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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley Endurables TTW-2 Tec-Wool Hat > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:
  
Initial Report - October 14, 2011
Field Report - January 3, 2012
Long Term Report - February 21, 2012

Initial Report:author
October 14, 2011

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 59
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Tilley
Website http://www.tilley.com
Model TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat
Color 
Black Mix (also available in Brown Mix)
Size
7 3/8 (available in 13 sizes)
Manufacturer  Weight   4.8 oz (136 g)
Tested Weight   4.6 oz (130 g)
Model Year 2011 Made in Canada
MSRP $99.00 US

Initial Impressions and Product Description 


The Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat arrived in perfect shape with its four-page owner's manual. At first glance I noted how stylish the hat was with its heather-black wool finish and its band trimmed with a leather adornment. I ordered the hat size 7 3/8 (23 1/8 in or 59 cm)  and it fits perfectly. This hat is available in 13 different sizes so it can fit almost everyone. Tilley hats are impeccably made and all of the seams are lock stitched so that they don't unravel. Hats are guaranteed for life to not wear out.


Design and Technical Features
Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat
The hat brim is reinforced by multiple rows of stitching (6-8 rows depending on location). This actually stiffens the brim and doesn't allow it to flop around. I own another Tilley and this is one of the best features I have come to love.

The brim width varies with the location on the brim. For example the front brim is 2 5/8 in (6.67 cm) while the back is 2 3/4 in (6.99 cm) and the sides are 2 1/8 in (5.40 cm) wide. Reportedly the down-sloping brim will help protect my face and back of my neck from wind and snow.
The fabric of the hat is certified to block 98 percent of harmful UVA/UVB radiation and provide ultraviolet protection of 50+.

The hat is made out of a blend of fibers notably 75 percent wool. The other fibers are 19 percent polyester and 6 percent polyurethane. A membrane called "C_Change" is bonded to the wool exterior and it reacts to body temperature. Reportedly the membrane closes when
exposed to cold air and opens in response to warm air allowing overheated air to escape. The fabric is also treated to repel rain and snow. The interior of the hat is very soft suede-like durable polyester.

There is an additional feature (Size Equalization Device or SED) that allows a size adjustment to slightly tighten or loosen the Hydrofil anti-sweat band (t
his material reportedly absorbs sweat and wicks it away from the foreheadEar flaps deployedd so it can quickly evaporate). The SED is basically a removable soft band that is held in place by three short pieces of Velcro.

Stretch-knit ear warmers are tucked inside the hat so that when they are deployed, an adjustment could be made to the sweatband if desired. When the ear warmers
are down, it makes the hat about one size smaller).

I didn't really feel the need to adjust the sweatband when I wore the ear warmers up but then I have a lot of hair which my hat size is partly based on! (Just thinking that someone with less or no hair may
feel the difference more). Anyway, it will be something that I determine when I wear the hat for an extended period. The band can be stored in the secret pocket on the crown (see next paragraph).
 
Like all Tilley Hats, the TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat has a secret pocket in the crown of the hat. Inside the pocket I can feel the thin foam that stiffens the crown of the hat (this foam holds onto some of the heat that rises and stores it).

According to Tilley, this foam also softens accidental blows to the "noggin". I could have used that the other day when I walked into a tree branch on a steep climb! The pocket is useful for stashing money, secret paper or whatever. Overlying the pocket is the infamous label that I can fill out with my identity. The guarantee and other information is written in French and English but there are a couple lines to write on. Although Tilley doesn't suggest what to write with, I found that a permanent thin marker worked well on my other Tilley.


Care

The Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat is dry clean only however minor dirt can be removed with a damp cloth.


Summary

I am looking forward to wearing the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat in the upcoming months. The weather has already cooled and winter is on its way. I plan to wear the Tilley for all sorts of cold weather activities.


