TILLEY T5MO OR­GANIC AIRFLO

Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR Q&A - —Kevin Falvey

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

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