Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Ongoing Adventures Of The Nearly Indestructible Tilley

The hat is holding up better than the wearer . . .
It's that time again.  I do this every year and it's already been another year.

Somebody just asked me recently if I've managed to tear up that hat yet--that would be my Tilley Endurables TH4.  It's been two years since I took that hat out of the box, and believe me, I've done the best I can to destroy it.  I've documented my progress in accomplishing this goal here.  It was my mission in the beginning to test that lifetime guarantee.  I figured within a few months of receiving it, I'd be sending what was left of it back to Tilley for a new hat (I'm really hard on stuff).  And the way I pictured it, when the Tilley folks opened up the box, the hat would look like something Wile E. Coyote had been wearing during that unfortunate incident with the roller skates, the giant spring, and the TNT.

I've worn it doing yard work, hiking, fishing, to numerous festivals and outdoor events, fish fries, and even swimming in my pond.  It even survived a brief encounter with a camp fire (yeah, that's why the chin strap is a good idea on breezy days).  I wouldn't be able to even begin to guess how many times it's been washed--and more often than not I haven't followed the recommended procedure (I just toss it in the washing machine). It's been exposed to dirt, mud, sweat, pond water, wood smoke, donut glaze, ash, grass clippings, worm guts, chicken blood, chlorine, stink bait, gasoline, BBQ sauce. A couple years ago I even got white spray paint mist all over it, and had to use hot water, dish detergent, and a stiff brush to get it off. 

And look for yourself--it hasn't even begun to show any real wear.  In fact, I think it looks better than when I first got it--it's color has mellowed out from more of a khaki green to a nice weathered brown (probably due to the number of washings it's endured and exposure to sun and sweat).  The only thing aging is the guy wearing it.

But you know something--I don't try nearly as hard to tear it up these days.  I really love that hat, and it would make me very sad if anything happened to it.  It's comfortable, it's light and cool to wear, and that hemp fabric truly is nearly indestructible.  And I really like that brim--it keeps the sun out of my face, and the rain from running down the back of my shirt.  And it's one of the few brimmed hats I can comfortably wear driving because it lays down in the back and doesn't interfere with the head rest.  You really can't ask for much more in a hat (and I didn't even mention the fact it floats, and has a secret pocket big enough to put my iPhone in).

Winter is right around the corner . . .
It won't be long before I'll be putting away the summer hat, and breaking out my winter Tilley hat.  I loved the summer hat so much, I bought a toasty warm TEC-wool Tilley--the TTW2.  That's also a great hat, and very well made.  I've been a little easier on that hat.  It looks nice, so I keep it nice wearing it primarily back and forth to work. 

I sometimes wonder how Tilley profits--it's certainly not in repeat business since their hats last forever.  And it's not like I'm going to buy another summer Tilley--why would I?  The one I already have is perfect.  So their strategy has to be about introducing more and more people to the products they offer.  So I'm doing my part by telling you about them.  Go check them out.  I want to make sure they are still around in thirty or forty years if and when I finally succeed in tearing up this hat.

And again--no, I'm not a spokesperson for Tilley.  Just a fan of the product.

~TEC

Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014

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