The 12 Best Packable Sun Hats of 2024

Sun hats can be hit or miss. Yes, they should shield your face from the sun, but the wrong style can look silly—which is something I learned the hard way. Desperate to keep my face from frying in the Italian summer sun a few years back, I picked up a 5-euro fedora from an Amalfi Coast street vendor. When I got home, I realized that I looked ridiculous in every photo and still got sunburnt. So, take it from me: buy a stylish, non-mortifying sun hat before jetting off on your next vacation. 

You might be thinking, But I don’t have any room in my carry-on for a floppy hat. Allow me to introduce you to the packable sun hat. It offers the same protection and chic look as a regular sun hat but folds into itself for easy packing. When you arrive at your destination, the magic happens: The hat pops right back into its original form without any structural damage. From resort-worthy straw hats to country club-esque visors and everything in between, I searched high and low for the best packable sun hats, chatted with stylists and fellow editors, and even tried a bunch myself. The result: A list of hats you’ll actually want to wear. 

Madewell Lantern Straw Hat



Why We Love It: I’m probably a little too into Nancy Meyers’s aesthetic, but in my opinion, a trusty sun hat is an essential part of every beach trip. This one from Madewell has just the right amount of everything: Structure, sun protection, and style. Thanks to its woven straw composition, the hat has just enough stiffness so that the sides stay upright, while still having a considerable amount of flop. The brim offers just enough protection to cover your face, but you’re still able to see what’s happening around you. Also nice: The straw is lightweight and has a bit of ventilation, so you don’t have to worry about sweating through the hat on super hot days. The hat comes in five colors and styles (Lagoon, for example, is a pale straw color with a navy blue squiggly design across the brim, while Pistachio features two light green stripes) as well as two size options—Small/Medium and Medium/Large—so that everyone can find the right size for their head shape. 

Who It’s For: This is a solid option for anyone seeking a classic, no-frills sun hat that still looks elegant and classic.

Material: Straw | Size: S/M, M/L | Colors: 4

Janessa Leone Adriana Hat


Janessa Leone

Why We Love It: If you’re going to splurge on this packable hat, let it be this on this one. It’s lightweight—which makes it great for days when hats are necessary but can easily make your head sweaty. Despite looking very structured, it folds up easily and bounces back just as well (read: can be shoved into your straw bag over and over again and not be affected). The hat also offers a UPF rating (like SPF but for textiles) of 45+ to protect your face from the sun. It comes in four different sizes, each with the same folding capabilities, for a proper fit no matter your head size. This style only comes in one shade; however, the brand offers a plethora of other packable styles, should you want to shop around.  

Who It’s For: Because it comes in four sizes going up to XL, I recommend this hat for those with larger heads or lots of hair. It’s on the pricier side, so it’s also a nice choice for those looking to spend a little more on a designer option.

Material: Straw | Size: S, M, L, XL | Colors: 1

Land’s End Facesaver Sun Visor


Land’s End

Why We Love It: Lover of long walks on the beach? Spend hours tending to a garden? The visor, a total classic, checks all those boxes and then some. Beauty editor and content creator Kristina Rodulfo went on a 10-week trip through Europe and found that a solid visor goes a long way and pairs with plenty of looks. For under $30, you can snag this elegant-looking, incredibly comfortable sun hat that shields your face without making an updo feel complicated. The paper and polyester straw blend is smooth to the touch (instead of scratchy or itchy like other straw hats), and, thanks to a hidden band sewn into the interior of the hat, it stays where it’s supposed to and doesn’t contribute to hat hair. When you’re ready to pack it up, simply roll it into a cone shape and then tie it in place. 

Who It’s For: I recommend this option to anyone who wears their hair up in a ponytail or bun often but still wants to be shaded from the sun. 

Material: Paper, polyester straw blend | Size: S/M, L/XL | Colors: 2

Wolf & Badger Lorna Murray Roma Luxe Capri Maxi Hat


Wolf & Badger

Why We Love It: Sometimes you find an item that you become so enamored with that you can’t stop thinking about it. That’s this hat for me. Created by Lorna Murray, a sustainable luxury hat brand out of Australia, this stunning woven grass style might be the most fashionable sun hat I’ve ever seen. The Roma colorway features shell-white and ink-black alternating threads woven through natural grass to create a houndstooth-inspired check pattern. (You can find plenty of other colors and designs at Wolf & Badger, if you’re interested.) The hat is designed to collapse and fold like origami, thanks to the stunning pleats along the brim. Plus, the tie located at the base of the hat ensures it stays anchored on your head during breezy weather. The only downside is that plenty of other people are obsessed with this hat, so if you like what you see, be sure to snag it before it sells out for good.

Who It’s For: Anyone looking for a unique woven sun hat will love this option. Due to its intricate houndstooth pattern and pleating, you’re sure to stand out.

