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Kalf Merino Beanie



A functional and warm beanie that actually looks quite good too

The Kalf Merino Beanie is well made, functional, and fits under a helmet easily. It also looks good enough that it can be worn as a standalone hat. It's nice and warm, doesn't hold too much moisture and is easy to care for. It's one size only, though, so check it fits.

  • Pros: Comfortable, looks good, fits well under a helmet
  • Cons: A bit expensive, looser fit can let some wind chill in

It's a bit looser than a skull cap so I felt some wind getting in on very cold days, but it covers your ears and when you take your helmet off, you needn't feel quite so self-conscious (see poor old Stu here as an example of what I mean). In fact, I'd go as far as to say the Kalf Merino actually looks quite good, so you needn't take it off at the cafe stop. My head is around a 58cm circumference, about average, and I found the fit to be fairly loose. The beanie is one size, so if you've got a small head it might be a bit too big.

> Find your nearest Evans store here

Two colour options are available, burgundy or black, and while the £20 price tag is on the steep side for a poly blend beanie, it's not outrageous. It's not quite as warm as my favourite beanie for cycling, the multi-purpose Buff Ketten, but Kalf's definitely looks better off the bike.

Gore's Universal Thermal beanie is around the same price, but I find it a bit shallow so it doesn't cover the ears as well, and it's thicker.

Overall, I'm a real fan of this beanie, and tend to reach for it on most mornings in temperatures of 6°C or below. Credit to Kalf for its contribution towards making under-helmet winter headwear more fashionable.


A functional and warm beanie that actually looks quite good too

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Make and model: Kalf Merino Beanie

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for

Evans says, "Sometimes your helmet isn't enough to keep your head warm during those winter rides. That's where the Kalf Merino Beanie comes into its own. Made from a soft merino/polyester blend, it's designed to fit under your helmet for the ultimate combination of warmth and protection. It comes with a thermal lined headband for extra warmth and is available in colours that fit perfectly with the rest of the Kalf winter range."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Evans lists these features:

50/50 merino/polyester blend

Thermal properties

Moisture management

Thermal lined headband

Designed specifically to fit under a helmet

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Very well made, nice and warm, no irritating seams.

Rate the product for performance:

Fits under a helmet, comfy, doesn't get too sweaty, no problems.

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:

Quite wide and a bit loose on a medium head.

Rate the product for sizing:

If you've got a small head it might be a bit loose – it's one size.

Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:

Very comfortable, no itching.

Rate the product for value:

On the pricey side, but won't break the bank.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No issues with a machine wash.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Looks acceptable on its own, unlike skull caps! And I like the colours.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a form fit so some wind chill can get in.

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

It's a decent bit of functional kit, a little expensive, but it looks better than most thermal cycling hats and it's comfortable. The one-size-doesn't-fit-all meant a few draughts for me, but it's still good – more so if it fits your head better.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 179cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac)  My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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