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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > Tilley TM10 Hat > Stephanie Martin > Test Report by Stephanie Martin

Test Report: Tilley TM10 Mesh Hat

Personal Biographical Info:
Name: Stephanie Martin
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Height: 5'5" (1.65 meters)
Weight: 145 lbs (65 kg)
Email Address: syoong "at" alum "dot" mit "dot" edu
Location: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Date: April 23, 2007

 

Background: Having always enjoyed spending time outdoors, I got serious about it in 1996.  Since then, I've been actively day hiking most weekends. In addition to day hikes, my husband and I generally take a couple of week long trips to the Grand Canyon annually, in addition to short weekend backpacking trips. Our backpacking philosophy has been rapidly moving towards ultra-light gear. My target base pack weight is 10 lbs (4.5 kg), and my typical shelter is a single wall tarp/tent. In general, we average 12 to 15 miles (20 to 24 km) per day.  See http://www.ToddsHikingGuide.com for trip reports and a better sense of our hiking style.

 

Other sun/shade hats used: I was introduced to Tilley hats in 2005, and my other Tilley quickly became a favorite.  In addition to the Tilley LTM6, I have worn many other sun/shade hats of varying materials, brim widths and makers from a short brimmed bucket-style hat made of cotton, to a broad brimmed Bora Bora hat from Columbia Sportswear, to a variety of broad brimmed raffia hats, to baseball caps with detachable shade cloths.

 

Product Information:

Tilley TM10 and Red Deer

The TM10 Mesh Hat is a broad brimmed hat with a full mesh crown and is certified to a UPF 50+.

Manufacturer: Tilley Endurables [http://www.Tilley.com]
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Listed Weight: None given
Weight as Delivered: 5.5 ounces (155.9 grams) - including brag tags
Size: 7 1/2 (23 1/2 inches, 60 cm)
Listed Dimensions: Brim: Front & Back: 3.5 inches (8.9 cm)
         Sides: 2.5 inches (6.4 cm)
Measured Dimensions: Brim: Front & Back: 3.5 inches (8.9 cm),
         Sides: 2.5 inches (6.4 cm)
Color: Khaki with Olive underbrim
MSRP: US $74
Misc: Tilley hats are insured for loss (replaced at half the catalogue price with proof of purchase) and are Guaranteed for Life against shrinkage or wearing out.

 

Contents

- It's Here! The TM10 Arrives

- Product Features and Construction

- Initial Impressions

- Product Performance in the Field - Field Report

- Product Performance in the Field - Long Term Report

- Summary

It's Here! The TM10 Arrives!
The Tilley TM10 arrived with with a couple of hang tags attached detailing some key features of the hat along with a four-page owners manual (in English, but also available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish upon request) and eight brag tags inside a resealable plastic bag tucked safely inside the Secret Pocket.  The Owner's Manual provides insight regarding how Tilley Hats came into being, and answers some key questions such as "Which is the Front?" (if you can read the label upright, you're about to put the hat on correctly), "How Should it Fit?" (low on the head and slightly loose).  The Owner's Manual also carries on to discuss such topics as: "How the Wind Cord Keeps the Hat On", "How to Adjust the Wind Cord", and "Washing Instructions" - it also provides some suggestions from experienced owners, amongst other things.
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Product Features and Construction
Tilley Hats are reputed to be amongst the finest in the world, and based on my previous experience, they certainly are nice hats.  For those who are unaware of their history, the Tilley family of hats were designed by Alex Tilley to serve as a "proper sailing hat" - to stay put - even in strong gusts and high swells.  In addition, the hat floats - just in case it doesn't stay put, last indefinitely, and look attractive.  Tilley hats are also designed to shed rain, as well as provide sun protection - the TM10 Mesh Hat has been tested and certified to an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50+.  Because my hard-working hats are prone to getting grubby, I'm especially pleased to find out that the TM10 is touted to be washable (by machine even!) and won't shrink in the process.  Tilley Endurables actually encourages washing of their hats as skin oils and perspiration can ruin a Tilley Hat by rotting the fabric.

The TM10 is one of two newly released mesh crown hats.  The thing that distinguishes the TM10 from its counterpart, the TM11, is its larger brim.  Both the TM10 and TM11 hats feature 100% cotton duck brims and crowns made of '3-D' polyester mesh that blocks the sunlight (giving the hat its UPF 50+ rating) while allowing air to pass through easily.  The top of the crown is lightly shaped, and appears to be made out of similar material as the brim of the hat.

Tilley hat mesh, inside Tilley Hat mesh, outside
Detailed view of the inside of the Tilley TM10 Hat Detailed view of the outside of the Tilley TM10 Hat - note the shaping of the crown and the appearance of the mesh.