Material: Grass | Sizes: S, M, L | Colors: Varies

San Diego Hat Company Perfect Unisex El Campo Ultrabraided Sun Hat


San Diego Hat Company

Why We Love It: I love this Arizona Packable Wide Brim Hat because the 100 percent paper straw material allows for it to bend easily for packing. It folds up so small (which is shocking, given its size) that it can be tossed in your suitcase. The brim extends out 5 inches all the way around, effectively shading your entire face, neck, and shoulders. Plus, for warmer days, the terrycloth sweatband on the inside absorbs perspiration, ensuring your hat will remain fresh. After you take the hat out of its storage place (whether it be your travel bag, a suitcase, etc.), you’ll need to readjust the decorative band on the outside of the hat, which slides around a little too easily for my liking. However, the band is connected to a strap that goes underneath your chin, so you don’t have to worry about things shifting around once you’re wearing it. 

Who It’s For: This large-brim hat is a great choice for someone who wants ample sun protection for their face, neck, and shoulders. 

Material: Paper straw | Size: OS | Colors: 5

Lack of Color Wave Bucket Hat


Lack of Color 

Why We Love It: I distinctly remember loathing the bucket hats my mom forced me to wear to the beach as a kid; wearing one made me feel so uncool. Fast forward a few years, bucket hats are cool again, thanks to celebs such as Hailey Bieber and Kaia Gerber, who have resurrected the style made famous by ‘90s street style icons and hip-hop artists. This hat from Lack of Color (which is, ironically, anything but) won the top spot on our list of best bucket hats for a reason: It checks off all the boxes. Style expert Lindsay Silberman says she’s tried plenty of hat brands but always comes back to Lack of Color. “The brand offers classic styles that feel unique,” she explains. “Plus, they really do hold their shape.” Between the retro terry cloth fabric, 10 color options (which include a variety of pastels and patterns), and a UPF 50+ rating, it’s the perfect hat. 

Who It’s For: This bucket hat is a good go-to for those who don’t love the style of a woven hat and prefer something that has more street-style appeal. 

Material: Terry cloth | Size: S/M, M/L, L/XL | Colors: 10

Cuyuna Packable Ecuador Hat



Why We Love It: By partnering with artisans in Ecuador, Cuyana offers us a well-made straw hat made from a softer weave that lends itself well to being compressed and flattened for travel without permanently altering the shape of the hat. Even though it comes in four different sizes, the interior band can be adjusted for a more customized fit with Velcro hidden underneath the lining (to ensure the Velcro doesn’t irritate your skin). The classic straw color goes with just about everything, I just wish it came in more colorways or fabric trim choices to zhuzh my collection.

Who It’s For: Most of the hats on this list are particularly floppy and large. For anyone interested in a small, structured brim that’s more along the lines of a fedora, I love this handmade hat from Cuyana.

Material: Straw | Size: 56-59 centimeters | Colors: 2

San Diego Hat Company Ultrabraid XL Brim Sun Hat



Why We Love It: The trouble with large, floppy hats is you can rarely travel with them. This hat from the San Diego Hat Company, however, solves that problem. It folds up just as well as the others on this list despite its extra-large size. It won’t be as compact, but it can be easily tucked into the corner of a suitcase or weekender bag. When you unfold it, it bounces back into its regular size to properly cover your face and shoulders. It comes in six different shades of mostly neutrals, like chocolate brown or a natural straw hue, plus one sunny yellow that more or less screams summer. It comes in one size, which isn’t ideal, especially given it runs large. If you have a smaller head, skip this one. 

Who It’s For: This is a prime pick for anyone who loves the look of an exaggerated, floppy hat or those who want extra coverage. 

Material: Paper, polyester | Size: OS | Colors: 5

Wallaroo Hat Company Women’s Victoria Sun Hat



Why We Love It: Designed to join you on all of your outdoor adventures, this hat (and its 3.5-inch wide brim) from Wallaroo works to protect your face, neck, and ears from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Because it’s made of a poly-straw weave material that’s ultra-lightweight, comfortable, and breathable, you won’t overheat while on the trail. Plus, because of the drawstring closure, you get a custom fit and never have to worry about your hat flying away. The best part is that the hat folds up into a tiny ball that can be squeezed into that overstuffed backpack without causing damage to the hat. 

Who It’s For: Due to its lightweight fabric and packability, this is my recommendation for anyone planning on wearing a sun hat during outdoor activities like hiking.

Material: Poly-straw | Size: OS | Colors: 22

Solbari Ultra Wide Cotton Linen Hat UPF50+



Why We Love It: It’s important to protect the skin on your neck, shoulder, and face, especially when the sun is beating down on you at the beach. Solbari’s Ultra Wide Cotton Linen Hat has a 360-degree brim that curves downward to keep rays away from the sides of the face. The brim is longer at the back (it extends about 6 inches), casting shade over your upper back. And with UPF50+ protection woven into the hat, you’re guaranteed ultraviolet protection on top of physical protection. The cotton and linen blend material makes for a breathable fabric (which is key in the summer), so overheating is a non-issue. And (the best part, if you ask me) is that it features a slit in the back so you can pull your ponytail through. Just keep in mind that it can’t be put through the dryer, so it’ll have to hang dry.

