Last Updated on 27/08/2023
Which Is the Best Tilley Hat for Hiking?
Choosing the best Tilley hat for hiking comes down to your personal needs, but the decision is certainly made harder by the fact that all of their hats are so good!
Depending on the climate, the best Tilley hat for hiking could be the most lightweight, the most breathable, or the most waterproof or warm. There is a Tilley hat for everyone, and we are here to help you make a tough decision easier.
If you have already decided you are getting a Tilley hat, then I don’t need to tell you how good they are, and you can jump straight to the Tilley hat reviews. For anyone that has not owned a Tilley hat before, there is a buyer’s guide to Tilley hats at the bottom of the page and a few frequently asked questions. Tilley hats are designed to fit loosely on the head, so if you don’t know what size to get, there is a sizing guide below.
5 Best Tilley Hats for Hiking
Tilley LTM6 AIRFLO Hat
- Material: 100% supplex nylon; mesh 100% polyester
- Weight: 3.2 oz / 91 g
- Brim size: front & back: 3 1/2”; Sides: 2 1/2”
The Tilley LTM6 AIRFLO Hat is our number one pick for the best Tilley hiking hat because it ticks all the boxes in our buyer’s guide and it also looks great. It has the usual high-quality finish and trademark features that you would expect from a Tilley hat, like a buoyancy insert, secret pocket, and lifetime guarantee. Designed for people who like to travel light and comfortably without sunburn on their face or neck, this ventilated hiking hat is the best on the market.
It provides excellent sun protection with a 3.5-inch brim at the front and back your neck, face, and ears are always protected with UPF 50+ cover. It is extremely lightweight at just 91 grams which makes it very pleasant to wear on scorching summer hikes, and is ideal for weight-conscious hikers.
A 3/4 inch mesh band around the top of the hat adds amazing ventilation and breathability for those severe inclines and hot days. The hydrofil sweatband will wick moisture away from your head to help keep sweat out of your eyes too. Front and back adjustable cords will stop your hat from blowing off in even the gustiest of conditions, and the water-repellent finish will effectively deflect any rain off and away from you.
VERDICT: If you are looking for the best Tilley hat for hiking in extreme heat, then this would make the most sense as it provides the best full-brim sun protection around. It also has some of the best ventilation and is incredibly lightweight, which makes it ideal for backpacking in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Chile, or the USA.
Tilley LTM5 AIRFLO Hat
- Material: 100% supplex nylon; mesh 100% polyester
- Weight: 3 oz / 85 g
- Brim size: Front: 2 5/8″; Back: 2 3/4″; Sides: 2 1/8″
The Tilley LTM5 AIRFLO Hat is our runner-up best Tilley hat for hiking, and the only thing that separates it from the LTM6 is the smaller brim size. While most people are looking for full face and neck sun protection from a Tilley hat, others just want to keep the sun out of their eyes and off their ears. This is the perfect compromise, and it still offers good face and neck protection in the midday sun, just not as much as the LTM6.
The lengthier back brim is designed to block as much sun from your neckline as possible without looking out of scale to the shorter front brim. At 6 grams lighter than the LTM6, you won’t be able to notice the weight difference, but it is easier to pack flat into a day pack. A 3/4 inch mesh band around the top improves breathability and stops heat from getting trapped inside.
It uses the same moisture-wicking headband to help keep sweat out of your eyes and your head cool. The wind cords are easy to adjust and comfortable to wear loosely under the chin, and the water-repellent finish keeps the rain out of your eyes or down the back of your top. It has the buoyancy insert, secret pocket, and lifetime guarantee, just like all Tilley hats, and is made to the same high standards that have earned Tilley their reputation.
VERDICT: As an everyday summer hat that blocks the sun from your face, neck, and ears, this is the Tilley hat I would choose. The brim is wide enough to provide sufficient sun protection without being so big it gets annoying.
Tilley T3 Wanderer Hat
- Material: 100% cotton duck with enzyme wash finish
- Weight: 5.4 oz / 153 g
- Brim size: Front & Back: 2 3/4″; Sides: 2 3/8″
The Tilley T3 Wanderer Hat is actually our favorite sun hat for all outdoor activities, even though there are better options specifically for hiking in the sun. It is heavier than the two Airflo hats above and doesn’t have quite so much ventilation, but for all-year-round use, it excels. Keeping off sun, wind, rain, and snow is easy with the wide brim and water-repellent finish which makes rain bead off the fabric.
The ventilation on the T3 Wanderer is very good, thanks to the breathable fabric and press-stud holes on the sides of the hat. A hydrofil sweatband lines the inside of the hat, which helps wick away moisture and prevent sweat from running into your eyes. It has all the usual Tilley features, such as a floating insert so it doesn’t sink, a secret pocket to stash some emergency cash, and a lifetime guarantee.
