Product Review: Patagonia Re-Tool Headband

Opening Image Re-tool

I’ll begin this one by saying that, although Patagonia has marked this as a women’s item, I’m a guy and I can confidently say that this piece has become an essential item on any day where the temperature has dipped below the mid-forties.

In the late fall and early winter, it’s relatively common for me to spend the majority of my day outside. Whether I’m hiking, casting a heavily weighted nymph into a deep run, or am just making my way around town, I usually like to add some form of additional heat to my head. However, when I’m outside all day long, I’ve found that those traditional beanies can lock my hair in one certain position, and then I’m left with a bit of discomfort on my noggin, especially whenever my hair decides that it needs to move in any direction. With this, I sought out a solution that would still keep me warm, but would also prevent my hair from being locked up and uncomfortable. The simple answer to this problem is a headband—they liberate your hair all while trapping heat around your ears to keep you nice and cozy.

Now, comes the hard part. What exactly did I want in a headband? Well, I certainly didn’t want something that was only focused on the fashion side of things. So, after reeling through my options, I finally settled on thePatagonia Re-Tool Headband. I’ve always been a fan of their Re-Tool fabric, but being that it’s a fabric exclusive to their women’s line, I was never really able to test it out. And although this particular item is considered a women’s style, I was pretty convinced that I could get away with wearing a neutral color without being scoffed at.

Upon receiving my headband, I was instantly excited. Crafted from a slightly fluffy polyester outer with a comfortable fleece-lined interior, I was sure that this headband would stand up to the rigors of the day all while ensuring excellent heat-retention. Fortunately for me, the day that I got it, the weather was a cool 29 degrees, and I had a walk home from work that would generally warrant a beanie in this type of weather. So, I forewent my typical hat and figured I’d give this headband a go, and talk about near-instant-satisfaction. The entire walk home (mind you, it was slightly less than a mile) my entire head was kept warm. I was sort of confused. How can a small piece of high-loft fleece wrapped around my ears keep me this warm? I’m not sure how Patagonia managed to do it, but I surely won’t argue it.

Since that walk home, I’ve been able to implement this headband into everything from freezing mornings spent along Pennsylvania’s Spring Creek to post-work cruises on those brisk evenings. No matter what I’m getting into on a cold day, I can safely say that this minor accessory will keep me feeling comfy. And for that, I’d recommend the Re-Tool Headband to men, women, and anyone else who doesn’t like the constraint that your typical winter headwear provides.

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