A few weeks ago I was sitting in the Miami airport on my way back from my Royal Caribbean cruise, when I saw a woman walking by with four wide-brimmed sun hats stacked on her head. FOUR! Now that woman was in desperate need of a packable sun hat (or four.)
I understand wanting to look cute on vacation, but nothing will find me striding through the airport with four hats on my head. When I travel, I bring enough on the plane between my carry on and my personal item stuffed with my camera gear, that I don’t need to also try to find room for one to four hats hanging off my back.
At the same time, my trusty fedora that I bought for a trip to Italy five years ago has gotten permanently bent after being stuffed with clothes and shoved into my suitcase one too many times. I need something more flexible, bendable, crushable, and definitely packable.
This sent me out on a quest to find the best packable sun hats for women. After all, I need to look posh for my trip to France this summer. But I’m also at the point in my life where I need some sun protection for my face and neck to ward off those wrinkles and sun damage that are waiting around the corner.
Packable Sun Hats for Women
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I started asking friends for recommendations for packable sun hats and digging around for the best options depending on the style you prefer. One thing I discovered is that you can either look just for stylish sun hats, or you could try to find cute sun protection hats that also offer UPF protection from the sun.
Through my research I have learned a few things to consider when looking for packable sun hats:
- Sun protection – if you are worried about harmful rays of sun coming through the material and causing skin damage or sun burn, look for hats that offer UPF protection (ideally 50+)
- Brim size – the larger the brim, the more coverage it is going to provide
- Adjustable size – hats are not one size fits all. You can either measure your head and take a look at the manufacturer’s sizing chart, or look for a hat that adjusts with an internal drawstring
- Chin strap – if you are going to be boating or just want to make sure your hat stays put on a windy day, you will want to look for a hat with a chin strap
- Color – there are some very colorful, and even rainbow style, packable sun hats out there. The question is, how will that look with your wardrobe? Personally I always drift toward neutrals so I am drawn to the straw or raffia hats, or those with shades of basic black or brown because they offer the most versatility. But hey, to each their own and a hat can be a great accent piece with a terrific color pop, just have an outfit in mind when you are purchasing so it doesn’t end up just sitting in the closet waiting for the perfect opportunity
These are the top picks and recommendations. And, of course, I now have two new hats in my closet and I’m considering a couple more.
Scala Packable Straw Hats
My friend Jody from Camping Tips for Everyone is always looking for great camping hats and loves Scala packable straw hats. They are crushable with a floppy brim that keeps the sun off your face. Jody’s favorite is the Camden crocheted packable raffia hat with a big brim and a drawstring.
It is easy to stuff this hat into a suitcase, but it will return to its original shape when you get to your destination. And, its raffia straw is very breathable to keep you cool.
Coolibar Sun Hats
Coolibar offers a line of women’s sun hats that are UPF 50+, which block out 98 percent of all UV rays from reaching your head, faces, eyes, ears, and neck (depending on the brim.) Many of these are easily crushable or packable, like the Compact in a Snap! Ginger Ribbon Hat. This hat snaps apart and rolls up for simple packing.
Nicolette, a budget travel blogger, likes the Coolibar sun catcher shapeable hat. She has sun sensitivity and her go-to travel clothing brand is Coolibar. It keeps her covered on both land and sea, with their clothing, accessories, and swimwear. Nicolette has found their pieces to be easy for travel, and their UPF 50+ sun protection coverage is exceptional. The sun catcher shapeable hat looks great, has a fabulous wide brim, and its chin strap will keep the hat in place no matter the weather.
Anthropologie: Tuli Fedora
I just bought the Tuli Fedora from Anthropologie for a recent trip because it was cute and simple but the construction allows for a lot of flexibility. I was able to fold it and put it in my suitcase flat, yet it still maintained it shape once I put it on. The only downfall was that it doesn’t have built in sun protection, but it is super cute for non-beach or full-sun trips.
Wallaroo Nola Packable Sun Hat
Another new hat that I just bought is the Nola sun hat from Wallaroo Hat Company. I honestly had a tough time deciding because this company offers so many cute options. Wallaroo hats are completely packable, allowing them to be rolled up or crushed entirely and still bounce back to their original shape without dents or wrinkles.
The Wallaroo hats are made to block 97 percent of UV rays, with UPF 50+ hats. They have been granted the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation. The Nola has a wide brim that is angled for a chic silhouette. It also has an internal drawstring to make it an adjustable size.
Sloggers Wide-brimmed Braided Sun Hat
Jenny, a fellow travel blogger, recommends the Sloggers wide-brimmed braided sun hat. She says it is the one item she doesn’t travel without because it is stylish and practical. It has a wide brim and UV protection to filter out the sun, but it also folds up to make it convenient to travel with. Plus it has a lanyard to protect it from blowing off your head when it is windy like floppy hats tend to do!
Kavu Long Sun Hat
If you are looking for a great adventure hat that shades your face, the Kavu sun hat might be the right choice. Ryan from RECREATIONiD.com recommends this long-brimmed sun hat has a drawcord chin strap, toggle lock and an internal sweatband to keep the sweat from dripping into your eyes.
The Kavu Long sun hat style comes in different patterns and is great for fishing. Kavu also has other styles, including bucket hats and caps.
Looking for more beach accessories and travel essentials? Here are some of my favorites:
- The best travel pants for women
- My favorite lay-flat toiletry kit for travel
- Great gifts for adventurous women