Traveling with a Hat: What to Consider and How to Pack

03:00, Monday 09/01/2023 - Pro Reviewer I have 5 years of experience in blogging...

Preparing for your next vacation? It could be a caribean cruise, a road trip to Yellowstone, or an African safari. Put another way, it's time to pull out your sun hat as a means of providing some desperately needed Filtering the Sun wherever you may be going Just one snag: no matter how carefully you plan, you won't be able to fit your hat in your suitcase. It can be a hassle to figure out how to pack a hat neatly in a suitcase. Some vacationers don't even bother to bring a sun hat because they don't want to deal with packing it, leading to a trip full of sun exposure and possible sunburn.

But packing need not be a bother It is not necessary to spend money on a hat box or other specialized luggage to keep your hat safe during travel. This includes sun hats of all varieties, as well as fedoras, cloches, and safari hats. Sun hats are an essential piece of travel gear, so keep reading to find out how to pack one, how to iron out any creases, and which hats are the best for your upcoming trip.

Packing Advice for Headwear

How to pack a hat for travel How to pack a hat for travel

Even though it's not technically an art form, mastering the art of packing hats will make you feel like you've created a masterpiece.

Learn how to properly pack hats for your next trip by following these steps:

  1. Determine first whether the hat is made of wool, straw, or something else: Find out what your hat is made of, because different materials require different packing methods.
  2. Sort your belongings from heaviest to lightest when packing. If you do this, your hat will be protected from the weight of your other belongings and won't get squished or distorted during travel.
  3. Make sure the brim and other delicate parts of the hat are well-guarded: Maintain the integrity of your cap by laying down some padding in the form of clothing.

Follow These 3 Easy Steps to Safely Pack Your Sun Hat Away in Your Luggage


The hardest hats to pack for a trip are sun hats and other rigid hats. Here, you'll find instructions for stowing away your sun hat, as well as any other rigid or shaped headwear, such as:

These hats are formed, so special care must be taken when packing to protect the crown and brim. If you don't take the precautions outlined below, they may be permanently damaged by being cracked, creased, or squished.  

First, you should lay down an article of clothing to provide the hat with some insulation.   When packing, make sure the hat is laying flat, crown down.  

before packing a hat have clothes on bottom before packing a hat have clothes on bottom

place hat you want to pack on top of the clothes place hat you want to pack on top of the clothes

2. Stuff the hat with lightweight t-shirts, socks, and underwear, or other soft material. Don't "stuff" your hat; you want to keep the crown in place while packing as few items as possible into your suitcase. Now, depending on your preference and the hat's size, you can pack it brim-down or crown-down in the suitcase. In this example, we've packed the hat so that the crown is facing down.

fill crown of hat with soft items fill crown of hat with soft items

don't overfill the brim of the cap don't overfill the brim of the cap

3.  Start stuffing the remaining garments in the crown and under the brim. You can trust that the crown and brim will retain their form if you do this! Do not cram things into the crown, as this may cause the hat to bend.

pack clothes under brim of the hat pack clothes under brim of the hat

pack clothes around the crown of the hat pack clothes around the crown of the hat

Preventing Your Hat from Being Crushed in Your Suitcase

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid if you want your cap to arrive at its destination unscathed:

  • Do not bring a hat that is too stiff to bend. We're referring to very rigid straw hats as an example of the type of hats we're talking about. These caps are fragile and likely to crack if packed in a suitcase for any length of time. We suggest you either put it on your head or bring it along if you want to bring a hat like this. Take it at your own peril and throw it in your suitcase
  • If your suitcase is smaller than your hat brim, it won't fit. Again, depending on the material, bending or folding a hat's brim can cause significant wear and tear. While traveling, it is highly recommended that you wear or bring along a hat of this style.
  • It's best not to lug around anything too bulky in your hat, either externally or internally. Clothes should be packed from heaviest to lightest as a rule of thumb. Items of greater mass should be placed at the base of the stack, while those of lesser mass should be elevated.
  • Do not pack your hat without something to cushion it. That's a recipe for disaster.

Tips for Traveling with Baseball Caps

When compared to other headwear, baseball caps are easier to pack, but special care must be taken to protect the brim. If you want to travel with your baseball cap in one piece, here are some tips for packing it:

One can create a concave, half-moon shape by folding the back of the hat (where the adjustable strap is) in toward the brim. The typical baseball cap is made from a pliable fabric that requires no reshaping.  

To prevent the bill from bending in transit, put a pair of socks under it. Avoid putting anything of significant weight on the hard bill, as this could crack the plastic or permanently bend the brim.

How to Pack a Baseball Cap in a Suitcase How to Pack a Baseball Cap in a Suitcase

Women's Packable Sun Hats: The Best Choice for Vacations Abroad

To simplify your trip, pack a hat that can be folded up small. Traveling with a hat that folds up small and is easy to carry can reduce your anxiety while away. Inasmuch as some textiles are more adaptable and long-lasting than others, It's recommended that you search for bendy caps.   Check the label for the words "crushable" or "packable" to determine the product's portability. Crushable hats should have minimal to no wrinkles if packed correctly, but that doesn't mean you can toss it in your suitcase without worrying about it. Any wrinkles can be smoothed out with a handheld steamer.  

  Fabric hats take first place in the ease category. It doesn't get any easier than this Sun hats and bucket hats made of soft materials can be easily stored flat, folded, or rolled up without being harmed. Your clothes and souvenirs will be able to fit in your suitcase better. The sun's harmful rays can be blocked out with the help of a brim and UPF protection, both of which are common features in modern fabric hats. The fine print: If your hat is made of fabric but has a formed or cardboard brim, you should not roll or fold it because doing so can result in permanent creases. As an alternative, you can lay it flat in your suitcase, full side up.  

