No matter the time of year, you may find yourself packing a hat for your next trip. The best travel hat for you will depend on the weather, location, and how you like to travel. A winter hat or beanie makes more sense if you're going somewhere cold. For hot, sunny climates, a sun hat will protect you from the sun (crazy, right?). For anything in between, a classic ball cap adds something to your wardrobe, keeps the sun out of your eyes, and covers up a bad hair day.
We've compiled a list of our favorites from all three categories to help you find the best travel hat: packable baseball caps, packable winter hats, and packable sun hats. There are various materials, designs, and levels of packability, so there's something for everyone. Some of them even come in wild colors if you want to add flair to your outfit!
Before diving into the list, you should decide what you expect from a travel hat. It’s best to base your needs on prior experience and where you frequently travel because, in the end, that's the best judgment of what you'll need. Staying warm is more important than looking cute climbing the Eiffel Tower in January, but this list of hats will help you do both! If you want something smaller, go with a packable hat. If you want something breathable and smell-free, go with something made from Merino Wool. The possibilities are endless!
Let's dive in…er, put a hat on?
If you’re looking for a packable hat with features that bolster your headwear game on any vacation, look no further than the Melin Pace Hydro. It floats, which means it’s handy for water adventures—we wore it in the ocean and were able to find it easily any time a rogue wave came in a little too fast and knocked it off. It has anti-microbial technology to ensure it stays clean and smell-free, and is breathable and recycled. What’s not to love about that?
The brim on this travel hat is flatter than some users might be used to, but you can train some curvature into it over time. The exterior has reflective accents so that you can be seen on early morning or late night runs, there are holes in the materials for breathability, and you can throw it in the washer occasionally to ensure it stays clean.
This isn’t the most packable hat; however, it folds up easily and will fit inside most daypacks and larger slings without an issue. It’s lightweight, too, so it won’t hold you back if you attach it to your crossbody bag. Depending on how you travel, this might be the best travel hat for you!Why We Like It
- It floats, which is ideal for aquatic adventures
- The anti-microbial technology ensures it doesn’t get musty
- It isn’t the most packable hat on this list
- Some users won’t like how flat the brim is
The Gravel Travelers Hat looks like something you’d wear running errands across your hometown, but it has features that make it one of the best travel hat models for those looking for a packable hat for their next trip. Plus, it comes in seven colorways at the time of writing, so you can find one that fits the vibe you’re trying to accomplish. How fun is that?
If you’ve got a larger head or a lot of hair, you might find the fit isn’t perfect. Plus, the five-panel style might not be for everyone. However, we dig the look of this hat and its sleek and subtle logo. Some packable hat models are logo-free, which can look awkward. However, with the Gravel Travelers Hat, you’ve got something on the front panel that isn’t too in your face, which is the best of both worlds.
When you’re ready to travel, you can fold it down and use it as a packable hat. After unfolding it, there may be some wrinkles initially, but we’ve found that they go away quickly! Whether exploring a new city or hitting the trail in a sunny climate, this might be the best travel hat for your next trip.Why We Like It
- It folds down smaller than you’d expect
- The logo is sleek and adds flair
- Larger heads might not fit
- The design isn’t for everyone
Sometimes, packable gear gets a steep price hike because it’s an item known to be used for travel. However, that isn't the case with the getaway Pack Light Hat. At the time of writing, it comes in at under $40, which is a solid deal for a packable hat that packs down small enough to fit into your palm. Plus, the design is simple, offering a sleek look that goes with almost any outfit you might bring on your next trip.
Whereas this hat looks sleek, the design can look slightly bulky on some. If your head doesn’t fill out the materials, this may be more of an issue. However, for most users, this won’t be a problem. For the price, durable materials, and packability features, this is one of the best travel hat models that comes at a budget-friendly price. There are five colorways, at least at the time of writing!Why We Like It
- Comes at a budget-friendly price
- It utilizes durable materials, so you don’t have to worry about being gentle with it
- Materials can look slightly bulky if your head shape doesn’t fill it out
- Style won’t match all outfits
Okay, ultralight travelers, this next one is for you. The Parapack P-Cap is a packable hat that also makes it on the list of best travel hat models because it is comfortable and easy to pack and unpack. It’s easy to adjust the size for any head width, it’s UPF 50+ rated, and it’s crafted from recycled materials, too. What’s not to love about that?
