How To Pack A Hat Like A Grownup (And What To Do If You Smoosh It)

Pinterest would have you believe that any self-respecting lady who plans to travel to a lush tropical island or the French Riviera had better pack a hat, never mind the logistical nightmare that packing such an accessory imposes on the would-be wearer. But in all honesty, who doesn't love a good hat? They provide protection from the sun, keep you cool, and can be pretty darn cute. Just think how stylish you'll look on the beach in CancĂșn this summer, sipping on your margarita while your straw hat flops lazily in the breeze. In fact, the other hotel guests who left theirs at home will seethe with jealousy at the sight of you. They may even berate themselves for leaving theirs at the last second. Maybe they thought, "I'm not going to wear this, am I? Besides, I really don't want to carry this thing around while schlepping through airports all day and it's going to get crushed in my suitcase."

If you sound more like the jealous onlooker, I hate to tell you this, but it's time to grow up and bring the dang hat! While you might have to rearrange your packing style a bit and resort to using a hotel iron, it will be well worth it to be the source of everyone's envy. No regrets are allowed on vacation.

How to pack your hat with care

First, how you pack your hat will depend on what kind of material it's made of and how rigid it is. For structured hats or hats that wrinkle easily, you'll want to pack around them carefully. Lay down a couple layers of clothes, put your hat in (topside down) and then add clothes around it so it has a nice little hole to sit in. Then add small accessories like scarves or undergarments to the middle of the hat. If you still have room, lay the last of your clothes on top and you've got a nice cushioned nest for your hat! This probably won't work as well if you're a fan of packing cubes, though.

However, if you don't want to be overly concerned with it getting wrinkled or crushed, you may want to buy a hat specifically made for travel. There are many brands nowadays that sell foldable, rollable, or squishable hats.

What to do if your hat gets squished anyways

Despite your best efforts, your hat got mangled in transit. Maybe it was a careless TSA inspection that ruined your careful handiwork, or maybe your hat is just easily wrinkled. Whatever the reason, what's done is done. For structured wool, felt, or straw hats, you'll need to boil some water either in a kettle or in a pot and hold the hat in the steam. Work the hat with your fingers as the steam softens the fibers and you'll eventually see the wrinkles fall out. If the brim also needs some extra TLC, you can use an iron. Just be sure to have it set at medium to low setting and place a piece of fabric between the iron and the hat.

For flat caps like newsboys or berets that are made of wool, use the method previously mentioned. For those made of cotton, nylon, or other natural fibers like hemp, you can wet the hat lightly, smooth out the wrinkles, and let it dry on a flat surface.