I’ve never been a big fan of brimmed hats— the Indiana Jones look just doesn’t work for me--but that all changed on an outrageously wet backpacking trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness. My hiking partner found a brimmed rain hat that had been stowed in a stump and long forgotten.
Like most everyone in the Pacific Northwest, he already had one, so he gave it to me. I sullenly put the thing on, and instantly discovered what so many already know about hats with brims: they work. It was still a pretty wretched trip, but I didn’t mind that hat one iota. I loved the functionality, but the ugly factor was too high for me.
I sought out a hat with better looks, and came upon Tilley’s summer hat, the forgettably-named TWP1. In the last year, I’ve hiked with this hat in blazing heat to high lakes in the Cascades, fly fished from a pack raft, braved torrential downpours in downtown Seattle, and last weekend, rafted the Wenatchee River at near-flood stage.
On a particularly hot day, I dunked the hat in a stream, opened the rear ventilation zipper and enjoyed swamp cooler-style chillage as I slogged up through a burn in Washington’s Icicle Canyon. The wide 3” brim keeps rain and sun at bay, while the rainproof nylon exterior sheds moisture like a river otter and wears like iron (if your Tilley wears out, the company will replace it for free).
Style is a personal thing, but in my opinion, this hat has simple good looks that don’t make me feel like a dork. The brim never interfered with the top of my pack. Features are discreet: a reflective strip on the side of the hat so your hiking partners will be able to spot you at dusk and a small pocket in the crown for storing ID and a few dollars. The stowable chin strap slips inside the hat when I don’t need it, but it sure came in handy as we ran the rapids of the Wenatchee. (In case you forget to deploy the chin strap, the hat floats.)
Bottom line: This fully waterproof hat handles rain, sun and high heat with equal success. It looks good enough to wear everywhere, but it’s perfect on the trail.
The Specs Price: $78 Weight: 6 oz. (size medium) Available sizes: unisex S-2XL tilley.com