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.
Weight: 6 oz. (size medium)
Available sizes: unisex S-2XL