TILLEY WOOL CAP
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - October 05, 2011
FIELD REPORT - December 06, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - February 07, 2012
Woodstock, Vermont, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
My backpacking experience began six years ago, after years of car camping. Most trips are for two or three days, some lasting a week. I hike with a group of two to four, with plans for a multi-day solo hike this summer. I pack a tent or tarp depending on availability of trail shelters. An average day is 12 miles (19 km). While aware of weight, it is not my primary concern. I strive for enjoyable outings with functional, reliable gear. I usually travel in woodland mountain terrain. I am a three-season camper, but enjoy hiking all year.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.Tilley.com
MSRP: US$ 76.00
Listed Weight: 4.2 oz (119 g)
Measured Weight: 4.3 oz (121 g)
Size Tested: Medium
Sizes Available: Small - Double Extra Large
Color Tested: Black Mix
Colors Available: Black Mix and Brown Mix
Materials: 75% wool, 19% polyester, 6% polyurethane fabric with quilted hydrofil polyester lining
Made in Canada
Tilley Endurables hats are guaranteed for life and insured against loss.
The TTWC Tec-Wool Cap arrived as seen in the picture above. Four informational tags were attached to the cap written in English and French. One with the description, size, color and price of the cap. The second stating where the cap was made.
The third list features of the Tec-Wool Cap and Tilley;
-Guaranteed for life not to wear out
-Insured against loss
-Wool blend is lightweight, adjusts to current outdoor temperatures, keeping you warm in cold weather and comfortable when your temperature starts to climb
-Quilted lining, with discreet tuckaway ear warmers
The fourth tag explains the trademarked C_change, The Bionic Climate Membrane. This material is described as, "a waterproof and windproof membrane which independently reacts to changing temperatures and activities. Similar to pine cones, it closes when exposed to cold and opens in response to warmth. Due to the high level of breathability, combined with insulation adapted to the respective situation, C_change ensures the ideal body temperature."
The Tec-Wool Cap has a look different from other hats I have worn. The top portion is oval shaped and flat on top. The sides of the cap extend straight up and meet the top at a right angle. I am not sure how to classify this style but I think it looks cool. The quality of materials and construction is solid. The Company Website states each hat is hand-sew and all seams are lock-stitched. The exterior has the expected rough wool texture. The bill of the cap is 7.5 in (19 cm) wide and 2.75 in (7 cm) long. The interior is quilted polyester and soft to the touch. The ear warmers line the inside back and side portion of the cap. The weight and feel of the cap suggest it will quite warm.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
No real instructions for using the Tec-Wool Cap. The only one mentioned is about care for the cap, dry-clean only. This is found on the label inside the cap. Along with a list of materials and country of origin, in English and French. As well as Tilley Endurables contact information and place to put mine.
Underneath the label is the secret pocket which is held closed with a strip of Velcro.
The size adjuster located under the ear warmers.
TRYING IT OUT
Grabbing the cap by bill I plunked the Tec-Wool on my head. The cap fits nicely, it is snug but not tight. Taking the cap off again the ear warmers easily fold out. This exposes the internal Velcro size adjusters. The cap fits fine so the adjusters are left at the largest setting. Now putting the cap on is made easier by holding the ear warmers and pulling it over my head. The ear warmers completely cover my ears and the upper part of my neck. The cap fits a bit loser this way but still stays in place.
The TEC-Wool worn with and without ear warmers.
The Tec-Wool Cap is a stylish piece of headwear. The materials and construction are flawless. The Tec-Wool is a cap made for cold weather in mind. I like the built in stowable ear warmers. The features provided by the C_change material are very appealing to me. I am looking forward to getting out into the elements with the Tec-Wool Cap.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Overnight on the highest peak in Vermont, Mt. Mansfield elevation 4395 ft (1340 m). Camped at Taft Lodge at 3600 ft (1097 m).
Weather encountered on Day 1 - Temperature a high of 44 F (7 C) and low of 31 F (-1 C), with a 0.5 in (1.25 cm) of sporadic rain and non stop fog with light winds turning into 25 mph (40 kph) gust with snowfall at and above treeline.
Day 2 - Temperature a high of 46 F (8 C) and low of 31 F (-1 C), clouds breaking early and skies turning partly sunny with light breeze.
Terrain traveled varied with change in elevation. The trail began in dense hardwood forest with many muddy and root strewn sections. As the trail climbs many areas of large, bare rock slabs are covered, some vertically. Once at treeline following the trail involves scrambling over large rocks and boulders. Nearing the summit the trail crosses the largest of three alpine tundras in Vermont at about 200 acres (81 ha). Here the trail is bare rock, many having very limited traction or wood puncheons.
Two separate day hikes on the Appalachian Trail, one in Vermont and one in New Hampshire.
Day 1-temperature of 45 F (7 C) and mostly sunny with light winds. 5 mi (8 km) of trail hiked with an elevation of 500 - 1300 ft (150 - 400 km). A thick layer of leaves covered the trail changing to pine needles after a steep rocky climb. This was a shorter hike due to my pack load, my 24 lbs (11 kg) three year old daughter.
Day 2-started early with a temperature of 26 F (-3 C) and rose to 40 F (4 C) by the end of the day. There was abundant sun with light winds. In the shade the ground remained frozen. 12 mi (19 km) of trail with 900 - 1700 ft (270 - 500 m) of elevation through mixed hardwood forest.
