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Types of Winter Hats

The 8 Essential Winter Hats of a Yooper

An Upper Peninsula winter can be one of the longest and coldest in North America. It’s snowing or blowing on most winter days. But a Yooper is prepared for every occasion and every blizzard. For every winter condition, for every kind of snowfall, for every temperature, and for social events both formal and informal a Yooper has a perfect hat for the occasion.

Yoopers aren’t in it for fashion and style, but for the functionality and purpose of a hat. That’s what makes each of these one-of-a-kind.

Canvas Wildfowl Cap

Canvas Wildfowl Hat
Canvas is your best option in terms of a wildfowl cap. Canvas is very durable making this a great work hat, one you don’t mind getting dirty, and perfect for an all purpose hat if you need to shovel the snow, get wood for the furnace, and other various outdoor winter chores. Though very similar to a Stormy Kromer (below) the wildfowl has a little less class making it more an informal cap.


Across much of the country this basic knit hat is referred to as a “beanie”. However in the Upper Peninsula this is commonly referred to as a “chook” (or chuke) and “toque” (or tuque). There is no doubt that a chook is the most common of winter hats and comes in the most varieties. Some have a ball on the top. Many have sports teams. And they come in a wide array of fabrics, colors, and fits. Chooks are warm, durable, and practical for nearly all scenarios.

Hunter’s Orange Knit Hat

Hunter Orange Knit Cap
In addition to all the tremendous features of the chook, this simple knit hat has the greatest function of any other hat on the list. This hat can save your life! It’s no joke, hunters will tell you just the same. If you wear this hat in the woods there’s no mistaking that you’re NOT the 30-point buck. You can be seen from about 17 miles away with this classic hunter-orange hat. Being seen from 17 miles away could have several other practical functions as well.  A must-have for anyone going hunting.

Ski Hat

Knit Skiing Hat
Once again, the traditional knit ski hat has all the great functions of a chook. However, adding a few additional features make it perfect for the ski hill. A braided string at the top to measure how fast you’re going. Ergonomically designed ear coverings designed to avoid frostbite. And optionally you can have two strings (not pictured above) to tie your ski hat to you’re noggin (recommended for beginners who are likely to crash frequently on the hill).

Wool Packer

Wool Packer Hat
There are several types of packer hats, but this is all about winter hats, and in the winter the only acceptable packer hat is made of wool. A beautiful work of architecture and function, this hat will protect you from pouring sleet or snow. Wool packers are perhaps the best choice of winter hat for a formal occasion such as going to church or a court hearing. But if you need more warmth you may want to choose the…


The coassack is a fabulous choice for formal occasions when the most amount of warmth is needed. It’s nearly as warm as a bomber hat, and yields the highest of class. Cossacks seem to be a favorite among elderly gentlemen, and there is no denying that this hat will give you an appearance of honorable and dignified. The cossack (also known as kozacy, in Polish) is a tradition that comes primarily from the southern regions of Russia.

Bomber Hat

Bomber Hat
There is no better hat seen in the Upper Peninsula for blizzards and days that are -20 degrees. If you’re outdoors and need protection from the wind and snow for a long duration of time, there is no other choice than the bomber hat. And if you wear this at any other time you’re going to be sweating bullets.

Stormy Kromer

Stormy Kromer
Perhaps the most famous of Yooper hats the Stormy Kromer has been around since 1903 and has a chance to represent the USA Olympic team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Though the classic and original Stormy Kromer cap comes in red, they now have a variety of colors from pink to camouflage. Stormy Kromer claims two practical reasons for ear flaps: 1) Sub-zero temperatures and 2) the guy at the end of the bar whining about his 401(k). We’ll leave the rest up to you.

This has been another fine example of “steez” in the Upper Peninsula.

Stay warm out there! And if you ever need another hat there’s one for any need. Don’t worry, if you’re still looking for style we don’t want you “compin’ your steez”, so all of these fine hats come in a variety of styles and colors and are readily available across the Upper Peninsula.

