Why You Should Wear a Hat in the Banya

We all know that the Russian banya is a wonderful place to visit – but have you ever wondered why some people there wear a banya hat?

There are actually a few good reasons why they do – and perhaps why you should be wearing one too. Banya hats actually have several benefits, so read on to discover whether wearing a banya hat is something that could be good for you!

In this article, we are going to answer all the important questions you have about why you should wear a hat in the banya and sauna:

  • What is a banya hat?
  • Why you should wear a banya hat
  • How to wear a hat in the steam room
  • How to look cool in a Russian banya

What is a banya hat?

A banya hat is a woollen or felt hat that is worn in the banya (or sauna). It is not all that clear where they originated from, however, the history of the banya hat traces back to old Central Europe, where they have always been prevalent in Russia and Germanic regions.

Banya hat

It is sometimes mentioned that the first sauna hats were made of wet straw, but today you will find them made from either wool or felt. (You may also find some made from synthetic materials, but let’s not consider those, for obvious reasons).

Today’s banya felt hat can even be found in a variety of shapes and styles, but the traditional banya hat, as seen in most images, is by far the most common, and the most practical.

You will find banya hats are usually made from alpaca or sheep wool, felt or even sheepskin.

Banya No.1 always has banya hats available at reception – just ask!

Why you should wear a hat in the banya

Wearing a banya hat can really improve your whole banya experience because there are several benefits to wearing a banya hat in a Russian banya.

Banya hat in a steam room

First and foremost, it protects your head! When you are inside the steam room, the head heats up faster than the rest of your body, as it is more exposed to the heat. A banya hat acts as a layer of insulation, helping to keep you cooler and prevent your head from overheating.

This is very important, obviously, as the point of your visit to the banya is to improve your health, and not hinder it! When your head heats up faster than the rest of your body, it can leave you feeling dizzy or even nauseous. Wearing a hat helps prevent this from happening and you will find that this improves your banya experience overall.

Also, consider that heat rises – so the area highest on your body (your head) is most exposed to the heat. A banya hat helps to level the playing field with the rest of your body.

Banya hats work really well because the materials they are made from are excellent insulators. This means that they keep the temperature around your head at a more comfortable level and delay the rise in heat. They trap the cooler air around your head and keep it at a more constant temperature for longer. What this means to you is that you will find you can stay in the banya for longer.

The more you acclimatise to the heat; wearing a banya hat helps this process and allows you to adapt faster.

As well as the above, banya hats are great for protecting your ears! For many, the steam from the Russian banya can sting the tips of the ears and this can become a little uncomfortable. A banya hat is an excellent protection for the top of the ears and keeps them nicely insulated from the heat!

Banya hat also protect your hair! Some people find that the heat from a banya (and especially the dry heat from a sauna) can make their hair dryer and more brittle. Wearing a hat can prevent this and keep your hair in the great condition that it already is in!

How to wear a hat in the steam room

Banya No.1 always recommends wearing a banya hat – but how?


Well, the banya hat can be worn either wet or dry. There are some who will swear that dry is the only way to go, but the best way to wear a hat in the steam room is the way that suits you best. So experiment a little and try it both ways.

Start by having a session or two in the steam room with the dry hat. Observe yourself and notice the difference it makes compared to not having a hat at all.

Next, wet the hat with cold water and try it out. Again, see how you feel and compare this with your previous banya experience. Then decide what works best for you!

Note that when you wear a wet banya hat, you will need to re-cool it from time to time. The water will slowly heat up, so the occasional refresher by resoaking in cold water will keep both the hat – and your head – nice and cool.

How to look cool in a Russian banya

Wear a banya hat! Banya hats are cool.

To recap – they will increase your banya experience at Banya No.1 as they:

  • Maximise your use of the banya (you can stay in the steam room for longer)
  • Keep your ears protected
  • Stop your hair from becoming heat-damaged
  • Help you look cool (in more ways than one)
  • Do not forget to take a photo 🙂

Banya hat - Banya No.1 - Chiswick

Banya No.1 always has felt hats available if you need one – but if you are a regular visitor then you should consider buying your own. With a bit of looking around, you will find that there are several styles available, and some are decorated in amazing ways, so it can also be a fashion statement for you, and not just an incredibly practical piece of banya-wear.

Banya hat - Banya No.1 - Chiswick

So next time you are in the banya – take the plunge, be cool and wear a banya hat! Book now >>

We use cookies and similar technologies to remember your preferences, measure effectiveness of our campaigns, and analyze depersonalized data to improve performance of our site. By choosing "Accept", you consent to the use of cookies.