There is a lot to be said about the uncomfortable nature of travel. You have to wait in lines, go through checkpoints, pay too much for simple things like water, and all of that is before you even sit down in one of those small, cramped seats. Adding to all of this is the baseline of agitation that comes from being stuck in a super dry, cold environment. You’re never necessarily frigid when in an airport, but you’re always a bit chilled. For an hour or two, this isn’t a big deal. But on a long trip? It can really grate on you.
After being annoyed by yet another day full of this, we decided to take the time to scrounge up a list of what we think are the best packable travel jackets out there. These are the kinds of zip-up jackets that are just as easily stored in your carry-on bag as they are thrown on when the skies open up or the temperatures dip. Whether you’re planning a big trip and want a great layer, or just want something lightweight and versatile enough to keep you sheltered from cool fall weather – these packable travel jackets are the best out there.
K-Way Chest Stripe Windbreaker
A simple, classic windbreaker. This jacket features a polyurethane shell, a drawstring hood, elastic waistband, and cuffs. The tonal zipper down the front of the jacket along with the narrow stripe across the chest and upper back gives the jacket a fresh look that makes it perfect for wear on trips or during cloudier days.
Penguin Packable Year Round Ratner
Another basic and classically styled lightweight jacket. This one from Penguin features a true black polyester shell that contrasts sharply with the stark-white zipper, hooded pull-strings, chest stripe, and pocket zippers. To keep you cool, the under-arms of the jacket feature venting holes and the bottom hem has easy-access drawstrings for a close fit.
Nike SB Packable Anorak
When it comes to lightweight technical jackets, it is really hard to beat Nike. The brand has been making windbreakers and runners for what seems like forever now – and they’ve gotten it down to an art. This anorak jacket from the brand not only packs into its own zippered chest pocket for quick storage, but it features a sharp, modern look to it and an adjustable hood for throwing over your noggin’ when you want to catch some shut eye.
Land’s End Waterproof Jacket
If you want something a bit more substantial than a lightweight windbreaker – this pick from Land’s End may be for you. More than just a windbreaker this jacket boasts a super waterproof polyester fabric, sealed seams, and a nylon backing. And while you’d think the more substantial construction would limit portability – it can still manage to pack into its own zippered chest pocket. You can also pick the jacket up in one of five different colors.
SCOTTeVEST Travel Jacket
If your main concern while traveling is securing your carry items, then the SCOTTeVEST is for you. This jacket has more than 25 pockets for securely storing things like your passport, iPad, keys, pens, camera, and more. Thanks to its sleek design and cut it functions, this cargo-pant jacket equivalent looks more like a stylish Harrington jacket than a typical windbreaker. In addition to all of this utility, the piece has also been treated with Teflon to keep you high and dry no matter the weather conditions.
Tumi Patrol Packable Travel Puffer Jacket
Falling asleep on an airplane without getting a serious pain your neck is one of the more elusive skills in traveling. Thankfully, Tumi is here to help out. This down jacket from the luggage and apparel brand is designed to fold into a thin nylon sleeve and act like a neck-pillow. For when you aren’t trying to catch some sleep between point A and B, the jacket is totally capable of keeping you both warm and dry thanks to its down insulation and water resistant nylon face.
Patagonia Men’s Alpine Houdini Jacket
The Houdini is one of our all-time favorite jackets. It is ultra lightweight, super packable, and cuts through the wind perfectly. That being said, it isn’t very useful when temperatures start dipping or when the sky opens up. That is why Patagonia developed the Alpine Houdini. This version of the jacket features a 2.5-layer waterproof performance shell. That, along with the adjustable hood, cuffs, and waterproof zippers down the chest and front make it tough enough to seal out the water. And to top it off, it packs into its own chest pocket for easy storage.
The North Face Apex Flex GTX
This new, Gore-Tex infused shell from The North Face is likely the heftiest on this list. Intended to be used as an outer soft shell for hikers and backpackers, it boasts a breathable, windproof, and waterproof fabric – making it tough enough to stand up to serious weather. In our minds, what makes it a solid pick for traveling is its adjustable hood, forgiving active fit, and comfortable yet rugged material. And since the jacket is so capable, you can use it for a whole lot more than just keeping warm on a long flight.
PEdAL ED Saddle Packable Jacket
If you aren’t quite interested in wearing more technical-looking outerwear, this three-button blazer from PedalED is a great pick. Originally designed as a bike commuter’s jacket, this cotton and nylon blend layer has a dynamic fit to it that allows for plenty of movement. To keep you shielded from the elements, it has a NanoSphere coating that beats back water and cuts through the wind. Also, for easy storage, the Saddle can be folded into one of its pockets and stored away.
Fjallraven High Coast Padded Jacket
Built for those odd days that are not quite cool enough for a thick coat, but not exactly warm enough for a t-shirt, this lightweight jacket is ideal for the sterile airport environment. It features a thin layer of synthetic padding and boasts Fjallraven’s signature waxed cotton exterior.
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
For the most part, we try not to include two picks from the same brand in any one of our lists. This new release from Patagonia, however, was hard to pass up on. The Micro Puff from the brand is its lightest insulated layer to date. It features a highly compressible PlumaFill synthetic insulation, zippered hand warmer pockets, and a water repellent finish.
Search and State PJ-1 Packable Expedition Jacket
This zip-up hooded jacket is made from a special medium-weight waterproof, windproof and breathable S1-J fabric. Made for cyclists, the jacket is built for movement – making it an ideal pick when you’re either trying to relax on your flight or hustle over to baggage claim.
Hyperlite is known for making incredibly tough and lightweight backpacks for taking into the woods. Now the brand is making the leap into apparel using much of the same technology and know-how they’ve developed in the process of making bags. It weighs in at less than 176 grabs but manages to be both waterproof, windproof, and super durable thanks to its DCF-WPB fabric impregnated with Dyneema and eVent materials. An ideal lightweight shell for either adventuring outdoors or keeping warm.
10 Best Anti-Theft Travel Essentials
Having a solid jacket is great. But making sure you don’t get your gear stolen is even more important. Take a scroll through our list of the best anti-theft travel essentials.