The best thing about this Tilley hat for hiking is that it can also be worn for walking the dog, doing a bit of gardening, or going to the shops without looking out of place. It is supposed to fit your head quite loosely, so the double wind cords are necessary to keep it on your head when the wind picks up.
VERDICT: We love this hat and would highly recommend this hat to any outdoors person, but for hiking specifically, the breathability of the AIRFLO hats above keeps your head cooler in some of the hottest climates on earth.
Tilley T4M0-1 Hiker’s Hat
- Material: 98% organic cotton; 2% spandex
- Weight: 3.8 oz / 108 g
- Brim size: Front & Back: 3 1/2”; Sides: 2 1/2”
The Tilley T4MO-1 Hiker’s Hat is designed to go anywhere and keep you protected from all the elements while hiking. It has a broad brim that is the same size as the LTM6, which is brilliant for hiking in the sun or rain.
Unlike most of the best Tilley hats for hiking, the T4M0-1 has a Hyperkewl evaporative insert in the secret pocket which helps keep you cool by absorbing water and releasing it slowly to prolong evaporation. This means that when you dunk your hat in every stream you pass on a hot day, your head will stay extra cool.
The Hikers Hat is lightweight at just over 100 grams but again is beaten by the higher-ranked hiking hats from Tilley. It has a 3/4″ mesh around the top to increase ventilation and wicks moisture very effectively, although you might choose to remove the Hyperkewl insert in the wintertime as it may make your head cold. Even with the absorbent insert, the hat will remain buoyant in water which is always a bonus.
VERDICT: Some people say that the rim is not as rigid on this model as others, but we think it performs just as well as any other. The Hikers Hat is an easy choice for many walkers looking for sun and rain protection, but we found other models performed better overall. We would recommend this hat to anyone, but despite the name, it is not our top pick.
Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat
- Material: Black: 71% Wool, 18% Polyester, 11% Polyurethane | Olive & Rust: 88% Wool, 12% Polyurethane
- Weight: 4.8 oz / 136 g
- Brim size: Front: 2 5/8″; Back: 2 3/4″; Sides: 2 1/8″
The Tilley TTW2 Tec-Wool Hat is a hiking hat for colder weather that can be used for a good three seasons of the year. It is made from something called Tec-Wool, which uses C-Change technology to adapt to the outside temperature. This allows you to stay warm but not so warm that you need to take your best Tilley hat for hiking off. For winter use, it even has some discreet ear-warming flaps and will repel rain and snow enough to keep you dry.
The brim size is the same as the LTM5, which is ideal for those crisp but sunny autumn mornings or springtime wanders where the sun seems to linger low in the sky for longer. To say it is made from mostly wool, it is surprisingly lightweight and easily packable, which makes it a great hat for 3 season hiking trips where you might want to take it off during the warmest part of the day. The C-Change technology in the wool gives you great ventilation, and with natural moisture-wicking properties, it does an excellent job of keeping you cool when it’s warmer and warm when it’s cold.
Because it is made from wool, you may be skeptical about its comfort while hiking, but it does have a Hydrofil sweatband and is designed with your comfort in mind. As someone who struggles with wool against the skin, I can assure you that this does not itch even one bit and only gets more comfortable with age, like a good hiking boot.
VERDICT: I would highly recommend this hat for anyone looking for a cold-weather hiking hat beyond the beanie, flat cap, or trapper hat.
Tilley Hat Size Guide
Here is our size guide copied from the Tilley website where you can also find the new hat sizer guide to measuring your head
Buyers Guide to Tilley Hiking Hats
You might be wondering what should you be looking for in a full-brimmed hiking hat and what helped us choose our best Tilley hat for hiking.
Sun Protection/brim Size
The size of the brim has a big impact on the look, feel, and performance of the best Tilley hats for hiking in different types of weather. A larger brim will offer the best protection against sun and light rain, but a smaller brim will perform better in heavy rain and wind. A smaller brim will feel more agile and less prone to blow off in a gust of wind, but with the proper sizing, that shouldn’t happen.
Some people just prefer the way smaller-brimmed hats look and especially Tilley hats which have become quite trendy in recent years. If you are using your hat as the main source of sun protection in a place where temperatures get dangerous, a wide-brimmed hat with ventilation is the way to go. Otherwise, you could combine a Tilley sun hat with a sun protection hoody.
