How to pack a hat for travel

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 65 Comments

Being sun-safe is important to me.

I always wear sunscreen, I love my sunglasses wardrobe, I seek out shade, if I know I’ll be out in the sun for extended periods of time I try to wear clothes that shield me from the sun AND you’ll find me wearing a hat.

That’s why I’m a very proud ambassador for Project SPF.

So when I was organising what to take to Thailand last week, a wide-brimmed hat was very much at the top of my sun-safe list.

The problem I have with hats is that my head is big. I’m always on the hunt for hats that can accommodate my big noggin, without feeling my head is in a vice each time I wear them.

I stumbled across hat maker and milliner Carolyn Unwin’s hats via Instagram and promptly added this fabulous one below to cart.

how to pack a hat for travel

The brim can be trimmed down if this boho fringe is not your style. The crown has a soft cotton lining for extra strength and breathability.

The elastic internal headband provides a flexible fit.

AND it comes in three sizes. The L size fits a 58-59.5cm circumference head. My head measures in at 59cm so WINNING.

When I posted photos of me wearing the hat in Thailand I was asked how I got it to Koh Samui.

So, today I’m sharing my tips on how to pack a hat for travel.

how to pack a hat for travel

1. Stuff the crown of your hat with small items of clothing. Don’t overfill the hat or you’ll stretch it. Underwear or socks are good options.

2. Flip the hat over so that it sits flat at the bottom of your suitcase with the stuffing still in place.

3. Pack around the hat. I have fully embraced the concept of packing cells. These ones are from Kathmandu that I bought on a three for $30 deal.

4. Continue packing around the hat until it is firmly held in place. I filled the gaps with rolled items of clothing.

5. Cover the top of the hat with a layer of clothes. My suitcase is double sided but the hat side zips up. This kept the hat firmly in its section and safe. I made sure on the other side that any hard objects or items would not end up adjacent to the hat section when the suitcase was closed.

VOILA … packed and ready to go.

how to pack a hat for travel

(Don’t you just love the tag that The Bag Tag Studio sent to me? How did they know I love pineapples ;))

When I got to the retreat, I held my breath as I opened the bag. The hat survived in perfect condition and served me well all week.

So tell me, do you have any more packing hacks to share?

Comments 65

  1. I have a massive head haha, so hard to find a hat that doesn’t leave me with an awful red mark on my forehead haha. Will have to check them out!

  2. Definitely the packing cubes, I got mine from Ikea. Pink for me and Navy for the boys and husband. Brilliant lifesavers…checking out this hat because I have the opposite problem…very small head…so I feel like a pinhead with the wrong hat…lol…there is always something isn’t there! x

    1. I do like the idea of colour coding Monique! Very smart as you can switch clothes between cases but still know who belongs to which case! And the hat does come in three sizes which is a great help. Not knowing how small your head is, it’s worth looking at teenage/tween girl brands too as they are often just smaller versions of the adult brands so no-one would know the difference but you’d get a hat in proportion to your head!

  3. Thanks Nikki – this is such great info. I’m going to look for those packing cells too!
    It would be great if you could do a post on hats sometime please. I have a really big head too & it’s so hard to find hats that fit. I’m off to look on the site now…

  4. Nikki you’re amazing … I was thinking only yesterday about how to pack my gorgeous new floppy hat for my June cruise. As usual, you sorted it. (P.S I already bought 9 of the packing cells … eBay!)

  5. My bestie introduced me to packing cases 4 years ago before a 6 & 1/2 week trip to France with our 2 kids aged 7 & 9. Best thing ever!

    My Mr broke his wrist 3 months before trip so rationed the amount of clothing I could take, not only for me & kids. We drove around France after 2 weeks stay in paris, and my Mr said boot of car we hired to drive around, Peugeot 380 comfortably only fitted 2 large suitcases, and he would only lug 1 suitcase into each place we stayed at. As we moved after 2-4 nights depending on location, these packing cases saved my sanity.

