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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Tilley Organic Airflow Hat > Test Report by Jennifer Koles

Tilley Organic Cotton Airflo Hat (T4MO)

Test Report by Jennifer Koles

October 12, 2010

Skip to my Initial Report- May 18, 2010
Skip to my Field Report- August 16, 2010
Skip to my Long Term Report- October 12, 2010

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  35
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States

Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

The author

The author in the Narrows at Zion National Park, Utah.

Initial Report

May 18, 2010


Product Information and Description

Product: Organic Cotton Airflo Hat (T4MO)
Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer Website:

Listed Weight on Website: 3.45 oz
Actual Weight: 3.45 oz
Sizes Available: to 8+ (26 1/8 in/66.5 cm)
Size Tested: 6 7/8 (21 5/8 in/55 cm)

Available Colors: Khaki with Olive Underbrim; Olive
Color Tested: Olive

MSRP: $77.00 US
Warranty: Lifetime and insured against loss

Tilley Organic Airflow Hat

The Tilley Organic Cotton Airflo Hat is designed with an outback type of styling. The hat has a wide down-sloping brim and has ventilated mesh in the crown area. It is made with soft sueded organic cotton. The main fabric content is 98% organic cotton and 2% spandex. The mesh area is made of polyester. The front brim of the hat measures just over 3.25 in (8 cm) and the rear brim measures 3.25 in (8 cm). The sides measure just over 2.25 in (6 cm).

In order to pick a size for my Tilley hat I followed the directions on the website to help me. My head measurement was 54 cm (21.26 in). At first I was wondering if I should go up a size. So, I went to a retail store and tried on the two different sizes in a different style. I decided to go ahead with the 6 7/8 (21 5/8 in/55 cm) because it did not fit snug and the next size seemed too large. The hat is designed to fit low and there should not be any painful pressure. At the time I determined my sizing there was not any pressure on my forehead. I could lift the hat up easily and rotate it from side to side. I received my Tilley hat and I have to say that it fits perfectly. It is not snug nor loose and it sits low on my forehead, as it should.

The Organic Cotton Airflo Hat has some great features. For one it offers an ultraviolet protection factor of 50+. This rating is the maximum rating given and the fabric of the hat has been tested according to the highest testing standards. The hat is certified to block 98% of harmful UVA/UVB rays.

There is a sweat band circling the inside of the hat just above the brim. It is a very soft material that is a light shade of beige. It is reinforced with several rows of stitching. The grommets of the hat are through the sweat band area. There are two brass grommets on each side and they hold the wind cord. These grommets are claimed to turn a permanent patina when exposed to salt air. I wonder if in Southern California my grommets will develop such a patina.

The wind cord is one continuous lace passed thought the grommets. It is joined by a set of sliding knots. To me it looks like a fisherman's knot. I did not untie it yet to check it out, but I will in the future. The wind cord can be tucked up inside the hat, or worn under the chin with the knotted section of the lace passed behind the head. The wind cord can be shortened or lengthened by easily sliding the knots.

This Tilley hat is designed to float in calm water. There is a layer of closed-cell polyethylene foam in the crown of the hat.


The hat should be washed on a regular basis. It can be washed in a washing machine in warm or cool water. It also can be hand washed and scrubbed gently. Bleach should not be used when laundering the hat as it can turn it yellow. It should not be placed in the dryer. Instead it should be air dried and reshaped while it is still damp. It is suggested to shape it over a knee. The material is pre-shrunk.

The hat came with two hang tags listing the features, an owner's manual, and "Brag Tags" (to hand off to those whom desire a Tilley hat). The owner's manual is very descriptive. It lists the features, care, fit, guarantee/insurance information, and some background information.

The Airflo Hat has a small owner's tag in the crown. This tag has an area to write my name and phone number. It is suggested to use indelible ink. This is to help identify the owner in case of loss. There is a larger tag in the crown listing the features, care, and fabric content of the hat. This larger tag is also a pocket secured with a hook and loop closure to store some items in the crown.

This hat has insurance against loss. If it is lost within two years of purchase Tilley will replace it with a 50% deductible plus shipping and taxes. If an unbleached Tilley hat wears out it will be replaced for free, the only charge is a shipping fee.

Initial Impressions

This hat looks like it is made with great quality materials and workmanship. I was very impressed with the size of the owner's manual. The material is softer than I expected that it would be. I was thinking this hat would have some stiffness. It doesn't and that is fine with me.

I viewed the hat on the manufacturer's website prior to receiving it. The website was very detailed with all the features, care, and sizing information. Having the hat in my hands I could see the quality of the materials and the flawless construction.

Field Report

August 16, 2010

Testing Locations

Mill Creek Canyon Utah

Cleveland National Forest, California: This was a one night backpacking trip with a first-timer friend of mine. The low temperatures hovered around 40 F (4 C). The elevation at camp was 1,600 ft (488 m). I wore the hat while hiking and at camp.

Near Red Rocks, Nevada: This was a one night camping trip. It was very warm at night with the temperatures in the upper 70's F (24 C) and the elevation was around 4,500 ft (1,400 m). I wore the hat while setting up camp.

Southern California: Day/evening hikes and fitness hikes in Fremont, Limestone, and Orchard Hills Canyons. These hikes ranged from 3 mi (5 km) to 7 mi (11 km). The temperatures ranged from the upper 50's F (13 C) to the mid 80's F (28 C).

Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest, Utah: I wore the Airflow in Mill Creek Canyon on day-hikes. The temperatures were in the 80's F (28 C). It was sunny and hot!

Performance in the Field

Over the past three months the Tilley Organic Airflo was worn in California, Nevada, and Utah on day hikes, backpacking trips, and while camping. I must say that I really like this hat. I have never owned a Tilley Hat and now wonder what took me so long.

This hat is great! First of all it is stylish. I like the outback look of this hat. The color coordinates well with my hiking wardrobe. I have gotten so many compliments on this hat while out on the trails.

The Organic Airflo fits me like a glove. Well it is not a glove. It is just a hat that fits me perfectly. It does not slide down into my eyes and it is not too snug. Initially I was concerned that I may have selected a size that was too small. I was between measurements and the next size up seemed like it would be too large according to my measuring tape. The hat fits me well when I have my hair pulled back and even when I am wearing my sunglasses. I noticed that the brim does not bang into my sunglasses.

The brim provides plenty of shade on my face and my ears. My ears have yet to get sunburned while I am wearing the Organic Airflo. The top of my head has not sunburned either. I was slightly concerned that it may with the mesh in the top of the hat.

When there was no breeze I tucked the wind cord inside the hat. On windy days I wore the wind cord and I tightened it based on the amount of wind. The hat has yet to blow off my head while wearing the chin cord. Now if I forget to use the wind cord that is another story; the hat has in fact blown off my head. However, that can be expected, since a wind cord should be used in wind.

The hat offers enough ventilation with the mesh fabric that I do not become over heated when wearing it in warm temperatures. The hat also prevents the top of my head and my eyes from becoming wet when hiking in fog or the misty rain conditions we have near the Southern California coast.

I love the sweat band. It has been warm and I sweat when I hike. There has been no need for me to wipe my forehead while wearing this hat. Plus no sweat was rolling down into my eyes. Usually I have to keep a small cloth with me to wipe my face and forehead; mostly because I do not like sweat rolling into my eyes.

I noticed that when I am wearing my largest backpack that the top of the pack rubs against the back brim of the hat. When I am wearing my large pack I have to use the wind cord on the hat or it migrates off my head while I am hiking. With my other packs I do not have this problem.

The hat washes well. I have washed it four times since I received it. I just tossed it in my front loading washer with my hiking clothing and regular detergent and dried it on my drying rack. I reshaped it when it was damp. The hat still looks like new and the material is still soft. The manufacturer recommends to wash it regularly. I just wash it when the sweat band starts to have an odor. Usually I wash the Airflo every third time I wear it.

Long Term Report

October 12, 2010

Testing Locations

On the rim of Bryce National Park

On the rim of Bryce National Park in Utah

Mt. San Jacinto State Park, California: I took two one night backpacking trips here. Went for a day hike to the summit on both trips. We camped at an elevation around 9,000 ft (2,750 m). The low temperature was in the mid 40's F (5 C).

Southern California: Day/evening hikes in Limestone Canyon and Orchard Hills; and a day at Back Bay. There was no precipitation on these hikes/outings and the temperatures ranged from the mid 80's F (29 C) to the mid 50's F (12 C).

Bryce and Zion National Parks, Utah: The Airflo hat was worn here on day and evening hikes for a total of 3 days of the trip. The temperatures ranged from the 50's F (11 C) to the mid 30's F (2 C). The weather was not ideal for hiking as it was windy, raining, hailing, and there was even some snow.

Performance in the Field

Over the past two months the Tilley Organic Airflo was worn in California and Utah on day/evening hikes and on a backpacking trip. I love my Tilley Organic Airflo Hat! It still fits me well, has good ventilation, has a nice style, and offers plenty of shade to my face and eyes.

While I was in Utah at Bryce and Zion National Parks the weather was not the greatest. It rained for days. Not only did it rain, but it was very windy. There was also hail and some light snow at times. That did not keep me from venturing out on some hikes.

The Tilley Organic Airflow got wet, as seen in the picture on the right. The hat repelled the water and never wetted out. I will admit that I did not wear the hat in a down pour. However, it was worn in a light to medium rain with hail and some snowflakes. During this trip I was surprised that no water entered through the mesh vent of the hat. Even with all the rain the brim shielded my face and eyes enough that I was not being pelted with water.

It was also very windy at Bryce Canyon especially on the rim. It was easy for me to adjust the wind cord to get the perfect fit. There was no need for me to worry about having my Tilley hat blow off my head and end up in the canyon below me.

Water drops

For my trip to Utah I had to cram my Tilley Hat in my overnight bag. It took me a few minutes to straighten out the brim when I removed it from the bag.

I was able to confirm that the Tilley Organic Airflo hat does indeed float. I dropped it purposefully into Back Bay here in Southern California and it did not sink.

I really like the sweat band in the hat. It absorbs the sweat on my forehead so it does not roll down my face or into my eyes. When the sweat band becomes a little stinky I know it is time to wash the Airflo.

Even though I have worn the hat near salt water and exposed the hat briefly to salt water the grommets have yet to develop a patina as they are claimed to. I only wore the hat one day at Back Bay and maybe there is not enough salt air or water at that location to form a patina on the grommets.

The Airflow was washed a few more times during the past two months. I still dry it on my drying rack and it still needs a little bit of reshaping. After five months of use it still looks like new.


Things That Rock:

  • Initial fit is good
  • Nice styling
  • Inside crown pocket
  • Sweat band works well
  • Good ventilation

Things That Are So-So:

  • I have to use the wind cord when using my large backpack


This concludes my reporting on the Organic Cotton Airflo Hat. Thank you Tilley Endurables and for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.

Orchard Hills

Orchard Hills, California


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