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Jackets That Aren't Too Heavy But Still Keep You Warm

Jan 12

These packable rain coats and puffers can help you save space.

The term "packable" is like catnip to a frequent traveler; space in a carry-on or checked luggage is always limited, and any opportunity to conserve it is welcome. Even if you're not planning on going far this winter, a packable jacket that keeps you warm and dry without adding bulk is a good investment. An extra layer put on at the last minute might save you on a chilly skiing trip or winter camping trip; a backup rain coat could be the peace of mind you need when severe weather threatens to ruin your day on the trails. We resort to packable coats for those scenarios and beyond, which are a no-brainer to carry along just in case.

We've picked up the finest packable jackets—from down-filled puffers to waterproof rain shells, and everything in between—because there are numerous scrunch-up-to-the-size-of-your-fist layers out there, and not all are made equal.


Hoodie For The Expedition

The finest packable coats have a high warmth-to-size-when-packed ratio, and Fjällräven's hooded puffer gets top points for that. This jacket, which is made of a slinky, lightweight fabric (and is stuffed with 100 percent recyclable materials), takes up very little room when packed into its own pocket while providing adequate insulation or a main layer. The fit is extremely flattering, and it's available in black, Arctic sea blue, or a poppy dandelion yellow to enliven even the darkest winter days.


Uniqlo's Down Jacket Is Super Light

Many travelers' baggage contain Uniqlo's down packables, and it's easy to see why. (To give you an idea of how popular the coat is, the women's version has over 1,000 five-star ratings on the brand's website.) This down jacket is the go-to you'll never want to leave at home since it's lightweight, water-resistant, and regularly improved based on user input. It has a collar rather than a hood, giving it a more structured appearance, as well as minor elements like soft stretch "tape" that keeps the sleeves in place when rolled up. It's also under $60, but it's always on sale (right now, some colors are under $15—seriously), making it much more appealing to add to cart.


Quilted Down Pullover Hoodie From Patagonia

Patagonia's quilted pullover is ideal for battling cold temperatures—it can stand alone against the cool air off the San Francisco bay or double as a layer for a day on the slopes. There's also a soft hood to keep your face and ears warm as the weather drops. The materials are also smartly constructed: the interior is packed with fluffy down, and the polyester fabric outside is engineered to dry rapidly if it gets wet. To put it another way, it's a jacket you'll wear a lot, therefore it's well worth the money.


Long Down Jacket For 32 Degrees That Is Ultra-light

32 Degrees' designs are ideal for hardworking jackets at an affordable price. For $40, you get a puffer that's mid-thigh length. It's unbeatable. And, if you were concerned that the low price would imply lesser quality, think again. These slim-fitting coats are insulated with 60 percent genuine down feathers, include a removable hood and water-resistant fabric, and zip up into a liter bottle-sized pocket provided. The long jacket is ideal for keeping your legs toasty on colder excursions, but the company also offers a short version for men and women.


The North Face Nuptse Jacket From 1996

Everything, as they say, comes full circle in fashion. The Nuptse is a reimagining of the brand's classic late-'90s jacket, and it's once again the bold puffer to have. It has a boxy, fluffed-up fit, which makes the fact that the hood tucks into the collar and the whole thing fits into one hand pocket all the more amazing. The jacket is available in a gleaming ripstop fabric in bold hues like brilliant orange and school bus yellow, as well as subtle neutrals like khaki and grey. It comes with a lifetime warranty, just like everything else from The North Face.


Stockholm Lightweight Raincoat By Stutterheim

Who could resist Stutterheim's sleek designs in bubblegum pink, translucent aqua, and Paddington Bear yellow when it comes to trendy raincoats?
Even better, they produce lightweight versions that can be neatly packed away. The Stockholm Lightweight is just a thinner version of their standard cut, so even while it doesn't fit into one of the pockets, it will take up very little room in your suitcase without sacrificing quality. This unisex piece is constructed of rubberized cotton and has strong snap buttons, a drawstring hood, and double welded seams to keep you completely dry.


Aritzia The Jacket Of Little Puff

Stephanie Wu, Traveler's articles director, says she's "a fan of all of Aritzia's puffer coats, but the Little Puff is the way to go for packability." The ultra-warm layer, made of sustainably sourced 700 fill power goose down, folds neatly into a carrying bag with a button closure that can also be used as a travel cushion. When traveling across regions, Wu recommends taking this beautiful coat that is both wind and water resistant. It also comes in a variety of hues, ranging from pearly white to brilliant scarlet to a relaxing jade green.


Packable Rain Jacket From Columbia

Columbia's Arcadia II (for women) and Watertight II (for men) are trusty go-tos for a short, no-nonsense rain jacket that will keep you dry—and keep a low profile. These jackets are not only stylish and functional, with features like a storm hood and breathable mesh inside (perfect for trekking), but they're also completely waterproof. The seams are totally sealed, the pockets are zipped, and the bottom has a drawstring to keep you and your belongings dry no matter how hard the rain is. These jackets are available in a dozen colors, in sizes ranging from XS to 3X for ladies, and in both wider and taller sizes for men. (If the whole family wishes to match, there are also children's sizes.)