Some of our best travel memories are bound to happen in the rain, cold, and snow. The key to ensuring that the weather doesn't put a damper on your trip is to be prepared with a proper travel jacket, which can sometimes feel daunting to find. There are hundreds of options, each with unique qualities and features. That's where we come in.
A travel jacket is one of many ways to stay dry, warm, and happy. Just because a jacket can do those things doesn't mean it's great for travel—it has to fit inside your travel backpack, daypack, or even sling, when not in use. It can't keep you comfortable if you can't bring it with you!
Are you looking for something that will keep you dry but not too hot in warmer climates? Or is warmth your biggest concern and anything else an added bonus? The best travel jacket depends on many factors, and we'll cover them all in this post. Let's dive in!
- Patagonia Nano Puff
- Western Rise AirLoft Hooded Jacket
- Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
- REI 650 Down Jacket 2.0
- Patagonia Storm10 Jacket
- Amazon Essentials Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Jacket
- Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket
- Carhartt Rain Defender Relaxed Fit Lightweight Jacket
- Dickies Insulated Eisenhower Jacket
- Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka
Why We Like It: Extremely packable for a puffer jacket
What To Know: Not as warm or lightweight as other offerings from Patagonia
When picking a lightweight travel jacket, finding one that is warm without taking up too much space is imperative. The Patagonia Nano Puff fits the bill—keeping you comfortable when you need it most and packing down to fit into the palm of your hand. The exterior Polyester has a DWR coating to keep you dry, too. The interior utilizes PrimaLoft® Synthetic Insulation to ensure that you don’t get cold—and, most importantly, not need to seek out another travel jacket. Complete with YKK zippers, this jacket is built to last.
If you want something a little warmer, go with the Patagonia Macro Puff, and if you want something a little more lightweight, go with the Patagonia Micro Puff. Whereas all three of these jackets get the job done (we wrote an entire post post about it), the Nano Puff is the best of the three, we think.
Why We Like It: It’s a casual jacket that gets the job done for most trips
What To Know: The hood can be awkward to wear
Not every trip calls for something highly technical, though having a dedicated travel jacket is key to having a comfortable trip. The Western Rise Airloft Hooded Jacket doesn’t compress as small as others on this list, but it has a casual look that is just as at home on the trail as it is crossing the city. It’s crafted from polyester and uses YKK zippers, both of which suit it well in use as a casual travel jacket.
Another aspect that we dig is that it has a baffle-less design (no stitching lines that hold insulation in place), which we feel enables it to fit in while exploring urban environments more than its baffled counterparts. The hood is quite tight, which feels a little hypebeast-y, but it offers warmth when you forget to bring a hat along and the wind whips wickedly. If you want a more low-key travel jacket that still gets the job done, the Western Rise Airloft Hooded Jacket is worth consideration.
Why We Like It: An extremely water resistant jacket that has all the features we’re used to, all in a lightweight package
What To Know: Runs a little short if you’re on the taller side
Most of us have a jacket at home that does everything we need it to, but weighs more than we'd like to lug around in use as a travel jacket. The Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket has all of the features we've come to expect from a standard jacket wrapped in an ultralight package to ensure you aren't weighed down at the airport or when crossing the city. The jacket is highly water resistant, so a little rain won't ruin your trip across Central London.
When the clouds disperse and the sun hits your eye as it peeks past Big Ben, this lightweight travel jacket packs down to roughly the size of a soda can so you can stow it away in your travel backpack or daypack until the English weather decides to rain on your parade again. It's a great piece of gear to throw in your pack whether you think you'll need it or not, as it takes up a tiny amount of space. Go ahead, put it on your packing list right now!
Why We Like It: The warmth to weight ratio is off the charts
What To Know: It doesn’t compress as well as we thought it would
If you’re someone who tends to watch their weight while packing to ensure you don’t get any fines at the airport, getting a travel jacket with an excellent warmth to weight ratio is a good bet. The lightweight REI 650 Down Jacket 2.0 ensures you don’t get flagged at check-in and aren’t stuck sweating with your jacket on at the gate. Plus, you’ll be warm enough in even the chilliest climates.
Men’s and women’s versions are available, so you can get the perfect fit no matter your body shape. The jacket is crafted from nylon and has YKK zippers, both of which hold up well over time. It isn’t the smallest jacket when compressed, though the warmth to weight ratio makes it well worth including on this list.
Why We Like It: Lightweight, extraordinarily water resistant, and breathable for warmer adventures
What To Know: On cooler adventures, it won’t keep you warm as a standalone jacket
Some adventures don’t need warmth as much as wind and water protection, and Patagonia has a solution. Their Storm10 jacket will keep you dry and safe from the wicked wind while remaining breathable to ensure you don’t get too sweaty under the hood. It’s crafted from Ripstop Nylon, complete with a DWR coating that’s lightweight yet extremely water resistant and durable.