Considering how light this thing is (one ounce—that’s the same as a single AA battery!), the materials aren’t as durable as other packable hats on this list. However, that doesn’t mean this thing won’t stand the test of time. It isn’t the most structured hat, which can make it look a little goofy at times; however, it also adds to its breathability, which is helpful. Overall, it wears like you’d expect a packable hat to, so keep that in mind.
If you’re looking for a hat that can pack down tiny, is incredibly lightweight, and comes in multiple colorways, this might be the best travel hat for your next trip!Why We Like It
- One of the most packable hats on the market
- The materials are durable for how thin they are
- The creases can stay longer than you’d like
- It looks sporty, which might not be your goal
If you’re a digital nomad looking for the best travel hat for your journey, you’ve probably come across the Western Rise Versa Hat. Online, it’s touted as one of the most versatile packable hats on the market (hence the name). You might be wondering, does it live up to the hype?
For the most part, yes! It’s sleek, stylish, and packs down small enough to fit inside most places you’d try to store a hat. We’ve found it comfortable across wearers, although it can look large on smaller headed-travelers. There are six colorways available, but none are very saturated, which might be a bummer for some. However, all the available colors are easy to match, which is ideal for the only hat you’ll be bringing on a long trip!
If you’re looking for a do-it-all cap that’ll fit into almost any adventure you can throw at it, this might be the best travel hat for your next journey across the globe! Or, take it to the grocery store. That works, too!Why We Like It
- It’s a do-it-all hat that works for most situations
- Packs down small enough for world travel
- Might not work for smaller-headed travelers
- No vibrant colors are available at the time of writing
If you’re looking for a packable hat that doesn’t look exactly like every other travel hat on the market, check out the Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap. It has a unique style tailored to outdoor activities or crossing a sweaty concrete jungle and offers some of the best sun protection.
Outdoor Research rates this hat for three seasons and touts the TransAction™ headband as an excellent way to keep sweat away from your eyes. It folds up small enough to fit into your pocket, which is where the name comes from. There are three sizes to choose from, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting it once it arrives. There are six colorways available, too, which we dig.
This style won’t be the answer to everyone’s dream of finding the best travel hat for their next adventure. That said, we enjoy the look and think it’s a solid change of pace from other options available on this list!Why We Like It
- It has a unique style compared to other travel hats
- It offers UPF 40 protection
- The look might not work for everyone
- It isn’t adjustable, so you need the exact right size
There’s something special about a winter hat that looks like it could have been handcrafted by somebody’s grandma a few decades ago. Whereas the Fjallraven Tab Hat doesn’t go that far, it has a unique heritage look that utilizes modern fabric technology to ensure you stay warm on your next trip.
It’s crafted from waffle-knit recycled polyester, which is comfortable on your head and good for the environment. It proudly uses no animal-derived materials, either, which is a bonus for animal lovers. At the time of writing, five colorways are available, so you can get one that fits the winter vibe you’re going for, regardless of the destination of your next trip.
This isn’t the warmest hat on the market; however, for the price, cold-weather protection provided, and comfort offered, this is one of the best travel hats for fall, light winter, and spring adventures.Why We Like It
- It has a heritage look with modern fabrics
- Will work for three seasons
- Not the warmest hat on the market
- Small on larger heads, which means it may not fully cover your ears
Some travelers might struggle to pack a winter hat in their packing list because it feels like a waste of space. After all, most people will survive without one, and it only has one actual use. Can you survive without it? Yes. Should you have to? No! Enter the Smartwool Thermal Merino Stowe Pocket Beanie.
