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Packable Wide Brim Hats That Will Save Your Skin

Packable Wide Brimmed Hats

There are two types of people in this world: hat people and non-hat people. Hat people don’t need much reminder that one should go on their packing list; non-hat people need to be reminded that some destinations downright require one!

If you’re going to the Australian Outback, Africa or the Amazon to name a few, you’ll want to cover your face and ears to protect them from sun damage, especially where there are holes in the ozone layer or close proximity to the Equator. Australia and New Zealand are two unfortunate places that lack proper ozone coverage and are therefore areas that increase the risk of skin cancer. Hats will help prevent cancer, and wrinkles, so don’t let the idea of a tan keep you from protecting yourself.

Packing a wide-brimmed hat (best for face, ears and neck protection) isn’t very easy when you consider that a suitcase or backpack has to close, so here are some of our favorite wide-brimmed hats that were designed for travel and won’t get crushed in the packing process!

We’ve included both hats that are more functional and others that are fashionable to suit whichever type of traveler you are, as well as hats for every price range.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

ExOfficio BugsAway Adventure Hat, $45

Exofficio's Bugsaway Adventure Hat
Exofficio’s Bugsaway Adventure Hat

Exofficio products are designed for adventures and are especially fantastic for outdoor excursions.

The BugsAway line hat:

  • is made with an insect shield material that keeps away mosquitoes, chiggers and other insects that spread diseases.
  • lasts 70 washes, as long as you use the cold setting on your machine or hand wash.
  • comes in three colors (cigar, khaki and slate).
  • is lightweight enough to fold flat into your suitcase.
  • offers UPF 30 protection for your face, ears and neck.

You can also fold up the sides of the hat for a different look.

>> Check for deals on the Bugsaway Adventure Hat on Amazon.

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat, $84

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat
Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat

This Canadian-made company takes pride in their travel gear, particularly their hats. This organic cotton hat is higher in price, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee. You have two color choices and a variety of sizes to perfectly fit your head. The breathable material allows for airflow and the fabric is also water resistant. The lightweight Airflo is UPF 50+ and the brim isn’t too wide. It will bounce right back when folded.

>> Check for deals on the Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat on Amazon.

REI Wide Brim Floppy Felt Hat, $36

REI Wide Brim Floppy Felt Hat
REI Wide Brim Floppy Felt Hat

For a more fashionable hat choice, seek out the floppy wool style from REI, an American company selling outdoors goods. The dark brown wide brim hat is durable and suits your active or urban adventure. The material allows for it to be folded in your bag without getting ruined.

>> Grab an REI Wide Brim Floppy Hat on the REI site.

Sunday Afternoons Palm Springs Hat, $32

Palm Springs Hat
Sunday Afternoons Palm Springs Hat

This fantastic beach hat folds flat into your tote bag and comes in four colors. The chin strap keeps it from flying off your head on windy days. The Palm Springs will cover your face and is UPF 50+ to keep your skin safe. Made of woven straw, the hat will hold up nicely throughout your trip.

>> Check for deals on the Palm Springs Hat on Amazon.

Columbia Global Adventure Packable Hat, $30

Columbia Women's Global Adventure Packable Hat
Columbia Women’s Global Adventure Packable Hat

Following a similar silhouette is the Columbia Global Adventure hat, ideal for that round-the-world trip. The band in the hat wicks moisture and the woven material comes in navy. The adjustable strap will keep it on your head and the UPF 50 will keep you from getting a nasty sunburn to ruin your beach vacation. Best of all, it comes in five colors and two sizes to suit anyone.

>> Check for deals on the Columbia Global Adventure Hat on Amazon.

Do you have a favorite packable hat, or have used any of the hats above, please leave a comment!

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers says

    i love my Tilley, it’s definitely an active outdoors hat not for all occasions but it’s so easy to pack, wear and clean. Thought the price was horrendous down here in Australia but I’ll get my wear out of it.

  2. Margaret says

    The UPF-50+ Cotton Hat on Travelsmith… This packable travel hat is so versatile. Depending on how you adjust the brim it can be anything from a cowboy hat to a Holly Golightly chapeau over a sheath dress. Ive never seen anything else like it.

  3. Leah S says

    I know I should wear a hat, as I am super pale and have freckles, which is a definite indicator of an increased risk of skin cancer. My problem is that I can’t find one that is both fashionable, breathable, and I can wear my hair up with. I always wear my hair up in climates in which I would need to wear a hat. Also, I tend to get a very sweaty head when I wear a hat, so it needs to be breathable. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  4. Jane says

    I am definitely a hat person!!! As in, I can’t tell you how many hats I own. I used HPL 3 1/2 years ago to plan an 8 week trip to the UK and Europe, and it helped hugely. We are looking at 12 months in the UK to be near family and do some travelling in 2021, so I’m revisiting (Also looking at NZ next year for our 30th wedding anniversary.) My problem is going to be which hat (or two) do I take?! 😛 Always remembering that a new hat from … (insert newly visited country) is for me a wonderful souvenir.
    I love Helen Kiminsky, Australian hat designer, but VERY expensive. Blue Illusion also carry stylish hats that squash. I have found cloth hats more long-term squashable than straw.
    The main motivation for this reply (can’t help myself, I’m a science teacher in south west NSW, Australia), is that the ozone layer has recovered; all data from the last 2 – 3 years (so since this was written by a few years) shows this. A great example of the value of international agreement to effect change to look after the environment. The reason for emphasis on hat wear in our climate is the very high UV index that continues from early spring to late autumn – so do still have one!
    Thanks HPL for all your great articles! Jane

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