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Artilect Darkhorse Headband review: a low profile sweat-wicker for chilly runs and ski days

Warmth meets breathability in this lightweight, streamlined headband made for runners and skiers

Artilect headband
(Image: © Artilect )

Our Verdict

This lightweight, low profile headband is a decent option for working up a sweat in cold conditions whether you’re running trails or skiing powder

For

  • Breathable and sweat wicking
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable fit and soft on your skin
  • Helmet friendly
  • Climate positive fabric

Against

  • No high vis details
  • Only one size available
  • No ponytail hole
  • Moves around a little when you look up
  • A little pricey

Artilect Darkhorse Headband: first impressions 

The Artilect Darkhorse Headband was designed in Boulder, Colorado, so it’s meant for trail runners and skiers alike. Made using Nuyarn, a merino wool spinning technology, this headband boasts faster drying, more natural stretch and better wind protection and durability than regular merino. 

In performance, this all means it’s soft against your skin and thanks to the stretchiness and light weight, you barely notice it’s there. It is quite thin and low profile, but still offers good warmth and wind protection, and easily fits under your ski helmet. At almost four inches wide it does cover your entire part line for sun protection, though not if you pull it forward over your forehead.

This headband definitely provides suitable protection for cold and milder temperatures. It does move around just a little if you’re moving your head a lot, and doesn’t have a ponytail hole but still works with a relatively low pony. It comes at a higher price than others, but you’re paying for increased durability and a more sustainable approach to manufacturing.

Specifications

• RRP: £20 (UK) / $30 (US)
• Sizes available: One size
• Unisex: Yes
• Materials: Wool (90%), Nylon (10%)
• Colors: Black, Moonbeam, Storm Blue, Super Red, Twilight Mauve
• Best use: Trail running, hiking, skiing, snowboarding 

Artilect Darkhorse Headband: on the trails 

Artilect headband

This headband is lightweight and soft on my skin, so it’s very comfortable, which is important (Image credit: Artilect)

If you like the sweat wicking and thermoregulating properties of wool but find beanies too warm or impractical for trail running, you’ll definitely want to consider a headband and you could do a lot worse than the Artilect Darkhorse Headband.

I spent the last 12 years living in Colorado so my ears perked up when I heard about the new Boulder-based brand Artilect and their mission for more sustainable production values. For this headband, they use a merino wool technology called Nuyarn which according to research uses less energy in production. Though the headband is designed in Colorado, it’s made in Vietnam which somewhat weakens the case for sustainability. However, I will say that other claims such as faster drying, durability and better wind protection all seem to hold up.

Basically this headband is lightweight and soft on my skin, so it’s very comfortable, which is important. It looks good on and definitely keeps the sweat off my forehead when I’m on a trail run. Because it’s wool, it doesn’t get stinky either. 

Unlike some of my other bands, I noticed that it moves around a little, for example when I look up, which leaves my earlobes exposed. Pulling it down more over my forehead helps with this some, but because it’s not quite as wide as some of my other headbands, that leaves some of my part line exposed to the sun. It doesn’t have a ponytail hole and works fine with a low ponytail, but isn’t comfortable with my hair tucked underneath it.

It is quite thin but it definitely does the job keeping me warm on cold days and an added bonus is it fits under my ski helmet. I like it for mild days too but wouldn’t wear it in the summer months.

I feel like headbands might be treated as rather disposable items, unfortunately, and I like the strong, sturdy construction of this one. I expect it to last a long time and at a bit of a higher price, I’d expect nothing less.

Here’s how it performed:

Sizing

One size fits all. With lots of stretch, it’s unlikely this will be too tight. 

Fit

Snug but I barely notice it, which is nice. However, it does move around a little when I look up. I’d like it just a little wider for more coverage. 

Comfort 

Very comfortable thanks to soft fabric and a not-too-tight fit. 

Temperature regulation 

It’s good for keeping you warm, and might be a bit too warm in summer. 

Breathability 

It does a great job of wicking away sweat. Plus, it's a headband, so the top of your head is free to release heat!

Durability 

Well made construction-wise with sturdy, low profile seams and good quality wool. 

Here’s where we tested the Artilect Darkhorse Headband: 

The Strathblane Pipe Track follows the water supply from Loch Katrine to Glasgow along the base of the Campsies and Dumgoyne.

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.