BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Audubon Hat > Test Report by Bob Sanders

Tilley Audubon Hat

Test Series by Bob Sanders

Initial Report: September 20, 2009
Field Report: November 23, 2009
Long Term Report: January 26, 2010


PERSONAL INFORMATION
Name: Bob Sanders BobBackpacking Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the Wonderland Trail in Washington and section hiked parts of the Florida Trail, Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi (1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I continue to backpack and hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I have evolved from a heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker and sometimes reach ultralight weights. My three day fall/winter solo adventures (using a tent) have me hovering around a 17 lb (7.7 kg) base weight.
Age: 51
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email: sherpabob(at)mac(dot)com
Location: Longmont, Colorado USA


INITIAL REPORT

September 20, 2009


PRODUCT INFORMATION (From Website)
Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables
Manufactured: 2009
Website: www.tilley.com

Description:Ventra Comforter
The Tilley Airflo® provides sun protection in a lighterweight construction. Tilley Airflo® designs incorporate mesh into the crown allowing coolness and comfort during hot days or strenuous activities. Engineered from Tilley Nylamtium®, a strong water-and-mildew resistant form of nylon. It has a semi-sloping front and back brim and a relatively high crown.

Specs:
  • Guaranteed for life
  • Insured against loss
  • Excellent sun protection
  • Colors: Olive
  • Listed weight: 3 oz (85 g)
  • Actual weight (Size 7 3/4): 3.6 oz (102 g)
  • Brim measurements: Front 2 5/8 in (6.6 cm),
    Back 2 3/4 in (6.9 cm), Sides 2 1/8 in (5.4 cm)
  • Actual measurements: Same as listed
  • MSRP: Hang tag $74 US

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Tilley Audubon Hat is named such because they have decided to support the National Audubon Society. A very worthy cause in my humble opinion.

I have a big head and finding hats that fit has always been a challenge. So when I found out that Tilley hats came in a wide range of sizes I said "sign me up". Before I decided on what size to order I went on there website and read their description on how to measure your head and choose the right size hat. I found this very useful information. So when the hat arrived, I slid it on my head and it fit quite nicely. The fit was not too loose and not too tight. If a hat is too tight it will give me a headache so finding a hat that I can wear all day is a blessing.

Tilley Side  Tilly Back

At first glance I was not sure which was the front or the back of the hat. They are very similar in appearance. My first clue is a seam that runs on the back brim and when looking straight down at the top of the hat the back of the crown is more rounded and the front is more pointed.

A thin wire runs around the outside edge of the brim giving it some reinforcement and a bit of structure. The brim itself has a layer of foam stitched in 1/4 in (.6 cm) seams all around the hat. This gives the brim some structure and allows the hat to float. Great feature when you are on the water or even fishing. The top plate of the crown of the hat also has foam sewn into it and circling the crown at the top is a 3/4 in (1.9 cm) band of open mesh which will add great ventilation.

Inside the hat is a sweat band made of Hydrofil to wick moisture away, a tuckaway, adjustable wind cord and a secret pocket sealed with a strip of hook and loop. The wind cord can be used around the back of the head to secure the hat in a breeze or also under the chin when it is windy or when sailing. When not in use the wind cord simply stores on top of your head inside the crown. The secret pocket in the top of the crown is an excellent place to store a key, a credit card or even a bit of cash. The hat arrived with the owners manual and a brag tag, which is basically a bunch of interesting testimonials, stuck inside the secret pocket. There is also a place to write your name and phone number so if you loose your hat there is a better chance you will get it back. This is such a beautiful well made hat hoping it gets returned would be a miracle.

Tilley Inside   Tilley Inside   

This hat is very well thought out and made. The stitching and workmanship are impeccable. The hat also comes with an outstanding warranty which is very straight forward "Tilleys are replaced free if they ever wear out, shrink or fall apart." Now that is my kind of warranty. They also have a simple insurance policy. If you loose your hat within the first two years they will replace it for 50% of the cost.

Likes:
  • Extremely well made
  • Lots of sizes to fit my big fat head
  • Incredible warranty
Dislikes:
  • None so far
____________________________________________________________________________________________

FIELD REPORT

November 23, 2009

Over the past couple of months I have worn this hat on 3 day hikes and one 4 day car camping trip. I have also worn it on numerous trips to the store and walking the dog. Basically the only time it is not on my head is when it is too cold.

