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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables TTC2 Tec-Cork Hat > Test Report by Ray Estrella

Tilley TTC2 'Tec-Cork' Hat
Test Series by Raymond Estrella
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - December 31, 2013
LONG TERM REPORT - June 01, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 53
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.


INITIAL REPORT

The Product

Manufacturer: Tilley EndurablesTilley Tec-Cork
Web site: www.tilley.com
Product: TTC2 'Tec-Cork' Hat
Year manufactured: 2013
MSRP: US $105.00
Weight listed: 4.8 oz (133 g)
Verified weight: 4.66 oz (132 g)
Size: 7-1/2
Color: Black/Grey Check
Image courtesy of Tilley Endurables

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The Tilley Endurables Tec-Cork hat has become my favorite winter hat. Heck my favorite bad weather hat period. It has shrugged off everything Nature has thrown at it this past winter and spring and still looks great. Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The Tilley Endurables 'Tec-Cork' Hat (hereafter called the Tec-Cork or hat) is similar to their Mash-Up hat that I just finished testing (see report here) in as much as it contains recycled materials too. The hat gets the "Cork" part of its name from "corkshell" made by Schoeller Textiles, the market leader in soft-shell technology. They make corkshell in two types. Tilley uses the 2-layer version in the Tec-Cork. It is an outer polyester/wool blend layer with an inner layer of bonded cork granulate. This cork granulate is a by-product in the production of wine corks. (Most likely from the cutting and forming as Shoeller makes no mention of reusing actual wine corks.) The biggest benefit to corkshell is that it offers up to 50% higher thermal insulation when compared to their traditional soft-shells and is highly breathable.

Side, front, flaps



The hand-sewn Tec-Cork comes in just the one brim size/style. It has a brim that is 2.75 in (70 mm) at the front, 2.5 in (63 mm) at the back and 1.7 in at the sides (43 mm). The brim is fairly thick and is I believe made of foam trapped between two layers of the corkshell material. It is stitched through every 0.25 in (63 mm) round and round the brim.
Label, adjustment
The side band (or barrel) of the Tec-Cork has an extra layer of material for the first 1 in (25 mm) above the brim. It looks like a hat band and even has a fuax keeper loop and triangular cut "end". It looks quite stylish to me.

The top consists of a flat one-piece crown. There is a thin layer of dense closed-cell foam under the crown. The outer surface of the Tec-Cork has been treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) to keep the snow and rain off.

Looking inside the hat I find the famous Tilley hidden pocket (which came filled with the 4-page owner's manual). This roughly 4.5 in (114 mm) square pocket is held closed by hook-and-loop. It has a big label sewn on it that is in both English and French. At the bottom of the label is a space to write a name and address or phone number in case of loss.

The entire inside of the hat is lined with sueded polyester fabric. It is very soft. Another thing that is soft and warm is the drop down knit ear warmers. The warmers actually wrap around the back of the head from ear to ear. At the back of the hat is an ingenious adjustment strap that Tilley calls a Size Equalization Device. A strip of doubled sueded polyester has Velcro tabs that can be adjusted to allow for the head fit between times when the ear warmers are up or down.

The Tec-Cork is not washable, it is dry clean only. Tilley says" "although the hat may not shrink if you machine-wash it, don't take a chance; have it dry-cleaned because it's made mostly of wool". I don't understand that claim as the Tec Cork is only one quarter wool. It is 74% synthetic materials as the label above shows.

Since it has a DWR coating Tilley suggests that it only needs to be wiped off with a damp cloth for most cleaning issues.

The Tec-Cork is insured against loss and guaranteed not to wear out. I plan to wear it outů outside that is. Please come back in a few months to see how it did in the frigid environs of northern Minnesota.

 


LONG-TERM REPORT

Field Conditions

Over the course of the winter and early spring I used the Tilley on three backpacking trips and about 10 day hikes. All trips were in the State of Minnesota (MN), and were in my regular hiking locales of Smoky Hills State Forest, Buffalo River State Park, MB Johnson Nature Park and private and public properties around Moorhead, Halstad and Hendrum, MN. Here is a picture taken on a January backpacking trip north of Halstad.

Halstad



As winter progressed, because of very unsafe driving conditions I only went on one overnight trip during the last phase of testing. This was a rare trip to the southern section Halstad property just because I could park at a state maintained spot. Road closures have been very common this past winter. That trip went from a high of 0 F to a low of -27 F (-18 to -33 C). The next day was even colder, never getting above -24 F (-31 C).

I did a lot of day hiking along the Red River north of my own town as I could start from M.B. Johnson Nature Park. All hikes were on snow in temps running from 0 to -28 F (-18 to -34 C).

Observations

Well I really like the Tec-Cork a lot. This has become my favorite winter hat of all time. At first I was concerned that it would not be warm enough for our frigid winters. But I found that it was great for hiking. I run hot anyway while hiking so the Tec-Cork was fine as long as I was underway. There were a couple times I needed to add a bit more warmth but a fleece beanie was able to fit under the Tec-Cork when I let the adjustment out. Most times I was fine with just a neck gaiter and the hat though.

Speaking of my neck gaiter, the drop-down flap of the Tec-Cork works excellent along with the neck gaiter. Between the two it kept wind from creeping in and the gaiter helped keep the Tec-Cork locked on my head by sitting over the flap. This shot taken on a February day hike show both in use.

Dayhiking


The Tec-Cork is not warm enough to use as a camp hat. Once I stop moving it gets too cold. But as I bring a beanie or down balaclava to sleep in I just add that once I stop for the day.

The Tec-Cork is very weather-worthy. It shrugged off everything that was thrown at it this winter. Mostly snow and blowing snow. You know, the kind that fell once and now just keeps blowing around as it is too cold and dry here to allow it to settle. Once spring hit we started getting some rain which the Tec-Cork just laughed it off too. The picture below was taken on a cold rainy April day. I figured it was fitting to wear the soft-shell Tec-Cork with a soft-shell jacket.

Rainy day


I really like the looks and style of this hat. So does most that see it too. I have received more compliments on the Tec-Cork than any hat I have owned. Often when coming back from a hike I will wear my hat when I go into a store on my way home so as to hide my wild messed-up hiking hair. Just about every time at least one person has commented positively on my hat. Kudos Tilley.

The Tec-Cork is showing some wear along the top of the crown. I'm not sure if it's from brush or maybe rubbing on the floor of my tents or something like that. Other than that it has held up quite well. I have had no need to dry clean it. I just dry it off when I get back and store it sitting flat.

That's about all I can think to say about this fine piece of hiking headwear. I see this becoming my main hiking hat here as it fits the bill for everything from October to May in this part of the world. My thanks to Tilley Endurables and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to put it to the test. I leave with a shot taken on a freezing day hike.

Sunny and way cold

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables TTC2 Tec-Cork Hat > Test Report by Ray Estrella



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