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7Mesh x Ciele HDcap Review: Meet Winter Head-On

Recently 7Mesh and Ciele Athletics partnered up to design a winter cycling cap that not only does its job but looks hella good while doing it. For the past few weeks Barry has been sporting the HDcap and Chilco neckwarmer on chilly winter rides.

7Mesh x Ciele HDcap Review: Meet Winter Head-On

Being a bald cyclist comes with unique challenges. In the summer, forgoing a cap often leads to sunburns between helmet vents, leaving me with a forehead resembling a Mandalorian helmet. Winter, however, introduces even greater difficulties, particularly in the cold, wet climate of the Pacific Northwest. The same helmet vents that offer cool relief in warmer months transform into inconvenient wind funnels in the colder season, blasting icy air across the scalp, down the neck, and potentially infiltrating my clothing—turning each ride into a frosty ordeal.

Considering my head's lack of working follicles, finding the right winter headwear should have been a priority. Yet, for the past seasons, a suitable solution eluded me. My experiments ranged from heavier cycling caps to touques (that's a “winter hat” in Canadian) and runner's skull caps. Each option, however, fell short of ideal. They were either too bulky under a helmet or lacked proper sweat-wicking, leading to overheating. This ineffectiveness in moisture management meant that sweat would eventually turn cold, and the cycle of discomfort would begin anew.

Let's face it: finding the right winter gear is a pain in the ass. If you're like me, you have a drawer crammed with black fabric, each piece designed for different activities and climates. Adding to this collection is often frustrating. Take, for instance, a microfiber shirt purchased before a chilly day ride in Tokyo. It's like Mithril—light, warm, and protective, yet it somehow only seems effective in the Japanese winter. When I tried it here in British Columbia, I was drenched in sweat after just 20 km of grinding.

Despite the challenges, I've found a new love for winter cycling, starting rides in the mid-afternoon to escape my zoombox hell-hole and returning home bathed in the glow of the winter sunset. However, as the year wanes and the sun sets earlier, bringing a chill to the air, I recognize the necessity of proper gear for the cooler temperatures. When the 7Mesh HDcap appeared in my feeds, it stood out instantly. Warm yet styish and reflecting the mustachioed cyclist I aspire to be. Its creation in partnership with Ciele, my favorite brand for running headwear, was a delightful surprise. Familiar with 7Mesh's reputation for high-quality products, I confidently clicked 'BUY NOW', eagerly adding the matching Chilco neck warmer to my cart.

A Canadian Collab

The HDcap is a product of collaboration between 7Mesh and Montreal-based Ciele Athletics, two solid Canadian brands. The partnership combines 7Mesh's Wind Thermal Ventilation fabric technology with Ciele's design ethos. This collaboration focuses on facilitating outdoor activities in all seasons, particularly winter. The joint effort is marked by a blend of technical innovation and aesthetic design, reflecting both companies' dedication to quality and outdoor enthusiasm.

Let’s Talk Style

Throughout my previous winter headwear trials, one thing remained constant: they never looked good. Darker caps, I assumed, would be less noticeable, but they only helped to give off strong Darth Vader vibes. Winter cycling often meant looking awkward unless I splurged on expensive gear. As soon as I unpacked the HDcap, its style was obvious. It resembled a fashionable cycling cap more than a winter head warmer. The fresh, modern colorways are striking, and the raisin hue I picked matched my bike and kit perfectly. When I first tried it on, the fit was comfortably snug. Looking in the mirror, I finally felt good about the reflection. To the touch the cap is softer than expected, almost velvety. The cap's well-sized visor and the sleek reflective strip at the back tied its design together beautifully. Nice.

A Cozy Co-pilot: Helmet Fit

Before the HDcap landed on my doorstep, I had serious doubts about how it would fit under my helmet. This concern was heightened by a recent trip to France where, having forgotten my helmet, I made an emergency purchase of a snug-fitting Kask helmet from La Chouette in Paris. The fit of this helmet was tighter than any I'd previously used, and I wasn't sure if it was typical of Kask helmets or just a unique fit for my melon. However, I was astounded by how well the HDcap fit under this Kask helmet. Accustomed to less-than-ideal solutions, the cap's perfect fit made me question why I hadn't sought something similar sooner. Not only did it fit seamlessly under my helmet, but I also appreciated being able to adjust various parts of the cap for comfort.

Adaptive Apparel

The magic of the HDcap lies in its adaptability. On my first ride with the cap and Chilco neckwarmer during a frosty morning, it kept me snug as a bug. The long drop tail and articulated ear covers were effective against the wind chill. As the sun rose and it warmed up, I was thrilled to find that I could adjust the ear covers and elongated rear, even with my helmet on, to regulate my heat and comfort. This multimodal aspect was an eye-opener and not possible with other hats I've tried. Coupled with the Chilco neck warmer, this multimodal concept is even more effective.

The need to change the hat's arrangement is mostly in extreme temperature changes from sun to shade. However, the material is excellent at regulating temperature, and I never felt too hot or too cold. It regulates well on cool days with no wind or when the wind and rain are strong. The Wind Thermal Ventilation (WTV) material and its thermal regulation properties, along with the environmental certifications of the WTV fabric (Bluesign approved, Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified), enhance the cap's appeal.

My only critique of the cap is that it seems to be getting marked up under my helmet. I'm not exactly sure where this is coming from but it may be the padding adhesive from my Kask. With added heat and material things seem to be getting a little gluey at a contact point between the cap and the helmet just above my temples. This leaves a little doubt in my mind about how long the cap will last for exactly. For sure the season, but longer? I'm not sure. If I would have known this when ordering, I may have opted for the black colorway.

And even though it's not really the focus of this review, the Chilco neck warmer is an awesome possum and makes a splendid partner for the HDcap. But I do wish it had plastic snaps in the rear to allow me to take it off while riding. I have so much on my head. Getting it in and off is a pain. I need to stop the bike, take out my AirPods, take off my glasses, then my helmet, then pull the Chilco off, then put it all back on to get pedaling again.


As I suspected the first time I saw it in my feeds, the HDcap has proven to be the perfect solution for any cyclist braving the winters. Exactly what I was looking for. The cap is a successful collaboration between 7Mesh and Ciele, merging style with functionality. Its adaptability shines, conforming effortlessly to varying conditions, while its fit under my snug Kask helmet is impressive, a feat not easily achieved by winter headwear. Priced at $75, it's a refreshing departure from 7Mesh's typically ultra-premium pricing, offering exceptional value. It's not just a cap; it's a testament to thoughtful design with a nod to this bald cyclist's needs.

Get it directly from 7MeshM or from Ciele here.

✓ Pros
Helmet Compatibility: Designed to fit comfortably under helmets
Affordable Pricing: Positioned as a cost-effective option
Stylish Aesthetics: Visually appealing design that stands out
✕ Cons
Durability Concerns: Prone to visible markings when used under helmets
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