Every year I wonder about these pictures of Scrooge and others wearing pointee nightcaps. It’s a subject dear to my heart because I became an aficionado of sleeping hats when I used to do my slumbering outdoors a lot.
The function of a nightcap is to keep a person from losing his body heat through his exposed scalp and hair. Besides doing that it needs to stay on the head while you toss and turn. Those pointed hats do none of that.
I’ve tried a lot of different types of sleeping caps through the years and found it’s not easy to find one that satisfies all the minimum criteria:
This one’s sheepskin and I’ve used it for 30 years when the weather’s cold enough. But it’s stiff and doesn’t stay on all that well because one of the straps for tying under the chin broke off sometime way back there and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it. The temperature has to be not-too-warm or it becomes a cranial sweat lodge and not-too-cold because it doesn’t provide any protection to the exposed part of the neck.
A balaclava solves some of that, but it’s only one layer thick, somewhat expensive, and tends to wear out at the chin. When the ambient temperature gets down around freezing it needs some help.
They make those fleece caps for women and I find them in thrift stores for a buck frequently. When I find them, I buy them and wear them a lot, outdoors, indoors and as sleeping caps when the weather’s cold, but not cold enough for something more extreme.
During this last cold snap when the water froze inside the house I came up with this, and I like it a lot. It’s a fleece blanket folded four times lengthwise, wrapped around the head and tucked into/zipped in to the fleece vest. It stays in place and is warmer than anything I’ve ever found. It’s tempting to drag out the scissors, needle and thread and cut it down to a four-layer balaclava, but I hate to mess up that fleece blanket. The “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” school of winter headgear might apply here.
When the weather’s cool but not cold, the stocking cap is a seductive option, even though they don’t ride out the night well. I keep a stack of a dozen of them on the bookshelf above the bed so I can reach up and find one for a quick reload without turning on the light. Same concept as a fresh clip of ammo for a rifle near at hand.
Pointee hats are talk. As Tuco observed in The Good, Bad and Ugly, “When you’re going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”