The wide, oval shaped brim has a wire-like stiffener sewn into the edge of the brim and the brim itself has five concentric rings of  stitching spaced evenly from the crown to its outer edge.  The cotton-duck brim is reported to become stiffer when wet, to help repel rain - though the fabric is also touted to be water repellent.  On the inside of the hat, at the base of the crown is a soft flannel-like sweatband made of Hydrofil fabric.  This material is designed to wick and evaporate moisture away from your sweaty forehead.

In order to prevent the hat from taking flight, the Tilley hat comes with a wind cord threaded through four small brass grommets (two on either side of the hat).  The cord is quite long, and resembles a wide shoelace.  At the rear of the hat, the cord is joined together using sliding overhand knots.  Sliding the knots away from each other enables a tighter fit of the chin strap/wind cord.

A large product label is sewn into the inside crown of the hat proclaiming the hat as insured against loss and guaranteed for life.  It also details the key features of the hat, outlines the care procedures and provides contact info for Tilley Endurables while also leaving space for the user to inscribe their own name and contact information.  Hidden cleverly beneath the product label and sealed with a strip of 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) hook and loop closure is a security pocket.  Within this secret pocket are eight "brag tags" sealed inside a resealable plastic bag.  Each 2.5 inch (6.4 cm) square tag has either a tip on wearing the Tilley hat or a short excerpt from a dedicated Tilley fan on one side and procurement information on how to acquire a Tilley on the reverse side.  Also found inside the crown of the hat is a thin (1/16-inch, 0.2 cm) layer of closed cell foam that aids in the hat's floatation.
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Initial Impressions
The Tilley TM10 Mesh hat is about as I'd expected after various visits to the Tilley Endurables website.  The hat is a little heavier than I had anticipated (mostly, I suspect, because my only other experience with Tilley Hats is with one of the light weight Nylamtium models).  The mesh was also a little bit of a surprise - there was no close-up of the mesh on the site, and I am very pleased with the appearance and feel of the mesh on this hat - I wasn't sure how they managed to make a mesh hat with UPF 50+, but now with the hat in hand, I understand - it's all in the 3-D mesh!  The only other difference with my hat and those in the photos on the Tilley site are the decided lack of the jaunty curves of the brim. My TM10 Hat is very nicely made with tidy stitching and no loose threads to be found, though it's brim is quite flat - I hope that time in service will remedy this situation, and that my hat will develop some character-giving curves.  Using the handy sizing tool, and taking into account how my other Tilley fits (comfortably, though sometimes a little close for comfort), in addition to a re-measurement of my head, I requested a size 7 1/2.  The hat sits a little loosely on my head and it's a perfectly comfortable fit.  The crown is quite deep, allowing the hat to come all the way down to the top of my ears.
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Product Performance in the Field (Field Report February 14, 2007)

Field and Test Information:
Location(s) of test: Various locations in the wide expansive deserts of Arizona.
Terrain: The majority of the terrain has been open desert environments and canyons with few shade trees present.
Weather Conditions: Mostly sunny with a few overcast days.  Winds have ranged from nonexistent to moderate gusts.  Outside daytime temperatures during the test period have ranged from nighttime lows near freezing to daytime highs in the low 80s F (mid 20s C).

I've had the opportunity to wear my Tilley TM10 for short relaxed excursions around town to all day or multi-day affairs wandering about the desert.  I'm pleased to report that the hat is holding up very well and thus far shows no evidence of wear despite being haphazardly smooshed into a backpack and being exposed to scrubby desert brush.  Unfortunately, the brim remains resolutely flat and straight - I had hoped that with time and wear, it would develop a jaunty curve.

While the TM10 is decidedly heavier than some of my other hats, it remains very comfortable to wear even for long durations.  The deep crown and slightly loose fit allows the hat to remain securely perched in place - there is even enough room to allow me to wear a thin liner cap underneath the Tilley when I need warmth along with sun protection.  On windy days, I did find that the hat refused to stay on without the aid of the wind cord.  On the occasions that the wind cord had to be used, I found it easy to employ and adjust, though I always had to utilize both the forward and rear wind cords simultaneously (using the rear cord alone failed to prevent the hat from taking flight).  The cord itself was comfortable and soft, and I usually forgot I had it on after a few minutes of use.  I also noticed while hiking on windy days that the TM10 hat brim is stiff enough to retain its shape even while hiking into the wind with my head tipped downward, and does not bend to hinder my vision - a definite plus!

The TM10's brim is sufficiently wide to provide good shade to my face and ears, though not quite wide enough to provide shade clear down to the bottom of my neck.  While this does mean I need to make sure to apply adequate sunblock to my neck, it also means (in the case of this hat, anyhow) that it does not interfere with my ability to wear a fully loaded pack.  Other hats I've worn in the past were not suited for wear with loaded packs as the brims would constantly hit the pack and the hat would become dislodged.

Hiking with the TM10 on warmer days provided a good opportunity to test the venting and breathing capability of the 3-D mesh crown.  I'm pleased to report that the hat does indeed seem to breathe readily, and does not appear to gather condensation on the inside.  Cooling breezes were able to pass easily through the crown of the hat, providing welcome ventilation.  Unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to test the Tilley TM10 in inclement weather and therefore cannot comment on its performance in rain or other precipitation.

