TILLEY T5MO ORGANIC AIRFLO
A hat has become an essential bit of my boating kit, both for protection and for the comfort it provides. Since Tilley has a longtime rep as a premier maker of hats for the waterborne and other outdoor enthusiasts, I decided to wear one of its new models through a summer of boating for work and play. This year, with its extended periods of 90-degree F heat even into New England, lower Canada and the upper Midwest, proved a perfect season for such a test.
The T5MO Organic Airflo boasts a ¾-inch band of mesh around the crown to allow cool air in and hot air out. I like the look and feel of its sueded cotton, and the brim is not too big to be floppy yet big enough to provide shade for my face and neck. I chose the blue color — it’s also available in khaki and olive — figuring blue would absorb a lot of heat, and thus be a better test for whether the hat could keep me cool. I can attest that I have not had a sweaty head or felt uncomfortably warm while wearing this hat, whether I was boating in Miami or Michigan or Maryland. It provides a shield against the blaring rays and offers some other cool features as well.
It floats, which is a great attribute for a boater’s hat. It also sports a unique strap arrangement that allows use as a chin strap, but also simply keeps the hat snug on your head — enough so that I could cruise my center-console at high speed and not have it blow off. (Tilley calls it the Wind Cord System.) The T5MO Organic Airflo also has a secret pocket sewn in under the crown. I found it handy for keeping cash dry while wading ashore from the boat to a favored beach spot. Made in Canada from 98 percent certified-organic cotton and 2 percent spandex, its brim measurements are 2⅝ inches (front), 2¾ inches (back), and 2⅛ inches (sides). I recommend this hat. $100; tilley.com