Shop Fabric Sun Hats here.Sun hats made of fabric can be purchased here.

Best Travel Hats UPF Bucket HatBest Travel Hats UPF Bucket Hat
  • UPF 50 sun protection and a 100% organic cotton exterior.
  • Traditional style of bucket hat
  • Lined with a special aloe/bamboo fabric blend for added comfort.
  • Includes a drawstring in the interior for sizing customization.

Shop here

UPF Lauren Sun Hat for VacationUPF Lauren Sun Hat for Vacation
  • UPF 50 sun protection and a 100% organic cotton exterior.
  • Designed with head-enhancing pleating at the crown.
  • Filled with a special aloe/bamboo fabric blend that is both calming and breathable.
  • Adjusting the size with an internal drawstring.

Shop here

Vacation Hat Basics Denim Bucket HatVacation Hat Basics Denim Bucket Hat
  • Shell made of 100% cotton denim
  • For all-day comfort, the brim is cut down in the back.  
  • Flexibility in brim positioning
  • Hat, mandatory basic

Shop here

Fashionable Ribbon Braid and Polyester Sun Hats

Ribbon braid hats, also known as your new best friend when traveling, feature unusually wide brims and are perfect for the sun. The wide brims and lightweight construction of these hats make them ideal for protecting the face and neck from the sun. Furthermore, these caps can be crushed, rolled, and stored in a suitcase without much worry about them losing their form. As an added bonus, they usually come in bright colors that standard straw hats don't offer. To be used exclusively on vacations at the beach

Shop Polyester & Ribbon Braid Sun Hats here.Browse our selection of ribbon braided and polyester sun hats.

Brimmed Anita Packable Vacation Sun HatBrimmed Anita Packable Vacation Sun Hat
  • Polyester
  • Shady brim
  • Easily packable into a suitcase

Shop here

Color Block Wide Brim Sun HatSun Hat with Color Block Brim and Crown

Big Brim Packable Sun Hat for Travel - Color BlockBig Brim Packable Sun Hat for Travel - Color Block
  • A Polyester Ribbon Braid
  • Oversized brim
  • Packable into a small space
  • Adjusting the size with an internal drawstring.

Shop here

Contrast Ribbon Braid Sun HatSun Cap with Contrasting Ribbon Braid Detail

Crushable sun hats for women - Best hats for travelCrushable sun hats for women - Best hats for travel
  • Twisted Polyester Braid Ribbon
  • Wide brim
  • Folds up easily and stores in a suitcase

Shop here

Paper hats can be a convenient option for trips, though we advise taking special care when packing them. The paper for a hat can be braided or crocheted. Because of their pliability and softness, many paper braid hats can have small dents (carefully) steamed out. Crocheted sun hats are great for traveling because they are lightweight, easy to pack, and have less structure than traditional sun hats. Be careful not to kink any wires in the hat's brim.

Shop Paper Braid & Toyo Hats here.You can purchase a variety of paper braid and toyo hats here.

Delta Hand Crocheted Sun HatSun Protection Hat Crocheted by Hand in the Shape of the Delta

Delta Hand Crocheted Affordable Sun Hat for VacationDelta Hand Crocheted Affordable Sun Hat for Vacation
  • Toyo is completely crocheted.
  • Handcrafted
  • Wide brim
  • Lightweight
  • An internal drawstring allows for sizing customization.

Shop here

Basic straw bucket hat for travelBasic straw bucket hat for travel
  • Blend of polyester and paper braid
  • Lightweight
  • Crushable
  • Sunscreen with a UPF 50 rating
  • To make alterations to one's size, an internal drawstring is included.

Shop here

  • Blend of polyester and paper braid
  • Shade-providing brim
  • Lightweight
  • Crushable
  • Uv protection factor 50 protection
  • Alter your size with the help of a drawstring located inside the garment.

Shop here

If you want to bring a woven hat on your next trip but are concerned about damaging it, a raffia hat may be the solution you've been looking for.   Raffia straw is robust, long-lasting, and flexible, but we still advise packing them carefully according to the above instructions. Your hat can be reshaped with a steamer if it gets squished, squashed, or bent during travel. Be careful not to bend the wire in the brim of these hats while packing.

Fernanda Natural Raffia Sun HatA Sun Hat Made of Natural Raffia, Named Fernanda

Crocheted Raffia Sun Hat for VacationCrocheted Raffia Sun Hat for Vacation

Genuine raffia tiara made from 100% natural materials

  • Hand-crocheted
  • The brim is made of a canvas that is 100% cotton.
  • Adjusting the size with an internal drawstring.
  • Flexibility in hat shape thanks to wired brim

Shop here

Just because your hat is slightly creased when you remove it from the box doesn't mean the experiment was a bust. When traveling, even with the most careful packing, the contents of a suitcase can shift, potentially denting the crown or bending the brim. Everywhere in the world, people who wear sun hats know that having a travel handheld steamer is a secret weapon.

reshaping a hat with a hand held steamerreshaping a hat with a hand held steamer

If you steam a hat made of fabric or raffia, you can reshape it with your fingers. When a handheld steamer is unavailable, a hot shower can be used to produce the same results.  

It's important to take extra precautions when steaming hats made of cardboard or that are otherwise delicate. An indirect steam in the shower may be the answer if your hat ever loses its form.

Get a hand-held steamer here.Pick up a portable steamer over here.

Extending their contract through 2020, Headcovers Unlimited, Inc. Disclaimer of Liability You may link directly to this page, but only with our permission; any other use of our content, including reproduction, modification, or creation of derivative works, is strictly prohibited.  

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