Below is my Field Report for the Tilley TWC5 Outback hat. The link to my HTML report is: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/FR%20-%20Tilley%20Outback%20-%20Brian%20Hartman/
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the past two months I wore the Tilley Outback on two multi-day backpacking trips and two day hikes. I also wore this hat around town and to my kids' soccer games on weekends. The weather during this time was unpredictable I encountered everything from calm, sunny skies to driving rain and tornado warnings. Daytime temperatures during this test period ranged from 62 F (16 C) to 86 F (30 C). On my trips I hiked on established trails and gravel roads as well as through dense forests with no trail markers.
1. Hoosier National Forest, Bloomington, Indiana: My first trip during this test period was a two day backpacking trip of approximately 12 miles (24 km). The weather was warm and sunny with highs in the mid 70's F (18 C) and nighttime lows in the upper 50's F (14 C). The terrain was heavily forested and quite rugged. I spent the majority of this backpacking trip off-trail.
2. Camp Frontier, Pioneer, Ohio: Camp Frontier is an 1,100 acre Boy Scout camp in Northwest Ohio. The land we camped on was slightly hilly with several lakes and lots of heavily forested areas. This was our Troop's first time to an out-of-council summer camp and fortunately I was able to join them for three days. While there I wore the hat continuously except while sleeping and taking showers. Temperatures ranged from 65 F (18 C) to 86 F (30 C) and the camp elevation was approximately 960 ft (292 m). There was a decent breeze most days which provided some relieve for the high humidity. The skies were cloudy when I arrived but eventually cleared.
3. Westfield, Indiana: The temperature during this day hike went from 78 F (25 C) down to 64 F (17 C) when storms and heavy rain rolled through the park in mid afternoon. The trails were well maintained with minimal elevation changes.
4. Oldenburg, Indiana: The weather during this trip was partly sunny with temperatures in the mid 70's (23 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
<<IMAGE 1>> The Tilley Outback hat performed flawlessly during my two months of field testing. So far it has passed my tests for comfort, ventilation, sun protection and overall durability with flying colors.
Comfort and Fit: Despite many days on the trail, the Tilley Outback has managed to retain its original shape and fit. The outer fabric still feels smooth to the touch with no fraying or pilling and the inner sweatband has remained soft and smooth against my forehead. Although the Tilley Outback is noticeably heavier than my ball caps, it fits great on my head and is very comfortable to wear even for long durations. The deep crown and tailored fit has allowed the hat to remain securely in place. While climbing up steep embankments and over fallen trees on my trip to Hoosier National Park, the hat stayed firmly on my head. Although I have subjected it to windy conditions on multiple occasions, it has stayed firmly in place without the need for the wind cord. I have also been impressed with how well the brim retains its shape during heavy wind gusts without flexing or bending. According to my wife, it even adds a bit of good looks when I am
hanging out at our kid's soccer games. PS. I think she just said that so I would stop asking her how it looked. One final note regarding the fit of Tilley Outback is that the back brim does not interfere with either my internal or external frame backpacks. I contribute this to Tilley's well thought out design and attention to detail.
Ventilation: Hiking with the Tilley Outback at Camp Frontier in Northern Ohio provided a good opportunity to test the venting and breathing capabilities of this hat. It was quite humid during this outing with daytime temperatures in the mid 80's (28 C). I'm pleased to report that the hat breathed well during this trip and my head never became wet with perspiration. The air circulated through the large grommets providing welcome ventilation and the Hydrofil sweatband did a great job of wicking away moisture so that it did not drip down my face. Despite the hot, humid conditions, the sweatband stayed mostly dry and quite comfortable against my forehead.
<<IMAGE 2>> Sun Protection: With reports of skin damage on the rise, it is comforting to know that the Tilley Outback provides UPF 50 protection against the sun's UV rays. In this regard, the Tilley Outback did an excellent job of providing shade for my face and ears when hiking or camping in sun exposed areas. It has also been very easy for me to shape the brim as needed so that it curves down in the front and back. In this position the brim does a very good job of protecting my neck from the sun's rays when combined with a collared shirt. When not wearing a collared shirt, I found that on a few occasions the lower part of my neck got red by the end of the day. This happened to me while hiking in Oldenburg, Indiana and I contributed it to the fact that the sun was getting under the brim as it moved lower in the sky. As a side note, the Tilley hat did a good job protecting me from ticks and other pesky insects while backpacking off-trail
through heavy forests.
Durability and Weather Resistance: Regarding durability, the Tilley Outback has performed remarkably well so far. I have not noticed any fading, stains or sweat discoloration on the hat from my field use. This has been an ongoing grievance of mine in reference to most of my other hats as they tend to break down after a few years of use. Despite being worn continuous, accidently sat on, and stuffed in my backpack, the shape of the Tilley Outback is almost the same as when it first arrived, with the addition of a few creases.
While day hiking in Central Indiana, I was caught in a major downpour and had the opportunity to test the Tilley Outback in pouring rain. It held up fairly well. Although the hat is not waterproof, it is water resistant and did a really good job of keeping the vast majority of rain off me. As mentioned by Tilley, the hat got really stiff once wet, which was a good thing because it kept the brim from collapsing under the weight of all the water. Once the weather cleared, the hat dried out in a few hours and was as good as new. Because my Tilley hasn't gotten very dirty during testing, I have not yet washed it. Nor have I tested its ability to float in water. With some additional testing time, I'll be able to comment on those items in my long term report.
I love this hat. It fits well, and is comfortable to wear on the trail and around town. It is definitely on my short list of items to take on backpacking trips throughout the year.
Thanks to Tilley Endurables and Backpackgeartest for the opportunity to test this hat.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
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