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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Camo Hat > Test Report by Richard Lyon

TILLEY ENDURABLES LT3C SNAP-UP CAMOUFLAGE HAT
Test Report by Richard Lyon
Tilley 1

Initial Report June 28, 2013
Long Term Report due late October/early November 2013


PERSONAL DETAILS AND BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 66 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I'm in my fifth decade of backpacking, most of it now in the Northern Rockies.  I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500-4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced marches too.  Recently I've actively sought ways to reduce my pack load, but often still choose a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect. Summer trips often focus on fly-fishing, winter trips on skiing opportunities.

INITIAL REPORT - June 28, 2013

Tilley 2Tilley Endurables now offers a camo hat - the new LT3C Snap-Up Camouflage Hat. It looks quite a bit like many Tilley hats, employing what I'd call an Aussie bush hat look, something reinforced by the ability to snap up one or both sides. This, as the Hat's name implies, can be easily accomplished by attaching a brass female snap on the brim to a corresponding male piece just above the band around the crown.  Other features common to its Tilley siblings are a hidden pocket in the top of the crown (see photo), sewn bands on the brim for strength, brass grommets for ventilation on the main piece of the crown, and a stout but soft double chin strap (on this hat, appropriately colored olive drab) that the wearer may adjust by pulling one side or the other. What's new about this hat is its camouflage color, which Tilley calls a "Multi-Camouflage Print" and "traditional camouflage."  I'd call it basic forest camo.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables. Though based in Canada and justly proud of its Canadian manufacture, on its U.S. website Tilley lists a customer service center just across the border in Orchard Park, New York.
Website: http://www.tilley.com
Brim size: listed, Front and Back: 2 3/4" [7 cm] Sides: 2 3/8" [6 cm]; verified accurate
Weight: listed 4.8 ounces [136 g], measured 3.75 oz [106 g]
Crown height, measured: 3.5 in [9 cm]
Includes a four-page Owner's Manual, mine is in English only
Warranty: Lifetime warranty on wearing out plus Tilley's two-year "insured against loss" program
Size: 7 5/8. Available in US hat sizes in quarter-inch [6 mm] increments from 6 7/8 through 8; also, for heads even fatter than mine, "8+"
Fabric: Cordura nylon with water-repellant finish. Said to block 98% of ultraviolet light rays from the sun.
MSRP: $78 USD

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Let me confess that I have long liked Tilley hats, having owned several over the years. (One is the subject of an Owner Review on this site.) So my finding that the Camo Hat looks like other Tilleys is intended as a hearty compliment. The brim is right-sized for me - not too large to be floppy, not too narrow as to allow the sun on my nose. Like my other Tilleys, I think it looks sharp too, smart enough to wear on the street as well as in the mountains.

From experience I had no trouble adjusting the chin cords one-handed, tightening for windy conditions or loosening to allow me to push it back partly for ventilation or entirely when not needed. Like its Tilley mates it's said to float (most of the time) thanks to a foam band just inside the band around the bottom of the crown.

One really great feature of the Camo and most other Tilley hats is the manufacturer's use of standard hat sizing rather than a more amorphous Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large. This allows a slightly loose but still firm fit, for maximum ventilation. This relegates, quite properly in my opinion, the chin strap adjustment to fine tuning. (A suggestion to readers whose head size falls between Tilley sizes: buy the larger size and tighten the hat slightly for the desired fit.) As expected, the Camo Hat fit me just right. A fabric band around the inside, just above the brim, and the interior foam band, add to the comfortable fit.

Tilley 3 As noted, Tilley makes this hat of Cordura, a fabric found more often on backpacks than clothing in my gear closet. In my experience Cordura is tough stuff. But to my touch the hand of Tilley's Cordura is considerably softer and more flexible that what I consider normal, not the least bit abrasive or stiff. Certainly it's easy to make minor tweaks to the brim to accommodate the angle of the sun. Though only testing (i.e., wearing and storing the Camo Hat in the real world) will prove or disprove this, so far the fabric hasn't exhibited any signs of "memory," steadfastly holding the posture in which I stuffed it into a pack. After an hour's walk in the bright Montana sun at about 85 F (30 C) my head wasn't any warmer than the rest of me, which speaks well of the ventilation system or the fabric's breathability. Tilley rates this fabric only water-resistant, not waterproof, and recommends wearing it under a hood in steady rain.

I'm unduly attentive to sun protection. Fair skin and thinning hair long ago bought me doctor's orders always to wear a hat when outdoors. I've followed those orders faithfully, to the point where headgear is almost second nature. I like the fact that the Camo Hat's fabric is UV-proof (a hangtag says up to 50+ SPF). For the same reasons I applaud the caveat on the same hangtag (and on Tilley's website) that a hat alone, even a Tilley, is never adequate sun protection all by itself. Tilley suggests high-octane sunscreen and sunglasses for "Safe Sun" - best skin and eye protection. I intend to abide those precautions while I'm testing the Camo Hat.

Care instructions mirror those for my other Tilley hats - frequent washing in warm or cool water, either by hand or with a machine's Delicate cycle, using gentle soap (shampoo is suggested) with perhaps a brush on dirty spots, followed by air drying.

LONG TERM REPORT - November 27, 2013

Tilley FranceFIELD CONDITIONS

I first wore the hat on a one-week service trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness, Montana, in early July. As required by U S Forest Service protocols, I wore a hard hat during trail work, but I switched to the Tilley as soon as work was done. Also I wore it on our 13-mile (20 km) hikes from the trailhead to camp at the start of the trip and the hike back at the end, and on our day off. We had clear weather the entire week, with temperatures reaching 85 F (30 C) on a few afternoons and dropping down to 40-45 F (4-7 C) at night.

Additional backpacking uses occurred on overnight trips in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in early August and mid-September and in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana, in late August.  No precipitation on any trip, with temperatures from 40-80 F (4-25 C) in the Park and slightly cooler in the Absarokas.

This limited backcountry use didn’t deny the Tilley a full workout, however. I wore it on at least ten dayhikes and twice as many days fishing, and on midday and afternoon walks, about two-four miles (3-6 km) per day with my dog from June through early October. Except for the day I wore it sightseeing at the top of the tram on the Aiguille du Midi, France, pictured at left, these days saw temperatures from 40-85 F (4-29 C) and mostly sunshine but occasional rain (including one gully-washing thundershower), hail, mist, and light snow. At the top of the mountain the temperature was 25 F (-4 C) with gusty winds. It’s not exaggeration to say I wore the Tilley on at least part of 120 days since I first filed my Initial Report.

PERFORMANCE

Fit. As I’ve said before, a wonderful advantage of most Tilley hats is ordinary sizing rather than a more general Small, Medium, and Large. Throughout the testing period my Tilley has not blown away despite the persistent efforts of the incessant Paradise Valley winds to snatch it. That’s mostly due to the stampede straps, which I can now adjust one-handed practically by instinct, but also to a snug, comfortable, and almost custom fit. The fit also allows a proper airflow through the ventilation holes in the crown and the not-too-tight fit around my head. Top marks in this category.

Comfort. Here’s where I’ve been really surprised by the Tilley Camo. My worries about overheating in high summer were proven to be unfounded. Not once did I need to doff my hat or tip it back because of overheating, though I have done both from time to time when hiking in the shade obviated the need for sun protection. The ventilation system is great.

I also like the ability to tweak the brim to keep out sun from a particular direction. This I accomplish with a simple push or pull of the brim. Though the brim is reinforced it hasn’t developed a memory, and that means no forcing when it’s necessary to adjust to block the sun. This despite a few occasions (OK, a regular habit) of being crammed into the front pocket of my pack without regard to the consequences.

I forgot to stash my passport in the Tilley’s hidden pocket when I crossed the border to fish, so I can’t report on that feature.

More top marks in this category.

Weatherworthiness. This hat is completely waterproof. Full stop. Even in a downpour the hat didn’t wet out. Bravo Cordura!

Durability. Cordura is tough and as a result this hat is tough. It looks as good as new after near-daily use since June – no stitching loose and no damage to integrity or shape of the hat. Even more remarkably I’ve seen no sweat stains, even around the point of the hat that comes in contact with my sweaty head. More top marks here.

Care. Often on hot summer days I’ll dip the hat in a stream or lake and cool off with a wet lid; evaporation of the water helps cooling too. If I did this on an outing when back at home, as with any hat, I’d rinse the hat in drinking water (something I'd do if I sweated heavily on the hike) to be rid of any pond scum or other contaminant. A few times I’ve hand-removed spot soiling such as a bird dropping, tree sap, or flyfishing gink. A couple of scrubs and all was well. Once winter is here to say I intend to run the hat through my front-loading washer using Atsko Sport Wash, followed by a rinse and air-drying.

SPECIAL LIKES

Sizing
Comfort. I’m amazed I didn’t get too hot.
The ventilation system
Extraordinarily durable

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

I’d prefer a slightly wider brim.

SUMMARY and ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I’ve found another great Tilley hat!

My Test Report ends here, with big thanks to Tilley Endurables and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.

 


Read more reviews of Tilley gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Camo Hat > Test Report by Richard Lyon



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