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Finding the best travel jacket can be a challenge. Can you wear it on the plane? Can you wear it in the rain? Is it warm enough? Or is it too warm perhaps? To find the perfect jacket, there’s tons to consider; like the season, the climate and of course the quality and portability of the jacket.
Let’s take a look at the best travel jackets, whatever conditions you’re about to head into! I’ll cover both men’s and women’s travel jackets of all styles, shapes, and sizes to ensure there’s something here for you.
Table of Contents
The rundown: Best Travel Jackets 2019 (Women)
- Overall best travel jacket – Columbia Kruser Ridge Softshell
- Best rain jacket – Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
- Best packable down jacket – North Face Thermoball Jacket
- Best 3-in-1 jacket Columbia Sportswear Bugaboo Interchange Jacket
- The ultimate leather jacket – Women’s biker leather jacket
- Most comfortable gilet – Columbia Heavenly Vest
- Most durable snow jacket – Wantdo Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket
- Best travel parka – Obosoyo Hooded Parka
How to find the best travel jacket
The best travel jackets are ones that are flexible and reliable. Jackets that can protect you from a lot of different elements and are tough enough to last years of wear and tear. Like my trusty leather jacket. It’s faux leather but I’ve still worn it for several years and always bring it on my travels around Europe (because it’s wind resistant, chic and hardly takes up any room in my suitcase).
When you’re trying to find the best travel jacket, ask yourself these questions to determine exactly what kind of travel jacket you need for your next adventure.
Is it portable? This is super important! On the road, who wants to be weighed down by a bulky jacket or look like the Michelin Man!
Fabric and warmth – Different fabrics have different levels of durability, weight, thickness, warmth, and comfort. So, consider these points carefully when you’re shopping around. Warmth is a big detail. Sometimes it’s a vital factor; other times it’s not so important.
Consider whether you need a warm or waterproof jacket. If you’ll use it in summer monsoon in, say, Vietnam, you want a rain jacket – not a warm jacket. But if you’re heading to Finland, warmth is essential.
Waterproof? Notice the terminology when you’re shopping around for a waterproof travel jacket. There’s a difference between waterproof, water resistant, and water repellent.
- Water resistant simply means a good quality jacket that keeps some water out.
- Water repellent means it’s been treated or coated for added water protection.
- Waterproof means no water gets in AT ALL. Seams are always taped on waterproof jackets.
Durability (hardshell or softshell) – Choosing between hardshell and softshell jackets all depends on what you’ll use it for. A softshell jacket is usually cheaper, more breathable, lighter, and water resistant rather than waterproof. These are perfect for hiking and general wind resistance – you can consider them lightweight women’s jackets for travelling.
Hardshell jackets are typically the best travel jackets for more hardcore weather resistance and winter. They’re warm, waterproof, and tough. But they are, obviously, heavier and bulkier. You need one of these for winter or ski trips.
Where are you going? This determines pretty much everything. Consider both the weather and the climate. It’s not enough to know the climate alone since warm and tropical countries typically have monsoons and even typhoons. So, it’s best to check when those things usually hit (typically it’s the height of summer).
Think about what you’re resisting, exactly. Is it the wind, the rain, the snow, or the general cold? How much rain? How cold? If you need something completely waterproof but lightweight, for a summer monsoon, get a softshell. But if you’re spending the winter in Denmark, something that keeps the heat in is obviously a priority. Like a parka.
Best travel jackets
Let’s take a look at the best travel jackets for both men and women. I’ve listed the best ones based on weather types, climates and, of course, style.
Overall best travel jacket
The best travel jacket is one that fits all of your needs. Something warm and water repellent that offers maximum comfort and security. The best travel jacket is also something easily foldable and portable, that you can bring wherever.
Patagonia Men’s Nano Puff Jacket – This men’s travel jacket covers everything you need for travel. It’s both thin and warm, making it practical in every sense of the word. A thin jacket that’s foldable, soft, flexible, but also strong and very warm is exactly what you want when you travel.
Columbia Women’s Kruser Ridge Softshell – The women’s travel jacket is the best travel jacket for Europe – it’s an ideal jacket that works for almost all times of the year, from a rainy summer’s day to a chilly December morning. Another thin, lightweight, comfortable, and warm travel jacket for women with almost no downsides. I wore this when hiking the Inca Trail and on other treks around the world.
Best rain jacket
The best rain jacket has to be waterproof. That is the absolute number one requirement. If it’s water resistant or water repellent, then it’s not a rain jacket! Waterproof jackets always have taped seams and a waterproof membrane, so that’s what you should look for.
Arc’teryx Men’s Beta Ar Jacket – This men’s light rain jacket is a hardshell design that’s completely waterproof. It comes with a large hood and will keep you completely dry during the heaviest rainfall and the very worst of monsoons. An essential rain jacket for travel.