Day hike on The Pogue trails, Woodstock, Vermont. It was sunny but windy, the temperature was 28 to 38 F (-2 to 3 C).
The trails here become a cross country ski area in winter. This was a little recon as I am eagerly awaiting the overdue snow. Terrain gentle rolls up and down as it winds the way up the hills surrounding the pond. 10 mi (16 km) over elevations of 1000 - 1600 ft (300 - 480 m) through hard and soft wood forest.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have worn the Tec Wool Cap almost everyday since receiving it. It has broken in nicely, no longer feeling snug but has never blown off. The fit and feel is very comfortable. The styling is great making it versatile enough to wear anywhere. While on trail and around town several compliments have been given to the cap. More importantly its performance has been unbeatable.
While hiking in a light rain that turned to snow at higher elevations the Tec Wool Cap kept my head warm and completely dry. At first the rain beaded up and rolled off. As the day wore on the exterior of the cap felt wet but never soaked through to the interior. On this same hike I passed a couple of hikers coming down from the summit as I was going over. We were above the treeline and the winds were increasing. As we passed they offered the friendly advice to cover up as the winds were stronger and colder at the top. Within a few steps the winds just about doubled in speed so I extended the ear warmers from inside the cap and felt totally protected from the wind.
The Tec Wool Cap has been comfortable in all temperatures worn. I do perceive a difference in warmth in the cap when moving between differences in air temperatures. The only time I felt too warm was while hiking steady at temperatures of 45 F (7 C) or higher, I broke a light sweat. The cap absorbed or wicked most of the moisture away. I removed the cap several times to vent some heat. At these times I kept looking for a way to easily stow the cap. I resisted stuffing it into my pack, not wanting to change the caps shape. I wish the Tec Wool had a loop or the ability to some way attach to my pack or belt loop.
I have used the pocket inside the Tec Wool to hold my ID and a small amount of cash. This was a convenient and well concealed location. But I was not completely convinced a strong gust would not blow the cap away. Then after hiking a few hours I forgot where I had put my ID and cash.
The one feature I had not given much attention has turned out to be quite useful is the brim. I have thought of shielding my face from the elements with my hand or sunglasses the norm when wearing my usual fleece hat. The brim has been very nice and welcome change in both the rain and the sun.
The Tec Wool Cap is my new favorite cold weather hat. The materials and construction are of good quality. The level of protection from the elements it provides is exceptional. It has performed well in a wide range of conditions. I am eager to see how the Tec Wool performs in the colder temperatures to come.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Day hike at Burnt Mountain Trails at Boston Lot Lake, New Hampshire. 4 mi (6 km) through rough, rocky and rooted mostly pine forest. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (180 m) to 1000 ft (300 m). The temperature was 18 F (-7 C), skies were clear with brisk winds.
Day hike at Mt. Tom in Woodstock, Vermont. Hiked 10 mi (16 km) starting at 700 ft (213 m) to 1350 ft (411 km) and back down over ice and thinly snow covered trails. The temperature was 20 F (-6 C) sunny and calm.
X-country skiing at The Pogue pond Woodstock, Vermont. A cold, clear day after a storm that left 8 in (20 cm) of snow. At the start the temperature was 20 F (-6 C) and by the end dropped to 15 C (-9 C).
Terrain gently rolls up and down as it winds the way up the hills surrounding the pond. 8 mi (12 km) over elevations of 1000 - 1600 ft (300 - 480 m) through hard and soft wood forest.
Two hikes at Mt. Peg in Woodstock, Vermont starting at 700 ft (213 m) to 1100 ft (335 m) and back down through dense pine forest.
Snowshoeing 5 mi (8 km) during light snow falling, temperature was 22 F (-5 C).
Before sunrise hike 3 mi (5 km) in steady snow fall, temperature 12 F (-11 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During long term testing I have been very pleased with Tec Wool Cap. It has kept my head warm and dry in all situations. The tuckaway earwarmers have been great at the start of a hike, before warming up or when cold winds blow. The Tec Wool Cap does an excellent job of blocking the wind. At the temperatures experienced during long term testing my head or ears never felt cold or overheated. I feel the C_change membrane in the Tec Wool Cap helped to regulate fluctuating body temperatures.
Since the field report we have finally received enough snow to call it winter. I have been able to break out the snowshoes and skis! When worn during snowfall I noticed two things. The snow that fell on the cap melted and ran off and the snow that fell on the brim collected. The pile on the brim came as a big surprise as I removed the Cap inside my house and dumped snow on the floor. After mopping up the snow and tossing the towel in the wash I had a second surprise. I noticed a red line across my forehead. The line was from the pressure of the Cap against my skin. It faded quickly, just wonder after wearing the Cap how many people thought I had been whacked across the head.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
The Tec Wool Cap is a quality item in both materials and construction. I have found only one minor flaw which does not affect its performance. A pressure mark on my forehead after wearing the Cap low on my head. On my scale this barely registers as a negative. The Tec Wool Cap has excelled in all cold weather conditions encountered. It retains warmth, sheds snow and water and blocks wind all while looking quite stylish. I have enjoyed using the Cap so much I hope winter stays late this year.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to thank Tilley Endurables and BackpackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.
Read more gear reviews by Michael Pearl