The Hoo-Rag in paisley.

The Hoo-Rag in paisley.

Scarf … headband … balaclava … the Hoo-Rag is a multi-faceted piece of cycling gear. While it may seem silly, it’s a fairly brilliant concept, especially in weather that’s constantly shifting. And when you factor in the style points with the headband effect after a long ride to counter the effects of helmet-hair, it’s actually a pretty great all-around product.

The Hoo-Rag is made with a “seam-less cotton-polyester blended micro-fiber” that they claim is moisture-wicking. I’ve ridden with plenty of hats, and I have to admit: compared to some of the more expensive cycling caps I’ve encountered, this left me less sweaty, while keeping me (and my ears) just as warm.

The Hoo-Rag fits under a helmet just fine.

The Hoo-Rag fits under a helmet just fine.

I was skeptical as to if it would be worth the MSRP of $14.95: what piece of fabric could possibly be worth that? Of course, in cycling, we’re used to paying high prices for small pieces of fabric, so I wasn’t too quick to dismiss the Hoo-Rag. It took a while to start using it regularly, but after I tried it on one particularly chilly day, I fell in love. It took me a while to figure out the balaclava set-up (put it on as a scarf and then pull it up over your head, then put on the helmet), but once I did, goofy as it looked, it worked great. When starting a cold ride one morning, knowing it would warm up, I put on the Hoo-Rag as a balaclava, left the house, and by mid-morning, was ready to roll it up into headband size so I could keep my ears warm but leave my neck breezy.

I actually preferred it as just a post-race headband for sweaty hair.

I actually preferred it as just a post-race headband for sweaty hair.

I also started using it after long rides and hard races – for those of us with short hair, we run the risk of crazy/sweaty hair after taking off our helmets – so the Hoo-Rag as a headband was a great alternative to a hat.

It comes in many different colors and patterns, and you can do a custom team-order if you want a cool matching winter accessory.