How to pack a hat?

I have a wool felt fedora that I’m rather fond of (I spent $40 for it two years ago), and I would like to find a way to ensure that it survives being packed up and shipped overseas with a minimum of damage. I don’t own a proper hat box for it, so does anybody have any ideas on where I could find one, or alternate methods of protecting and packing the hat?

Other then buying a hat box…it might fit into one of the priority or flat rate boxes that you can get for free from the post office.

A hat store?

Why not just wear it on your trip?

The Container Store has hat boxes in their catalog, but they’re back-ordered. If you live near a physical location, though, you might call them and see if they have any in the store.

Leave it at home, and rent one while you’re overseas.

A shoe box often fits, if it’s not too large. Just go to a shoe store and ask them if they have any spares, then slap a “CAREFUL - FRAGILE” label on top.

You + Charlotte = beer

I sent two hats (both trilbies) back from the UK. They were both a little too wide to fit in a shoebox, so I simply stacked them on top of each other, stuffed the bottom one with blank paper to fill them out, and put them in a box with a bunch of soft clothing around them. Back here I had them blocked and cleaned, and they still look great.

You can’t possibly mention fedoras without a link to one of the greatest cartoon songs ever

From youtube

Not really an option long-term unless I want to leave it with family (in-laws most likely) or rent a storage container. I may have failed to mention that I will be living overseas for the next four years - also a big of a long time to rent a hat.

Wearing the hat on the trip sounds meritable, but I dunno if I want to fumble with a hat and a laptop while flying coach.

If you don’t wear it, it will take a lot of space, and I say this as someone who travels with hats pretty routinely.
The easiest thing to do is find a box in which it just fits. Stuff it with crumpled tissue paper or packing paper (nothing with newsprint, which can rub off onto the hat), place it in the box, and surround with more crumpled paper. Seal and voila!
If you need to fit it into a suitcase, swing by a hat store, and see if they have these plastic hat forms over which you can fit a hat. (They’re like clear, plastic, oval bowls shaped like hat crowns.) Place hat over form, stuff form with socks, and place inside a sheltered spot in your suitcase, surrounded by soft, cushiony items like t-shirts. The hat shouldn’t get crushed, although the brim may be a bit battered by this option.

I found a place in town that sells cardboard hat boxes, so I’m gonna get that, and pack the hat in it with the hat form and some packing material. I figure once I get to where I’m going, I can steam it somehow and fine-tune the form (what’s a good way to steam a hat? Will just setting it on the sink and running the shower work?)

I have found no acceptable way to transport a good hat when traveling by plane, except to wear it.

I’ve been trying as hard as I can to remember how I packed my Tilley hat when I went to Egypt, and try as I might, I can’t. I think I may have worn it.

Even that isn’t great, because what happens when you lean back?

No, it’s not great. Since I’m 6’4" tall, I can lean back anyway on many flights, but I end up holding the hat in my lap on some planes. But when I’m wearing a $300 custom hat, I’d rather put it in my lap than get it crushed in the overhead bin.

If you’ve got a THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR HAT, why don’t you just leave it at home?
Or in a climate-controlled mini-storage warehouse, in the middle of a 20 x 20’ rental unit, empty except for the pedestal, perhaps an Ionic column, with a manikin head perched upon it.

Wouldn’t you be more relaxed on your trip if you weren’t worrying about your hat?

Why spend $300 on a hat if you’re going to leave it at home instead of wear it? You can do that with a cheap hat, or even better, no hat at all!

Best way I have found to steam and re-shape my hats is to use a tea kettle (perferably one without a whistle) so you can get a small stream of steam directed where you want it. You can also use a pan of boiling water with a lid. Just sit the lid cocked on the pan so you have a small crack for the steam to come out. Apply steam to felt (or straw for that matter) to soften it, form as you want and hold it that way until the felt cools and stiffens. Work slowly and small areas at a time until it is shaped the way you want.