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moondoggie Sep 20th, 2007 09:38 AM

Which Tilley Hat? Too Many to Choose From!
DH and I are finally going to Africa next year, and I want to buy us both Tilleys. But after going to their website, I cannot figure which of the medium brim (not the short, not the long) styles would be best. What's the advantage of one over another? Too many specs, not enough practical info. DH has a big head, I have a pinhead, so we know we'll have to choose sizing carefully. But its the fabric/other features I can't choose. Can anyone help? Thanks.

doohickey Sep 20th, 2007 10:08 AM


Perhaps there is a retailer in your area where you can go and actually try a selection on. I did this once with Tilley and it was very, very helpful.

Have you tried this link to find a local retailer?

Good luck!

ShayTay Sep 20th, 2007 01:08 PM

I LOVE my Tilley hat! There are so many different models now, though, that it's hard to say which one I have (T3, T4, or T5, I think.) I agree that you might be better off finding a retail outlet. They will probably carry the most popular models and you can see which one you like the best. You can also check out the fit, as they recommend getting one size larger than you would normally wear.

kenyatraveler Sep 20th, 2007 01:32 PM

Try an Army/Navy store in your area and choose and try on the one(s) you like best. If they don't have your size, tghey will order it. It will cost only a dollar or two more than on-line which is offset by the shipping charge and you will walk out knowing what fits best and what looks good on you. After your safari, it will look great on the beach, golf course or any outdoor use.

Khakif Sep 21st, 2007 11:58 AM

When I first began going on safari I took a Tilley-also admit to buying “safari outfits.” I’ve only owned two Tilley hats; from my experience: the first one I washed and it did shrink (so you might want to make sure your size correctly - not too tight). Secondly the brass grommets started to corrode (turned green and yucky). My next hat was “lightweight” but I found the shiny, nylon fabric hot and uncomfortable, and stained from sweat. I also prefer a 4” brim rather than the narrow brims offered on many of the Tilley styles. IMHO, they are well marketed, loved by some and hated by others.

Being female, I now prefer to dress in natural, earth-toned clothing, but I avoid cargo pants and shirts with pockets and epaulettes. I don’t want to look like my husband’s little brother, but rather a little more feminine. Watership Trading Hats (Made in the USA) are now my favorite. I like hats made of Cordura (has the look and feel of a natural fiber, but durable, lightweight, breathable, water repellant qualities of a fine synthetic fabric.) I also like many hat styles from San Diego Hat Co. (especially the ponytail hat – full 4” brim but with a hole in the back so your hair can exit the hat rather than be piled on top of your head - and cooler and convenient, if you like to wear your hair in a ponytail).

Just my honest opinion, I don’t mean to incite the Tilley faction.

ShayTay Sep 21st, 2007 12:24 PM

Khakif, your experience really surprises me. The hats are warrantied, so did you contact them about your problems? When you wash the hats, you need to stretch them back out to size, as explained in the instruction booklet (yes, they have one.) I've never had the grommets corrode or have any problems with sweat stains, as the built-in sweat band does its job. It gets really dirty on safari, but always washes clean.

One note to moondoggie, there are knock-offs out there. A friend of mine bought a "Tilly" in the Johannesburg airport... no "E" in the name and made in China, of course. She knew it wasn't authentic, but needed a hat for Botswana.

Carlux Sep 21st, 2007 12:29 PM

We were recently in Sicily, where our guide introduced us to his boss - 'you can tell he's the boss, because he has the nicer hat!'

Tilley of course. I was wearing my Tilley skirt - 2 of them make up most of my travel wardrobe. Now I want a packable hat for Cape Town in January, and so will try to pick one up in Toronto next month (they dont have many in the small French village where I live)

Khakif Sep 21st, 2007 01:42 PM

I loved my Tilley too. My reasons for moving away from Tilley were more a choice of style and fabric rather than a reaction to any problems I may have experienced. Moondoggie was looking for input re specs, my suggestion was she should look for: wider brim, sytle w/o brass grommets, and the more natural fabrics (cotton duck; T-2 Style) rather than the lightweight nylon. In addition, make sure the fit is not too tight (at least two fingers can easily slide under the front).

BTW, I remember being in the Magellans Travel Retail store last year when a Maasai gentleman came in with his host. He exclaimed, "now I know where everyone buys their safari clothes." But, with all the wonderful clothes to choose from in America, why does everyone want to look the same? For years now, I've prefer a simple, functional, feminime non-safari look.. To each their own.

moondoggie Sep 22nd, 2007 09:59 AM

So, as I understand it, the lightweight nylon gets hot? I thought that the nylon, being lighter, would be LESS hot. Anyone else care to weigh in?

Also, I like the idea of the Tilley skirt rather than convertible pants. For 14 days, I'm thinking one skirt, and the one pair of convertible pants/shorts, plus one vest (plus t's, etc). Any disadvantages to skirt vs pant/shorts?

Khakif Oct 11th, 2007 05:24 PM

So moondogie, which hat worked out best for you?

moondoggie Oct 13th, 2007 01:20 PM

OK, I got a great deal at my local luggage store--bought us both the canvas ones with the small (less than 1 inch)row of mesh ventilation holes running around the top. The brim is medium, and i can actually pull my hair back into my ponytail, just lower than usual. I was amazed--it was semi-flattering. But now I have to keep it a secret till Christmas--and I'm dying to use mine now while working outdoors! Thanks to everyone for their input and advice.

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