How to Correctly Ship a Hat
Hats are fun accessories for many people. They compliment the shape of our faces, shade us from the sun and can accentuate an outfit. Retail stores only provide so many different styles, colors and patterns. For many, online ordering offers the most variety of hats to choose from.
As an online retailer or even somebody who wants to send a hat to a friend, your job is to ensure that you ship the hat correctly. As we all know, hats are not foldable. No one wants a creased hat or a damaged one. When you ship a hat, you want it to retain the same structure throughout the shipping process.
While hats aren't the most durable accessory, they are not as complicated to ship as you would expect. With proper packaging and using the correct shipping methods, you can send hats without fear of having them ruined upon arrival.
Is the hat made from leather, synthetic material or wool? Is hard or soft? What type of hat is it? Tall? Short? All of these questions will help guide you to the right box and the right packing material.
Below, we will outline some useful tips and tricks to help you perfectly ship any hat. By the time you've finished reading this article, you should have a better understanding of how to ship a hat and maintain its desired form.
Material and Shape of the Hat
Before you even begin to think about shipping a hat, you must know specific information about the hat itself. More specifically, you need to know the material the hat is made from. You will also want to know what type of hat you're shipping. Depending on the material and style, you will have to take different precautions with how you package and ship the hat.
The different types of materials and styles a hat can be are numerous. Some specific styles work better with certain materials and vice versa. You'll find that some materials are easier to pack and others require a little more finesse.
Companies traditionally make hats from a wide variety of different materials. Of the ones readily available, they tend to use:
In this article, we will only go over the most common materials and the styles associated with them. Even though we won't go over every single one, you will find that some materials have similarities with how you should pack and ship them.
Cotton and Synthetic Hats
Cotton, polyester, nylon, and other synthetic materials are the easiest hats to transport. The softer material allows for more flexibility and bending of the hat without the risk of damaging the design and structure. The only time you have to worry about damaging the form is with a bill or brim. These parts tend to be stiffer and require more care when packing.
Wool hats come in a handful of different styles. Most of them function similarly to cotton and synthetic hats. You can fold and bend them to fit into a smaller box. If the hat has a stiff rim or a solid crown, then you will need to keep it as true to shape as possible.
You can pack wool hats with most packing materials, such as packing peanuts, tissue paper, and crumpled paper. However, it is highly advised to avoid using newspaper and other materials containing ink. In some circumstances, the ink might leak into the fabric and stain it.
Some wool hats will have extra accessories attached to them, like feathers and ribbons. You want to ensure that these pieces do not sustain damage during transportation. Extra wrapping around them and making sure the box is an appropriate size will help.
With shipping straw hats, you want to pay attention to the stiffness of the straw. If the straw is flexible and will retain its shape after bending it, you can get away with a smaller box. You need to be 100% positive that the straw hat will return to its original shape. You should be able to fold some of the wide brim, straw hats. You will only need to take caution with the crown of the hat. They might be slightly stiffer and prone to deformation.
Straw hats may also be constructed from a stiffer straw that you can accidentally crush. You will want to place them in a box with appropriate dimensions.
Leather hats are one of the more complicated materials to ship. Unlike with the other common materials, you will have to consider your options a little more carefully. Leather is a premium material, and you should treat it as such. While leather itself is bendable, if it remains in the same position for too long, it will form wrinkles, bends, and creases. Before shipping, you should consider the time it will be in transit. Longer shipping times mean more chances for damage to become permanent.
For some leather hats, a treatment spray will allow you to bend the leather without worrying about long-term damage. However, you should take the time to test the spray and read reviews before using it. For the sprays that do work, you will want to coat the hat in the spray before shipping. The spray should help against accidental crushing and folding through the transportation process.
For other materials, you should judge your shipping process based on the flexibility of the material. If the material is soft and moldable, then you can use a smaller box. For stiff and rigid material, use a box that accommodates the size of the hat.
Hat Style and Box Size
Just as the material of the hat affects the way you package it, the style tells you what type of box you will need. Hats come in a wide variety of styles.
- Baseball caps
- Dad hats
- Trucker hats
- Aviator/Trapper hats
- Top hats
- Trilby hats
- Pork pies
- Cloche hats
- Newsboys/Flat caps
- Ascot caps
- Bowler/Derby hats
- Cowboy hats
- Berton hats
- Army hats
- Boater hats
- Panama hats
- Sun/Floppy hats
- Boonie hats
- Novelty hats
- Bucket hats
- Chef hats
- Hard hats
- Sailor hats
- Santa hats
- Witch hats
- Party hats
- Graduation hats
Depending on which style of hat you're sending, you will want to choose your box carefully. Basing your decision on material alone is a risky decision.
