The struggle is real when it comes to packing a jacket in your suitcase. Unless you wear it on the plane (which makes you feel even more cramped than normal), your travel jacket usually takes up a good chunk of your carry-on bag.
These Are the Best Travel Jackets
Don’t sacrifice warmth for space. This list of the 10 best travel jackets features garments that are portable, stylish, warm, and ultra-packable.
Patagonia Nano Puff
Patagonia’s Nano Puff Jacket (for men and women) is everything I look for in a travel jacket: warm, eco-friendly (its shell and liner are 100 percent recycled polyester), water-repellent, and super compressible. The PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco maintains 98 percent of its warmth when it’s wet. It’s also incredibly lightweight, clocking in at just 10 ounces.
Orvis Nimbus Travel Parka
Packable jackets are usually on the shorter side, which is why I was amazed at how compactly this long Nimbus Travel Parka squished down into its included stuff sack. This parka is water-repellent, and it has a removable hood to make it even more versatile. It won’t make you look like a shapeless lump, either, thanks to the chevron front, back filling pattern, and princess seams.
Scottevest Trench Coat
This is the one travel jacket I’d recommend wearing on the plane–because it can double as a carry-on bag thanks to its 18 hidden pockets. The wrinkle-resistant SCOTTeVEST trench coat has spots to hold your cords and keep them tangle free, plus a weight management system to keep your back and neck from getting sore.
Men should check out SCOTTeVEST’s Pack Jacket, which has the same features (although only 13 pockets) and is super lightweight.
Craghoppers Nat Geo 250 Jacket
Craghoppers’ Nat Geo Jacket was designed with National Geographic readers (and journalists) in mind, so it will last through pretty much anything. I’ve put the AquaDry outer layer through some severe weather and it has always kept me dry. The interior lining is soft without being bulky, so this jacket can fold down pretty small. It’s perfect for travelers thanks to the six pockets (including one that’s RFID-blocking) and a removable hood.
Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka
For seriously cold destinations, you’ll want Eddie Bauer’s Sun Valley Down Parka, which is rated for temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The 650-fill premium down is responsible for this warmth, but it’s also very lightweight, which makes it easier to pack. It repels water to keep you dry, has extra touches like fleece-lined zipper pockets that keep your hands warm, adjustable cuffs, and a snap-off hood (with a detachable faux-fur trim for different looks).
Canada Goose Brookvale Hoody
Canada Goose jackets are super popular in cold weather cities. Every winter, I see more and more people wearing the iconic logo. The Brookvale Hoody makes me understand why these coats are so ubiquitous–it will keep you warm in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, but it’s also lightweight, breathable, and portable, so you’ll be comfortable even while being active.
The front zipper has a protective wind guard underneath, and the hood has a stretch binding to keep it secure–both of which ensure your warmth. The Brookvale packs down very small into its own interior stretch mesh pocket, so you can bring this travel jacket anywhere.
Helly Hansen Express Jacket
Sometimes ski jackets are unnecessarily bulky. Not Helly Hansen’s Express Jacket, which has ultra lightweight and slim PrimaLoft Black Insulation throughout the sleeves and body which provides warmth without weighing you down. (Meanwhile, a venting system keeps you cool when you’re heating up on the slopes.) The design of the Express Jacket makes it one of the best travel jackets for skiers and snowboarders–think wrist gaiters, pockets for your ski pass, phone, and goggles, a detachable helmet-compatible hood, a snap-away powder skirt, and a built-in RECCO rescue reflector.
Craghoppers’ Compresslite Jacket is one of the best travel jackets for hikers. Mine has kept me warm in serious wind gusts above the tree line (it’s windproof, water-resistant, and insulates just as well as down). It’s super lightweight, so it doesn’t take up too much space in my pack, plus it’s roomy and flexible for when you’re doing some serious physical activity. It’s also very affordable for its performance level.
Eddie Bauer Windfoil Elite Trench
Stay dry no matter the weather with Eddie Bauer’s Windfoil Elite Trench. The StormRepel outer layer means water (or spills) bead up rather than soak in. When you’re back home, you can just toss this machine-washable travel jacket in the laundry. Zippered pockets keep your stuff secure, and the two-way front zipper lets you open the jacket from the top or bottom.
Columbia Switchback Jacket
The Columbia Switchback is the perfect jacket to pack up when you’re not sure if you’re going to need a jacket. It will keep you dry if it rains and warm if it gets chilly, plus it folds down into its own pocket and takes up less space than a book.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 8 Thermal-Wear Essentials for Winter Travel
- Cold-Weather Travel Outfits You’ll Actually Want to Wear
- 7 Travel Sweaters with Super Powers
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.