When it comes to packing for a trip — especially if you’re limiting yourself to a carry-on — not all apparel is created equal. Things like bathing suits, tank tops and silky shirts take up so little space that you may be able to pack a new one for every day of a two-week trip; but jackets and coats don’t fit into luggage so easily. If you’re heading from a cold-weather destination to a similarly cold-weather destination, you may be able to bring one jacket and wear it on the plane. But if the weather varies between point A and point B or there’s a chance it may be fickle once you’re on your trip, you may need to actually pack a coat in your bag. Here are seven options that won’t encroach on too much of your space:
It’s actually surprising how warm Patagonia’s Nano Puff is, considering its lightness. The jacket’s PrimaLoft Insulation works to trap your body’s heat and keep cold air out, doing the work of bulky puffer jackets in a super-slim design. “I love that [it] is...water-resistant, wind-proof and conveniently lightweight to fit into either my carry-on luggage, book bag or easily tie around my waist; and [it] still manages to keep me comfortably warm,” said Chizoba Anyaoha, founder of TravSolo. “It is by far the lightest jacket I own, and I own tons of jackets.” If you’re more of a hat person, the Nano Puff also comes in a hood-less version. Both options pack into an internal chest pocket turned-stuffsack for easy stowing when not in use.
Siera Duiser, a travel agent with Destinations to Explore, wears Mountain Warehouse’s Pakka jacket when she travels. The jacket — which is available in women’s, men’s and kid’s styles — is fully waterproof and includes a hood that packs into the collar. “These rain jackets are great because they are lightweight and easily packable,” Duiser said. “They come in a small drawstring bag that easily fits in a backpack or travel bag, which makes it perfect for a quick, unexpected rain shower during your travels.”
If you’re likely to get caught in heavy rains, you’ll need a jacket that keep you dry in more than a drizzle. For Charles Breitbart, the founder of TripTins, this one — which folds into one of the pockets — is it. “One of the top reasons I love this jacket is that it is actually waterproof and not just water resistant,” he said. “It also works great in windy conditions and comes in a variety of colors to choose from. So far it has done the job for me, and I would highly recommend it.”
Weather that teeters between warm and cold can be the hardest to pack for. You may not need to waste space on a fully jacket, but it’s still a good idea to have an extra layer handy in case of a chill. This water-repellent down vest can not only provide just the right amount of added warmth, but it can also do so without taking up too much luggage space. The lightweight vest compresses and packs into its own pocket, so you easily can tuck it away in a corner of your bag until you need it.
It’s not realistic to pack a different jacket for every activity on your itinerary — which is why bringing a simple topper that’s as appropriate for hiking as it is for exploring an urban metropolis is key. Iz Harris, a vlogger and the host and creator of Eater’s “Travel, Eat, Repeat,” said both she and her husband have been traveling with Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Seamless Parka for three years. “It is well-made with sturdy zippers and provides enough warmth for spring, summer and fall,” she said. “It works as the perfect base layer during the colder months, and even handles light rain well, thanks to its water-repellent coating and hod. For ultimate light packing, it comes with a compression bag which makes it extremely compact for packing or stowing away in a backpack mid-day.”
This jacket is a timeless classic: Regardless of the color you choose, the simple trench coat silhouette and subtle details all but ensure it will remain in style for years to come. And the versatility knows no bounds: You can transition seamlessly from a walking tour to a trendy dinner without feeling underdressed in a too-casual raincoat. In fact, this works as a chic, light outer layer even when it’s not raining.
Summer rain is tough. You want something that will keep you dry without making you sweat bullets. Enter: the ever-breezy poncho. This hooded option, from Rainraps, can be worn unbuttoned as a shawl or buttoned as a poncho. The reversible design means you get two jackets in one, and the whole thing can be packed flat into its travel pouch.