It’s confirmed……I’m a Tilley Guy through and through

Richard Charpentier Gear Review, Notes from Rich 13 Comments


My nearly 3 year old Tilley Hat rests on a stump in the Dells

You know, over the past few years I’ve gotten some ribbing about my Tilley Hat.  Truly, I have.  The, “Nice Hat” comments with a touch of a snicker.  And I just don’t get why……I really don’t.

After moving to Prescott I realized something pretty quickly.  It’s sunny here.  Seriously, blue skies and bright sun are the norm.  Blasting winds are also the norm during the Spring, and sometimes they’re just the norm period.  Like today, extra windy.  Should have broken out the kite.

On a visit to Manzanita Outdoors I spied a Tilley Hat, and I checked the selection out.  I knew I’d found my new home, and that I’d be in Arizona for some time.  I also knew that the medications I’ve been on an off of the past few years always warn about limiting sun exposure.  And there’s a good deal of sun exposure here in AZ.  So, I went through the Tilleys and found one that fit me just right.  Bought it then and there.

I own other hats as well.  The standard “baseball” style cap for instance.  I’ve got a few “Life is Good” Hats in my arsenal of head wear.  They’re good little hats too.  But you know what?  They make me insane when I break out my camera.  I’m always whacking the bill of the hat into the camera.  Then I’ve got to reposition the hat or take it off to really work with my camera.  Definitely a nuisance!

With my Tilley hat I don’t have those issues.  The brim is flexible.  I don’t have to pop the hat off to shoot.  Very convenient, very comfy, and I’d say, stylish.  Functional too.

Here and there I’ve forgotten sunblock everywhere on me.  I’m glad to say the Tilley’s broad brim keeps my neck from getting sun burned.  Once after a very long hike I was extremely concerned as I realized somebody forgot the sunblock.  But checking myself in the mirror that evening I found my Tilley did a great job protecting me.  The few teases about my “signature” hat from friends that day meant nothing.  I had noted two severely sunburned necks heading home, and that’s why I’d worried about my own.  🙂

Finally, for those of you out there who are interested, I love the Tilley story.  Each hat comes with an Owner’s Manual.  If you take the time to read it you’ll find a great story behind a great hat.  A person who was dissatisfied with available products sets out to create a product to meet their own needs.  That quest leads to the creation of their own unique product that becomes recognized the world over.  Talk about an amazing entrepreneurial story!  I love those types of stories, it means there are people with can do attitudes still out there.

Oh, and as they point out in the manual, it floats (the hat that is, not the manual).  I found that this summer while on Lake Powell.  I didn’t put the chin strap on, so I had to turn around several times to recover my floating hat.  Gotta start using the strap in high winds………

Why all the waxing on about my hat that “some” people tease me about?  Simple…….I got another one this weekend.  Manzanita was having a “Big” sale over the weekend, and I received on of their fliers.  Nothing jumped out at me on sale.  But I walked by the Tilley display and stopped.  I’d noticed they were now carrying synthetic material hats as well as the heavy ones. So I checked a synthetic out, tried it on, and liked it.  My regular Tilley gets a little too hot when it’s 100 out.  Synthetic would be better……..

After trying it on, checking out the ventilation, etc., I bought my new Tilley.  It doesn’t replace the old one, it’s just added to needed gear here at the Airstream.  Hot days you’ll find me with my new Tilley.  Cooler days you’ll find me with my original Tilley.  And you can crack little jokes all you want about my Tilleys…….I won’t be kept up all night with a sunburned neck.  🙂


My new Tilley hat lurks in the background.

This time I read the whole Tilley Owner’s Manual.  Great story.  Great product.  I expect to keep both my Tilley’s for a very long time.  Thanks to those behind the hat.  Oh, and one last thing.  Way to go on sizing guys!  I couldn’t remember my size, but I went through each hat and tried the fit.  Too tight, way too tight, too big, way to big……and just right.  When I returned home I compared new and old.  Both are 7 & 3/8ths.  Way to remain consistent!  That was extremely impressive to me Tilley!

Comments 13

  1. I’m a Tilley Hat guy, too. I think mine is the same style as yours, but with a mesh crown to stay cool. Crushable for packing, washable, and very wearable. And those dual straps keep it on in any wind. Let ’em laugh, Rich!

  2. Just back from a trip to Many Glacier Valley in Glacier National Park with several photography friends. All were Scott Kelby enthusiasts, and I told them if they wanted to see the work of someone who had been applying successfully that man’s techniques for over a year now that they had to check out your blog! But… too cold and windy to wear my Tilly hat, which I too believe is functional and stylish.
    .-= Bert Gildart´s last blog ..Glacier’s Grizzly Bears Now Ready to Hibernate =-.

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    Hey, I knew I wasn’t the only Tilley guy. I’ve seen folks around here with Tilleys, and it’s always good to know you’re not alone……

    Now, if I could only find a few more Canon shooters in the area. 🙂 I’m surrounded by Nikon guys and they’re warping my mind! 🙂

    By the way Bill… new Tilley has mesh on the crown as well. Figured it would be better for hot weather, and my original cotton one works for the cold!

    Bert, we need to chat soon. I’m thinking about a few photo trips, and I sure would like to see you and Janie come along!

  4. I agree with the Tilley’s! They are one of the few hats that I have found that fit my melon (8 1/4). I got my first one in Jackson Hole and it was one of the heavy fabric ones. At the International Rally in Salem I got my second. This one was a synthetic one with a lot more venting area. I really like the weight on this one. I have relegated my original to behind the seat in my truck for emergency use if I forget my current one.

  5. I could have used one of those while I was going through my chemo. I think they are cool and rather rugged looking. 🙂

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  7. You have excellent taste in headgear! My Tilley has survived a couple of summers in the Guatemalan rain forest and 4 or 5 years in Texas and I wouldn’t give it up. It’s so much better as a photographer’s hat than a baseball cap since the brim collapses nicely for portrait-format shots.

    Looking at how clean yours is, I suspect I need to stick mine through the washing machine again.
    .-= Dave Wilson´s last blog ..Cameron Climbing at Webelos Woods Camp =-.

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    Wow Dave, I was looking around the headband area of mine noting the sweat stains thinking it needed a wash too. Think we’re going to need to see a pre-wash photo of the condition yours is in! 😉

  9. After seeing that last photo, I totally heard the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” theme in my head.

    tooodleooodeloo, waw waw waaaaaaw!

    I think your Tilleys are staring each other down to see who’s going to come out on top (o’ your head)

    Almost everyday, I see a group of people from the building next door walking in the office complex at every break they have. One guy wears a hat very much like yours, (if it’s not a Tilley I would be surprised) AND he carries a golf umbrella. And he is out there with his hat and umbrella, rain or shine. And long sleeves most days. And his commrades are wearing whatever. I don’t think he gives a flap jack about people making fun or teasing him. So you go! Keep on walkin’ in the sunshine, just don’t forget your Tilley.

  10. Despite of all of the hats he has, Bill decided to get one today from REI. He is wearing it now while reading Hemingway under the shaded patio as I write.

    You are the only other person that has inspired him to wear a particular hat considering that he shunned hats in the past.

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  12. Pingback: Portrait of a Hat | Dave Wilson Photography

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