This packable hat is super breathable, folds up incredibly small, and keeps you warm on days that aren’t below freezing. Plus, you can use it as a liner with another hat, which offers extra comfort and heat on frigid days. This is ideal for trips into cold weather featuring outdoor adventures; wear just the Smartwool hat to explore town, though we recommend layering it with another one when heading out into the wild since it’s not the warmest option out there.
It’s crafted from Merino Wool, which is breathable and moisture-wicking, which we dig. If you’re looking for a light hat that won’t break the bank or weigh you down, the Smartwool Thermal Merino Stowe Pocket Beanie might be the best travel hat for you!Why We Like It
- Packs down tiny
- Layers very well if you’re heading to frigid climates
- Alone, it might not be warm enough for super cold trips
- Not many styling options—what you see is what you get
Sometimes, you want a winter hat that looks good and keeps you warm at the same time. However, many models will excel in one feature or the other, not at the same time. Not the Arc'teryx Mallow Toque Hat! It comes in two colorways, is crafted from a 50/50 blend of tech wool (a polyester/wool mixture) and recycled polyester, and has unique heritage styling that matches most outfits.
The price might seem high for what you get, and whereas we agree with that, this thing is quite warm compared to other hats that look similar. The combination of fabrics keeps you warm without suffocating your head, which is ideal for trips where you’ll be active or walking a lot. The two colorways might not work for all travelers, but they’re more unique than many options on this list, which we dig.
If you’re looking for something a little different from a brand that can be trusted to keep you warm, this might be the best travel hat for your next cold-weather adventure!Why We Like It
- It looks more stylish than other winter hats
- Tech wool adds durability and functionality
- The price is high for what you get
- Not many colorway options
Patagonia has been a trusted brand for outdoor enthusiasts for decades. However, just because their gear is tailored for wilderness enthusiasts doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in the city. The Patagonia Better Sweater Beanie is as soft as your favorite sweater, utilizes bluesign® materials, and matches any other Patagonia gear you already have on your packing list.
This isn’t the warmest hat on the market, but isn’t meant to be. Most people don’t need to traverse sub-zero temperatures regularly; if you do, this isn’t the hat for you. This hat does well on an average winter day, in the fall or spring. It’s lightweight, easy to pack down, and comes in four easy-to-match colorways.
It feels a little pricey for what you get at around $50; however, its durability, usability, and sustainability make it a candidate for the best travel hat for your next trip!Why We Like It
- A warm hat from a trusted brand
- It matches other Patagonia and similar branded gear
- This isn’t the warmest hat on the market, especially for the price
- It might make your head itch slightly
Who said that Merino Wool has to be expensive? The Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie proves that Merino Wool doesn’t need to empty your wallet and is one of the best travel fabrics on the market.
This hat is currently available with Amazon Prime shipping, so you can get it for that trip you just remembered that you should have prepared for. It comes in at under $25, which is excellent for Merino Wool. If you aren’t familiar with the material, check out our guide!
We feel that this hat looks a little cheap, which isn’t the end of the world, but it will deter some users. However, over two dozen colorways are available at the time of writing, so you can find one that fits your vibe.
For the price and materials, this is one of the best travel hat models for winter adventures on a budget.Why We Like It
- This hat is budget-friendly
- It’s crafted from Merino Wool, so it wicks moisture and can be worn a bunch between washing
- It looks cheaper than other Merino options we’ve seen—you get what you pay for
- Material quality isn’t quite up to standard
As far as fashion is concerned, an excellent packable sun hat is only as good as the colorways it comes in. The BAGGU Packable Sun Hat comes in 11 colorways, at least at the time of writing, including fun ones like Clouds, Rowena, and Lemon Tree. In addition to having fun colorways, the brim spans 19.75 inches of coverage in all, which offers ample protection from the sun.
With any sun hat, you risk the wind catching the brim. The BAGGU Packable Sun Hat has materials that make this part of the hat flat, making it easier to catch the wind. However, the tie cord ensures your hat won’t fly off your head, even in the worst wind storms.
