitive to wool, e.g. my wife can instantly detect even the finest merino wool. So even merino is not entirely itchless, if you happen to be super sensitive to it.

    While I love wool in other clothing items, I personally think the open weave of most wool watch caps & beanies lets too much wind through. So most of my winter headgear are made more wind-resistant synthetics, e.g. Polartec WindPro and such. I do have a merino balaclava, though, I wear it under other hats when it's really cold.

    In addition to Andy's links, I think TAD Gear sells a merino watch cap too, but I have no idea how thick it is.
     
  5. icqcq

    icqcq Loaded Pockets

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    Icebreaker: have a ton of their stuff, love it.
    SmartWool: also have quite a bit, also good, but generally more 'consumer' oriented designs/patterns.
    I'm also wearing TadGear's neckgaitor & heavy sweater, and they are great.
     
  6. bouncer

    bouncer Loaded Pockets

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    Go with the professional fisherman's choice Grundens .
     
  7. Dizos

    Dizos Loaded Pockets

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    Sounds interesting. Link?
     
  8. karlito

    karlito Loaded Pockets

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    Check out sierratradingpost.com I believe they have some and have decent prices as well.
     
  9. Corporal Punishment

    Corporal Punishment Empty Pockets

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    With a quick search I found many different styles, colours, and prices, but here's a link to a Nomex hood from a reliable merchant (BQM):
    http://www.brigadeqm.com/cgi-bin/tame.exe/store/level4c.tam?M5COPY.ctx=7894&M5.ctx=7894

    Like, I mentioned, what I do is roll-up the bottom part up sort of like a reverse turtle neck, and I end up with a "watch cap" that does double or triple duty (fire protection, insulation, concealment even).
     
  10. Akilae

    Akilae Loaded Pockets

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    It's interesting that only my head seems to be affected... I can use regular wool gloves and blankets without any problems, but wool hats just give me lots of trouble. I'm guessing either my wool gloves and blankets are better than I give them credit for (virgin wool perhaps), or my watch cap is made out of really crappy recycled wool...

    My problem with most of the merino wool caps I've seen is that they just don't seem well knit enough to even make an attempt at keeping out wind... well, I suppose I'll start looking at synthetics then...
     
  11. chute43

    chute43 Loaded Pockets

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    Not sure where you are at, but here in Fresno, CA we have the work world stores, that carry the carhartt line, dickies, ben davis, etc. Basically they cater to the blue color working crowd, hence the name. I purchase from the them for less than 10.00 a beanie they refer to as a helmet liner. They are thin enough to keep your head from looking like a bowling ball but :censored: warm. My Battalion Chief calls them my longshoremen look. I usually buy one or two a season plus I leave one in my flight gear if I get sent out on assignment.

    kary
     
  12. John Frederick

    John Frederick Loaded Pockets

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    I have the TAD Gear Merino Watch Cap. It is very nicely woven and is very soft. It's only possible drawback is that it is thinner than most other watch caps. This was done partly for those who want to wear it beneath a helmet. I like it because I can easily wear it beneath my hardhat.
     
  13. Lake Trout

    Lake Trout Empty Pockets

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    I have the TADgear cap and it's useful, but the Smartwool Cuffed Beanie is warmer, thinner, and blocks wind very well. It's merino wool, too, so that might still be a problem for you
     
  14. findme200

    findme200 Empty Pockets

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    It the TAD cap good enough for those 30 degree days or should I stick with my $5 acrylic watch cap?

    What wrong with acrylic vs merino wool?

    Is the TAD NECK GAITER good too? I have the Justin Charles and it is thin plus it pills a lot.
     
  15. RockyNomad

    RockyNomad Loaded Pockets

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    I have smartwool socks and love them. They are not itchy at all. Here is an exerpt from their website illustrating why their wool is not itchy:

    "Light and airy, feels good: It is a combination of the fine micron (fiber diameter), natural crimp and smart technology that gives SmartWool it ’s light and airy feel. In essence we have taken the itch out of wool. Through our process of stringent fiber quality specifications and smart technology, we ensure no itch causing (high micron) fibers make it into SmartWool products. Itchy wool typically occurs when the micron range is above 30 microns. All SmartWool fibers are far below this micron range, which is why SmartWool fiber is incredibly comfortable and soft to the touch."
     
  16. John Frederick

    John Frederick Loaded Pockets

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    This is what TAD Gear has to say about Merino Wool:

    Super fine merinos are regarded as having the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Merino is used in intense, cold-weather or high-performance applications, due to its breathability, temperature regulation, and moisture control. Unlike "traditional" wool, merino is much finer, softer, and may be itch-free for those with severe sensitivities or lanolin allergies. In use since the days of the Phoenicians, merino wool has been prized as a premier fiber with excellent wear, comfort, and endurance. In today's arena merino has been largely used by the luxury designer apparel industry and high end specialty outdoor brands. TAD Gear is now using this superlative fiber in function-first apparel designs and re-introducing it back to the hybrid outdoor-tactical environment. We only use the finest grade Merino Yarn from Australia in our signature hybrid performance apparel. The best just got better.

    Performance Features of our Australian Merino Wool Yarns for 2008-2009 Season:

    Machine washable for easy care
    Special treated to be extra pill resistant
    New knit pattern for extra stretch resulting in improved fit and wear comfort
    Naturally flame retardant
    Insulates when damp or wet
    Wicking for moisture management
    Anti-microbial (resists body order causing bacteria which love synthetics)


    It's hard to say weather it will be warm enough for you since that is a very individual thing. If it's a calm day I usually don't need a watch cap at 30 degrees.
     
  17. Akilae

    Akilae Loaded Pockets

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    To paraphase another forum I visit: "If it's a relatively calm day you could run around in your jockstrap at 20 degrees..."

    The TAD cap looks good, and expensive as usual, and out of black... otherwise I'd get that plus a gator.

    Maybe I'll get the Smartwool cap. I have their socks and they've never caused me any problems.
     
  18. 2slim

    2slim Empty Pockets

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    Plain black fleece watchcap and plain black fleece neck gaiter at Walmart - two bucks apiece. Bought a few of each so I can toss em if they get too funky at work.
     
  19. Towanda

    Towanda Loaded Pockets

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    Wool makes my head itch, too. I use acrylic hats in winter. I have an acrylic North Face Jeep cap that keeps my head warm -- used it during the subzero weather we had this past week and my head and ears were just fine. I also ordered an acrylic watch cap from County Comm which just arrived yesterday. I haven't tried it outdoors yet.
     
  20. SoloTwo

    SoloTwo Empty Pockets

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    Never had a problem with Merino Wool itching. I wear a TAD Merino watch cap, thin and light but very warm. My head stayed warm when it was -10 here recently. :winkwink: