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Saturday, 16 January 2016


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Mike, ignore the name and try the "Mad Bomber" hat from L.L.Bean.

It's very non PC these days, but Brooks Brothers used to sell a beaver trapper's hat for about $100. My dad bought one and wore it for decades-a good investment. But what's wrong with a Russian Astrakhan hat? Do you not like the old-time politburo look? :)

Anyway, scruples aside, check this out. Be practical-banish the cold.


As for a warm, pocket stuffable, winter hat I recommend these.


Don't you have any ice fisherman nearby ?
They know hats.

For the hat, but a Carhartt. They're not the most stylish things in the world, but they're warm. Made for people who spend all day outside.

A tip on socks for you. I have slight neuropathy in my feet and hands. I've used to never wear socks as a lad, and for much of my adult life when I could get away with it. Now, I find myself having to wear wool socks just to help keep my feet both warm and to alieve the symptoms (tingling, cold feet, slightly numb). After trying several brands of Merino wool socks and poking holes in every one of them in short time, I've found the socks that last: Darntough Socks. https://darntough.com/ Guaranteed for life or replaced. I look forward to putting my socks on every day. They have all kinds of styles, colors, sizes. They are such a great deal and can be bought through Amazon (to send you some small bit of cash). Your list of tips might be worth making a special page for it with links to Amazon or B&H for any of the items that could be ordered in that manner. Good hunting a hat. I've got a wool one that works for me, but darned if I can remember where I got it.

Re: Warm Hats. You didn't say if you had any qualms about what they look like, or how stylish they might be.

There are a lot of options here: http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/mens-cold-weather-headwear/_/N-1100894/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_103920480

More here: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/502860?page=mens-cold-weather-hats&nav=ln-502857

And, my personal favorite: http://www.amazon.com/Aegean-Mens-Greek-Fishermans-Black/dp/B00MRG7A1W/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1453004349&sr=1-1&nodeID=7141123011

Here’s a different money exercise. How old are you? How well would your life have worked out if you had received 20 million when you were a lot younger? Start with your teens and work towards your present age by decades. The closer you can get to your present age while admitting the money would have made your life a complete mess, the better you know yourself.

If you think I’m joking, read a few stories about the lives of lottery winners years after they win. It doesn't work out well for the winner all that often.

Any time in the last 15 years and I would have been fine ... probably ... OK, the last five years for sure! :-)

Mike, Smartwool socks are great. No idea for a cold weather hat, so I'm hoping you find a good one and write about it.

When I was a teenager (many moons ago) my father and I built a pool table. It was built to a plan and a budget (no slate, just MDF) and had an automatic ball return. To this day it remains a proud father/ son achievement.

Unfortunately we made one mistake - we put full size pockets on a half size table. Our solution? We purchased snooker balls instead of pool. By "cluttering" the table we added a level of difficulty that partly negated the oversize pockets.

Many happy hours were spent around that table.

Outdoor gear stores have warm hats. Here are two examples:



As Colin Fletcher said, "if your feet are cold put on a hat." (Fletcher, The Complete Walker III.)

I recommend a wool watch cap. Mine's cashmere, knitted by a friend.

(Of course, I live in Santa Monica, where cold is 42 degrees.0

If you don't mind a beanie, I can recommend the merino wool hats made by Icebreaker. Comfortable to wear in autumn weather and serious cold, they make the perfect three season hat. I went for a run wearing mine at -5C yesterday and when I got back my head was toasty despite the hat being covered in frost.

You'll be watching test match cricket next. Five eight-hour days (including lunch and tea breaks) of slow intrigue bordering on tedium interspersed with fleeting passages of excitement that might well end in a draw.

But the tactics, the ebb and flow, the turning of a match on a single ball bowled...

I you think YouTube can waste hours of your life, cricket can waste years of it! :-)

I see two options. The first is a wool flat cap with earflaps to cover the neck and ears, like this. That works well against the windchill in temperatures not much below freezing, provided you have a substantial beard or jacket to protect the front of your neck from draughts. Any colder, I'd get one of these aviator hats.

I grew up playing snooker in Sydney. Great game but I never got far because I enjoyed potting the balls but couldn't get my head around the concept of also positioning the white ball for the next shot. Eddie Charlton was the man back then.

Don't know about hats, but try the Sealskinz socks if you want to solve the cold feet puzzle.
Not cheap, but worth the money.

Great to see you loving snooker - sure it is quintessentially British, but that makes it good and weird. This week has seen, to date, some of the best snooker I have ever watched - If you still have to watch some of the later matches, you are in for a very big treat - I will be recording the final as we have visitors and am expecting fireworks from both players.

It's interesting to compare the two sports snooker and pool,they appear to be very similar but in fact are very different in many respects.
Snooker as seen on tv is tightly controlled and well packaged with it's clean cut appearance,players dress code straight out of stately mansions of long ago,referees mimicking butler type figures,players with a very strong sense of ethics i.e.calling fouls on themselves before even the referee does,all this leads to a strong sense of theatre which is attractive to watch and also to product endorsement.

Contrast this with the way pool is presented and I think we can see why it is struggling to attract audiences.

Although snooker is enjoying something of a revival at present,largely due to Barry Hearne taking over the running and also the unbelievable talents of Ronnie O'Sullivan as a participation sport it has lost a lot of it's attraction.
There are a few reasons for this fall off by the general public in playing the game,a]the game is extremely difficult to become proficient at and almost impossible to reach the level of even the lowest ranked professionals,b]unlike pool the size of the table makes it unsuited to all but the largest of family homes which means having to frequent some public snooker halls in what can be very insalubrious areas in most cities.

A hundred or so years ago snooker was the poor relation to billiards,played with three balls on the same table,this game with is still played today was even more skillful to play but unfortunately became boring to watch as it's greatest exponents became too good at compiling enormous scores[breaks]in long sessions at the table,leaving the opponent in their seat sometimes a day or two,constant changing of the rules,[much like pool trying to come up with different variations of play]failed to save it and so snooker took over and became more popular with the paying public.

Mike, it was you yourself who, years ago, had a post covering, yes, *covering*, the best of all winter hats, one made for the harsh mid-continental North American climate. I remember two things about it: it was way too warm for me here in England, and I wanted one badly. What I don't remember, though, is what it was called or where you got it.

Just trying to help


Well put Mike.

It's be a long while since I played snooker in which I enjoyed the larger turf and played with a lot of skills, strategy and thinking.

Very few places have rooms large enough to accommodate these beautiful large tables.

Regarding the search for a Winter hat, one good choice is probably the Lowe Winter Cap - and it is even a US brand.

A wool-synthetic blend watch cap? I bought mine at Hudson's Bay Co. a couple years ago. Plenty warm enough for Nova Scotia winters. LL Bean has similar hats.

Growing up in Buffalo NY, warm winter hats were not optional. As a teenager I came to favor the intentionally ludicrous stocking cap, preferably one with a long tasseled 'tail' extending at least half way down my back. This has two advantages: if it's really cold you can pull it down to cover your forehead and ears, and it's easy to stash your gloves (or anything else, for that matter) inside the hat when you come indoors.
I stopped wearing them for a while, but resumed the practice when my kids were adolescents and teens. They were visibly horrified when I'd arrive to pick them up wearing said stocking cap, so it provided a wonderful tool for mortifying them in front of their friends.
Now I wear them again just because they're warm and practical. I'm old enough that fashion is no longer remotely relevant.

Warm hats. Duluth Trading good stuff the descriptions will warm you. I have one and last winters serial blizzards were no threat to my head. Gloves you can operate your camera with and still keep your hands warm is something else altogether

This is the hat I like. I've been wearing it for three winters now and I believe it meets your criteria. It's quite warm, very pocketable, super soft and non-itchy. I also like that it's a workmanlike hat that doesn't call attention to itself.

If you're going to order this, you might as well throw in a pair of socks too. Even though these are wool, they are the softest socks I have ever worn. Be forewarned that they are rather thick socks so they may be best for lounging around the house rather than being crammed into a snow boot.

And last of all, I would highly recommend getting a down vest. This is another thing I like to wear around the house to stay toasty. My understanding is this: when your body gets cold, it shunts circulation from your extremities to your core in order to keep your vital organs functioning. Good for survival, but it translates into cold toes and fingers. The solution, therefore, is to keep your core warm. I used to shun vests ("I'm not outdoorsy enough to wear one!"), but I now find them to be an invaluable article of clothing if the goal is to stay warm and comfortable.

Disclaimer: I don't work at REI or anything, but I do love that they stand behind their products. Check out their return policy; they're not kidding when they say you can return it a year later if it doesn't meet your expectations.

Final qualification: I live in Minnesota where it is currently -14 F. The high today will be -3 F. Thank you for your time.

Best warm pocketable winter hat in the sentient universe: the Afghani Pakol.

Hey Mike,
I will tell you that keeping the head warm is made much less tricky
if you keep your neck warm and you do that with a gaitor: I use
one made by North Face. I have ridden motorcycles for years in
cold weather and the gaitor will keep you comfy on and off the bike.

REI has a nice section on cold weather hats.
I live in New Hampshire and ski and snowshoe. For being active, the Mountain Hardware model shown is my favorite. Double layer Polartec, windproof. If I'm just standing around (like shooting a hockey game in a frigid arena) then the aforementioned "Mad Bomber" from LL Bean is great, but hardly meets your criteria of "pocketable." But look at the great price on the Turtle Fur Tort hat a little farther down the page. A big factor is whether you can stand wool next to your skin. I can't, so a lot of classics, like the Navy watch cap, don't work for me.

Mike, a good hat is not hard to find. You already have a couple of good suggestions in Icebreaker, and Outdoor Research, who specialize in severe weather clothing.

My two favourites are competing Canadian companies: Canada Goose, and Arc'teryx. The prices will make you gulp a bit, but the clothes never wear out and can stand anything. Canada Goose jackets have become so well known that it is normal to see the pretty TV news reporters wearing them, and there are even fake versions going about.

Canada Goose makes a very nice, warm, touque (Canadian for 'hat'). I have a couple and my wife has a couple. Arc'teryx has similar items.

For real warmth though, you need something with an insulated hood that goes over the said hat fairly snugly. I favour Arc'teryx for hooded jackets for photography in cold conditions, as they allow much more mobility for camera use. Their jackets are amazingly light but still very warm. As I say, the price will give you pause, but think of it like a high quality tripod that you only need to buy once.

Hope that helps.

This down cap has a wide comfort range.

This fleece cap is machine washable.

I'm a winter hiker, in all sorts of temperatures. For ultimate head (and neck) warmth, I use layers of fleece and knit caps and beanies, and a fleece neck gaiter, sometimes covered with the hood of my shell. The various combinations offer flexibility.

I have two decent hats of the watch cap type. Both I believe came from Tractor Supply when I was living in NY state. One is Carhartt, the other a no-name job, navy blue with a thick red lining.

The problem with "beanies" is the lack of ear-covering, and most are too bulky to fit in any pocket. Windstopper fleece to the rescue!

After 4 years in the Alps, and now 10 years in Canada, I still swear by my North Face Windstopper High Point (sherpa) hat. Thankfully, I bought two before they were discontinued (in favor of an all-beanie lineup, no less).

The closest comparable hat is the Outdoor Research Peruvian: http://www.backcountry.com/outdoor-research-peruvian-hat
Gotta cover those ears, but still fit under a hood when needed. Also fits in a pocket!

If you don't worry about style but want to keep warm, may I suggest a hardhat liner.

You look like a fool, but it keeps your ears and neck warm, and doesn't block your vision.



The only socks I buy are from Darn Tough... they last forever and are warm.


Alas for hats I've faced the same problem. My wife solved it by making a double layer polartec hat that covers my ears and is super warm. Since you aren't married to her that's no use to you, so good luck. But you can buy the hooded Costanza coat she got me when we moved to Minnesota last year. At -16 F this morning I have no qualms about looking so puffy.

Mike, the Tilley Winter hat is the way to go. Been wearing mine for years in that frozen land called Canada. With build in ear and forehead flaps you will be as warm as toast. Given current exchange rate between Canada & US, you can't go wrong. Highly recommended.

I have several nice, warm, pocketable caps from Simms, Redington and Patagonia. All fly fishing apparel. Lots of good breathable and flexible clothing, caps, hats and gloves from that industry. You need to be able to move comfortably to cast a fly line and have good peripheral vision while on all types of water. Also not being weighted down is important.

I check Sierra Trading Post regularly for close outs and seconds from those companies. Really incredible deals from that company.

With my Russian fur hat-

When I need a winter hat, I get a wool watchcap from an army/navy surplus store. Cheap and warm.

I've never found a vaguely satisfactory hat. The only thing that's ever kept my head warm in actual winter (I live in Minneapolis; the majority of Canadians live south of me) is a good hood. And those come as part of the jacket.

Gore Tex is the best combination of wind resistance and light weight. Combine it with modern insulation:


Hi Mike. I like the hat talk. I have lots of hats, I am in Montana and spend long hours outside. As counter intuitive as it is, I find a Stetson crushable cowboy style hat to work for most days, down to 15 degrees. Maybe it is the open area above your head, and the wind does not go through like on a watch cap. My ears do not get cold, surprisingly unless it goes below 15 or the wind picks up to 20, at which time I switch to a Carhartt cap with ear flaps. I know, neither fits in a pocket. If I have to look civilized, and will be in a car I wear my 50 year old newsboy cap. It is reversible, and warm.
I have found you need to try many hats, goes along with working as a photographer, no?
Pool- zzzzzzzzzzz

My go to hat is not pocket-able but looks good and is a the best wool ball cap out there.
Gottmann has little US distribution.

As for socks, since I'm a rep for Fox River socks, best quality and made in Osage Iowa.

" A good snooker player is a sign of a misspent youth"

Speaking of daft ...

The British love their snooker so much the BBC is releasing an online-only comedy drama feature film, The Rack Pack today. It's about two of the great players of the 1970s and 1980s: Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins and Steve ‘The Nugget’ Davis**.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYjJhHHpOTY

It'll be up on the iPlayer from 9pm GMT today for UK viewers.


It should be fun.

I'm sure it will appear on other outlets soon for the snooker deprived in other parts of the world.

** Wasn't it Steve ‘Boring’ Davis or Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis?

Since someone mentioned Darn Tough socks -- they are the only kind of socks I've had to return to the store because they hurt my feet. They formed creases that pressed into the instep of my feet and caused pain and lasting welts.
I would love having socks with a lifetime guarantee, but not at the price of a lifetime of pain.

Don't forget your neck. When it's really cold and especially if it's windy, and when isn't it windy, protect your neck. If you don't wear a scarf or other neck protector (dickey, high turtleneck) your hat and coat won't matter much, that wind will find its way into your torso via the gaps in the neck and you'll freeze.

People have been found dead in snowdrifts holding onto snow shovels that had warm heads under their wool toques but had frozen necks and chests. Ok, I make that part up.

Get good neck protection, and you can make do with plain old wool toques, if they have a wind break in them, else your ears will freeze. If you're exerting yourself, e.g., cross-country skiiing, snow-shoeing, it's advisable to let your head breath a bit to get rid of perspiration.

For hats and socks--if you don't have an outfitter nearby--I recommend REI.com for both. (They even have a sub-sub-category on their web site called "Men's warm hats".) My warmest socks were bought there. Their customer service is terrific, so call them if you have any questions.

For the coldest weather, I layer socks, of course, but also gloves and hats. That's when those hipster beanies come in handy.

Loden Wool:


A hat has become a very technical thing, as have socks, which then spread to underwear. You can't just go buy analog clothes, unless they are purposely retro and or have a story like Hollow Possum Hair.

I will tell you how I know this. I was given a gift that I was embarrassed to wear. The Bag said Military Spec technical undershirt heavy. Every time I looked at it I thought Really?
I thought things like "A Fool and his money are soon Parted"

Well, last winter, remember, the frigid one, I had to go out shooting near the ocean in a snow storm.
I put the thing on and I have to tell you it is amazing. dressed properly around it you have the feeling of never being cold and never being too hot. I ordered 3 more ($30 bucks for a T shirt with arms.) I wear them all winter.
I'm told they have similar technology for heads. But no one has given me one of those.
I'll bet there is a TOP reader who is an expert in technical clothing solutions for the noggin.

I wear an old Tilley hat.
Although I did recently see a Balaclava with pockets over the ears for hand warmer packets.

When it's really cold, I use an aviator hat. They made a fashion comeback a few years ago and incidentally I was going to spend some time in cold weather so I bought one...works very well indeed.

For cold but not quite that cold, a wool beanie or a beanie with a fleece lining works. Nowadays, I generally prefer wool; good properties in general, feels comfortable and is more environmentally sustainable.

I have 3 different colors of 8 section billed wool caps from Hatterdashery in Seattle. They have flaps that can be folded down for covering your ears and fit up inside when not needed. There is a velcro flap that allows adjustment to fine tune the size and in my case to compensate for different sized hair cuts. I often find them too warm with exertion. http://hatterdashery.com/

google: "winter hard hat liner"

They're very warm, and very pocketable, as they have to fit under a hard hat. I used one of those for many winters growing up in the Boston area. I hear they have a pretty good football team there. Now I live in LA, where I don't need a hat like that, and there was something in the news about some football team coming here. They'll probabaly stick around until they realize that USC vs UCLA is the only game in town.

These are the best hats, ever! Sailors wear them. They come in stripes as well.

As a Canadian I would recommend beaver, BUT ... I'm generally (though not ragingly) anti-fur industry plus .. they are bloody expensive.

My recommendation for type (not specific brand) is the trapper style - ear flaps required. They don't meet your pocketable requirement. Pocketable hats are fine for this winter (provided it doesn't return to Finger Lakes normal pattern,) but not for the real winter you are likely to encounter. (Of course, you could get an insulated Carhartt field coat [another mark of being local - see #2 below] and have bigger pockets sewn on. The added advantage is that such pockets can accommodate an XT-1, X-Pro2, etc.)

Find a trapper hat with the best functionality and quality of construction you can find. You need it for two reasons:

1. The aforementioned more typical winter that is inevitable.

2. You do want to eventually fit in as a local of the Finger Lakes, not to mention the Southern Tier. With the proper hat, the locals will overlook that you don't own a shotgun or deer rifle.

You covered a lot of territory in the posting
for Sunday January 17, 2016. Head covering in cold weather...
what is called a watch cap will cover 99 percent of the pates out there, make sure it is wool or a combination therein, and when it does get washed, stretch it and keep it stretched (I do mine over an old inflated basketball until it has dried. This one size fits all idea, doesn't work for those of us with big heads (I have a 9.5 size, bald thanks to too many years of cancer chemo.
Snooker: a civilized sport best observed with
proper pint in hand; it is also very much a sportmanship activity, unlike pool which at theb est of times can be brutal if somethign goes amiss.

Now as to the US$20-million dollar payout.
First of all "we"" the user have to remember that $20-million used to be actually known as $2-million; time and inflation have made it less viable.
Our dollar in Canada will soon be worth maybe 40 cents of the current US dollar and oil wil be US$10.00 a barrel.

So base the calculations on that...
And I might add her in the greater Toronto Area, the average house price is creeping very close to C$1-million. The 2400 square foot home i spent my first sixty years in sold in 2011 for $950,000 and was promptly demolished oand replaced by a home of 7500
square feet and at a cost of 3-million.
Hate to think the size of the mortgage...

PS I checked my old Tilley
Its a Tilley' classic winter' hat.
It has fold down ear flaps for really cold days and a fold down forehead protector for brutal ones, and a brim for snow and rain.
It changes with the weather.
If you need a "mostly brimless' warm hat for shooting, I carry a Radar O'Reilly Jeep cap. which are available from $9.95 new army surplus to similar ones made of Alpaca wool, which may or may not be hollow.
I asked, but Alpacas are notoriously tight lipped about such things.
Even Carhart makes a version .

Here's a warm hat suggestion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb0kiiB3O-o

LL Bean - Baxter State Parka, Deerskin gloves and one of their stocking caps designed to keep you warm. The hood on the parka is The secret to staying warm, esp. when windy.

I agree with the merino/possum wool in John Gordon's beanie from New Zealand. I got a merino wool and possum fur sweater there and it made me a believer. It has an uncanny comfort range from moderate temperature to quite cold. The possums there look like little bears with thick fur, very unlike the opossums we know in the US.

My vote is for Stormy Kromer. Made in da UP eh.

On 19 February 2008, our esteemed columnist, one Michael Johnston, pointed out the importance of a good winter hat, and even included a link....


Home of much RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the uninitiated) gear, including the aforementioned hat. Specifically, the RCMP Winter Muskrat. From some folks that know a thing or two about hats and cold weather.

My personal choice here in Toronto.... Rothco Genuine U.S.N Wool Watch Cap, available on Amazon, comfy, warm and unpretentious. 100% wool. Don't need much more...

Good Luck!

Hello Mike...There is a variety of snooker called "American Snooker". It can be played on American-sized tables (8 or 9 footers work best), with regular American cues, and balls that are sized like standard American balls but colored like traditional snooker balls. The table has snooker markings, but it is not uncommon to see a table that have both the snooker markings and the traditional American lines/spots. My recollection is that the rules are only slightly different than the British snooker rules.

Folks that have traditional American tables can therefore try snooker just by getting a new set of balls (pardon the wording).

I grew up playing all the normal American pool games, but greatly prefer snooker, either the British or American varieties; although the British-sized game is, in my opinion, the best of all billiard games...Chico

How 'bout this hat for the dog?

Do you need a ball room for a pool table?

[You said that right on cue. --Mike]

Santa brought my kids a small portable 6 foot pool table for Christmas. Cost less than almost any new lens on the market. Best idea ever as it's the first thing I've seen in quite a while that the kids would rather do than look at a screen. Santa would have bought a bigger one but we are somewhat space limited, however i'm considering ways to get an 8 or 10 foot table into the house somehow.

I added a reduced snooker ball set (10 reds instead of the usual 15) My 11yo loves snooker already, even on the tiny table we currently have. A true game of skill and a great way to spend a rainy day as a family. It's been three weeks and I think that table has already seen over a hundred games.


Almost 30 years ago I visited the Great Wall of China in November. It was the year the stock market fell apart. There I bought a hat that looked like a Chinese Army discard, for about $5, which was probably a tourist rip-off by the standards of the day. It has fur inside, on the tie-down ear muffs and down to your collar at the back. It is much faded now but I still take it whenever I expect cold weather.

In Siberia people wear their coats with the fur on the inside. The reversible Russian bomber hats that can also be worn with the fur on the inside must be the warmest of all.


Thanks to British of the nineteenth century we are blessed with so many interesting sports. Especially the ones that needed a lot of leisure time, madness, wit and too many early afternoon gin & tonics to develop. Cricket for example has a Mahabharata of rules that’s even thicker than the average modern DSLR manual. And British sports rules are for knowing, not for understanding. For example the counting at tennis is: 15-love, 30-love, 40-love, game. Why one gets fifteen points after the first two rally’s and only ten at the third is beyond imagination. And how many points you exactly need to win a game remains forever a mystery. But it doesn’t make the game less adorable. On the contrary.

Here are some videos on other great British sports:

What Cricket looks like to Americans


It''s -4 in Milwaukee so I'll be wearing my "Minus 33" merino wool hat. Very light and warm.

Try this:

The Outdoor Research Frostline Hat is a good choice, tested it in Antarctica for 7 weeks and it came out 2 thumbs up.

"GO Dog Go" actually made it into three episodes of "The Simpsons."

Having lived in Michigan & now Massachusetts for the last 25+ years, I've grown to know the need for a good hat as well. I've come to appreciate the Mountain Hardware Dome Perignon (http://www.rei.com/product/835052/mountain-hardwear-dome-perignon-hat). I have a big head (7 3/4 hat) and the Large fits well over my ears. It's Polartec and lined to protect against the wind. My head has never been cold, no matter the weather, while wearing this. It's also thin and fits easily in my coat pocket.

And, relative to the socks comments above --- yes, Darn Tough socks are absolutely the best. Lifetime warranty (for socks!), amazingly comfortable, warm, and breathably comfortable in only the way that the best Merino wool can be.

I am a fan of a type of hat called a musher's hat, explorers hat or trapper's hat.

The general style is fleece on the inside and wind and water proof fabric on the outside. They typically have sort of vestigial bill that is just enough to shield the sun when needed. The bill can be squashed out of the way by a vertical camera or just popped up and out of the way if it is not needed. They have generous ear flaps that can fold down to cover ears, cheeks and chin in case of deep cold or wind.

I can't seem to find one on Amazon, here are two links to outfits in Alaska that make them:



As an Alaska photographer, I can attest that these work great in the wilds of Alaska and the Yukon. I can also attest that the wearer of one of these hats does not really fit in in a hip downtown Minneapolis coffee shop. Function wins out over form or fashion.

Hey those snooker player in the 60's hustled pool games ....after the snooker games.....8 ball played with regular pool balls on the snooker table.......tuff stuff and they always made a few hundred.

Now here my hat...http://home.avvanta.com/~rgphoto/2004/basqueberet.htm...and a photographer is selling them. I like it because you can take pictures with it on and is very warm....pull over your ears if really cold....stylistic too.

Mike, I lived in England for five years and became an avid snooker fan. It is an incredible game to watch. I once spent several hours at a snooker table and was lucky to score a single point. I came away with even more respect for the game. Since I've become a North American again I've been cut off from the sport; please tell me how I can see snooker on TV. I have hundreds of channels on my cable network and not one shows a snooker match.

[Hey Mark, I just use YouTube...the matches are delayed but there's very little chance I'll learn the outcome accidentally--who won the latest snooker match over in Blighty is not a big topic of conversation in Central New York. [g] --Mike]

In the tropics, you'll need a "cool hat": a topless baseball cap-like sun hat. The visor shields your eyes while keeping your noggin aerated. Before I acquired an LCD loupe, I used one when out shooting (thru the viewfinder) on a hot sunny day. Handy too, I guess, when shooting pool under the lights.

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