It packs into its breast pocket, and once you have it stowed, it fits comfortably into the palm of your hand. Whether the forecast calls for sunshine or thunderstorms, it’s well worth keeping this lightweight travel jacket in your daypack or sling for the peace of mind it offers while crossing the city, country, or globe.
Why We Like It: A budget-friendly option for those just getting into travel
What To Know: Isn’t great in cooler temperatures and lacks some of the features we’re used to
A travel jacket needs to keep you warm—but if you’re just jumping into exploring the world, you might not have the budget for some of the more expensive versions out there. Or, maybe you typically head to beach resorts, but your cousin is getting married in Winnipeg, and you’re only going to need to grab a travel jacket for this trip. Whatever the reason, the Amazon Essentials Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Jacket picks a few features from some of the best models available, like packability and a detachable stuff sack, and packs them into a lower price point.
It’s crafted from Nylon and Polyester and uses YKK zippers, which is par for the course as far as a travel jacket is concerned. It won’t keep you as warm as a model that costs seven times as much, but it's a good option for someone just getting into travel or a jacket you aren’t going to use often!
Why We Like It: A no-frills design that saves weight and keeps you warm
What To Know: It doesn’t have pockets, which is awkward in daily use
When it comes to travel jacket design, the Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket is one of our favorites on the market. It’s designed with care to ensure that it keeps you warm using high-quality goose down materials, is highly compressible to save space in your pack when you need it most, and weighs less than most of the options on this list. The nylon exterior has a DWR coating to ensure you stay dry, and the YKK zippers are a staple of quality as far as we're concerned.
The only downside is that this thing doesn't have a single pocket. None for your hands, none on the interior, none at all! Montbell cut them out completely, which saves a lot of weight. For those who dig carrying a purse or sling, this may not be an issue. However, it may be a dealbreaker for those accustomed to shoving everything inside the pockets of their travel jacket.
Why We Like It: Low-key look that can handle unexpected changes in weather
What To Know: Difficult to pack inside a smaller bag
When packing for a casual weekend trip in moderate weather, you may not have room in your carry-on for a raincoat and a more casual jacket. The Carhartt Rain Defender® Relaxed Fit Lightweight Jacket is the best of both worlds—offering protection in light rain and a subdued look that works as well at a bar as it does at a housewarming party in Cheboygan for your best friend who moved across the country.
Although it isn’t necessarily a standard travel jacket, it’s crafted from 100% nylon and as durable as you’d expect something from Carhartt to be. If you want something a little warmer, there’s an insulated version, too, but we dig this model for its versatility.
Why We Like It: A stylish option that can be dressed up or down and still keeps you warm and dry
What To Know: Not a traditional packable jacket
When most people think travel jacket, they think of baffled exteriors and their lines of stitching, stuffing the coat into its own pocket, and 1990’s wind pant materials. As much as we love these jackets (seriously, we have dozens of them), sometimes it’s nice to opt for something with sleeker lines and a more minimalistic profile.
The Dickies Insulated Eisenhower Jacket offers just that—with water resistance and durability to boot. The exterior is crafted from 65% polyester and 35% cotton with a poly coating and the lining is 100% nylon–all of which come together to create a sleek jacket that can be dressed up or down. Plus, it keeps you warm when the temperature drops and is more durable than a standard travel jacket.
Why We Like It: It’s three jackets in one, so you have an option for all weather conditions
What To Know: The jacket is packable, though it’s larger than most items on this list
While exploring the world, knowing what you're getting yourself into is tough. Whether you're venturing across the mountains of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula or the outskirts of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, it's best to be prepared for anything Mother Nature could throw at you. The Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka can be worn three ways depending on the weather, so you're ready no matter what crosses your path.
The jacket comes in two parts and has three different styles. The first option is to wear the waterproof yet breathable shell when the weather isn't too cold but you want protection from the rain. Or, just wear the insulated jacket when the skies are clear but the temperature is chilly. Last, you can combine the two when the weather looks stormy and the temperature starts to drop. You might be thinking, wow, there's no way this thing is meant to be used as a travel jacket. Well—it does stuff into the breast pocket, but it isn't very small once you've packed it. It's better suited to fit inside a travel backpack or checked baggage, though when you arrive and it's below freezing, you'll be happy that you brought it along!
So there you have it, 10 travel jackets for nearly any trip. Whether you’re heading to Scandinavia, aren’t sure the weather will cooperate with your trip, or just want to stay warm—these travel jackets will ensure you are comfortable no matter where the journey takes you.