In general, you can safely package most hats inside cardboard boxes. You should wrap them in a protective layer or place enough packing material inside to protect the hat from any residue that leaks onto the box.
Most hats have a hard brim, visor, bill, or crown that must retain its shape during shipping. You will want to protect these parts as much as possible. Always use a box size that accommodates the harder portions.
Some of the styles are much bigger than others, so you will want a box size that fits the entirety of the hat without damaging the material and form. If you question whether or not the material is bendable, you should use a bigger box.
Finally, you will need to take into account the rarity or importance of the hat. If the hat is a rare and vintage baseball cap, the purchaser will expect that you take all possible precautions. Even if the hat can be folded and bent safely, you should err on the side of caution. It's always better to package the hat in a size-appropriate box and not mash it into a smaller one.
In some instances, maybe you don't need a box. Instead of always using a box, you can choose to ship soft and bendable hats in a plastic shipping bag with some protective material. This method can save you on shipping costs, but you do lose the protection of the box to keep the shape of the hat.
Important Packing Tips
Now that you know what to look for when it comes to material and style, you need to focus a little more on packing. Here, we've added some extra tips to help ship that hat safely to its destination.
Fill the Crown
Unless the hat is made from cotton or synthetic materials, you will want it to retain its shape as much as possible. One crucial piece of advice is to always fill the crown for hats with stiffer material. You want this part to keep its shape for as long as possible. Putting packing material inside the crown gives it more durability and support during travel. In case of accidental crushing, you will be thankful to have the support there and not have the two ends touch.
Shipping With Other Items
If you're sending more than one of the same hats, you can easily stack them on top of one another to help give them more stability. Their crowns will create a thicker barrier to help prevent crushing. It is still recommended that you fill the crown of the bottom hat with packing material as a precaution. If you do stack the hats, adjust the box size accordingly.
If you are shipping with other items that are not hats, you should place the heavier items along the bottom, so they do not accidentally crush the hats. Boxes should have a right-side-up label on them, or if not, you can opt for one during shipping. This extra precaution will notify postal workers to keep the box upright.
Alternatively, you can use the heavier items to stabilize the base of the hat and protect it from damage that may occur along the bottom of the box. Boxes are not weather-resistant, and in rare circumstances, water can accumulate along the ground it rests on. Heavier items can protect the base of the hats.
Always seal your box or packaging item as much as possible. You want to prevent liquids and other contaminants from damaging the box.
You don't want to place the hat directly inside the box. You should wrap the hat in a protective plastic sleeve, tissue paper or some other material. Having more than one line of defense against liquid damage will save you the hassle of dealing with an angry customer.
Transportation costs are going to vary drastically depending on a handful of factors.
When choosing which company to use, select one that you know and trust.
Each company will have its shipping prices depending on size and weight. Some, like the United States Postal Service (USPS), have flat rate boxes that you can use for smaller and more flexible hats.
In general, the size of the box and the weight of the hat will be your biggest contributing factors to cost. That being said, you should not force a hat into a smaller box to save on shipping. You will cause irreversible damage and ruin the hat.
No matter how much you prepare and secure the hat before transport, accidents can and will happen. Most of these accidents will be out of your control, so your best course of action is to accept them. If the damage occurs from your packaging and box choices, learn and adapt from the mistakes.
However, situations arise where damage occurs during the shipping process. These situations, although rare occurrences, can and will happen at some point. Don't spend too much time worrying over the small details. If you're worried about situations like these, you can always opt for shipping insurance.
Time, Practice and Experimentation
Shipping a hat correctly doesn't have to be a difficult process. Some materials and styles are more complicated than others, requiring more attention to the size and packing material. Even so, you can safely package most hats the same way, without the risk of damaging or disfiguring the hat.
You should always take into account the size of the hat and use a box that matches the same proportions. With time and practice, you'll find that certain methods work better than others, and you may prefer a certain packing method over another. Don't be afraid to experiment with different packing materials or box sizes.
Will a plastic sleeve work better than a box? Can I save money without risking the integrity of the hat?
Ultimately, the packing choices come down to you. You should take every precaution to ensure that the hat reaches its destination in the same quality and shape. With proper care, packaging and shipping, you can rest assured that your hat will reach its destination as safely as possible.