The weight may not be an issue for most people but for ultralightweight hikers and backpackers looking for the best Tilley hat for hiking the weight may become the deciding factor. I personally look for lightweight gear, but when it is for something I will most likely wear on my head most of the time, a few grams here or there aren’t going to make much difference. Ranging from 85 grams to 153 grams, none of these hats would be considered heavy, but when it’s hot, the more lightweight hats may feel cooler. Check out our weight-saving article for more details.
You can choose between the classic organic cotton with a water-repellent finish, the more lightweight Tilley hats made from Supplex nylon, or the tec-wool blend for winter use. The cotton models are incredibly water repellent, and if looked after with good care, then they will always remain incredibly versatile.
The synthetic models are lightweight, packable, and feel the coolest to wear in extreme heat, but they are possibly not as durable as the cotton hats. The tec-wool is designed to regulate your temperature and is an excellent hat for winter camping and hiking. You can see more about their fabrics here.
The Airflow mesh ventilation system is an excellent addition to the LTM5, LTM6, and T4MO hats which provides the best breathability if that is your priority. On the T3 Wanderer, you have the two open pop studs, which provide adequate ventilation on both sides but not as much as the airflow models. The wool hat has excellent ventilation as the wool helps to keep perspiration to a minimum, even in cold weather.
All hats have wind protection in the form of a fastening cord which loosely tightens under your chin to stop the hat from blowing off when facing into the wind. The risk of your hat blowing off your head in a gust of wind is increased the larger the brim size is, as it can act as a bit of a windsail. In terms of keeping your head protected from gusts of cold wind, all hats will create the necessary barrier to reduce body heat loss dramatically.
All Tilley hats provide rain protection that is often superior to any hood in terms of coverage. The wider the brim, the better the coverage in theory, but mid-sized brims often keep their shape better and still provide amazing rain cover. As mentioned above, the materials are all treated to repel water and can be recreated in the future should you deem it necessary.
There doesn’t seem to be a massive difference between the synthetic materials and the natural materials in terms of water resistance but I prefer wearing my T3 wanderer over my LTM5 in heavy downpours.
All Tilly hats will pack flat to some degree, and so is an easy item to keep in your backpack that will serve multiple purposes should the weather change. They all keep their shape relatively well, albeit some better than others, but with a little gentle manipulation, you can get the shape back in no time at all. I have stuffed my Tilley T3 Wanderer in my bag on numerous occasions, and it always finds its true shape without much effort at all.
Most, if not all, Tilley hats have a base set of principles that guarantee customer satisfaction. The first and foremost of these principles is that of only creating high-quality products that are backed up by lifetime guarantees. They almost all feature an internal pocket for keeping cash or small valuables, as well as being buoyant to prevent loss while near deep water. Tilley has an excellent reputation as one of the best full-brimmed hats for hiking in hot countries around the world.
What to Look for In a Sun Hat for Hiking?
The most important feature of sun hats for hiking is a full brim that goes all the way around like a cowboy hat. Wider brims provide the best sun protection via the largest area of shade and, ideally, will cover all the way down to your collar. Another key factor is how breathable or ventilated it is, and often a mesh panel or ventilation holes will keep your head cooler on a hot day.
What to Look for In a Rain Hat for Hiking?
Waterproof material or finishes can differ in performance, so always read the descriptions, but all Tilley hats will repel water and can be treated to maintain this over time. Just like with sun hats, if one of your priorities is rain cover, then a wider brim will offer the most protection; however, a medium brim may provide more reliable coverage. This could be because larger brims will get heavier if they start to absorb even a little water which can cause them to lose shape or become floppy.
What to Look for In a Winter Hiking Hat?
As well as rain cover, some heat-retaining properties are what set winter hats apart, and luckily, Tilley has a winner on their hands with the Tec-Wool TTW2 hat. It will keep your head warm when needed, but unlike a beanie, it won’t get too hot as the wool reacts to temperature changes.
Is Airflow Upf 50?
If you are looking at the mesh panels on the Tilley Airflow hats and wondering if your head could get sunburnt through the gaps, then wonder no more. Airflow mesh is UPF 50+ and will protect even the baldest head from direct sunlight and will not leave a strip of tiny red sunburn dots across your forehead.
Are Tilley Hats Worth it for Hiking
Tilley hats are worth every penny. Hiking in the hot sun or even heavy rain is just better in a Tilley hat. The brim provides complete protection, the fit is incredible, and there are a whole host of features that make these hats worth the money.
Wearing a Tilley hat negates the need to wear sunscreen on your face (which nobody enjoys). In heavy rain, these wide-brim hats act like mini umbrellas and reduce rain getting down your neck.
Although Tolley hats aren’t cheap, they will last a lifetime, and you won’t regret getting one, I promise.
Thanks for reading this article about the best Tilley hat for hiking. We hope you found it helpful.