While the weather during the testing period has been mild and relatively cool save for a brief heat spell, I've still managed to work up a sweat while hiking.  During these hikes, I have found that the Hydrofil sweatband of the Tilley does indeed wick moisture away, though I still find myself having to mop sweat away from my eyes.  Even with the sweating though, the band has remained comfortable, unstained and soft to the touch.

As I mention above, the Tilley does not seem to have suffered at all from being stuffed into my pack.  I've packed the Tilley away into my pack on several occasions with no ill effects. I will admit I don't crumple it unduly when I do pack it away, rather, I pack the hat into the pack by placing the brim of the hat against the back panel and pack around it.  If my pack is already full, I will usually try to squeeze it in with the brim flat along the back panel of the pack, or I will lay it on top of my gear, then close the lid and tighten the straps of my pack accordingly.  The Tilley TM10 has born this treatment well, and appears none the worse for it.

Because my Tilley hasn't gotten very dirty during testing, I have not yet attempted to wash it.  Nor have I tested its floatation - and sadly, I haven't garnered any smiles or drinks from strangers as a result of being a Tilley wearer...perhaps with some additional testing time, I'll be able to comment on those items in my long term report.
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Product Performance in the Field (Long Term Report April 23, 2007)

Field and Test Information:
Location(s) of test: Various locations in the wide expansive deserts of Arizona and Southern Utah.
Terrain: The majority of the terrain has been open desert environments and canyons with few shade trees present.
Weather Conditions: Mostly sunny with a few overcast days.  Winds have ranged from nonexistent to strong gusts.  Outside daytime temperatures during the test period have ranged from nighttime lows near freezing to daytime highs in the low 90s F (low 30s C).  No precipitation was encountered during the long term testing period.

the Tilley TM10 provides excellent shade coverage.
fast food in the desert - Hamburger Rock, Coyote Buttes Arizona

The long term testing period provided me with plenty of opportunities to continue to evaluate the Tilley TM10 both while out exploring the desert as well as while spending time outdoors in town.  While no precipitation was encountered, the southwest experienced an early arrival of the summer temperatures and some high winds. 

Checking out PetroglyphsI'm happy to report that the TM10 has performed admirably during this time and has quickly become my favorite hat.  It provides excellent shade coverage while allowing for plenty of cooling air circulation and remains comfortable to wear, even when I have to secure it using the windcords.  Shade coverage is pretty good with the TM10, though as I reported in my field report, it is still important to apply sunscreen to provide protection when the sun is at lower angles. 

In high winds, the brim does blow down a bit (especially because I will typically tilt my head downwards while walking into a strong wind in an effort to have the brim of the hat help keep blowing dust out of my eyes), but does not deform to the point where it obscures my vision.  Unfortunately, no rain or precipitation was encountered during the long term testing period, so I can't comment on how the TM10 performs in the rain.

The security pocket of the TM10 (or any Tilley for that matter) has proven to be a good place to store small items that I may forget while quickly packing for a hike.  I've taken to stashing some extra money, an ID and some spare elastics for my hair in the pocket.  I haven't noticed any change in the fit of the hat while those items are being stored up there, though they are all very low profile and have hardly any thickness to them.

Even with plenty of use, the hat still looks fantastic, with no stains, deformation or discoloration.  The brim appears to finally be relaxing into a jauntier shape, though it is still relatively flat.  As my hair has gotten longer, I have noticed that I am able to twist it into something akin to a French twist (though much messier as it still isn't quite long enough yet) - and put the hat on comfortably over my "up-do".  The advantage to this is I don't have to deal with looking like a little kid with pigtails in order to prevent my hair from sticking to my neck in the warmer weather.  I should also mention that the TM10 also stays on just fine when my hair is secured into a more conventional low ponytail.
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Summary: Woo Hoo's and Boo Hoo's  
I truly am a fan of Tilley Hats and I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to test the Tilley TM10.  With its excellent ventilation and shade providing capabilities, it has quickly become a favorite for desert hiking.  With that said, here are my "Woo Hoo's" (likes) and my "Boo Hoo's" (some room for improvement).

- Woo Hoo: Very comfortable to wear - and stylish too!
- Woo Hoo: The Tilley TM10 has a wide enough brim to provide plenty of shade, but is short enough to not interfere with my backpack.
- Woo Hoo: The wind cord is also very comfortable and soft - once adjusted, I often forget I have the cords down!
- Woo Hoo: Excellent shade coverage, and wonderful ventilation.
- Woo Hoo: Accommodates my putting my hair up underneath, as well as low ponytails or pigtails.
- Woo Hoo: Security Pocket is a great place to stash spare elastics for my hair along with ID and some money.
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My thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Tilley Endurables for this testing opportunity.



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