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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Tilley Endurables Audubon Hat > Test Report by Hollis Easter
Tilley Audubon Hat
|70 F (21 C)||up to 15 mph (24 kph)||not known|
My Dad and I did a relatively short paddle around Upper Saranac Lake to do some Geocaching and have lunch. We did a bit of hiking on one of the islands while looking for a cache, then paddled around. When we reached the landing area, I practiced Eskimo rolling and did my first successful kayak rolls! Woohoo! Total distance paddled was probably about 4 miles (6 km).
|40 F (4 C) to 70 F (21 C)||up to 15 mph (24 kph)||around 1,500 ft (460 m)|
A friend and I hiked along long-disused lumber roads from Coreys Road to Duck Hole, one of the wildest places in the Adirondack park. In many places, the trail sees so little foot traffic as to be almost indistinguishable from the surrounding forest, and it took some skill to remain on the right path. I was surprised to see how quickly the forest has filled in this once-busy corridor.
At Duck Hole, we spent a very enjoyable evening listening to the resident chorus of loons. It began to rain overnight, and we waited out the morning rain inside a lean-to while listening to the loons. We returned by the same route and camped near Mountain Pond before heading to the airport on the morning of the 14th. Total distance hiked was about 23 miles (37 km). The second night was clear and starry, and therefore quite cold.
|45 F (7 C)||gusts to 54.1 mph (87.1 kph)||3,694 ft (1,126 m)|
Several friends and I made the 1,600 ft (488 m) climb to Hurricane Mtn in the eastern Adirondack Mountains to celebrate Halloween. We'd planned to wear costumes for the event (and had, actually, intended to climb a different peak) but the weather forecast made us select a less-exposed route. On the summit, I measured sustained winds that approached 50 mph (80 kph), which was neat: when I jumped into the air, I would land a couple of feet away from where I began. Total distance was about 6 miles (10 km).
To begin, let me say that the Tilley Audubon remains one of the most comfortable hats I've ever worn. Although it's tight enough that it stays on even when I'm hanging upside down, it doesn't compress my forehead or make me feel as though my head is in a vise. Since I wear a hat on just about every hiking trip, I'm grateful for one that feels as nice as this one does.
I'm particularly fond of the flocked headband, which feels really great against my forehead. There are no rough seams to bother my skin, either.
I find that the chin cords sometimes flop down when I'm putting the hat on, and this can make the hat seem too tight. There's an easy solution that's a bit hard to describe in print: I "flick" the hat up and back while putting it on, and this keeps the cords out of the way until the hat is securely situated on my head. Works for me!
The hat is so light that I sometimes forget I'm wearing it—a really nice feature! When I've taken the hat off and stowed it in my pack, I've found that the brim comes out looking a bit rumpled, but without any major structural problems. I suspect that Tilley uses some sort of flat plastic brim reinforcement, judging by what I can feel through the fabric, and it seems to handle folding with equanimity.
The hat still looks, feels, and smells new after two months of frequent wear. I haven't felt the need to wash it, which is great! I find that it's still a bit warmer than I'd like during the non-winter months, since I'm used to wearing straw hats with amazing ventilation. It's pretty good, though, and it protects against rain a great deal better than any hat I've worn. The brim is stiff enough that it sheds rain out away from my eyes, and I haven't noticed rain seeping through the fabric or running in along the brim. It's a real asset in wet conditions.
The relatively narrow brim has been a mixed blessing for me. It doesn't interfere with my pack, which is nice. However, I've noticed myself getting more of a sunburn than usual on days when I wear the hat. I always use sunscreen, but I suspect that I sweat it off pretty quickly. Combine that with my long face and I've got a recipe for sunburn. When the test is done, I think I'll go looking for a Tilley with a wider brim; for now, I love the Audubon!
At this point, I still really like the Audubon. I had expected to be hiking in snow by late November, but it's been a really warm year, so I'll have to wait until the Long-Term Report to talk about winter weather. The hat is comfortable, light, sharp-looking, and durable. I like it!