    Bought 2 long rectangular ones, one had 10 pairs of unisex kids socks and another held 10 kids undies (5 for each kid). Kids are nearly 2 years apart but everyone thinks they are twins and younger brother wears same size shoe as his big sis. Then I had 1 med case for both their long sleeved pjs – spring in France is cold. Each kid then had 1 large packing case for 5 long sleeved tops & 1 t-shirt & I packing case for jeans or skirt/ dress etc. each of us chose a different colour so we could find cases easily without chaos and drama.

    The larger packing case came with a flat hard piece of plastic just slightly smaller than the case to help you fold shirts, polo shirts, tops, trench coat etc. I was dubious when my friend told me how your clothes stay beautifully folded without looking like a dog’s breakfast. I was a serial over packer but these packing cases changed our trip for the better. Den xx

  6. My bestie introduced me to packing cases 4 years ago before a 6 & 1/2 week trip to France with our 2 kids aged 7 & 9. Best thing ever!

    My Mr broke his wrist 3 months before trip so rationed the amount of clothing I could take, not only for me & kids. We drove around France after 2 weeks stay in paris, and my Mr said boot of car we hired to drive around, Peugeot 380 comfortably only fitted 2 large suitcases, and he would only lug 1 suitcase into each place we stayed at. As we moved after 2-4 nights depending on location, these packing cases saved my sanity.

    Bought 2 long rectangular ones, one had 10 pairs of unisex kids socks and another held 10 kids undies (5 for each kid). Kids are nearly 2 years apart but everyone thinks they are twins and younger brother wears same size shoe as his big sis. Then I had 1 med case for both their long sleeved pjs – spring in France is cold. Each kid then had 1 large packing case for 5 long sleeved tops & 1 t-shirt & I packing case for jeans or skirt/ dress etc. each of us chose a different colour so we could find cases easily without chaos and drama.

    The larger packing case came with a flat hard piece of plastic just slightly smaller than the case to help you fold shirts, polo shirts, tops, trench coat etc. I was dubious when my friend told me how your clothes stay beautifully folded without looking like a dog’s breakfast. I was a serial over packer but these packing cases changed our trip for the better. Den xx

  7. Great packing tips and just in time for my upcoming trip with girlfriends to Phuket! Our other approach is to wear our hats on the plane but that attracts all sorts of attention!! In the past I have packed the rollup hat – I think it was called the Noosa hat (maybe it originated there) – but now you have shown me how I can take my favourite safely! Thanks Nikki.

  8. Great packing tips and just in time for my upcoming trip with girlfriends to Phuket! Our other approach is to wear our hats on the plane but that attracts all sorts of attention!! In the past I have packed the rollup hat – I think it was called the Noosa hat (maybe it originated there) – but now you have shown me how I can take my favourite safely! Thanks Nikki.

  9. Super clever! These kinds of posts just sing to my organised lovin’ Virgo heart! This packing trick would work equally well when travelling in the cooler months and wanting to take a floppy felt hat, wouldn’t it? x

  10. Super clever! These kinds of posts just sing to my organised lovin’ Virgo heart! This packing trick would work equally well when travelling in the cooler months and wanting to take a floppy felt hat, wouldn’t it? x

  11. We went on holidays to QLD with our hats, but packed them upside down, I think they are called bermuda hats??? I put some undies, etc in the crown part, then built up support under the brim. Perfect on arrival. Now can I ask a question? Suitcases, are the hard shell ones worth the money?

  12. We used this same technique last week to pack Panamas for Bali, it worked a treat. One extra suggestion, if you have hard objects like books it is best to pack them under your hat.

  13. We used this same technique last week to pack Panamas for Bali, it worked a treat. One extra suggestion, if you have hard objects like books it is best to pack them under your hat.

  14. That’s a great idea Nikki,I have the opposite problem I have a really small head but my husband and son have big noggins too!
    Thank you for sharing your packing tips my hat is a squishable one so it always survives and that is a lovely hat Nikki Xx

  15. Thank you! Now to find the perfect hat for Europe in September/October – too cool for straw, too warm for felt – what to do?

