May 22, 2023

The 15 best packable sun hats of 2023 that won’t wrinkle

Hats are tricky. A key tool to evading harmful UV rays and thusly protecting your precious skin, hats are clearly important and worth investing in. But if we’re being honest, they’re hit or miss. Finding the right hat for you — one that isn't too cowboyish or too "Little House on the Prairie" — is no easy feat. And once you do fight the perfect hat — the one that's just right — you have to assess whether or not it's packable.

That's right, folks: A new category of hats has cropped up in recent years, answering the prayers of hat lovers everywhere. Enter: the packable hat. A travel gear essential, these toppers can vary wildly in material and style, but the end result is the same — they pop right back into shape without any structural damage once you’ve arrived at your destination and start unpacking. This is important because prior to packable hats, we were all wearing smushed, creased hats, not only looking ridiculous but sun burning our faces to boot.

Whether you’re looking for UPF options that can handle the most gnarly of vacation adventures or a striking straw option that will elevate your holiday selfies, these are our favorite packable hats and visors to buy right now.

A cult-favorite Madewell accessory that is known for selling out fast, this paper straw hat is known for being stiff enough to look propped up on your head while also floppy enough to withstand even the most overpacked of suitcases. Available in multiple colorways and two sizes, our favorite details are the pretty braided texture, the 3.5-inch brim and the ribbon that can stretch around the hat, keeping it locked into place in your luggage. Love the look but want it in a visor? Fear not, it exists.

Not all packable hats are made of straw. Case in point: this cute (and crushable!) baseball hat option from Melin. Available in three sizes, the hat is water-resistant, floats and has a hidden interior pocket for your cash. An homage to California surfer culture, the hat has retro-style rope details, a shallower fit and a flatter bill, and it's available in nine colorways.

Splurge alert! Finding a movie-star-quality hat is no easy feat, but this straw option from designer Janessa Leone is just that — A-list celebrities like Taylor Swift, Meghan Markle and Gwyneth Paltrow are huge fans of the brand. Ventilated thanks to cutouts at the crown and loaded with UPF 35+, the Harlow is available in three sizes and can be packed in your suitcase or even wedged into your carry-on bag, but quickly returns to its original form when you're ready to wear it.

You’re guaranteed to make a statement in this showstopper hat that features a whopping 8-inch floppy brim that would be equally at home on the beach or strolling down Madison Avenue. Liked by more than 4,000 Free People shoppers, the straw hat is packable and comes in seven colors.

Let us count the ways we love this visor. Accented by a 6.75-inch brim — sure to keep your face shaded all day long — the open-air visor will simultaneously keep your head and scalp cool. A Velcro clasp ensures you’ll get a perfect fit, and the stretch strap secures the rolled-up visor when it's time to travel. While the brand's similar Shore Visor (with a fringe brim!) is sold out on the Hat Attack website, it is available on Shopbop.

Despite being called the Panama, this striking hat from Cuyana is actually handwoven in Ecuador and is comprised of a softer straw that can be folded in half. Available in four sizes, the hat has a 3.14-inch brim and an interior adjustable band for an even more precise fit.

Genius in design, this sun hat from Baggu actually packs into its own built-in circular pouch, making it an obvious choice for travel. Boasting a huge brim — it's 19.75 inches from edge to edge — the organic cotton hat has an adjustable headband and chin straps, and it comes in 16 colors and patterns, ranging from neutral to loud.

Oversized and boasting an adjustable under-chin rope strap — which has a cute cinching bead attached to it — this woven straw hat from Free People is a bestseller for the brand, with more than 2,200 likes. Available in four colorways, the Arizona has a dipped crown and big ol’ brim that is sure to keep the sun at bay.

Meet one of Amazon's top-selling straw hats. Boasting more than 28,000 positive reviews and a 4.5-star rating, this paper-and-polyester option from Lanzom comes in 21 colors, has a dipped crown and has an adjustable interior sweatband for sizing. Do note, however, that the brim on this hat is on the smaller side, coming in at 2.9 inches deep.

We’re big fans of this oversized visor hat, and so are Amazon shoppers — nearly 10,000 of them have left reviews. In addition to a detachable chin strap, the Furtalk visor has a 4.7-inch brim and is made of UPF 50+ certified paper straw. More to know: It's one-size-fits-all, thanks to an adjustable Velcro strap in the back of the visor.

Featuring a generous 4.5-inch brim, this hat from accessories designer Eric Javits is as fancy as they come. We love the four colorways, the intrinsic "Squishee" material comprising recycled fibers and that the hat has UPF 50+ protection. When it comes to packing, the brand recommends turning Daphne upside down, stuffing her crown with softer items and using surrounding articles to support the brim.

Shield yourself from the sun with this super-versatile hat from Australian brand Solbari. Reversible and packed with UPF 50+ protection, the Holiday Sun Hat has an adjustable interior cord for customizing the fit and an interior wire embedded into the 4-inch brim for tailoring the shape. Available in seven colors, the hat is a linen and cotton blend and easily packable.

Men need travel hats too, and this one gets the job done. Loaded with UPF 50+ protection, the polyester Galileo comes in two colors and four sizes, and it has a faux leather chin cord with a wooden bead, making it a versatile option to throw in his suitcase.

As it turns out, not all packable hats are straw, and we love this 100% wool fedora for non-beachy trips. Available in black and burnt henna hues and sizes extra small to large, the Brixton features a stately grosgrain ribbon band and a packing-friendly design that springs back into shape once you take it out of your luggage.

Protection from the sun has never looked so pretty, thanks to this Toucan Hats bow option. The woven straw hat is available in six hues — from sweet pink to a nautical navy stripe — and the bows can be monogrammed for an extra $15 too.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards currently available.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards currently available.