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The Galibier Flanders Winter Hat is its take on the iconic Belgian-style winter cap. It's low on bulk and high on stretch, which makes it comfortable to wear under a helmet and should fit most heads, though it's not as warm as some.
The difference between a skull cap and a Belgian-style winter cap is that the latter has a peak and drops down low at the back to fully cover your ears and most of the neck too. This makes it a good option in Belgian-type weather: any combination of rain, wind, sleet and snow.
This Galibier hat is made from seven panels of double-layer, thin, lightly brushed SuperRoubaix Lycra; the label says 85% polyamide, 15% elastane. Those seven panels are flatlock stitched together, which makes for a comfortable under-helmet feel. I didn't notice any ridges digging in, even on all-day rides.
The fabric is soft and stretchy, making this hat lovely to wear and meaning it should fit most heads – it comes in one size (fits all). And one colour, for that matter.
The peak is a jolly useful thing to keep the worst of the weather off your glasses. It flips up and down nicely and stays in the position you want it.
Headwear and temperature is such a personal thing; some people can't stand to wear anything other than a regular cycling cap under their helmet, while others (read: me) will not think twice about wearing more than one skull cap when the thermometer gets in the low single digits.
Galibier bill this hat as 'protecting you from the winter elements' and 'perfect for frosty riding days'.
I don't have any hair on top and I don't like a cold head, and for me this hat is not warm enough for deep winter riding. The fabric isn't windproof, nor is it water repellent. It's not claimed to be, but those are features I look for, for deep winter riding
I did wear it on frosty days – with a windproof skull cap on top, which is actually not a bad way to use this winter hat. Layering it like this gives you temperature regulating options when it warms up a bit – you can take the windproofing layer off and still retain some warmth, and the peak. You don't get this option with warmer, windproof Belgium hats.
I do own one of those full-fat Belgium hats, but have found myself favouring the layering option since reviewing this hat.
So, while for me it's not quite warm enough on its own in winter, it has become a favourite winter riding accessory.
Typically for Galibier, the hat is well priced at £17.30 – that's good value for a Belgian style winter hat. You can easily pay £15 and more for a regular cycling cap.
Lusso's Repel Belgium Hat – a warmer, full-fat windproof and water-repellent option – is slightly more expensive at £19.99, but Monton's Fourth Field Ear Protection Cap, which looks similar in terms of features, is now £36, and Castelli's Difesa Thermal Cap, which also looks comparable, is now £38. Stolen Goat's Mekon Belgian Winter Cap, made from Windtex, which Stu liked when he reviewed it last year, is £35.
Galibier's Flanders hat isn't quite warm enough for me for riding in deep winter on its own, but I do run towards the colder end, so it might be warm enough for you. And even if it isn't, I found it jolly nice to wear as part of a layering system. At £17.30, it's the cheapest Belgian-style hat we've reviewed in the last few years, too.
Not as warm as some, but a great fit that means it can be layered for deep winter use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Galibier Flanders Winter Hat
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for
Galibier says: 'A Classic, Belgian-style Winter Hat has been designed to keep you protected from the Winter elements.
'Belgian cycling caps and hats have an iconic style, look and feel; but we have evolved the 'on-the-bike' function, by the use of modern, high-performance fabrics, this cap fits neatly under your helmet.
'As per the classic style of the Belgian cycling cap, this has a fold-down panel that covers the FULL ears and neck, perfect for frosty riding days. The Soft feel cap has a great combination of durability, insulation and comfortable 7-panel design.
'This one size fits most, cap comes in black with embroidered logo on the peak and natural cotton internal headband.
'Simply two layers of thin, SuperRoubaix lightly brushed lycra.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Multiple panel design
Flat 6 needle stitching
Ribbed knitted rear flap
Can be worn under your helmet
Made in Italy
The Roubaix fabric is manufactured by MITI, 85% polyamide – 15% elastane
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I just bunged it in with the rest of the washing; it looks as good as new after half a dozen washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As mentioned in the review, for me personally this is more of an autumn/spring hat than a deep winter one, but I accept that this is dependent on how hot you run. As an under-helmet extra warmth layer, it works very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's not bulky and the peak is useful.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It could be warmer.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's the cheapest comparable Belgium style hat we've reviewed in the last few years, and is not actually that much more expensive than a regular cycling cap.
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 good: it's not quite warm enough for me on its own for riding in deep winter, but I do run towards the colder end, and even so, I found it good to wear as part of a layering system. At £17.30, it's also good value.
About the tester
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