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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables Camo Hat > Test Report by Steven M Kidd

TILLEY ENDURABLES LT3C SNAP-UP CAMOUFLAGE HAT
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M KIDD
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - June 30, 2013
LONG TERM REPORT - November 29, 2013

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Steven M Kidd
EMAIL: ftroop94ATgmailDOTcom
AGE: 41
LOCATION: Franklin, Tennessee
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 173 lb (78.50 kg)

Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Image Courtesy Tilley Endurables



Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.tilley.com
MSRP: US $78
Listed Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)
Measured Weight: 3.7 oz (104 g)
Listed and Measured Brim size: Front and Back: 2.75 in (7 cm) Sides: 2.375 in (6 cm)
Crown Measurement: 3.5 in (9 cm)
Sizes Available: 13 U.S. Hat Sizes ranging from 6 7/8 to 8+
Size Tested: 7 1/2 {Inside Label Info--Size: 7 1/2; 23 1/2 in; 60 cm}
Fabric: Cordura nylon with water repellant finish & polyethylene foam in the lid


The Tilley LT3C Snap-Up Camouflage Hat is much like the name implies; a brimmed hat with the ability to snap either one or both sides to the crown similar to Australian hats used in the Outback. It's made of cordura nylon and is certified to block up to 98% of the harmful UVA/UVB radiation while delivering an UPF of 50+. The snaps are made with 'British brass' as are the dual ventilation holes on either side of the crown and are suggested to acquire a patina after being introduced to salty climates.

Tilley hats have several key selling features from a lifetime guarantee to a secret pocket, even insurance against loss and more. I could describe these all in detail, but an image on the Tilley website sums up the 'Anatomy of the Tilley Hat' quite well.

IMAGE 2
Anatomy of the Tilley Hat


The hat came with a four page owner's manual that like the website is a bit braggadocio. In my opinion this is all in fun and part of the mystique of the brand. The comical manual does explain how the hat should fit, to wearing the wind cord properly and washing and care instructions. I actually referred back to the owner's manual to decipher "Which is the Front"? of the Tilley Hat! In fact to expound on the comedic hubris; the hat came with a small re-sealable zippered style plastic storage bag suggested to store cash and with several 'Brag Tags' to give to folks that may inquire about the hat. I have decided to leave the bag in the secret pouch and will freely give them out if anyone asks about the hat!

The hat does actually have a two-year insurance policy after a 50% deductible, be it lost, stolen or destroyed. They also state they will replace the hat if it ever wears out at no charge; the owner merely pays nominal shipping and handling fee.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

To be 100% honest I took a bit of a pause before deciding on testing this product. It certainly wasn't because of the hat, as I've heard nothing but positive things about Tilley Hats. It was the color that concerned me. Camouflage simply isn't a color that sneaks into my regular wardrobe...even in the backwoods. I often joke that I wore it religiously in my youth 'when the government made me', but I don't often find it necessary to wear the color scheme in the backcountry these days.

That stated the brand itself and the other features of the hat enticed me to give it a swirl. I will attest that I was excited when the hat arrived. I say this, not because my attitude toward camouflage changed overnight, but because the hues in the web images were actually bolder than the product that arrived. That is to say I much prefer the more muted colors of the actual lid, over the deeper hues presented on the website. To further explain, this commercial pattern still resembles that of a 1980's US Military issue Woodland Camouflage item, but the hues are more subdued and subtler like a current MARPAT comouflage without the digital appearance.

The brass on the four vent holes and the two snaps is certainly bold, but not shiny on this new cover, however I'm sure it will green or acquire a 'patina' with time. I assure the reader that I will never shine it during this test series or anytime thereafter!

IMAGE 3

It fits quite well, especially since I went up a size...as Tilley suggests. I'm not sure I'm in love with the wind cordage at present, but time will only tell how I adapt to this feature. At present I've only worn both sides of the cord on the back of my skull like a Drill Instructor would wear a cover.

I've yet to become comfortable with wearing it in this manner because the cordage is a shoestring material and sits loosely on my nape. Historically in wearing a campaign cover I used a leather strap that fit snuggly on the back of my head.

