While it certainly looks more fashionable to walk around in a Panama hat or some other stylish bit of headgear, something that holds its shape doesn't usually react very well to being jammed in a suitcase or backpack. So when jetting off to sunny places, my hat of choice now is this Transit Sun Hat from Outdoor Research.
It's the typical floppy cloth affair, complete with an under-the-chin strap guaranteed to make you look like a tourist, but oh so useful when the wind picks up or you're on a moving boat. This one is a step up from the norm in two ways though. First it has ventilation. Since "sun hat" and "hot sun" go hand in hand, having a breeze blowing through makes it a lot more comfortable. Second, it floats! I inadvertently tried this feature out when the hat blew into a swimming pool. Float it did.
I get annoyed with these hats that make a big deal about having "UPF 50+" sun protection though. Stick any piece of thick canvas on top your head and of course you're going to have sun protection. Duh. My blue jeans are probably "UPF 50+" too, but Levi's doesn't need to put it on the label.
But the important thing is, this hat has been smashed into my bag multiple times and looks like it'll keep taking a lot of licks. If you're going to a hot sunny place, taking one of these along is a good step in avoiding the pruneface look when you get older. The Transit Sun Hat lists for $28 on the Outdoor Research site, or check out other options here:
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