What is the best hat for RV camping and outdoor activities? For my money, Tilley hats (http://goo.gl/YVnDOj) are the best. This is another Father’s Day gift that a man will actually use (alas, we can’t guarantee the same for that bottle of Brut by Faberge http://goo.gl/i0lqfD).
In our small travel production company, I wear many hats. No, literally! I wear a lot of different actual, physical hats. Since I often appear on camera in our videos, I don hats to guard against the occasional “bad hair day” (and I have a lot of bad hair days). If you watch some of our older videos you’ll see my hair flying all over the place. I am King of the Cowlick. I quickly learned that a nice hat could solve the problem.
My favorite outdoor hats are Tilley hats. For my money, these are the best hats for outdoor adventuring and RV camping. They are good looking hats that are also highly functional and supremely durable. They look nice, are comfortable, and pretty much will last your entire lifetime (guaranteed!).
What makes a Tilley hat so great? They are exceptionally well designed and handcrafted with “Canadian persnicketiness.” They are an excellent example of the old “form follows function” mantra. Yes, they have a dash of style and flair. But they are as useful as a Swiss Army Knife. They have a number of features that indicate someone put a lot of thought into the design.
The label on the inside of every Tilley says a lot: “Insured against loss. Guaranteed for life. Replaced free if it ever wears out. It floats, ties on, repels rain, blocks UV rays, won’t shrink and comes with a four-page owners’ manual.” See? Tilley has a sense of humor and makes an awesome hat.
My Tilley hats are constructed of nylon that stays cool in the summer, while providing some warmth and wind blockage in winter. Tilley also makes hats out of canvas and other materials like hemp and cotton, but I’m a fan of the nylon hats.
You can machine wash a Tilley hat, so there are few worries about stains and discoloration. If it gets dirty, I simply toss it in the next load of laundry.
Tilley hats fold flat for easy storage (a huge consideration in an RV) and can easily be returned to their proper shape. You can also “scruntch them up” into a tight space if necessary. They don’t weigh much. I often slide one into a backpack for travel, just in case.
Threading in Tilley hats is cross-stitched (whatever that means) and unlikely to come loose. Inside each hat is a “secret” storage pocket, perfect for business or ID cards and a twenty spot. You could store a spare key inside if you like.
The Airflo version contains a polyester mesh around the crown that helps air circulate inside the hats, keeping you cool on warm summer days. For this reason I prefer the Airflo model, although both are of equal quality. One of these days I’ll probably add another Tilley hat to my arsenal for the sake of color variety. Tilley makes a hat (model TM10) that boasts an all-mesh crown; I’d love to try it someday.
Tilley hats are enormously helpful in the outdoors. Their versatility is key. I can’t count the times I’ve donned my Tilley and walked out into the rain. Or used it to block sun on a warm summer hike. So that’s my pick for “best outdoor hat” – a Tilley made of a temperature cool material like nylon.
One fun aspect of buying a Tilley hat is that you join the owner’s club. It’s not literally a club, of course. But once you have a Tilley, you will begin to notice other Tilley owners. When you see these owners in public, you will exchange a knowing “nice Tilley” smile and nod. You are both members of the club.
Caveat emptor! There’s one aspect of Tilley ownership that I must warn you about. They are kind of like potato chips, in that it’s hard to have just one. At first you will think the hat is a little pricey and buy it with some skepticism. Then you will discover that it’s a solid value. Finally, you will come back for more! When you do so, remember who sent you.
Sometimes you may see me wearing a leather hat that’s made in an Australian outback style. I purchased this hat in Argentina and have many memories attached to it. While I enjoy my “walkabout” hat – it’s got classic style – the leather gets too hot for my taste on warm summer days. It’s a bit bulky and doesn’t fold. So my leather hat is more of a special occasion hat, best for cooler weather. You wear this hat when conditions are right. The Tilley is something you can wear on a daily basis. Tilley makes its own outback hat in cotton that I may give a try.
There’s one other hat that I carry everywhere in my pickup truck, and that’s my Alabama Crimson Tide ball cap. While I rarely wear this cap, I often sneak it onto the dashboard of our truck for the benefit of my wife (who sadly is a fan of my team’s arch-rival Auburn Tigers). My cap hasn’t turned her into a ‘Bama fan just yet, but I figure a little subliminal brainwashing can’t hurt.