Which hat would be your first choice? Or your last choice for that matter.

21 Wonderful Comments

  1. The Stormy Kromer is awesome. I want a real U.P. one!

  2. I never thought there was so much to say about a simple hat! We have 5 out of 8 in our house, so I guess we’re not total Yoopers yet!

  3. Lol court hearings eh? I had no idea there were so many fabulously absurd head coverings. I will be sure to pick up a wool packer before my next arraignment.

  4. So the Bomber Hat i must say that is the best hat of all, i happen to wear one around campus all the time, it keeps me warm!!!! :)

    –to bad i am not a yooper so i could experience the cold up there but on second thought it is just cold enough down here in the EL..HeHeHe

  5. the cossack for sure!

  6. Even though I live in Houghton, I only wear a coat a few times each winter – usually a sweater is enough. I never wear a hat, but if I did, I’d pick the bomber – I think it would create the most interesting “hat hair”.

  7. Well, I’m halfway there. I have four of them and wear three of them all the time, not at the same time though. The choque I keep for the real cold times or to wear after I take my snowmobile helmet off.

  8. I usually just buy whatever is on walmart special that week.

  9. Hello my Yooper friends :)

  10. I sent my bomer & Stormy Kromer to Perthe Australia, them marsoupial types never heard of Yooperland,the hats were part of a show & tell in Perthe west. customs kept the pasties though.
    i got a letter stating they could not identify the material. said they disposed of the material in the bio-hazard bin.

  11. Blondieyooper
    Jul 10, 2008

    Great hat stories… I love hats and made a ton for the kids when they were little, even sold a few at the hockey rink. This made me smile. Oh and i bought a camo bomber hat for my nephew for Christmas and he loved it!

  12. The Schwaggler
    Nov 15, 2008

    The Filson baby!!!

  13. The Mad Bomber in black rabbit fur practically doubles as a Kossack, although slightly more unruly. Also rather reminscient of Julius Erving’s afro in his New York Nets days.

  14. Hey, I just looked up this post last week for the correct spelling of “toque” for a poem. It’s amazing how you can use a word your whole life and one day realize you’ve never spelled it correctly… I did that with a poplar tree a few years ago. I thought it was spelled “popple” because of the way we said it.

    Great idea to remind people of its existence. I’m partial to the ski-cap, myself, but my boyfriend loves his Stormy Kromer!

  15. Of course da Stormy Kromer, hey! When out huntin’ dem tirty-pointers in November, I don’t want no suminapitchin chook on my head. Dat just wouldn’t be right, donchaknow.

  16. dan tannheimer
    Oct 13, 2009

    Although I am a staunch fan of Filson,(most of my hunting clothing is Filson) I prefer the Kromer. I wore a Kromer growing up and hunting in the Bessemer area and continue to wear one today.
    The Stormy Kromer is also made in Ironwood. Gotta support that.

  17. pv2 John Shier
    Dec 11, 2009

    So ive lived in the UP my hole life till this year when i left for the army the BOMBER HAT is the hat of a yooper no brainer eh cant wait to go home for christmas leave to wear mine

  18. Mackinac Jack
    Dec 18, 2009

    I need to get a Stormy Kromer hat for myself. Many in my fmaily have them.

  19. Mom always made/knitted chooks for us – never saw it spelled out before! FYI – as frozen pasties at the Giant Supermarket in Harrisburg, PA this week! Didn’t buy any as we hold out for the ones the Lutheran Ladies make in Cedarville, in the EUP! Or I make them myself.

  20. Da Jimmer
    Sep 8, 2011

    You forgot two: Snow machine (snowmobile for you Lowpers) helmet and (especially in the Keweenaw) a miner’s or climber’s helmet with a light on it. Us KeweeYoopers need the miner’s helmet for when we go tresspassing…er, I mean exploring in the mines. ;-)

  21. Da Kromer, yah…dat should do er, I tink

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