When the wanderlust sets in and it's time to take off for a new adventure, there's nothing like finding the perfect hat to top off the occasion. From crushable sun hats that will keep you cool to cozy toppers that will warm you up, these are the best hats for travel. Before you start packing, let this post guide you along the path toward the best travel hats for men and women.
You're crushing it! By far the most packable hats of the bunch, crushable hats are ideal for travel because you don’t have to worry about ruining their shape whether you throw them in a carry-on suitcase, handbag, or backpack. There might be some wrinkling or creasing depending on the material, but a well-made crushable hat will bounce back even after some serious wear and tear.
The fedora is a classic travel companion no matter where you're going. Not only does it add instant flair to any outfit for both men and women, but it's also foldable and easy to stash. Traveling to a tropical paradise? You can't go wrong with a straw fedora. Venturing to a winter wonderland? Don't leave home without a felt fedora.
The crushability factor of baseball hats is one of some debate. While many baseball caps have rigid bills (or cardboard bills if they're vintage) that should not be folded, there are plenty of soft, unstructured caps and styles such as this Brooklyn wool blend baseball cap that can withstand a little rough play. One of the important factors to consider is the material of the hat; cotton, wool, polyester, and other synthetic blends are generally more resilient.
Also known as a fisherman's hat, the bucket hat is for the traveler who values comfort and convenience above all else. Most often made from canvas or heavy-duty cotton fabrics, bucket hats can be folded, rolled, or crammed in a bag without ever losing their shape. Practically synonymous with the great outdoors, the bucket hat is a must-have when hiking a national park, camping in the mountains, or going fishing.
With its signature floppy brim and slightly unstructured design, the floppy hat is an ideal excursion-ready accessory. Available in a variety of fabrics from straw to wool, this stylishly laid-back lid can be stowed away and still bounce back into shape.
When it comes to packable, foldable hats, the flat cap is a top pick. With such short brims, flat caps (newsboys, duckbills, ivy caps) don't provide much protection from the elements, but they are easy to take on the go and make a stylish topper for a casual daytime stroll or a more formal evening out.
Much like flat caps, beanies are among the best travel hats simply because they are so easy to pack. When traveling to colder climates, a chunky wool beanie will keep your head and ears warm and toasty while adding a dash of interest to your overall look.
Sun Protection Hats
Different hats protect you from the sun in different ways. While some hats are actually made with materials that block the sun’s harmful rays, other hats help shield you from the sun with their shape and design. These are the best hats to consider when traveling to sunny destinations.
Wide Brim Hat
The best sun hats have wide brims. This means hats with at least a three-inch brim to protect the face, ears, and neck. While wide brim hats come in various materials, those made from straw are ideally suited for warmer climates. Panama hats are a classic example of this lightweight and breathable style.
The key is to select a hat with a tightly knit weave that doesn't let any of the sun's harmful rays through. A good rule to remember: If you can see through the weave, leave. Most straw hats today are fairly sturdy and can be considered packable sun hats. To make sure, gently bend the rim of the hat to test it out. If it starts to crack or fray, be extra careful when traveling as it could get easily damaged.
Hat With UPF
Just as sunscreens offer SPF (sun protection factor) to shield skin against sunburn, clothes with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) block the sun's harmful UV rays, which could lead to skin cancer. A good quality hat such as the Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat and Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hat offer UPF50. This high UPF rating means that it blocks 97.5 percent or more of the sun's UV rays.
Also, look for hats with an adjustable chin strap — not only does this keep the hat in place to protect you while wearing it, but it also makes it easy to tie to your backpack or pocket when not in use.
Whether you find yourself trekking through a tropical rainstorm or splashing around in a serene lake, a waterproof hat is a must. Hats that can withstand water come in different shapes, sizes, and fabrics. Read labels to determine the level of water resistance — while a polyester baseball cap or denim bucket hat might be fine completely immersed in water, a wool fedora or straw hat might only be able to repel a few sprinkles before getting ruined. Look for waterproof headgear such as those from Outdoor Research and Columbia Sportswear.
When it comes to traveling, you want to be prepared no matter the season or the destination. The best travel hat will suit your plans as well as your personality. Have fun, enjoy the journey, and safe travels.