Caps are a little bit like water bottles to me. I have had quite a few in my time, quite a few different styles and from quite a few different manufacturers. The thing with caps, like water bottles, is that you have to replace him them somewhat frequently. Either they wear out or they end up just looking a little bit tatty.
I replace my water bottles more frequently than my caps but a very good cap can last about a year for me and that’s with using it five days a week. Often the failure in my caps is where the brim comes away from the body (see pics further down). And they get grimy and discoloured from use in the rain and all the sweat in the sun.
The caps I’m talking about here are the general caps, the caps that are made of normal cotton material and not specifically made for the winter or ultra lightweight summer caps (which are hard to find I may add). Winter caps a completely different thing, in design and material.
Good caps can be used from about 40°F to probably around 75°F, of course depending on personal preference, how cold you feel your ears get or how much venting you like on hot days.
Now a couple of things about style and fit. I would say the Double Darn caps what I call more of a traditional cycling cap in that they have a small brim which follows the contour of the caps man body, i.e. it doesn’t stick out like a baseball cap brim, it sort of flows down the face. The DD’s brim is also constructed out of layers of material versus card or plastic insert. This means the cap appears a little different but also has a better hand feel, and as you will see from photos. In my experience, the more ridged brims actually pull away from the body – weak point as they say. As far as sizing goes, I am wearing a medium. they do come in 3 different sizes and I found that a medium was snug for me. I have measured my head before for helmets and I am a 58.5cm, but my cap guide for a medium is 55cm, so best to say is try on for size and also note they will stretch a little bit over time.
I look like a bit of a saddo here.
DD’s caps have a high-quality construction and what I mean by that is the stitching and accuracy are very good. Not tatty (brit for ill-finished) at all like mass manufactured caps. If you look inside a DD cap and compare to a common garden $20 bike shop cap you will see what I mean. Better construction, better stitching, better material joins. Take note of the headband also, the part that goes across your forehead. DD’s caps have got the amount and shape of material just right here. Some caps the band is too wide, too large or had a thick wedge of material that can cause a line across your forehead after hours of riding. Tall bands make your forehead feels like it is sweating, not a great situation.
Shown below, my common brim tearing away situation, but have to say this is after about a year of heavy abuse / use. You can also look and see on the close up picture the difference in edge stitching and construction used in mass production caps. The stitch is wider, looser and not as well executed.
I have now officially spent 22hrs cycling in this cap and a few hours off the bike. I have to say it has performed well. A bit of rain, a bit of sun and some cold. I rode for 4 hours in it today at between 37 and 45 degrees and it was ok. I would say a thicker cap below 40 would have been nicer, but I was going fast and generating heat.
Conclusion : Double Darn caps are pretty darn great. Great value for money at $37 and a cap that should last a while, be very comfortable and fits under a helmet well. Check out DD’s caps here or get one from one of the many folks she crafts for. Mine was purchased at Sugar Wheelworks (which is a sweet wheelshop in Portland Oregon). DD’s caps are handmade in Portland, Oregon.