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Swrve Belgian wool merino cap



Warmer than you'd expect from a reasonably thin hat, and feels lovely next to the skin
Feels lovely next to the skin
Merino needs little washing
Wool insulates when wet
Not cheap
Contact: Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to recommends

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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It does what it says on the tin: the Swrve Belgian wool merino hat is a Belgian style hat made from merino wool. It works well, keeps your head warm even when it's wet, and £48 is not outrageous for a merino wool hat made in the USA.

I like a Belgian style hat. Maybe it's because I'm Belgian. Or, more likely, because the peak helps keep the worst of the rain off glasses, and the back is dropped low enough to cover most of the neck, unlike most skullcap-style under-helmet hats.

> Buy now: Swrve Belgian wool merino hat for £48 from Swrve

This one is made from 100% merino wool. Wool is an old school technical fabric that keeps you warm in bad weather, and was the go-to material for cycling garments back in the day. It's not exactly good at drying quickly, but it does still insulate when it's wet, which is not something you can say about some modern materials.

2023 Swrve Belgian wool merino cap - 3.jpg

Merino's anti-bacterial properties also mean that you can get away with washing it a lot less often – good for the environment. And just as well, because my experience with merino garments – I've had lots – is that small holes start appearing after a number of washes, especially those made from 100% merino wool, like this one.


I should say that the construction of this hat looks top-notch, and there are absolutely no issues with the fabric after the testing period. It's clearly put together with a lot of care; Swrve says it uses the same flatlock stitching that it uses on its bib shorts. Consequently, there are no issues with ridges digging in or other under-helmet discomfort.

The peak works well too – it flips up and down as you'd expect, and stays put in either position.


Swrve's Belgian merino hat comes in one size (fits all), and fits me well. The merino wool has a lovely feel to it, with no sign of any itchiness you can get with some wool garments. It feels so soft and comfy on the head that I'm having a job stopping my wife from stealing it every time she gets on her bike.

Temperature range

I tend to feel the cold on my head, perhaps something to do with the fact that there is not a lot going on, hair-wise, on top. For example, when I reviewed Galibier's Flanders Winter Hat, I found that it wasn't quite warm enough on its own, but worked well with a windproof skullcap on top.

No such issues with this one; the merino wool seems to work in quite a wide temperature range, and is warmer than you'd expect from a reasonably thin hat without windstopping tech.

I've worn it comfortably on a dry frosty e-bike ride where my Karoo said it was -4°C; I mention the 'e' element of the ride as I'd expect to feel colder on an e-bike as you're not working as hard.

I've also worn it on a three-hour ride in steady rain into the wind, where the Karoo said it was 6-7°C, and I didn't particularly notice the hat was wet under my helmet until I took it off – the magic of merino wool.


At £48 it's not cheap; you can get cheaper Belgian style hats.

For example, Swrve's own softshell Belgian cap, made from a 3-layer softshell water and wind resistant fabric, costs £30. And Galibier's Flanders Winter Hat, which I mentioned I reviewed a couple of years ago, now costs £19.30, though it's not made from merino wool and not as warm.

Pearson's Hard As Nails Merino Head Warmer costs £25 and Steve thought it was lovely. As the name suggests, it's made from merino wool, but it's not a Belgian-style hat.

As ever, you can spend more, if you really want to – for example, on Velocio's Zero Cycling Cap which costs £68; it's not made from merino wool, but it does have windblocking fabric.


If you're in the market for an under-helmet hat to keep your head warm this winter, then Swrve's Belgian wool merino hat is a good option. The fabric feels really soft and nice on the skin, and keeps you warm even when it's wet. There are advantages to merino wool – its antibacterial properties mean it gets stinky far less quickly than manmade fabrics, so you don't have to wash it as often. There's also a disadvantage, which I have not seen yet on this hat, but have experienced with pretty much every other merino wool garment I've owned, which is that the fabric itself wears quicker than other materials.

As for price – yes, £48 is a lot of money for a hat, and you can certainly find other hats that do the same thing for less. But given that this one is made from merino wool and is made in the USA, I don't think the price is outrageous.


Warmer than you'd expect from a reasonably thin hat, and feels lovely next to the skin test report

Make and model: Swrve Belgian wool merino cap

Size tested: One size fits all

Tell us what the product is for

swrve says: "A traditional Belgian cut winter cap with fold-down ear flaps, this cap has two layers of New Zealand merino in a 'double bubble' style so it will keep your head and ears warm from the winter chills but is still easy to use with a helmet."

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

swrve has this to say:


2 layers of 100% New Zealand Merino wool for superior warmth

flatlock seams for reduced seam bulk

reflective detail


made of two layers of knit 8.25 oz 100% New Zealand Merino itch-free wool this cap will keep your noggin warm on your chilliest ride. wool fibers naturally regulate temperature and moisture and insulates even when wet. wool also naturally resists odor.


for comfort while wearing a helmet these are flatlocked which produces a negligible seam bulk compared to traditional caps. (we use the same stitch as in high-end bibs)


one size fits most


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

Unusually, there is no care label inside the hat. I just bunged it in the wash with everything else, like I do with all my cycling kit. So far, no problems.

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

I've really enjoyed wearing this hat; it's worked well to keep my noggin warm in dry sub-zero temperatures, as it has in wet middle single digit temperatures.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The feel of the wool.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing to dislike. It could cost less, but this is a made in USA merino product, so it's never going to cost peanuts.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

You can get other hats that do the same thing for significantly less, but they're probably not made from merino, or made in the USA.

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

This is a lovely hat to wear and merino wool seems to be the perfect material given that it insulates even when wet. Apart from the price, which is slightly high, I can't really say there are any let-downs with this hat. I did mention in the review that in my experience merino wool wears more quickly than other materials, but as I haven't seen any signs of this in the review period, I can't mark it down for that. It's excellent.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift

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