I used to dream of the perfect Panama hat and when I finally bought a nice $60 one, it took me one trip to bend it completely out of shape.

While there are how-to’s on how to fix and reshape a straw hat, my first mistake was not knowing how to pack a hat without destroying it.

Just in time for summer, I’ve compiled a list of different summer hats and handy ways to pack them so you can enjoy the fashion and protective benefits of a hat on your next trip.

1. Pack a baseball cap

This low-stakes option is sporty and cool and requires way less care than a large straw hat. The only tricky thing about these is making sure you don’t place anything heavy on the cap as to flatten it (unless it’s a flat cap, of course). It’s generally easier to clean too.


2. Roll your hat


Some hats have a little more flexibility so you can experiment with packing them flat or even rolling them. These hats are also often inexpensive options, like this black one was $10 at H&M.

3. Flatten your hat


Pack your hat flat? Blasphemy, no? Not if it was designed that way. I have somewhat given up on the high-maintenance hats myself since I always end up getting mine wet or tossing it in my beach bag. That’s why I picked up a simple canvas one I can lay flat without worrying about shape.

4. Stuff your hat

how to pack a hat

The best way to maintain the shape of your hat in a suitcase is to cradle it like the precious object it is. Lay your hat upside down in your suitcase and pack your clothing around it. Use small items like socks and underwear to stuff the inside.

5. Wear your hat on the plane

If all else fails, there is always the option to hold it or wear it in transit. I’ve done this quite a bit mostly because I can’t spare the room in my bag.

Any way you slice it, it’s so nice to have a hat in the summer. It’s well worth the trouble of packing a hat like a pro if it will look decent and last longer.


You can wear them, hold them, or even purchase a magnetic clip designed to keep your hat hooked onto your luggage or tote bag.

Bonus Tip: Wear a scarf

I considered adding a section about hat boxes, which is totally an option if you have a beautiful hat that requires that much care. But for the average traveller, using up your personal item on a hat bag is probably not ideal.

But, one bonus tip I’ll throw in is to consider packing more scarves that you can wear to cover your head on hot days. They don’t offer the same face protection, unfortunately, but they can make a nice stylish way to prevent getting a sunburnt scalp. Plus, scarves offer up a ton of other styling options to switch up your look on a trip.

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