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Tilley TH8 Hemp Hat: By Jodi Balazs

When my husband called and told me he had a Tilley hat for me to try out and review, I just couldn’t pass it up. With a name like “Tilley”, I knew this was my kind of company. The hat was conceived in frustration and born from necessity. It was created by a sailor that wanted his hat to float, stay on his head, be unshrinkable, last indefinitely and look attractive. This was a product I could connect with. What I didn’t realize was just how much I would like my new Tilley Hat.
Since getting the good news that we were going to be stationed in Hawaii, I have been in search for a hat to wear as I whittle the next three years of my life away soaking up the big three – sand, surf and sun. As I get older, I like to protect my skin from the sun as much as I can. The fine lines on my face don’t need any more friends. Aside from the trendy straw cowboy hat that makes me look more like buckwheat than a Victoria’s Secret model, or the Crocodile Dundee style, I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. That is, until destiny brought me together with the TH8 Hemp hat from Tilley. 
The first words that came out of my mouth were, “Where have you been all my life”? I have never sat at Churchill Downs or sipped tea in the Hamptons, but I feel down right sophisticated in this hat. The Tilley Company may have even succeeded in making me look like a lady. Not an easy feat for even the brightest minds in the business. Before I could get caught up in the elegance of the Hemp hat, I remembered that Tilley hats are known for being extremely tough. This is a hat that could be worn sitting in a street café having lunch with the ladies, out on a fishing boat with my husband, or strutting that bikini on the beach. Okay, more like running into the water at lightening speed as soon as I drop the towel from around my body. The nice thing is Tilley even put a strap inside the hat so it won’t come off my head. I wouldn’t want to give anyone time to count the dimples as I stopped to pick up my hat. The strap can be worn around your chin, or up in the hat. And, it’s even designed so that if it’s up in the hat, it isn’t in your way.
Why Hemp? I don’t know if you think like I do, but when I hear the word hemp, it makes me a little nervous that someone will grab my hat and start smoking it. Please forgive my ignorance. The reason for hemp is because not only does it look great by giving it that soft linen-like look, it is the world strongest natural fiber.   Hemp is breathable and naturally resists UV light, mould, mildew, and salt water. Tilley hats are certified to block 98 percent of harmful UVA/UVB ultraviolet rays. Hemp does not require herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. It’s an environmentally friendly hat. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
How many hats have you bought lately that come with an owner’s manual? My Tilley hat did. The first thing they tell you is that the hat is nearly indestructible. They do have a waver that your dog could prove otherwise. In my case, it would be my cat. She can shred the Sunday paper in less time than the neighbor’s Pomeranian can bark the Gettysburg Address. All hats are made by hand and lockstitched so no threads will pull loose. This hat was made for active people who enjoy being outside. The ventilation grommets and mesh allow the heat and moisture to escape from our heads, giving us ideal protection in the sun. 
Most hats I’ve had lose 50% of their original shape after one washing. After 10, there’s nothing left but a shriveled piece of cotton sitting on top of your head. Tilley wants you to wash your hat regularly. Each hat even comes with specific instructions for washing and drying your hat. Remember, these hats were designed to be on the water. 

Not only will you love your Tilley hat, so will all of your friends and anyone who happens to be walking by. Just short of micro chipping it, Tilley has a place inside the hat where you can write your name and phone number. There’s even room to write the reward they will receive if they return the hat alive and in one piece. There is also a Velcro enclosed pocket you can stuff a key, credit card, cash or I.D. The hat is guaranteed for life. If it ever wears out, just mail it back and they will send you a new one. I also give you my guarantee that I will be trying my hardest to wear this hat out as I waste the next three years of my life away sipping smoothies in the Hawaiian sun.
From Tilley’s Web Site:
Help us help kids! For every Tilley Hemp Hat sold we make a donation to Street Kids International, a non-profit agency in Canada and the United States that is a global leader in developing and disseminating the strategies and tools needed to give street youth around the world safe choices, skills and opportunities to make a better life for themselves. 

The term ‘street kids’ is used with pride, respect and recognition for the unique individuals who get on with life every day on the street despite the barriers and challenges they face. Founded in Canada, the organization works to engage these kids on health issues and youth entrepreneurship. Having reached more than 2 million street kids in over 60 countries outside North America including Russia, Tanzania, and Ecuador, Street Kids International has been recognized by the United Nations as a global best practice leader in youth work. 

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