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Field Report:
January 3, 2012

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have worn the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat at least two dozen times for a variety of activities including backpacking, day hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Location of the backcountry trips were in Michigan and ranged from lakeshore to hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

 

November Backpacking Trip

Location: Beaver Basin Wilderness and the Fox River Pathway
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 28 mi (45 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: Approx. 30 lb (13.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sun, cloudy, rain, and snow 
Precipitation: 1.34 in (3.40 cm) rain/snow
Temperature Range: 27 F to 55 F (-3 C to 13 C) 


Late December- Early January Rustic Cabin Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip: Trail and bushwhack including some lake travel
Distance: 17 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: Sledge approx. 60 lb (27 kg) including fresh consumables
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy with snow
Precipitation: at least 14 in (36 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 17 F to 37 F (-8 C to 3 C)

 
Day Hiking and XC Skiing 

Location: Various trails and bush roads in Marquette and Houghton Counties in Michigan 
Distance: Normally 5 -15 mi (8 - 24 km)
Temperature Range: 9 F to 31 F (-13 to -1 C)

Performance in the Field
Backpacking the Fox River Pathway
During the field test period I fell in love with the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat! I have never worn this type of hat with a brim in cold winterly weather but rather a knitted wool beanie-style hat. This was a huge departure from my style and function.

The first time I wore it during a cold dayhike I wondered how it would perform and what the reaction of my fellow trekkers would be. The hat in my opinion is almost rather "formal" looking so combining it with a bright soft shell jacket felt almost odd. The reaction was
actually overwhelmingly positive. I quickly got over the shortcomings in my thinking process and realized that I didn't know what I was missing. Not only does the hat keep the low sun out of my eyes but is very comfortable while hiking.

In October and November I didn't even have to wear the ear flaps but that is not because it wasn't cold but that I have braids that cover my ears. So far in December my braids have also kept my ears warm. I did deploy the ear flaps for fun but really don't need them yet. During the first two months of the testing period the temps have been fairly consistent at just below freezing. Lately some days it has been as low as 9 F (-13 C) while hiking and other days wind was a big factor.

The hat always stays in place and doesn't slide forward. On the backpack trip I was on mostly unmaintained trail which meant lots of deadfalls to bushwhack around. I never lost my hat! The hat not only fits nicely but with the correct sizing it fits so that it doesn't hurt my head or leave marks on my forehead.

Most times I am very comfortable while wearing the hat. If I am ascending a ton of hills I do become a little hot but nothing that I wouldn't expect while wearing any hat. The big difference seems to be that I don't have wet sweaty hair when I take off the hat. I would surmise that the breathability is better than a close-fitting knit hat. During the first day of the backpacking trip the temps were up to 55 F (13 C). In my opinion that is rather warm for a wool hat but at no time did I feel the need to take it off.

I have worn the hat in lots of rain mostly notably during the last day of my backpacking trip. I hiked about four hours in steadily falling rain that eventually turned to very sloppy snow. I was surprised that my head stayed perfectly dry. When I would tip my head forward big streams of water would fall off of the hat. I did this quite often during my hike just because it was fun to see the water pour off. When I removed the hat back at the traihead it looked very wet on the outside but the inside was completely dry...amazing! I have also worn the hat in other occurrences of rain and snow with similar results.

I also decided to try wearing the hat once for cross country skiing. Since the trails weren't groomed yet and I wasn't going particularly fast it worked out well.
Self portrait while pulling my heavy sledge through a heavy snowstorm
During my cabin trip I wore the hat while pulling a sledge (while wearing snowshoes) in and out from the rustic cabin and it worked well for those exertion levels. The temps on the way in were just at freezing (32 F/ 0 C) and about 17 F (-8 C) on the last day. This was combined with raging winds and heavy snow. I was working hard snowshoeing through 14 in (36 cm) of fresh snow but felt quite content and protected wearing the hat. I actually didn't wear the earflaps as my exertion level was very high. My hair underneath stayed dry.

While I stayed at the cabin I also went out for daily snowshoe outings which lasted several hours each. The hat was worn for most of these outings as well with great results. 

So far I haven't felt the need to clean the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat. It doesn't smell or look dirty but since I wash my hair at least once a day (except for backpack trips) it shouldn't be very soiled. When looking at the care instructions I read that it could possibly be cleaned or wiped with a damp cloth if needed. As the weather will only get colder in the next few months I am excited to try wearing it during backcountry trips where the temps could get as low as -20 F (-29 C).

