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Ode to a (Tilley) hat

Gary M

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Brutal heat, humidity, and sun here in the Midwest; temps 95 to 100 F, heat index 100 to 116 degrees.


It makes me thankful for my second most important piece of hiking/backpacking gear.............


My Tilley hat!


To me at least, hiking boots or shoes are always the most critical hiking item. In the course of a back packing trip or even just a simple day hike, you'll be taking many thousands of steps. Each step must be comfortable, with good traction, advanced technical performance, and excellent foot/ankle protection. You just can't enjoy the outdoors without a good pair of boots or shoes.


But what about a good hat? Your head is rather important, and needs special protection from the sun. I work for a pharmacy specializing in the Long Term Health Care Industry. I've seen way too many older men with skin cancer on their heads, nose, ears, ect. Just take my word for it, and wear a hat while in the sun out on the trail.


I wear a Tilley LTM6 Airflo, and really love it. It's light, is comfortable, helps wick away sweat, and isn't too terrible to look at. I like to dip it in a clear stream or other good available water source to help cool down while on the trail. Cotton baseball style hats won't wick away sweat, don't dry nearly as well as the Tilley, and certainly do not provide the same sun protection. The Airflo has a UPF 50 rating, and great UV protection. A cotton hat is like wearing cotton jeans, on your head!  Not a pretty thought really.


Other hats I've owned wore out after a year or two. I've had my Tilley for years; it does not shrink or wear out. It's made in Canada, not China.


Tilley guarantees the Airflo for life, and it even is insured against loss. I suggest you try it on at an outfitter vs purchase on-line to insue you get the correct (somewhat loose) fit to facilitate air flow. This is not a cheap hat, it retails for about $85, depending on the particular model.


The nice thing is, it's probably the last hat you'll ever buy!

Tilley Airflo at REI



Gary M


Yours truly, wearing his Tilley Airflo

Edited by Gary M
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  • 2 years later...

Footwear and headwear are also at the top of my list when it comes to hiking.  As I prefer to hike in warm/hot climates, I look for lightweight breathability. I love my Merrell Moabs and I've recently discovered a hat that doesn't make my head overheat - Urban Canairie hats are also made in Canada (not over-seas) and are a lightweight / airy option to widebrim hats (assuming you're not in the desert for multiple hours :)

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