It’s remarkably comfortable to wear, owing, in part, to Tilley having proper hat sizes. When buying a Tilley hat you first of all have to measure your head to find out your size, which is easily done using the Hat Sizer on their website. I measured my head, and worked out I would be a Large in the Charlotte hat.
When it arrived I wasn't sure I'd done my measuring correctly as I though it was a tad big. After watching a couple of vids, that explained how the hat should sit loosely on your head (you should be able to get 2 fingers between your head & the hat), and how to adjust using the wind cords, I realised I had done it right after all.
Tilley's tag line for this hat is 'Sun protection with style', and I have to agree. The Charlotte looks like a simple sun hat, but it has plenty of tricks under it's brim.
First up it has Tilley's Lifetime Guarantee, which means if the hat wears out due to normal wear and tear, poor workmanship or faulty material, they'll repair or replace your hat. My hubby has had his Tilley hat for over 8 years and there is no sign of any problems, so I don't think I'll be envoking the guarantee any time soon, but it's good to know it's there.
Secondly it's eco-friendly, as it's made of hemp, and has been designed to last. Our ancestors used hemp 10,000 years ago because of its extremely high fibre content and by planting hemp instead of cotton, 250% more fibre can be produced on the same amount of land. Since hemp is also resistant to insects and diseases, it requires no pesticides.
With hemp being a natural fabric it does not shed micro-plastics into our water supply unlike some man-made fabrics. Hemp is also naturally antimicrobial, and it absorbs and releases perspiration quickly and breathes well. All good stuff in my book. It does state that the fabric will soften and fade over time and sun exposure, though I'll probably have to do a re-review in a few years to find out just how much.
With its broad brim, and 50+ UPF rating, this hat delivers great sun protection.
The fabric is certified UPF 50+, the highest given. The Ultraviolet Protection Factor(UPF) system is relatively new, and was created specially for sun protective fabrics. A fabric with a UPF rating of 50 only allows 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to pass through it, so unlike those cheap sun hats, you know that this hat will reduce your face's UV radiation exposure by 50 times (98% UV block) in areas where the skin is protected by the fabric.
We all need less of those wrinkle inducing UV rays in our life!
It has a water-repellent finish which is handy if there is a sudden summer downpour in which many ordinary cloth sun hats would just flop and lose their shape. It also has a Hydrofil® sweatband to wick moisture away, and a flexible wire in the brim which allows the hat to be worn turned up or turned down depending on your mood, and also helps to keep its stylish shape.
The Charlotte has a front & back wind (as in weather) cords system, which secures your hat in gusty conditions, so if you are swanning about along the promenade of a lovely, but windy, beach, you aren't going to lose your hat to the elements.
Talking beach life, the Charlotte has buoyancy built in, so if you happen to be taking a jaunt on your luxury yacht, or more likely in my case, messing about on a pedalo, and you accidentally drop your hat in the ocean it'll stay afloat for easy recovery.
There's another sneaky bonus for when you are out and about. I read in the bumpf that you can 'Keep valuables safe in the secret pocket'. This really puzzled me when I looked the hat over, as I couldn't find the 'pocket'. It took a bit of prodding and searching before I actually found it in the crown, it really is that secret! It's the perfect place to pop in a credit card or two, and it's big enough to hide your jewellery too.
The price may be a sticking point for some, but this hat is a classic style, in a neutral colour, that will never go out of fashion, and if treated correctly, will last your lifetime, so it could be looked on as a great investment.
Canadian company Tilley has been hand-making hats for over 30 years, and for me they have used all that experience to make this Charlotte hat a practical, durable, yet beautifully stylish travel essential.
Price : £70
Sizes: S, M, L, XL