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Long Term Report:
February 21, 2012

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period I have continued to wear the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat for many outdoor pursuits including a three-day sledge trip, and a rustic cabin trip of four days (had to pull gear to and from cabin). I have also worn it for many additional snowshoe outings with a conservative estimated total usage at 20 days. Locations of the backcountry trips were in Michigan and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

January Sledge Trip
Wearing the wool Tilley during a snowshoe outing
Location: Lake Superior State Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Bushwhack
Distance: Approx 17 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Sledge Weight: Approx. 45 lb (20.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy with peeks of sun
Precipitation: Trace of snow
Temperature Range: -6 F to 27 F (-21 C to -3 C)


February Rustic Cabin Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail and bushwhack including some lake travel
Distance: Approx. 14 mi (22.5 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Sledge approx. 60 lb (27 kg) including fresh consumables
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny and cloudy
Precipitation: Trace of snow
Temperature Range: 10 F to 39 F (-12 C to 4 C)
 
 
Snowshoeing

Location: Various trails, frozen lakes and bushwhacks in Marquette and Alger Counties, Michigan
Distance: Normally 5 -10 mi (8 -16 km)
Temperature Range: 5 F to 30 F (-15 C to -1 C)

Performance in the Field
Tester wearing Tilley Hat during bushwhack sledge trip of three days
I have continued to enjoy wearing the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat during the long term period. During the backcountry sledge trip I wore the hat for all hours that I was snowshoeing while pulling my sledge. This amounted to at least 6-7 hours per day. I found it to be quite comfortable and it kept my head warm but not overheated. The conditions varied during the trip but day time temps were anywhere from 10 F (-12 C) to 27 F (-3 C).

The Tilley Hat stayed on my head almost the whole time except for a half dozen times when a branch caught under the brim and either misaligned it or it totally fell off. This was actually an excellent record since the whole trip was bushwhacking!

During most snack breaks I kept the hat on and even during a couple of the longer lunch breaks. On the coldest day I decided to trade the hat for a thick beanie hat during the long lunch break. This has been my custom ordinarily to layer up at lunch including a dry wool hat. After lunch I replaced the thick wool hat with the Tilley and I was surprised that I didn't chill down. I attribute that to the Tilley remaining dry.
Sledging gear
During the morning and evening hours at camp I stored the Tilley inside my sledge while bundling up further for the inactive hours.

During my next trip to a rustic cabin I sledged my gear to and from the cabin. Each day I snowshoed for several hours while wearing the Tilley Hat. The terrain was very hilly and the temps were mostly around 20 F (-7 C).

My head felt very comfortable and only after removing the hat did I notice that the nylon insert that separates the hat from the earflaps was wet. This is the only part of the inside of the hat that sometimes feels wet. I truly think it would be better if that was made with a slightly sueded material like the headband and earflaps themselves. However I feel that is a small nitpick as it does dry quickly.
 
I've only used the earflaps on the hat on part of two outings. The winds were quite cold and the extra measure of protection over my hair braids added more warmth to my ears.


Checking out some ice caves
I have not dry cleaned the Tilley nor at this point do I feel the need to. It has retained no odors, doesn't appear dirty and looks as new as when I took it out of the box.

The Tilley has continued to keep my head dry. It has never soaked through during many snow storms and while bushwhacking it collected a bunch of snow from tree limbs but still kept my head dry.

Overall I am extremely pleased with the performance of the Tilley Hat. I will continue to wear it for many outdoor pursuits. I must add that I have received more compliments on this hat than I ever expected and they continue to come in! It adds a bit of class to my outdoor activities. It is more than functional!



  

   Pros 
  • Great fit
  • Breathable, C-Change technology provides temperature control
  • Ear warmers integrated into the hat if needed
  • Quality product
  • Stylish and functional
  • Fends off wetness from rain and snow

Cons 
  • Nylon insert becomes wet

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Tilley and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat. This report concludes the test series.

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