A Quick Guide to Packing and Traveling With a Hat
"How do I get this home?"
"Is it packable?"
"Is it crushable?"
"I have to get on a plane tomorrow--what do I do?"
These and similarly minded questions are things we hear regularly, if not daily. Thankfully, we have a few tips and tricks for you to make sure no matter where you're headed, your hat will get there safe and sound as well!
To Wear, or to Pack?
… So, how does one travel with a hat?
An initial answer to this question may come off as a bit snarky (totally not our intention!), but trust us when we say: "Wear it!” The best and easiest way to travel with a hat is honestly just to wear it. This will help the hat keep its shape, avoid being lost as it's still literally on your person, and hey--there's absolutely nothing wrong looking extra swanky at the airport!
More seriously though, this tends to be where we lean in our suggestions if the hat is a particularly delicate or stiff bodied sort, because care really has to be given to preserving the hat's shape. No one wants a sleek flat brim to turn wibbly, right?
If you're still wary of wearing it, however, that's totally fine. There are a still a fair few ways to travel with your hat safely packed away.
The main packing method we recommend for actually keeping your hat in your luggage is to make a nest with your main articles of clothing with a cleared out space in the middle, large enough to rest your hat crown down (upside down, so that the crown is open facing you like a bowl). Next, stuff the crown gently with your delicates like undergarments and socks. This way, your hat isn't taking up any real room, and is being supported and protected by your clothes.
We don't recommend keeping your hat in a carryon and putting it in the overhead, especially if it's a soft bag. If you have a soft hat bag, maybe keep it under your seat instead to avoid it being crushed as luggage shifts. If you have a sturdy travel hat box, however, sky's the limit!
Or as high as your plane goes--you know what we mean.
The best travel hat box will have some form of structure for added protection. We also recommend using it as a hat storage box in between trips to keep your hats clean from dust maintain their shape.
Where do "Crushable" hats stand?
A lot of our soft bodied hats, be they in felt like the Belfry Paine or straw like the Belfry Gabriele and Belfry Serio, are able to be folded or "crushed" and tucked away in a bag for what we consider "quick stashing."
For the crease crowned hats like those listed above, we suggest "accordioning" the hats to preserve the crease of the crown, and for rounded crowns like our Belfry Lucinda, you can actually fold the hat in half and gently roll into a little hat bundle.
This ability to be crushed is handy if you've been wearing the hat all day and are going in somewhere you will need to take it off temporarily like grabbing a drink and lunch, but they aren't meant to be stored perpetually that way and we don't recommend keeping them crushed during trips that will take longer than a few hours. They'll stand up to general travel and handling over stiffer blocked hats, surely, but a fair bit of steaming and refreshing with a steamer or tea kettle is likely to be in your future if you do have a habit of keeping them completely crushed between wears.
At the end of the day, as long as you take into account the nature of your hat and remain mindful of how you're treating it, you'll find traveling with your beloved topper isn't really too much of a hassle, and they can be surprisingly forgiving to the occasional oops!
If you have any questions about the packability of a hat you're curious about, give us a call at 888-999-HATS or come visit us at 103 Main Street, Annapolis!