The hat is crafted from organic cotton and is machine washable, both of which make for a capable and long-lasting travel companion. If protection from the sun and a cute-looking accessory are what you’re after, this might be the best travel hat for your next trip!Why We Like It
- A ton of fun colorways are available
- It has a wide brim for sun protection
- Can get caught in the wind fairly easily
- The style isn’t for everyone
Some vacations will take you to the beach, so it’s best to have planned protection from the sun’s rays while you’re there. Even if you wear sunscreen, keeping the sun out of your eyes while you enjoy the water, read a book, or listen to the waves is nice.
The FURTALK Beach Hat comes at a budget-friendly price, has multiple colorways available, and folds down to pack it more easily. When we shoved it into a travel backpack, it came out on the other side of a few airplane rides without any noticeable creases. It’s crafted from paper, cotton, and polyester, which give it the unique straw-hat look without being super breakable.
That said, this isn’t the most durable hat on the market, so it’s best to try and keep it out of harm’s way. It doesn’t have a drawstring on the bottom to keep it from falling off, so it might not be the best choice for a windy day, though we found it fit pretty securely and stayed on well.
Given the price point, sun protection offered, and trendy look, this might be the best packable sun hat for you.Why We Like It
- It comes in at a budget-friendly price
- Packs down well for such a large hat
- Not the most durable hat on this list
- It’s a one-trick pony; there aren’t a ton of uses for this hat
Everyone should have an adventure hat that meets their needs. Whether that be a small, packable hat, something that works for the outdoor adventures you’re accustomed to going on, or a hat that offers protection from the sun, it’s an integral part of any packing list. The Wallaroo Montecito is perfect for trips in the sun because of its packable size and stellar sun protection.
You can fold it down to fit inside your daypack or a large sling, and the materials boast UPF 50+ protection, so your head doesn’t get torched by the sun. It comes in around $60, which isn’t bad for a travel hat; however, it is far from the most packable hat on this list and requires a little finnessing to get into your travel bag.
The combination of style and sun protection offered by the Wallaroo Montecito makes this one of the best travel hat models around and one that you’ll probably end up wearing at home, too.Why We Like It
- Offers UPF 50+ protection
- Has a focus on style as well as function
- Doesn’t pack down that small
- Not a great option for rugged trips because of its basic materials
Some sun hats are more for looks than packability, which is fine. However, sometimes, you want something you can pack down easily but still offers sun protection. Enter the Tilley Dunes Drifter Hat. This model is easy to pack, is crafted from lightweight materials, and looks stylish and fun at the same time. Two colors are available, too, so you can get one that fits the vibe you’re shooting for.
There are only two sizes, which feels limiting compared to other Tilley hats on the market. You can adjust it once you’ve got it on, which is helpful. The drawstring ensures it won’t fly off your head in the wind and offers a way to hang onto it without holding it in your hand. Just wear it around your neck!
For the durability, lightweight materials used, and sun protection, this might be the best packable sun hat for your next trip into the wild.Why We Like It
- A do-it-all hat for any adventure, urban or rural
- The drawstring is helpful and easy to use
- Only two sizes to choose from
- It is not the most stylish hat, even if it is functional
For those who are serious about sun protection, it’s essential to have a do-it-all model in your arsenal that can handle any trip. Here at Pack Hacker, that’s the Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat. We don’t feel that it’s always the best travel hat for the job, but it does most things well, and we’ll explain how.
The materials are durable enough to handle the bumps and knocks of travel, from days fishing for trout on the river to afternoons at the beer garden in the city. However, the fabric is lightweight, so it won’t take up much room or weight inside your pack when you aren’t using it. Remember, it’ll rain in the desert every now and then! Because of the chosen materials (nylon and polyester), it’s easy to pack down.
As we mentioned earlier, this hat isn’t perfect for every trip. However, it has a use for most adventures, and that’s what counts!Why We Like It
- Offers excellent sun protection
- Utilizes durable materials
- Not suitable for fancier occasions
- Lightweight materials might not be the most durable
So, there you have it: some of the best travel hat brands and models available today. Hopefully, you’ve found a new companion to accompany you on your next trip, whether you’re going to Jersey or Japan. Happy travels!