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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Audubon Hat > Test Report by Chari Daignault

TILLEY AUDUBON HAT
TEST SERIES BY CHARI DAIGNAULT
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - September 15, 2009
FIELD REPORT - November 24, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - January 28, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chari Daignault
EMAIL: chari.daignault@gmail.com
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)

I've been a light hiker for 36 years. I take the minimum I can with me and prefer a pack close to 15 pounds [6.80 kg]. I've hiked all the Florida State Forest trails in Central Florida, backpacked the Na Pali coast on the island of Kauai and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan. I have hiked dry & sandy, rough & rocky and wet & boggy trails and as a result, have found what does and doesn't work for me in terms of equipment and clothing.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.tilley.com
MSRP: US $72.00
Listed Weight: 3 oz. [85 g]
Actual Weight: 2.9 oz. [82 g]
Brim Measurements:
Front: 2 5/8 in [6.4 cm] Back: 2 3/4 in [7 cm] Sides: 2 1/8 in [5 cm]
Available Colors: Olive
Available Sizes: 6 7/8 - 8+ [21 5/8 in - 26 1/8 in] [55 cm - 66.5 cm]

Top View
Top View

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Tilley Audubon hat has a shorter brim than other Tilley hats I've worn. This makes it a hat that I would be more inclined to wear out to social events and not just out on the trail. By measuring my head circumference, per the instructions included on Tilley's website, it was determined that I should wear a 7 1/8. When the hat arrived and I tried it on, it fit perfectly; not too tight and not too loose. When on, I can fit two fingers flat against my forehead just inside the "anti-sweat band".

The hat is light weight, feels like it's made of a flexible, thin canvas material and has 1/2 in [1.3 cm] to 1 in [2.54 cm] of mesh along the top of the crown for ventilation. There are two grommets along the outside head band of the hat through which the wind cord is wound. Inside, the wind cord is separated between the front and back of the hat and is connected in the back of the hat with two knots. These two knots can be pulled farther apart to make the wind cord smaller, or brought closer together to increase the size. The wind cord itself is made of cotton and is very similar to a large shoe lace. There is a hidden pocket up inside the crown of the hat, which is secured on one side by a hook and loop fastener. Also inside the crown, just outside the opening to the hidden pocket, is a place to put your name and phone number in case the hat is lost.

Inside the hat
Inside the hat


Although it doesn't specifically say so on the website or on the hangtags, a quick call to customer service confirmed that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Tilley Audubon Hat goes to the National Audubon Society.

THE INSTRUCTIONS AND BRAG TAGS

There are loads of instructions, notes and anecdotes included with the Audubon Hat. The owner's manual was found inside the hidden pocket inside the crown of the hat, along with a set of "Brag Tags". The owner's manual is meant to be removed prior to wearing the hat, but the Brag Tags come in a small plastic zip bag and are supposed to be kept inside the hat for later use.

Per the included notes, Brag Tags are to be handed to "envious" people who may ask you how they can get a Tilley Audubon Hat. They are perforated and contain the necessary information so folks will be able to get their own Tilley Hat. It is also suggested that the plastic zip bag the Brag Tags come in be used as a place to stash some emergency cash or your fishing license.

Brag Tags
Brag Tags


The owner's manual contains detailed information about every aspect of Tilley hats, including how to find the front of the hat, how it should fit and all the features of Tilley hats. The owner's manual also includes a copy of Tilley's Guarantee: if the hat ever wears out, mail it to Tilley with a check for US $8.50 to cover the shipping costs, and they'll replace it for free.

Owner's Manual
Owners's Manual


The wind cord [which as mentioned before is a long shoe lace] is wound through the grommets on the head band and back around until it loops over on itself and creates two loops. One loop hangs down where it can go under my chin, and the other loops down so it can go across the base of the back of my skull. I was able to adjust the length by taking the two knots of the wind cord and pulling them farther apart. This made the wind cord tighter. When not using the wind cord, I place the two loops inside the crown, put the hat on and they're out of the way.

Wind Cord
Wind Cord


Per the website, all Tilley hats are guaranteed for life, insured for loss*, provide excellent sun protection [UPF 50+], repel rain, tie on in the wind, are machine washable and won't shrink.

With regard to washing, the instructions suggest washing the hat regularly, as perspiration and skin oils can rot the fabric. The Audubon Hat can be machine-washed with cold or warm water or wash by hand. Laundry soap can be used, but no bleach. The hat should be reshaped when wet and hung up to air dry. The hat should not be put in the dryer.

*Tilley's Insurance against loss [per the website]: "'The Straight-Shooter's Statement of Loss of a Tilley Hat' insurance policy. The insurance is for two years, all perils, 50% deductible, and is not issued by Lloyds."

LTM5 vs LTM5A

The Tilley Audubon Hat is a model LTM5A. The only difference between the LTM5A and the LTM5 is the Olive color of the LTM5A and the donation of proceeds from the sale of the LTM5A to the National Audubon Society. They all have the Tilley Airflo® design, which incorporates mesh into the crown and all are engineered from Tilley Nylamtium®, a strong water-and-mildew resistant form of nylon.

Tilley Audubon Hat
Tilley Audubon Hat

SUMMARY

The experience I've had so far with the Tilley Audubon Hat has been very positive. I really like the shape and the look of the hat when it's on my head. It's comfortable and light in weight. I'll be doing my best to test out all the claims made by Tilley on this hat and will make sure that the ventilation features are fully tested.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've worn the Tilley Audubon Hat during several day hikes, backpacking trips and walks through the neighborhood. Our day hikes are in the Hal Scott Regional Preserve and we've done two backpacking trips into the Little Big Econ State Forest where we hiked in, did some kayaking and camped overnight. The weather during the past two months has been sunny and humid with daytime temps ranging from over 90 F [32 C] down to 67 F [19.4 C]. We've currently settled into a nice, much drier, partly sunny pattern with temps averaging at around 80 F [26.6 C]. There has been little wind, even less rain and a light fog in the mornings as well. It's been perfect weather for camping and hiking.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

As has been my experience with Tilley hats, the Audubon Hat fits wonderfully and comfortably. I don't worry about it being blown off or falling off if I have to bend over quickly. The mesh in the top of the crown allows heat to escape, keeping my head cooler and drier. Although I wasn't sure at first, I really like the shorter brim on the Audubon hat. It doesn't interfere with any of my packs, it doesn't impede my peripheral view and I can look up without the brim hitting the top of my shoulders.

Feeling Groovy
Feeling Groovy


Normally, I would wear protective head gear when kayaking. But this season, the Econlockhatchee River has been at a really low level so the current is almost nonexistent and there's no risk of being swept away. We've also been trying out an inflatable kayak and since there are no rocky areas on the Econ, it works out well. The Tilley Audubon has served just fine for a head covering during these excursions.

Due to the low level of the river, we had to carry our kayak across sand bars and up the bank when we were ready to set up camp. When I took a dunk or two in the drink, I found that the Audubon really does float! I was able to grab the hat out of the water quickly, shake it off and it was dry, except for the chin straps, which dried out completely in a couple hours.

Low River
Low River


Even with the shorter brim, the Audubon hat offers good sun protection for both my face and the back of my neck. As long as I wear good clothing and apply sun block regularly, I do not experience sun burn on my nose or the back of my neck.

Although I've worn the hat a lot, dropped it in the river a few times and stepped on it once, I still haven't needed to wash it. There are no sweat or dirt stains, and there is no odor inside the hat. When I am ready to wash it, I'll do as I have in the past with my other Tilley hats and will wash it with the rest of my clothes in cold water and then I'll hang it up to line dry. I'll report on my experiences with washing once I've actually washed it.

I will be taking it with me to Colorado next month and will see how it does in cold weather. I do realize that the Tilley Audubon Hat is designed for warmer weather, but I can't see leaving it behind just because of a little snow! I'm going to scrunch it up and pack it in my suitcase to see how well it stands up to 4 hours of flight time.

SUMMARY

This far into testing, I really love this hat. It fits well and comfortably, keeps my head cool and protects my face and neck from the sun. It floats, can withstand being stomped on and gets a lot of compliments. I wasn't sure about the green color, but it turns out it actually matches with a lot more of my clothing than I thought it would!

TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue to wear the Tilley Audubon Hat during all day hikes, backpacking trips and on walks through our neighborhood. I'll also be testing it during travel and in colder weather.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've continued to wear the Tilley Audubon Hat during several day hikes and around town. Our day hikes are in the Hal Scott Regional Preserve right outside my community. The weather during the past two months has been sunny and only slightly humid with daytime temps ranging from over 80 F [26.7 C] down to 24 F [-4.4 C]. Current temps are still a bit below normal, averaging at around 65 F [18.3 C]. There has been some wind, a few severe storms, some snow and sleet and occasional fog in the mornings.

I also took the Audubon Hat along with us on a week-long trip to Firestone, Colorado over the winter holidays. Although we didn't get to do the hiking I had hoped we would, I was able to test packing the hat in my suitcase to see how well the hat would travel. I was also able to see how the hat performed in cold weather [I realize the Audubon is made for warm weather]. The weather in the Denver area was blustery and snowy the day we arrived, with temps around 19 F [-7.2 C]. The rest of the time we were there, it was clear and dry with lows around 12 F [-11 C] and highs around 32 F [0 C]. The area we stayed at in Firestone is at an altitude of about 5670 ft [1728 m].

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Tilley Audubon Hat continues to be extremely comfortable and well-fitting. This is especially true in warmer climates where the heat from my head is vented easily through the mesh on the crown. Still, during the time I wore the hat in cold Colorado, it performed quite well. I didn't expect it to keep my head very warm, but in fact it kept it warm enough that I felt comfortable while walking around town. It also kept the sun off my face, although glare from snow on the ground still reflected up.

For our trip to Colorado, I packed the Audubon hat in my suitcase and just smashed it in where it would fit. When we landed in Colorado and arrived at our destination, I unpacked the hat and gave it a good shake. The hat sort of popped right out and with a few tugs on the brim, it was ready to wear.

Snow
Snow!


Back home in Florida while on a bicycle ride one extremely windy day, I wore the Audubon hat without thinking. It blew off of course. So, I used the wind straps behind my head and under my chin. After that, the hat stayed on with no problems and we had an enjoyable ride in spite of the wind. Even with the wind straps, the hat was still comfortable and kept its shape. Granted, wearing the hat with the wind straps deployed doesn't look nearly as nice as it does with them hidden in the crown of the hat, but at least it stays on.

SUMMARY

Overall, I've been extremely happy with the Tilley Audubon Hat. It continues to be comfortable, has shown no wear or tear and looks very stylish no matter what I wear it with.

Likes:
Lightweight
Floats
Ventilated
Fedora-inspired
Comfortable
Machine-washable
Keeps shape

Dislikes:
None

This concludes my Long Term Report. Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Tilley Endurables for allowing me to test this great hat!

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.


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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Audubon Hat > Test Report by Chari Daignault



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