I've wondered if tucking the straps into the crown during low wind would make sense, but it doesn't feel comfortable. I can almost assure the reader I'll never wear a strap around my chin. I thoroughly understand the reasoning behind the cordage, but if this old boot can't secure his cover with a back strap he'll probably just have to utilize his insurance claim.

The Tilley is soft and comfortable and fits well on my noggin. I giggle as I pen this because there is one key attribute that I've struggled with and I believe I've uncovered my hesitance just now. The lid simply has no conformity at this point. It certainly may be shaped and I will do so...but I have just realized it isn't 'crisp' or 'sharp' and I've kept wondering why it doesn't look 'normal to me'? I realized that this is a pleasure hat for use in the backwoods and not an article of a uniform! Thankfully I came to this realization before I pulled out a can of starch...as I was contemplating!

IMAGE 4


SUMMARY

Although the color wasn't my ideal choice for a Tilley Endurable I was quite happy with the subdued camouflage hues and have quickly become a fan of the lid. I look forward to wearing it in the backwoods as well as in other outdoor areas. My wife didn't necessarily believe it was the best choice for me to wear for sun protection to the neighborhood pool, but I'll certainly be wearing it throughout the summer and have her accustomed to seeing me in it by the time we make it to the beach!

I do plan on using it regularly on all my backcountry outings throughout the four month test series and look forward to giving reports on the performance. Please check back in roughly two months for my first field report and another two month following that for a final review of this cover!



LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Benton MacKaye Trail

2 - 4 July, 2013: Chesdin Reservoir Area, Matoaca, Virginia. This lake (reservoir) was created by a damming part of the Appomattox River in the late 60's and lies 108 ft (40 m) above sea level at full pool with a max depth of 45 ft (14 m). The three-day and two-night trip covered around 12 mi (19 km) of backcountry hiking with evenings camping near a beach. Temperatures ranged from around 95 F (35 C) in the day to around 70 F (21 C) in the evening. Conditions were dry.

1 - 4 August, 2013: Bear Island on J. Percy Priest Lake. A second trip to the island, this time with my 4 1/2 year old son and all his gear and mine in the pack. Temperatures were nearly identical to the June trip save a moderately rainy day on Saturday 3 August.

23-25 August, 2013: The Fiery Gizzard Trail, South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. A 3-day, 2-night outing; that covered around 6 miles (~10 km). With my 4 1/2 and 6 year old children along we hiked to the Small Wilds camping area. This was not their first multi-night trip, but it was the first experience that all three of us had not shared a 3-Person tent. Instead we all had individual hammock setups. I'd been out one-on-one using hammocks and with all three of us in the back yard, but now we all had our own rigs setup on individual trees. Elevations were a fairly constant 1750 ft (533 m) and temperatures were nice compared to normal August conditions in the south. It was dry and temperatures ranged from 68 - 82 F (2- 28 C).

13-14 September, 2013: The Stone Door area of the South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. This was quick overnight trip to dial the nuances on a new hammock that a buddy made for me. Conditions were nastier than my August trip! Summer finally hit us in Tennessee at the beginning of September. I covered around 13 miles (21 km) and temperatures were as warm at 96 F (~36 C) and the humidity was intense.
IMAGE 2
Foggy Morning on the NC/TN Line

3 - 6 October, 2013; Benton MacKaye Trail along the Tennessee and North Carolina state line. This trip was originally planned to take place in the Great Smokey Mountain Park, but government interference required a last minute change of plans. We therefore routed a 56 mi (90 km) 4-day and 3-night trip along the BMT starting in Reliance, TN at an elevation of 792 ft (241 m) to Beech Gap, NC. The max elevation on the scheduled route was 5080 ft (1548 m) at Whigg Meadow. At the end of day three after two up and downs and a summit of 4090 ft (1246 m) we descended to the Tellico River and one of my backpacking buddy's knees was toast. We were fortunate enough to hitch a ride with a hunter back to our drop car and made our way back to the base camp at our starting point in Reliance. This cut our distance traveled to a little over 43 mi (62 km). This first weekend of October was unseasonably warm for the Cherokee National Forest. The coolest temperature I measured was 48 F (9 C) and it reached over 82 F (28 C) one afternoon.

12 - 14 October, 2013; Fiery Gizzard Trail in the South Cumberland State Park in middle Tennessee. My five and six year old children begged to go on the mountain outing the week before, and since they couldn't make the 'daddy' trip I decided to take the entire family to an old standby location the following weekend. This was a 3-day and 2-night trip with constant elevations averaging 1750 ft (533 m) covered around 6 mi (~10 km). Temperatures measured as cool as 36 F (2 C) and were as warm as 57 F (14 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I wore the Tilley Camouflage hat on six different backpacking outings throughout the course of the test series. The coolest temperature was just a few degrees above freezing in the middle of October and the warmest day I donned the hat was a scorching 96 F (35.5 C) at the very end of summer.
IMAGE 3
Island Camping Fun with My Son

I also wore the hat on multiple day hikes and even had it aboard for a day SCUBA diving trip to protect my head from the sun. I enjoyed wearing the hat on a more than one beach, albeit the best by far was a lake island outing where I met a handful of my hammock camping buddies, but I was fortunate enough to take my four year old son. He even snapped a shot of me enjoying a nice stogie and wearing the Tilley!

Overall I was truly impressed with the Tilley. It certainly stands up to the hype! It was comfortable and cool in almost all conditions. In fact there was really only one day of backpacking during the entire testing phase that I decided not to wear it. This was on the final day of Benton MacKaye trip. Although temperatures only made it to around 83 F (28 C) it was quite humid and we were averaging 16 (26 km) days. After several days the hat was soaked with sweat and it was still quite damp the final morning we set out, so I decided to simply mash it up and stow it in my pack.

I washed the hat for the first time after that sweaty trip and allowed the Tilley to air dry. I did remove the foam liner and brag tags before washing. I was able reshape the hat appropriately afterwards.
IMAGE 4
Viewing the Hiwassee River

As mentioned previously the snaps and ventilation holes are brass and are supposed to acquire a patina at some point. To date they have yet to do so and still the same sheen they did when I received the lid.

I rarely, potentially once or maybe twice, used the chin strap to secure the hat. Winds simply just didn't justify using it. I did at times secure one of the two sets of straps to the base of my skull to secure the hat. I originally believed the straps may bother me, but that was unfounded and I rarely even realized they were draping the back of my head and nape.

I enjoyed the way the appropriately size sat a little loosely on my head just above my brow line. It kept the sun from bothering me in most instances and I rarely needed to use sunglasses in conjunction with the hat. When sitting around the beach or camp I would often tip the hat back on my head, but I often do the same with a ball cap in informal situations.

The nylon cordura was fine and probably allowed it to dry quicker in most instances than cotton. Again, that one trip was the only occurrence in which it didn't dry out overnight from being perspiration soaked.
IMAGE 5
Camaraderie

More often than not I wore the hat unsnapped with the entire brim giving me sun protection. Most of the images in the review come from my BMT trip when it was muggy and hot and I certainly enjoyed the flexibility of the rare occasion I found myself snapping the sides up for ventilation and air flow.

I made humor of the camouflage color of the hat in my opening report, but I rarely thought of it when I was on the trail. It did feel a little odd wearing it on a dive boat, but I dealt with it. In fact the only thing I'd potentially change with this hat if I were given the choice would be to have it in a different color. A nice olive drab would be perfect in my opinion.

SUMMARY

In summary I find the Tilley Endurable LT3C Snap-Up Camouflage Hat to be an excellent addition to my gear stash. I'm thoroughly impressed with the material, construction, overall fit and durability of this lid. I look forward to continuing to use it on the trail in the years to come. I know folks that have had their Tilley are for years and see no reason why this one won't stay with me for some time.
IMAGE 6
Off to the Long Brown Trail...

I'm become and enthusiast and could even see adding another Tilley to my collection. I can see myself owning another in another material and certainly another color! As I've comically mentioned throughout the report the one and only thing I would consider changing about the hat would be the color. This of course is a color combination that attracts many folks, so I don't see it deterring the masses. In fact it will certainly attract many! As I mentioned in the outset of the initial report, the camouflage hues are not as bold in reality as they appeared in the website image. I personally preferred the more muted hat which I received and feel as if most of the included images give a fairly realistic view of hats true color scheme.

Camouflage or not, I'd proudly don this Tilley and head out into the piney woods in the near future!

I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Tilley Endurables for giving me the opportunity to test this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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