Testing locations and conditions:

Day Hikes: All of my hikes are in the surrounding foothills near my home. Elevations average between 5000 to 7500 ft (1524 to 2286 m) Temperatures have run between 30 and 65° F (-1 and 18° C) Most hikes I start of in the mornings when temperatures are cooler. Since the Tilley does not cover my ears, some mornings I started off with a stocking cap and only switched to the Tilley once temperatures warmed up a bit which was usually later in the afternoon.

Car Camping: We drove up to Lefthand Reservoir for a glorious 4 day, 3 night trip. One of my favorite spots on the planet. The elevation where we camped was approx. 9500 ft (2896 m) and the temperatures were between 50 and 65° F (10° and 18° C) during the day and at night we saw temperatures between 30 and 40° F (-1 and 4° C). Over the course of the trip the temperatures got progressively cooler. Both during the day and at night. I wore the hat pretty much my entire waking hours. The only time I didn't have it on was in the early morning hours when it was near freezing and my ears were cold.

Performance:

The Tilley is very comfortable and after wearing it for 30 minutes or so I really forget I have it on. It rides really well and there is no flopping around or slipping while I am active. I have used the wind cords and they work really well. The wind was only blowing about 15 to 20 mph (24 to 32 kph) and the cords held the hat to my head really well. I never got the sensation that the hat was going airborne.

Temperature wise the hat works well over a wide range. Since the hat does not cover my ears they tend to start getting cold around 40° F (4° C) and I need to switch to a stocking cap. I have tried wearing a thin micro fleece hat underneath the Tilley but it was just too restricting on my head. In warmer temperatures and bright sunshine the Tilley does a good job of keeping my head cool. The darker color of the hat does absorb more heat than a lighter color would but I never felt hot. The mesh vents at the top do a wonderful job of letting out excess heat and moisture. The sweat band that runs around the inside edge has done an excellent job of wicking away sweat and keeping it out of my eyes.

During a very light rain fall the Tilley did a great job of keeping the rain off my head. The rain just beaded up and rolled off. The crown does not have a indent in it like some hats do so no rain collected in a puddle on top. The rain only lasted about 20 minutes and at no time did the nylon fabric appear to wet out or become saturated. After it stopped raining I just took it off, gave it a good shake and all the water was gone.

After 2 months of use the Tilley appears to be in excellent shape. I gave it a quick sniff test to see if any odors have started to accumulate and so far so good. I have not washed the hat yet but may need to in the near future.

Likes:
  • Everything in my Initial Report
  • Shields my face from the sun reasonably well
  • Workmanship and construction is impeccable

Dislikes:
  • Wind cords can sometimes create a lump on top of my head if not situated off to the side
  • I wish the brim was just a bit wider
____________________________________________________________________________________________

LONG TERM REPORT

January 26, 2010

Over the past couple of months I have carried this hat on 3 additional day hikes. Because the temperatures have been cold, I brought the hat with me but rarely used it. Only when the temperatures were above freezing and the sun was shining did I wear the hat. It does an excellent job of keeping the sun off my head and neck but is not so good at keeping it warm. With the large mesh vents at the top the heat just escapes too quickly.

Testing locations and conditions:

Day Hikes: All of my hikes are in the surrounding foothills near my home. Elevations average between 5000 to 7500 ft (1524 to 2286 m). I start most of my day hikes in the morning and the temperatures have been between 0 and 25° F (-18 and -4° C) and on occasion warming up to near 40° F (4° C).

I did find a very thin poly/wool blend balaclava that I wore under the Tilley and it extended the range about 10° but when it is cold I find that I really need a thick stocking cap on my head to keep it warm. Anything thicker than the balaclava made the hat uncomfortable because of the additional circumference and the Tilley would begin to feel too tight and I would remove it.

Conclusion:

I really like this hat. It fits better than any hat I have ever worn, looks pretty cool and is extremely well made and durable. Being made of nylon versus cotton this hat just might out live me. I have cotton ball caps that last maybe 2 seasons. After 4 months of use this hat looks basically brand new. I still haven't washed it and it still does not have any funky odors. Being so cold has had an effect on my sweat level and come summer it will need to be washed.

As the temperatures warm up I will continue to use it as my main go-to hat. It will do and excellent job of keeping may head covered and cool. As a summer hat it could use a slightly wider brim, but as is this is a major upgrade from my typical ball cap. This hat is a winner and if it ever wears out, or I loose it, I will replace it with one in a lighter color and one with a wider brim.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Tilley Endurables for the opportunity to test this hat.


Read more reviews of Tilley gear
Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders

Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Audubon Hat > Test Report by Bob Sanders



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson