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The Pearson Merino Head Warmer is lovely – it's thin enough to stay comfy under a helmet, warm enough to be worth bothering with, and breathable enough to leave on when you're working hard. It's expensive and you can get similar performance for less, but still, you're unlikely to regret treating your noggin to this.
This is a very fancy fabric. It's 80% merino wool, and it's MAPP merino too, which means it's been tested for fibre strength and consistency, apparently, and has only been processed in very eco-friendly ways. The remaining 20% is nylon to add a bit of stretch, which is necessary as there's only one size.
It's stitched together very neatly along robust-looking seams, and the result is really everything you could want: it's slim and very light so it fits under helmets or in jersey pockets very well; it's soft and usefully warm for its weight; it breathes impressively enough you don't just boil your head; and it works as well when it's wet as when it's dry. It dries pretty quickly, too.
The weather during the test was very changeable, swinging from so cold it was too icy to ride to mild and extremely wet, but I still found this useful on a fair amount of rides (especially night rides). It can cope with a fair range of temperatures, and I personally felt comfortable in it up to eight or nine degrees, because it deals with sweat and slightly excess heat very well.
The seams aren't completely flat but caused me no problems, and neither did the rose logo, even though I expected it to as it's particularly thick. I keep my hair pretty short so it's not like I've got an unusual amount of padding; I think you'd be unlucky to have issues with anything digging in, especially as it's so stretchy.
Basically, this was never anything but comfortable and pleasingly warm, and when it got too warm it was very easy to stow. At 21g you don't know it's there.
This hat will lighten your wallet nicely too. At £25 it's more than £1 per gram, and a similar price to the Galibier Barrier Merino Head Set (£26.25) even though that includes a neck warmer as well. That said, the Pearson is much better sized and shaped for use under a helmet, and the Galibier uses considerably less merino at 50%.
Much cheaper options are out there: the Lusso Thermal Skull Hat is nothing particularly fancy at all, but it will keep your head warm and costs just £10.
Though undoubtedly expensive against the competition, the Pearson hat is also very lovely to wear. You don't need to spend this much, but if you do, you'll be very happy with the result.
Very comfortable with excellent performance thanks to high merino content, but expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearson Hard As Nails Merino Head Warmer
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for
Pearson says: "With a high warmth-to-weight ratio, this Pearson head warmer offers excellent cold-weather, breathable protection that fits easily under a helmet. So, you'll look hard as nails even when you don't feel it."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fabric: 80% merino
High-quality MAPP merino
High warmth-to-weight ratio
Stretches to cover the face
Wash at 30 degrees centigrade
Wash with similar colours
Please do not bleach
Please do not tumble dry
Reshape whilst damp
Made in Portugal
Strong seams and a quality feel.
There's only one size, and with the easy stretch it feels very good.
It's expensive, but the fabric, fit and performance all feel worthy of it.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – it's thin, secure, comfy and warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, though I could raise an eyebrow at the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £25 this costs more than £1 per gram, and is a similar price to the Galibier Barrier Merino Head Set (£26.25) even though that includes a neck warmer as well. That said, the Pearson is much better sized and shaped for use under a helmet, and the Galibier uses considerably less merino at 50%.
The Lusso Thermal Skull Hat, meanwhile, is nothing particularly fancy at all, but it will keep your head warm and costs just £10.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, at a discount.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is unobtrusive but effective, and does exactly what you want without fuss. There are cheaper options that work well, but many rivals just aren't as well shaped, made or specced for fabric. For cold days on the bike it's excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,