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The North Face WS High Point Hat
By Raymond Estrella
January 03, 2009
NAME: Raymond Estrella
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in
many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and
average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to
lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike
hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a
freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I
am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Image courtesy The North Face
Manufacturer: The North Face Inc (TNF)
Web site: www.thenorthface.com
Product: WS High Point Hat
Year purchased: 2007
MSRP: $40.00 (US)
Weight listed: N/A
Verified weight: 2.4 oz (g)
Size reviewed: Large (also available in Medium)
Color reviewed: Blue (discontinued)
Other colors available: Black, Charcoal Heather/Black
The North Face WS High Point hat (hereafter referred to as the High
Point or hat) is described by the manufacturer as being, "Designed for
the core athlete who needs protection in the coldest, harshest
conditions; this snug-fitting hat is exactly what you need when you're
facing brutal conditions." I try to be athletic and Lord knows my core
has been getting bigger, so I think they mean me
The High Point is a "bomber-hat" style head covering. It is dome
shaped and fits tight against the head with a band that goes across my
forehead and then swoops down to completely cover my ears. It then
sweeps back up to clear the neck while still covering the lower back
of my skull at the spine. The North Face name and dome logo are
centered on the front of this band, and the left side is adorned with
a Gore Windstopper logo.
Speaking of which, the WS in the name stands for the DWR Gore
Windstopper that is in the 300 series Polartec fleece that makes up
the outer shell of the hat. The web site does not say that the High
Point uses any different weights of the Polartec fleece but it seems
to me that the upper portions of the hat have a larger knap than the
lower sections. This is apparent in the picture to the right.
The High Point has what TNF calls Fieldsensor brushed poly tricot
lining. It is grey and is very soft. While viewed from inside it looks
as though the lining's seams are at the same location as the flat-
locked outer shell seams. The two are not sewn together at these
locations though. The lining is only attached to the shell at the very
top of the hat and along the lower edges. This allows some movement
between the two layers enhancing comfort in my experience when worn
under a climbing helmet.
The High Point has an elastic draw cord that runs from the ear flaps.
A very strong, spring-loaded plastic cord lock allows the draw cord to
be tightened under my chin to keep it in place in high winds. Or while
hanging upside down from a pine branch too, I suppose
This hat has been used on many winter trips over the past two years.
Most of them have been in our two local ranges, home to either Mt San
Gorgonio (which Dave and I are on our way to above) or Mt San Jacinto
on the other side of the valley. It has also been used in the Sierra
Nevada and White Mountains.
The temperatures have been from a low of 4 F to highs in the 40s F if
windy. (-16 to 7 C). I have had it over 14000 ft (4270 m) in
elevation. While testing the Marmot Flurry Jacket I am sure that I
wore the High Point in Minnesota in temps well below 0 F (-18 C) and
in high winds. (These were not backpacking situations though.)
For its latest use Jenn and I celebrated New Years Eve by spending the
night in Round Valley in Mount San Jacinto State Park. We snow shoed 6
miles (10 km) and stayed at an elevation of 9100 ft (2775 m) on 5 ft
(1.5 m) of snow pack. The temps ran from 40 to 22 F (4 to -6 C).
Thankfully there was no wind to speak of.
I bought the High Point hat for a couple of reasons. First and
foremost was I wanted a warm hat to take on mountaineering trips that
would not bunch up under my climbing helmet. That is what drew me to
the High Point in the first place.
As I was testing a bright blue coat from Marmot (the Flurry, see
review) I liked the idea of having a matching hat. I have, of course,
been ridiculed immensely for this decision
Oh well. Here is a shot at
break time on the way to climb Mt San Jacinto with my matching attire.
I like the Gore Windstopper a lot. I am a pretty hot person. I go
without my hat quite often in winter. Even when it is cold I do not
need much to stay warm. But wind really bugs me. The High Point works
great at blocking the wind but not over-heating my head.
It even sheds moisture well. I do not wear it in rain (see below) but
I have had it in wet snow and in mountain hugging clouds. Here is a
shot from an early winter solo trip that saw one of the first snow
storms hit me on my way up.
It fits very well under my Black Diamond climbing helmet. It also
works well with goggles when the need arises for their use. I have
worn it in the Sierra on a very cold rainy fall day under an Outdoor
Research Seattle Sombrero.
Another use that I put the High Point to is as a sleeping hat. Because
I can only sleep on my side, and am often in a Big Agnes sleeping bag,
I can't keep my head in the bags hood properly. Thus once the
temperatures start dipping Ray's noggin starts freezing at night. I
combat frost-bitten ears by wearing the High Point to bed. I do not
tighten the draw cord and do wake up at times with the hat twisted
around my head.
On our New Year's Eve trip this use startled my wife who did not know
I had put it on after she had fallen asleep. She woke me up yelling,
"Ray! Are you OK?" She said she just saw this big pale thing where my
head was. He he. Here is a pic from that trip.
I really have nothing to complain about the High Point hat. I wash it
with all my other laundry. It is still in very good shape with no
holes, pulled threads or blown seams. I am sure it will keep seeing
use on my future winter trips. Maybe I can get a different color