Who It’s For: This is for those adamant sunscreen wearers who are worried about getting sunburnt. It has a 360-degree 6-inch brim and fabric that has a UPF rating of over 50. 

Material: Cotton, linen | Size: S/M, L/XL | Colors: 6

Tuckernuck Packable Wide Bow Sun Hat



Why We Love It: Tuckernuck, named after the island just off the coast of Nantucket, is home to effortless beachwear (among other things), so it’s no wonder that the brand has perfected the art of the straw sun hat. The straw hat is complete with a thick ribbon that comes together in a big bow at the back. While the hat itself comes in shades of straw, the ribbon is available in six colors—black, navy, and pink, to name a few—so you can match it with your outfit almost every day of the week. My only gripe about this hat is that it comes in one size; I wish it had adjustable features like a strap to ensure a good fit for most head shapes. Since it doesn’t, I recommend you make sure that the 21-inch circumference will fit your head. 

Who It’s For: For fans of the look of big, bold bows on wide-brim hats (think: Audrey Hepburn), this Tuckernuck hat should be on your radar. 

Material: Straw, ribbon | Sizes: OS | Colors: 6

Hat Attack Canvas Packable Hat



Why We Love It: Classic and trendy at the same time, this cotton and canvas hat from Hat Attack is a must-have if you run hot. The fabric is lightweight and breathable, so you won’t be drenched in sweat when the temps reach the triple digits. Plus, it’s easily packable—it folds up and takes up as much space as a T-shirt. The hat comes in three colors—natural (a light beige), white, and light navy stripe—which complements most of my summer wardrobe, but I wish it was available in a few darker hues to account for folks who love adding contrast to their outfits. 

Who It’s For: This is a great choice for those who run hot or tend to get sweaty during warm days; the breathable fabric keeps the head cool. 

Material: Cotton, linen | Sizes: OS | Colors: 3

What to Keep in Mind

  • Material: When looking for a sun hat, consider the material of the hat. If the fabric is uncomfortable, you won’t get the most wear out of your hat. In addition, Silberman explains that the more durable the material of the hat, the better. “I’ve found that hats made out of straw are more sturdy and less likely to break compared to something more delicate,” she says. Material also matters when it comes to packing. If the shape of your hat gets messed up while in transit, she recommends steaming the brim and then setting it on a table underneath something like a heavy set of books to get rid of creases and dents. 
  • Style and Size: Although many hats come with a label that says “one size fits all,” that’s rarely true. To find a hat that actually fits if your head tends to be on either side of the size spectrum, look into options that come in a variety of sizes. Then, try measuring your head and comparing your measurements to those on the accompanying size guide. It’s also helpful to consider options that feature adjustable cords that can slightly alter the size. 
  • Sun Protection: Your first line of defense should always be ample sunscreen application. But, to amp up the protection, a big, floppy hat is your best bet. Plus, the skin on your scalp is susceptible to sun damage too, and there aren’t a ton of options for applying sunscreen there. 

Your Questions, Answered

What are packable sun hats used for?

Designed to fold easily, packable sun hats are particularly travel-friendly and an ideal choice for someone looking for extra sun protection while on vacation. These types of hats roll up easily to toss into a suitcase or beach bag, then unravel at the destination with no structural damage.

How can you pack a sun hat?

Packable sun hats roll up and tuck away easily, but you have three choices: place the rolled-up sun hat in your bag, wear it, or pack it upside down in your suitcase and fill the base with clothes to help keep its shape. Silberman also recommends using a hat holder.

Sun hats go with everything—seriously. Silberman tells InStyle, “When I’m on vacation, you’ll catch me wearing a sun hat from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep. Bad hair day? Throw on a sun hat. Worried about wrinkles? Sun hat. Too hungover to be seen in public at breakfast? Yep, you’re gonna need a sun hat for that.” Plus, she says, sun hats make for great photo props. “You’ll feel 20 times less awkward posing for a photo if you’re holding a hat in your hand.”

What is UPF?

Not all fabrics are the same, especially when it comes to protecting skin from the sun. To determine how effectively a garment protects the skin from the sun, check its UPF (also known as ultraviolet protection factor) rating. UPF indicates how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) light a fabric allows to reach the skin. The highest a garment or accessory can rank is a UPF of 50, which blocks about 98 percent of the sun’s rays, reducing your exposure significantly. So, when shopping for a sun hat, it’s helpful to pick one with protection built in. 

Why Shop With Us

Caitlyn Martyn is a contributor to InStyle. For this story, she not only tested nearly every hat on this list, ensuring they fold up well enough for travel (and be considered “packable”), but she also consulted other staffers for their favorites. In addition, she spoke to influencer and style expert Lindsay Silberman and beauty editor Kristina Rodulfo for what they travel with and their best packing advice.

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