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How Do I Travel with a Hat?

Submitted by on July 13, 2013 – 9:14 pm

Hard plastic hat cases are a good way to travel with a prized hat that you don't want damaged in transit. A crushable fedora by Bailey is another good option for packing a hat without damaging it. Our hat cases come in large and small sizes. The mid-size one in this photo is really a large that has a tier removed to make it more photogenic.

A reader recently asked us to address the issue of traveling with hats. Yes, yes. No doubt there are some glib readers out there already firing up the comments section ready to deliver the punchline answer to todayÔÇÖs title…”with it on my head.ÔÇØ

However, serious hat-wearing travelers know that packing a favorite topper on a vacation or business trip can be fraught with peril. Crowns are easily crushed. Brims are easily distorted. Excessive sunshine, heat and moisture will shrink and warp your chapeau. Even a quick pit stop to fill the gas tank and check the oil might accidently transfer grease and grime from your car to your hat with one forgetful touch.

So, just how do you travel with a hat and keep it safe?

It all depends on the hat. The easiest thing to do might be to get a hat designed to be packed in luggage or a coat pocket. GuerraÔÇÖs Falbatravel is a nice fur felt fedora that is specifically designed to be broken down and rolled up to fit in a coat pocket or suitcase. As soon as you need to wear it again, you can unroll it and pop it back into shape in fewer than 30 seconds. If you are a summer traveller who prefers a straw hat, BaileyÔÇÖs┬áRoll Up does the same thing.

Many of our Bailey wool felt hats are designed to be ÔÇ£crushable.ÔÇØ All you do is gently crush the hat from side to side. (Do not crush it from up and down because that will ruin it.) Then you can carefully place it in a suitcase. As with the Guerra, these hats pop right back into shape. As an added bonus, Bailey wool felt hats are almost all equiped with a rain repellent finish that that helps you to fearlessly brave a light rain or snow.

That said, if you have a favorite fur felt Stetson or sisol straw Borsalino you want to take with youÔÇönever, ever put it in a suitcase or duffle bag. These hats are best traveled with the original cardboard box in which it came. Hats Plus also sells special hat travel and storage cases. These sturdy, hard plastic cases with steel latches come in two sizes. One is a single hat case, that can sometimes hold two hats, depending on the height of their crowns and the large case holds up to 6 hats.

Packing a hat in one of these boxes or cases is fairly straight forward. If your hat has a snap brim, be sure to put it in the up position. This helps to minimize any warping of the brim while it is in storage. If you are stacking hats in the cases, they will likely all be the same hat size and can be placed gently one on top of the other. It is preferable if you have a 2ÔÇØ or 3ÔÇØ cardboard or styrofoam ring around the base of the crown to keep the hats from getting stuck together and/or crushing each other. If you are taking several different size hats, put the smaller hat sizes on the bottom and put them in ascending order. Think of the Russian nesting dolls; it will help keep all of the hats fitting together nicely.

The single hat case costs $50 and the large hat cases cost $125.

Okay. So you have limited space in your car or for luggage on a flight, and you still want to bring a nice hat that isnÔÇÖt crushable, what do you do? First of all, never put it in an overhead compartment of an airplane because it will get smashed. If you are on a flight, just snap up the brim and keep it on your lap. If you are taking a cross-country roadtrip and donÔÇÖt want to risk crushing it in the trunk, keep the brim up and lay it flat on an empty passenger seat. Try to keep it out of the sun and heat for long periods, especially if youÔÇÖve left the car parked with all of the windows up. That type of intense heat will eventually shrink your hat and possibly warp the brim. Bring it into your hotel room at night or wear it to the diner at lunch. If you drive a convertible with the top down, the wind might buffet the hat and send it flying, but if you have a conventional hardtop and AC, youÔÇÖll be fine.

I hope this helps with your hat traveling concerns. I love hearing from our readers, and if you have any other suggestions or topics you would like to see written, please send us a comment. Thanks!

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