What Is A Skull Cap? – Keeping In The Heat


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I was cycling for a good couple of years until I came across looking into a hat to put under my helmet as I was loosing a lot of heat through my head. Eventually after doing some research and talking to people in my cycling club, along came the word “skull caps”, so I was asking myself, what is a skull cap?

So I did more research and decided to try one of these out, which was an Under Armour Skull Cap as I am a huge fan of their products. When it arrived, I couldn’t believe how thin and small it was so I wasn’t sure this was going to work for what I wanted it for.

Of course, they say don’t judge until you try it out for yourself, so I put it on under my helmet which was almost like putting on a swimming cap, surprisingly it was tight but very comfy and off out I went to give it my own verdict. I must say I couldn’t believe the difference this little thing made, it was thin, lightweight and very effective that it kept my head nice and warm and didn’t even effect the fit of my helmet.

One of the biggest things for me was it managed to cover my ears too which removed the cold wind hitting my ears and causing me to have ear ache which isn’t nice when you’re out and about on a ride as you can imagine, so this little baby for me was one of the best things I have bought!

What Are Skull Caps?

A skull cap is basically a thin lightweight “beanie” type hat that is designed to be worn during outdoor activities. The aim of these is to lock in most of the heat which you loose from your head but at the same time, they can help to keep you cool by drawing away the sweat from your head, just like a base layer does, but only these are on your head.What_Is_A_Skull_Cap

Skull caps aren’t used just for cycling, as I said, they are for outdoor activities, but they are very popular for cyclists during the cold months due to the fact they are perfect to wear under your helmet on a ride because they don’t add weight or add any size onto your head.

So when you’re shopping for a skull cap, don’t get hooked on the fact they have to be a cycling specific item, just read the material it is made from and thickness to make sure it isn’t too thick, then this should be fine to wear under your helmet.


A lot of brands will provide skull caps in a one size fits all and some will be different sizes such as, child, youth and adult. The material is usually of a stretchy material so even though the fitting needs to be quite tight, they should comfortably stretch over your head.

They shouldn’t be too tight that they are almost cutting off the circulation to your head and end up leaving marks on your head, just snug so that they can keep the heat in, too baggy and it will be flapping about under your helmet and maybe cause movement of your helmet on your head.

Just like base layers, make sure that the skull cap is made from technology material designed to draw away the sweat as this will help prevent you over heating and take away sweat dripping down your face into your eyes whilst riding.

Some skull caps can contain a fleece lining for the very cold conditions and also built in ear flaps.

Why They Can Be Important?

Skull caps can be used all year round if you wish as they are designed to keep you cool as well as keep you warm. There are many studies out there which argue about how much heat is lost through your head and that this can change depending on the exercise you are doing and also on the outside temperature.

Majority of studies would say that around 30% – 35% heat is lost through your head at freezing temperatures. But this should’t be the only reason behind adding a skull cap to your cycling kit, it’s more about the comfort with drawing away sweat, keeping the head wind off your head and also some of them can go over your ears to keep them out of the cold wind. It’s more about comfort and being dry than it is about getting cold because you will generate heat while exercising anyway, it’s just keeping warm.

List Of Top Under Armour Skull Caps

Here is a list of skull caps in no particular order that I think are worth considering adding to your cycling kit. I choose Under Armour as these are one of the biggest brands in the world when it comes to thermal technology;

1. Under Armour Boys’ Basic Skull Cap


There are many kids out there who start out young in cycling and even take part in long club rides, so for those who have children into cycling, this is a great skull cap for them. One size, lightweight and a tight-fitting, perfect to fit under the little ones helmets.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

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2. Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Cycle Cap


The Sealskinz cap is designed to be worn in all different weather conditions. It has three layers, lightweight, waterproof and windproof, thin enough to fit under protective head ware and this cap is also breathable.

Only downside to this cap is there are no ear protection, so this cap wouldn’t be ideal for those riding in near freezing conditions.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

Check out the latest prices on Amazon US

3. VeloChampion Thermo Tech Cycling Skull Cap


Lightweight, breathable and windproof which can be worn under a helmet. This skull cap stretches over the ears also to give extra protection against the wind for your ears.

Made of thermal fleece material to help keep your head warm during the very cold winter rides and the material also helps to draw sweat away from your head.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

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4. BALEAF Skull Cap


Made from 90% Polyester and 10% Spandex to give it a stretchy fabric to fit over your head along with being breathable. This is a good cap to fit on under your helmet.

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5. Optimum Men’s Nitebrite Thermal Skull Cap


Made from a warm yet lightweight material which is designed to act as a helmet liner so fits easily under your helmet. The Sealskinz cap also features a high visibility panel at the rear which will show below your helmet at the back to help increase visibility for other road users.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

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Are Skull Caps For You?

Are you finding yourself out on rides with sweat dripping down your face and into your eyes? Or do you ride often in the cold weather and feel the wind chill hitting your head through the holes on your helmet? Or maybe like me, your ears start to feel the cold and you can’t focus on your rides because your ears get the frost bite feeling and then the aches begin?

If your answer is yes to any of these then I would suggest trying out one of these skull caps. The good thing about these caps is that they are small and lightweight so even if you wasn’t sure you needed it on a ride, they can fit easily into one of your jersey or jacket pockets or in a bag just in case. Also, these caps are quite light on your budget too, the ones I have listed above are all within a reasonable price range so they don’t need to be a costly expense.

Check out a wider range of skull caps on Amazon UK or Amazon US

Please feel free to post any comments below about skull caps, or maybe you want to add a review of your own or just start a discussion on these caps, I will always respond.


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8 thoughts on “What Is A Skull Cap? – Keeping In The Heat”

    1. Thank you for your comment. You don’t have to wear a skull cap if you don’t want to but they are good to have in the cold for sure and to help draw the sweat away when it’s cooler.

  1. Man I just read your article and I am impressed. I can’t ride bikes any more but My ears are sensitive to ear infections, especially in the winter time when it is way to cold, (that’s Missouri weather for you.)
    I have been looking for something that is thin and comfortable, for ear muffs fall off to easy a break a lot.
    I think that I will invest in one before this winter hits and wear it under my winter stocking cap.
    I mighty not be riding a bike but if the one that goes over ears does what you say it does, I will be referring many people to your site. Thank you for this information it has been very helpful to me and my ears lol.

    1. Thank you Lori, of course these can be worn for any outdoor activity and it sounds like you could really benefit from one of these caps for your ears. I’m glad this post has helped you out and please feel free to be in touch if you need anymore help or anyone you know needs some help too.

  2. Hi Lee,

    I’d never heard of a skull cap before until I read your article.
    Good information as my head gets really cold during the winter months. I now know why as your article states 30-35% of my heat is lost through the head.
    Do you find more cyclist liking one type or brand of skull cap over another?

    Which of the above do you prefer?



    1. Thanks Bob, I’ve cyclists with all different brands if I’m honest so I couldn’t put them down to one brand. I’ve have an under armour skull cap which I’ve used over the last couple of years. Washed of course

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