Arc’teryx Womens Beta AR Jacket – This is one of the very best lightweight women’s jackets for travelling because it’s so thin and lightweight but also fantastically waterproof. Ideal for summer monsoons since it’s not too hard or thick but also keeps the water off you entirely. The best travel rain jacket for women, full stop.
Packable down jacket
A packable down jacket is perfect for transeasonal (unpredictable) weather. It’s warm, lightweight and great for exploring.
The North Face Men’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket – North Face always do such good jackets that last for years and hit that perfect price point of not being too expensive. With jackets like this one, you know you’re buying something that will last a long time. It’s a fantastic lightweight choice that you can easily pack away in your suitcase and pull out on a cold or windy day.
The North Face Women’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket – Exactly the same can be said about this women’s North Face jacket. It’s a thin but very strong and lightweight jacket. Something ideally suited for blocking out both the wind and the rain. Great for hiking or exploring a windy city during the winter. An all-round practical and lightweight travel jacket.
Best 3-in-1 Jacket
A 3-in-1 jacket delivers on three different fronts: it has a warm and comfortable inner layer and an outer layer that’s lightweight, warm, and waterproof. You can wear the jacket layers separately, or zip them together for extra warmth and weather protection.
Columbia Sportswear Men’s Bugaboo Interchange Jacket – This is the absolute best 3-in-1 travel jacket for men. What does that mean exactly? It has a hood to keep the rain off which can be detached to turn it into a winter jacket. That outer shell can be completely removed to turn it into a fleece jacket that’s ideal for chill autumn days. Such a versatile 3-in-1 jacket for men.
Columbia Sportswear Women’s Bugaboo Interchange Jacket – As for the women’s jacket, it’s a 3-in-1 with a fleece liner. That basically means it’s a lightweight, thin, durable jacket for all seasons. It has plenty of zipped pockets and a waterproof hood that’s thin enough to ignore if you don’t need it.
I never travel anywhere without my leather jacket, because it offers so many things. It’s windproof by default, which is fantastic. It also always look good. Leather never, ever goes out of fashion. The best leather jackets can sometimes prove to be quite expensive, but not always! These are the best leather jackets for men and women.
Mens Leather Jacket – If you’re more interested in style for your travel jacket, you’ll want something leather. Leather jackets have the added bonus of being completely waterproof. They’re easy to pack, and they’re light and easy to wear. This men’s leather jacket is stylish, waterproof, and sleek.
Women’s biker leather jacket – The same goes for this biker-style women’s black leather jacket. It’s warm (but not too warm) and super chic. It proves that you can be stylish while also being practical. Leather jackets are wind and water resistant without sacrificing style and good looks no matter the occasion.
A gilet is great for hedging your bets when you’re not sure of the weather. It’ll keep your body dry on a rainy summer’s day while also making sure you don’t overheat. And if you’re someone who enjoys the fresh air come winter, but needs some bodily protection from the cold, a good gilet is for you!
Columbia Men’s Crested Butte II Omni Heat Puffer Vest – A gilet or vest jacket is ideal for keeping you warm on chilly spring and summer days while also being breathable and not too suffocating. This particular travel vest with pockets is practical, thin, very warm, and wind resistant. An ideal travel jacket for hiking and exploring.
Columbia Women’s Heavenly Water Resistant Insulated Vest – This travel vest comes with zipped pockets! It’s thin but strong, warm but airy and breathable. Lightweight travel vests with pockets are like gold dust, and this is one of the very best travel vests with pockets that you’ll find.
Best snow jacket
Snow jackets are, in many ways, the ultimate versatile winter jacket. Waterproof, warm, isolated against the cold, thick, and able to protect you against the harshest conditions. If you’re heading out on a hardcore winter vacation, a snow jacket will not steer you wrong.
Wantdo Women’s Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket – The exact same can be said for this women’s jacket as well. A waterproof, windproof jacket that’s ideal for skiing and great for the cold and wet winter months! Not so packable but ideal for everyday wear.
Best travel parka
Parkas, like leather jackets, always look good and are always in fashion. They’re usually big and long, like wearing a blanket. Some are waterproof and all are completely warm. These are the best travel parkas for both men and women: stylish and warm.
Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Parka – This parka will keep you warm in the depths of winter and has the added attribute of being refined. A fur-lined hood is always appreciated. As is an ideal knee-length and a range of colours to choose from. This is one of the best travel jackets for winter, without a doubt.
Obosoyo Women’s Hooded Parka – And the same goes for this women’s parka as well. A fur-lined hood, a range of colours to pick from, a knee-length design, and excellent insulation to keep you warm on cold winter days and nights.