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Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Extremely durable, comfortable.
Cons: Brim size.
The Tilley LTM3 Airflo Hat is practically identical to the Tilley T5MO Organic Cotton airflo Hat except for a few small differences. The LTM3 doesn't use organic cotton, and it allows you to snap the sides of the brim up, and the brim is a slightly different shape. Other than these things we didn't notice any differences. Both of them have decent protection, good style, and are the most durable hats we tested. We recommend using these hats for traveling because their amazing durability, the secret stash pocket in the top of the hat, and their small brim allows you to navigate the crowds while staying protected at the same time.
RELATED: Our complete review of sun hats
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Brim on the Tilley LTM3 Airflo Hat is 2 3/4" in the front, 2 3/4" in the back, and 2 3/8" on the sides. This isn't the most protective hat we tested but it still provides you with good protection. We actually preferred the smaller brim in certain situations, like if you trying to navigate crowds at a concert or a busy bazaar. It also has a UPF rating of 50+ protecting you from about 99 percent of UV radiation. You also have to account for the ventilation in the crown which allows some radiation through, probably bringing the total protection to about 98 percent. If you require more protection we suggest getting a hat such as the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap. This was the most protective hat we tested and we gave it a Top Pick award because of this.
The comfort of this hat can significantly increase when you correctly use the wind cord in the back. At first it was kind of confusing, so we just tucked it away under the top of the hat to get it out of the way. But once we figured it out it made a huge difference and gave it the comfortable snug feeling that it was missing. As you can probably guess from the name, the wind cord helps keep the hat stable in the wind. It is a simple great idea that we think more hats should have. It's basically a strap that you pull over the back of your head, giving it more resistance to falling off. There are some very helpful videos on the Tilley Facebook page that shows you how to use it.
This wasn't the most comfortable hat we tested, but it is still very comfortable. Besides the wind cord, it also has a nice soft sweatband that covers your forehead and some foam padding in the top of the hat that is suppose to protect your noggin a little bit. We didn't really notice it that much when we were wearing it, though. The Tilley hats are unlike the other hats we tested, because the neck cord and the wind cord are all one continuous loop. That makes it harder to get the neck part tight without compromising the tightness of the wind cord. They could have fixed this by putting a cinch on the neck part.
This hat is still very comfortable, but if you are looking for the most comfortable hat that still has some good protection, then check out the Top Pick Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap and the Editors' Choice Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat.
The fabric its self isn't very breathable, but there is a ventilated crown on the top of the hat that allows for some fairly good breathability. This hat will be breathable enough for most activities except for running. Other than that this hat is great for most activities and will keep your head plenty cool. In addition to the ventilation at the top, there is a sweatband that will help keep you a little cooler. This hat has the same breathability as the Tilley T5MO Organic Cotton airflo Hat with the exception that this hat lets you snap the sides up. We didn't think this helped it breathe more but it does cool you down a little bit because it allows your skin to have more contact with the air. If you are looking for the most breathable hat, then check out the Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat.
All Tilley hats are hand sewn in Canada, giving them a sense of exceptional durability that you can feel more so than the other hats we tested. They are also guaranteed for life, so if they ever do fall apart then Tilley will replace them. Throughout the months of testing we never had a durability issue with these Tilley hats. We love how crushable the brims are; after putting one in a crushed position you can just grab the sides of the hat and push your knee into the middle and it regains its shape. No other hats were as durable and well made as the Tilley hats.
We really like the style of this hat; it looks classy and even allows you to snap up the sides, making it look like an old slouch hat. Clipping up the sides doesn't have any practical effects; it's more of a style thing. It was originally done by the Australians so that they could carry their rifle on their shoulders without it knocking the hats off; then it was adopted by the U.S. in the Civil War and the style has been with us ever since. If you don't like the style of this hat then check out the Coolibar Crushable Ventilated Canvas Hat.
Tilley T5MO Organic Cotton Airflo Hat
Tilley T3 Cotton Duck Hat
— Devin Chance
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 4, 2015
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