During this period, I wore the Tilley Audubon Hat on six hiking days, plus a great many yard work and around-town days. It has become my favorite hat, and it usually lives in my car (ready for use at a moment's notice).
|35 F (2 C)||up to 15 mph (24 kph)||3,820 ft (1,164 m) and 3,168 ft (966 m)|
Two friends and I set out for an early-winter warmup on two northern peaks in the Adirondacks. We did a loop climb of the new and old trails on Lyon Mountain, for a total distance of approximately 9 miles (15 km). We then proceeded to Catamount, a smaller peak that blends hiking and scrambling. We made it through the rock chimney and over some exposed rock, but we were stymied by verglas on the upper summit. We decided that discretion was the better part of valor and, tails between our legs, retreated. We'll be back. Total distance on Catamount was approximately 4 miles (6 km).
|10 F (-12 C)||up to 21 mph (34 kph)||2,545 ft (776 m) and ~3,200 ft (~975 m)|
We ran up Mount Arab to warm up for the day's exploration of the disused ski slopes on the flanks of Mount Morris, one of the higher peaks in the northwestern Adirondacks. Standing on the summit, I looked out at Santanoni Peak and remembered the life of my friend, Dan Wills, who had died in a plane crash on Santanoni a few weeks before. It felt right to honor his memory from a mountaintop. Total distance was about 8 miles (13 km).
|5 F (-15 C) to -19 F (-29 C)||up to 22 mph (35 kph)||4,098 ft (1,249 m) and 4,059 ft (1,237 m)|
We celebrated the last weekend before official winter climbing season with a trip up some of the easier High Peaks. The temperature on the summit was amply cold to furnish icicles in my new beard. We saw lots of people and had some gorgeous views! Total distance was around 7 miles (11 km).
|0 F (-18 C)||up to 15 mph (24 kph)||not relevant|
A friend and I went to scope out the early-season ice on the south flanks of Azure Mountain, our favorite local ice-climbing venue. Conditions were thin but climbable; we had a great time. Total distance was about 2 miles (3 km).
|32 F (0 C)||none||not relevant|
My first day of cross-country skiing in 15 years was a blast, if a trifle awkward. We did some moonlit skiing. The Tilley Hat did a great job of keeping snow out of my jacket, which was good since I didn't want to be all bundled up. We skied about 2 miles (3 km).
|32 F (0 C)||none||not relevant|
Every year, our local outdoors club has a New Year's Gathering to ski or snowshoe the trails at Clarkson University. Emboldened by the previous evening's skiing, we decided to venture off-trail into the hilly woods around the campus. Lots of fun, although some of the terrain was a bit too advanced for me.
The Tilley Audubon Hat did a fantastic job of keeping snow out of my shirt. Since we were bushwhacking (skishwhacking?), we dislodged a lot of snow onto ourselves, and the Tilley Hat protected me really well. The brim is sturdy enough to hold up to a pretty substantial snow load.
I finally got the chance to try the Audubon in snowy conditions! As expected, it does a lovely job of preventing snow from falling down the collar of my jacket. The stiff brim helps with this. The hat's Nylamtium synthetic fabric also seems to resist wetting through when my body heat melts snow on the hat.
I think my hat fits a bit more tightly than Tilley recommends, but this has proven to be an advantage. When bushwhacking, the hat stays on my head even when maleficent trees attempt to snatch it from my pate.
Although the chin strap fits perfectly well, I tend to forget about it. When the weather is really windy, I end up leaving the hat in my pack (as I did on Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge, a hike that I therefore left off the field conditions list).
Despite its somewhat rough lifestyle, the hat still looks almost brand new. There is no damage from being stuck by trees, and the fabric shows no signs of abrasion. There are some bend marks from where the brim curves over my ears, but no signs of damage. I give the Audubon excellent marks for durability. Even though I sweat a great deal while hiking, the hat has no odor and shows no salt stains.
I really like the Tilley Audubon Hat. Although I prefer a wider brim, this hat has earned a permanent place on my hat rack. Its construction is of impressively high quality, and it has proven to be very durable. It fits comfortably, can survive being crumpled up in my pack, and even looks good!
In my book, any hat that feels good, looks good, works well, and lasts a long time deserves high marks. The Tilley Audubon delivers.
I thank BackpackGearTest.org and Tilley Endurables for allowing me to test the Audubon Hat.