      1. Will have to check out all your hat posts, and the packing for Europe one will be thoroughly read and re-read. Heading to eastern Eastern Europe and Germany, hopefully when it’s still a bit warm so may go for a thickish straw panama.

  16. Thank you! Now to find the perfect hat for Europe in September/October – too cool for straw, too warm for felt – what to do?

  17. Sorry but I’m fixated on the packing cells. I’ve been thinking about getting some for awhile but I’m not sure whether to go with a few large to medium ones or have more small ones.

    Any advice as to what is easier to live with once you’re away and trying to find things in the case?

    1. Oh Johanne … get on to it! With the amount of travelling you do, you’d love them. They deceptively hold a lot! I even had a small one in my cabin bag with my outfit to change into. I’ve got a mix of large, medium and small for the three of us and will probably buy more small/med ones before our Europe trip. The mix you need will be dependent on what you usually pack. I liked being able to put different clothes ‘categories’ in each. Pants/tops/evening/underwear etc. If you work back from there you’ll get an idea of what you’ll need. And then at your destination it’s easy to either unpack completely (if staying for a length of time) or dip into the cells as needed.

  18. perfect order nikki!
    I no longer know myself! … wanting/needing order at the mo! helloo!
    yes I love those separate pods and packing around the hat! … brilliant!
    I’ve never taken so much interest in the past! … evolving I suppose!;0
    lol … enjoy your day hun! love m:)X

  19. perfect order nikki!
    I no longer know myself! … wanting/needing order at the mo! helloo!
    yes I love those separate pods and packing around the hat! … brilliant!
    I’ve never taken so much interest in the past! … evolving I suppose!;0
    lol … enjoy your day hun! love m:)X

  20. I would LOVE you to do a hat post, Nikki. I’ve had several skin cancers cut out of my face so hats are an absolute necessity for me now. I have the opposite problem to you in that my head’s on the small side. I have found Helen Kaminski hats to be great for their adjustable inner band..they are pricey but well worth it for the quality.

    1. I love Helen Kaminski hats Selena – I sadly left my last one somewhere (I hope someone is enjoying it!) – This range caters for a small head too – and the inner elasticated band would help as well.

  21. Great tips Nikki – I have a great hat but never take it away as afraid I’ll destroy it in suitcase. I also noticed you used packing cells on your travels. Do you use these for toiletries or clothing as well? They look very useful!

    1. I didn’t use for toiletries Jacqueline as these ones weren’t fully waterproof. I just used a toiletry bag. I used them for most of my clothes though – and the only reason the above clothes weren’t in one was to better back around the hat in my particular suitcase. I’ve only started using them and couldn’t imagine doing without now! Even had a small one in my carry on with change of clothes – kept it compact and meant it was easy to find and carry into toilet on plane.

      1. Thank you … good tips for travelling to Europe in June/July as I’m sure I’ll be dressing for all four seasons.

  22. That is a gorgeous hat – so glad it survived the trip intact. This summer I bought a Panama hat. There is a nice man on YouTube who tells you how to pack one. Mine hasn’t been anywhere yet (except on my head). I have really started getting into hats as an accessory and not just sun protection. Nikki, would love it if you would consider doing a post about hats – do you still wear earrings and necklace, scarf? Does it matter what style or length your hair is?

  23. What a goregous hat, no wonder it had to be packed carefully. I always end up travelling with something that is a bit more squishable, or I wear it on the plane and put it in overhead. I’d love you to add this to #wednesdaywanderlust linkup tomorrow, a very handy post.

    1. As with Margaret below, I wouldn’t be worried about hat hair on a beach/resort holiday as hair is mostly wet and never styled. Can’t imagine I’d get much with this hat anyway because of the stretchy band inside crown. I think if that the hat isn’t too fitted around your head then you can avoid hat hair in any occasion Bec.

  24. Cool hat. I have a massive head too, really irks me. Packed a hat for my last holiday in a similar way, then we got caught in torrential rain, hat was wrecked. One of my Aunties was a milliner in Brisbane during the 50s and 60s, I loved going to work with her during the school holidays, it was a little girls heaven 🙂

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