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Tilley has been one of my favorite brands for much longer than I’ve been writing for this site. Originally known for their hats, they make excellent travel wear as well, and don’t mind a bit of cheekiness in their marketing. Everyone I’ve met from the company has been wonderful to work with too, probably because they’re our Canadian neighbors. (Note: do not refer to Canada as “America’s hat”) I’m a bit jealous of our friends to the north, since their government is sensible enough to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp. As we’ve mentioned before, the benefits of hemp over cotton are so numerous, banning the growing of it in the U.S. is a sharp stick in the eye to mother nature, the people of this country, and our economy. Our forefathers once required¹ us to grow it. Our government once urged² us to grow it. But we won’t make this into a political rant.
Recognizing that hemp is not only far more durable than cotton, but requires less water, is naturally resistant to most insects, and grows so densely that it chokes out weeds without the use of harmful chemicals, it became the basis for alternate versions of some of Tilley Endurables’ classic designs. To quote Alex Tilley, founder and president of Tilley Endurables Inc., “Beyond the fact that hemp is an elegant fiber that is strong and wears well, it is also wonderful for the environment because it doesn’t require chemical pesticides [to grow]”. With that intro, we present his and hers hemp hats.
Depsite a somewhat unsexy name, the TMH5 Mash-Up Hat is a very attractive and practical way to cover your head, dress in style, and show you care about the environment. The “Mash-Up” refers to the fact that every hat is constructed of a variety of yarns that have been recycled from a mixture of hemp and organic cotton, so each one is as original as its owner. More than just a styling cue, the 3/4″ ventilation mesh around the crown ensures you’ll stay as cool as you look. Because it’s a Tilley, along with assembly quality worthy of a lifetime guarantee, you also get the famed secret pocket, a tie for windy days, plus a sun protection factor of SPF 50+. That’s all in a hat that’s machine washable, insured against loss, and even floats. Of course, it’s water repellent too.
Ladies are certainly not left out. Tilley’s TCH9 Women’s Organic Cotton/Hemp Hat is every bit as stylish, and has some equally noteworthy features. This hand-sewn hat is bright red with a red band, and it offers the extra versatility of a natural band as well, allowing you to mix it up a bit to better suit your wardrobe. A combination of organic cotton and hemp fibers let this lightweight hat breathe, so you never get too hot, yet it also repels water. It comes with the same maximum available SPF rating of 50+, lifetime guarantee against wearing out, insurance against loss, and a secret pocket for the owner’s manual. Tilley can offer the wear-out guarantee because they they take the time to look after details like lock-stitching on the seams. Use the included tie, and you’ll never have to make a claim for loss, even on the windiest of days. Yes, they have thought of everything.
I can’t say for certain that owning a Tilley will make you a pleasant and friendly person, but every owner I’ve met on my travels has certainly fit that description. It’s like a not-so-secret club. Besides that intangible, they’re also wonderful hats, and the hemp is just a huge bonus for someone wanting a durable hat that also makes a statement about sustainability. That’s hard to beat.
1. Wikipedia – scroll down to the Pre-prohibition section: “The first American law concerning cannabis was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1619, which required every household to grow hemp since it was viewed as a “strategic necessity”.
2. Wikipedia – Hemp for Victory