Home > Hat Information > Brand History > Tilley Hats History

The History of Tilley Endurables

Alex Tilley the Founder of Tilley Hats
Alex Tilley - Wearing a T5 cotton hat in khaki
Tilley Hats Logo
The famous Tilley logo
The Tilley LTM5 Airflo hat
The Lightweight Tilley LTM5 Airflo Hat in Khaki

Quite Possibly The World's Greatest Hat


In 1984, Alex Tilley a keen yachtsman and art dealer decided to make himself a hat that would stand up to the harshest of weather conditions. The hat would also have to offer water and wind resistance, a chin strap, floating capabilities, a classic appearance and above all top quality workmanship.

The company shot to fame after an editorial was published by a leading yachting magazine in Canada. Demand for this wonder hat soared and the company has never looked back. Today the main headquarters are still in Canada and the hats are distributed across 17 countries by agents. The hats are sold by over 2000 retailers worldwide. Quite an achievement by a man who just wanted to create a practical hat.

Once the main features were established he began searching for materials to meet his requirements. He centred his research around cotton canvas, a practical and durable material which has many natural advantages. However after manufacturing the initial prototype it was soon apparent the material was too thick, heavy and shrunk when it got wet. After considerable research and experiments Tilley realised by pre-shrinking and boiling the canvas it would eliminate the shrinking issue. Pre-shrunk cotton canvas became the first of many materials to be used to manufacture Tilley Hats.

Tilley hats offer many benefits to the wearer, from the impressive maximum UPF 50+ sun protection rating to the insurance policies you automatically receive upon purchase. We discuss all the pro's to buying a Tilley Hat below.

> View our online collection Tilley Hats to make sure you are well protected this summer



Guaranteed For Life

A very popular feature of a Tilley is the Guarantee offered. On purchase your hat is automatically covered and will be replaced if in the unlikely event it shrinks, wears out or develops mildew.

The Secret Pocket

Every Tilley Hat contains a secret pocket in the upper part of the crown. This little pocket is perfect for storing money, bank cards, hotel & car keys. Its sealed with Velcro.

Insured Against Loss

Along with the advantage of the lifetime guarantee policy against wear and tear, mildew and shrinking, your Tilley also comes with an insurance policy. If you ever lose your hat or it becomes a victim of grievous damage, this free policy will ensure you only have to pay 50% of the price of a new hat. The policy lasts for 2 years after the purchase date.

Superior Comfort

Every hat is designed to have a loose fir and to be secured by the wind cord when necessary.You should never be wearing a hat which causes painful pressure or leaves an awful red ring around your head. Tilley recommend that to achieve a comfortable fit you should able to place two fingers above your ears inside the hat when its being worn.

The Legendary Owners Manual

Tucked away in the secret pocket of your hat is the Tilley owners manual. Written in 8 languages this little guide offers all the information you need to care for your hat, a must read for any Tilley newbie.

Can It Really Float?

Absolutely, every Tilley has a non absorbent foam liner inside the inner sweatband and it is also used to line the crown. The liner adds buoyancy, extra comfort and additional sun protection to the hat. A must for any sailor like Alex Tilley.

UPF Sun Protection

The most important aspect of headwear today is the UPF Sun Protection Rating. Every Tilley offers a certified UPF 50+ rating. The hats have been thoroughly tested to provide an ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+ the maximum rating that can be given. In addition most Tilley's have built in glare protection thanks to the under part of the brim being a darker colour.

Excellent Ventilation

All Tilley Hats offer ventilation, some more than others depending on the style you select. All containt British brass ventilation grommets which help air circulate inside the hat. The LTM5 airflo hat has a mesh strip at the top of the crown allowing for additional coolness and comfort. Although as mentioned above every Tilley Hat carries the maximum UPF 50+ rating, but please be aware some could enter through the ventilation grommets and mesh.

The Wonderful Fabrics Used

The range of fabrics used today continues to grow each season. The original material pre shrunk cotton duck is still widely used. However waxed cotton, organic cotton, hemp & a supplex nylon named Nylamtium have all been introduced the the range. The later, Nylamtium is a very lightweight, water repellant material produced by Tilley themselves.