Fractel’s new Blizzard range is warm, wind and waterproof and durable - perfect for chucking on your head and forgetting about.
Super duper comfortable
Wind and water resistant
Warm in cool climates
1% of profits support the planet
Legionnaire sizing was tight for my big head
The elastic fastener on the M series rubs against my head and bubbles, looking ugly from behind (but who’s looking there?)

James took the latest Fractel winter lids for a spin. Here’s his candid and honest opinion.


I’m standing on the middle of an unnamed beach in the beating hot sun somewhere along the new Murramarang South Coast Walk surrounded by Year 9 students running crazy.

One kid is struggling with the belt on the old H-frame rucksack he could’ve inherited from his great-grandfather, by the looks of it. Another is running barefoot into the surf with his pack on, at serious risk of drenching all his gear.



There are kids everywhere as we make our way along the beach in a string of organised chaos. The wind is whipping up, the sun sending down burning rays and we’re right in the middle of the exposed coastline.

I’m leading a group of 14 students on NSW’s newest multi-day hike, responsible for making sure they don’t get lost, don’t get injured, stay fed, learn skills, don’t die and, most importantly, have a good time. In amongst the mayhem, I don’t have time to think much about myself – sun protection, warmth, comfort, hunger.

It’s why I was mighty glad I’d been asked to do a review of the new Fractel ‘Blizzard’ Winter Caps – the Legionnaire and the M-series.



Fractel is a Queensland-based hat company founded by a passionate trail-runner determined to make the best lids around for all seasons. And while they’re used to the tropical temperatures of Queensland, it appears they know a thing or two about keeping my head warm in the cold, too.


I have a big noggin, often hats don’t fit me well, if at all. There’s nothing worse than being outdoors with a piece of kit that’s uncomfy or that you have to keep adjusting or worrying about. 

Especially with kids amok, I needed something that I could chuck on my head and forget about.

The M-series Blizzard is one of the most comfortable caps I’ve ever worn. The back strap is super adjustable but the elastic means the hat sticks to your head like a warm hug. It’s definitely not coming off, but it’s not too tight that you get a headache.



One downside is the Legionnaire series is more limited in its sizing. It doesn’t stretch as much and is a bit tighter on my overly-large head.

I love the M Series Blizzard so much I’ve taken to wearing it to the coffee shop in the morning and into the bush on the weekend. It’s that one hat you can take anywhere and it’s always perfect for the conditions.

The brim is pliable but not too bendy. It keeps the sun off your face but is packable to stash in the side of your pack or even in your hip pocket, I found. The whole thing weighs less than 60 grams, so on your head or in your pack, you hardly even notice it’s there.



And that’s exactly what I want in a hat, really: to be able to put something on, know I’m safe from the sun and my eyes are protected from the glare, without having to think about it again.

The beauty of Fractel is I forget I’m even wearing a hat.

Material and Durability

And when it comes to sun protection, it’s awesome. The Blizzard range comes with a UPF +40 sun protection rating meaning you’re safe from the sun.



In snow conditions or extreme sun, the legionnaire hat down the back of your neck is an absolute necessity. What’s more, the handy button on the corner of the flaps lets you clip the flaps together underneath your chin to create an enclosed cocoon of rain, wind or glare protection.

The Blizzard series hats are both made from Polartec® Wind Pro® fleece which is designed to be wind and water-resistant without losing breathability and comfort.

I didn’t take the hats into freezing and icy conditions, but the temperatures still sink pretty low on the South Coast. My head was totally warm in single-digit temperatures, and the hats kept my head dry in drizzly and rainy conditions.

I found the hats a bit warm for running on the South Coast in the middle of the day, but early morning, or late evening, they’re perfect. If I were heading off on a trail run through the Snowys in the shoulder season, or even cross-country skiing in winter, they would be perfect.



When it comes to durability, so far I can’t fault the Fractel hats. They’ve been jammed into packs and chucked around on adventures and so far handled everything without failing.

Environmental Credentials

What I put on my head says a lot. It’s the first thing people see when they look at me and it turns me into a walking billboard advertising whatever brand is on my forehead. So what a brand represents matters to me, and I’m proud to chuck Fractel on my head.

They’re officially a 1% For The Planet Contributor, meaning 1% of all profits go to supporting and protecting the environments we love. That’s legit – and definitely not greenwashing.

The Polartec fabric is also 100 percent recycled, meaning excess resources aren’t being used up just to keep my head warm, and I’ll gladly smack that on my forehead.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace


For a hat, the Blizzard series at $70 for the M and $80 for the legionnaire are on the expensive side. But if you’re looking for something to whack on your head and never have to worry about again – something that keeps you warm, dry and out of the wind, it’s worth every cent.