Gear – Tilley T3 Hat

Over the past couple of years of walking I’ve gone through a fair amount of gear, so I thought I would share some feedback for stuff that’s tried and trusted. Hope it helps.

What is it?: Tilley T3 Cotton Duck hat. It’s Canada Day, so let’s talk about Canadian icons!

How much?: I bought it in Sydney Australia in 2007 and now I can’t remember what I paid. Today you can buy it from Tilley for $85 CAD + tax.

Where, when, how do I use it?: This is my go-to summer hat. As I said, I bought it in Australia. I was posted there on a work assignment in January 2007, at the height of summer, and quickly learned how fierce the Aussie sun can be. We lived in a flat near Circular Quay, and close to that is an area known as the Rocks. This cluster of renovated old stone buildings is today a buzzing little shopping district, amongst which was a hat shop. I popped in on Australia Day (Jan 26) when we were out in the crowds enjoying the celebrations and I was getting scorched.

At the time, I was just looking for a basic hat, but when I saw the Tilley I immediately knew I had to buy this iconic Canadian classic and uphold my maple-leafness downunder. I wore it most days as we explored the countryside, and it’s been a summer staple since.

It’s getting a little battered and sweat-stained, but 13 years later it’s still going strong. I wash it occasionally, taking care to stretch out the band while it’s still damp so that it doesn’t shrink. Otherwise, since I started my walks in 2016, it just gets folded up and carted around and stuffed in knapsacks and worn in the sun. It has one job, and it does it really well.

I can’t think if any real issues with it. The light colour is reflective, it breathes pretty well through the vent holes, the absorbent brim keeps sweat out of my eyes, there are proper chin ties in case it gets really windy, and it floats if it falls in the water. You can even stuff an emergency $20 into the secret pocket in the top.

Inside, there’s information on how to get a replacement if it ever breaks down. Alex Tilley, who designed, says it’s the finest hat in the world. I’m not going to argue.

Would I buy it again?: If I ever lost it, then yes absolutely, though I won’t have to because it’s insured against loss (you get that when you buy it). But barring that, I can’t see how I’ll ever wear it out. You buy a Tilley hat once. I like that.

Disclaimer: This is not a “review”. I don’t go around sampling things, instead this is a summary of my own experience with a product I have used a lot. All opinions contained in this post are my own. I offer no warranties or assurances for your experiences with the same product. I bought the gear with my own money and have not received any form of compensation from the manufacturer. Take my feedback as given – caveat emptor.