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I've researched extensively and yet I'm still not sure what to do for rainy/freezing temperatures.

If I don't want to bring a beanie, how do I apply the layering principle to my head? Is it enough that only my hard shell has a hood or should I obtain an insulating or at least a mid layer that has a hood?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You would normally dress for the activity you're about to preform, and then add a watertight layer on top of your other layers. You also have to be certain that while the wet can't get to you from the outside, your poncho won't protect you against your on perspiration.

As to address your direct question, you should insulate your head to protect against the cold. Perhaps a beanie is not the right way, try a bandana or headband, just try to keep something between your head and the cold outer layer to keep yourself warm.

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Everybody feels the cold differently, but I swear by "buffs", which is easy to adjust into either a headband for keeping ears warm, a thin beanie to give a bit of head insulation, or even a makeshift balaclava. They are so light you won't even notice you are carrying it.

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