I love to travel in early Spring and late Autumn. The airfares are often better, and the crowds thinner. But the weather during those times of year can be unpredictable, often wet and sometimes quite cold. So outerwear becomes a crucial component of travel wardrobe planning.
Aside from temperatures, you should consider:
- is there likely to be rain, sleet, snow, or some combination of all 3?
- what kind of rain is usual at your destination(s)? Intermittent showers, heavy downpours, or constant drizzle?
- will you primarily be in urban areas or out in the countryside?
- do your planned activities include lots of time outdoors (e.g. walking or bike tours)?
- will you be traveling by car or be primarily using public transport?
All of these factor in to choosing what will be the best packable outerwear for any given trip. For example, if you’re in the city and will be ducking in and out of buildings all day, you may not need as much rain protection as you would hiking in the countryside.
The good news is that thanks to a lot of innovations in “performance” materials over the years, you don’t need to be stuck with heavy, bulky outerwear. All of the styles I’ve selected would be refined enough for city wear. And with puffer coats still popular in most cities, one of your lightest, warmest options won’t be out of place.
Packable Outerwear To Keep You Warm & Dry
There are a couple of ways to go when considering travel outerwear, and both have their adherents. One way is to opt for a warm-but-lightweight coat that can be easily shed when indoors or if the weather warms up. (Emphasis on lightweight…you don’t want to have to lug around a heavy piece if the weather warms up or there’s no coat check.) Down and primaloft coats are good choices.
I have an earlier version of this down jacket, and it’s the one I travel with during cooler months. It’s quite warm, and the shape is flattering. The down is responsibly-sourced (NOT live-plucked). It’s currently on sale, and offered in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes, in five colors.
This packable 3/4 puffer coat is offered in four colors, including this Seafoam, which I’m a bit smitten with. A nice mood-lifter for dreary days. Description says it’s water-resistant; I have on order to try and will report back. Filling is man-made, not down.
Here’s another Primaloft option. This one’s wind- and water-resistant, has a two-way zipper (great for biking or other activities). Offered in Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes, in 3 neutral color options.
Another travel outerwear strategy is to layer up for warmth underneath a waterproof shell. If you’ll be traveling between cool and warmer destinations, this may give you more options. (Just skip some layers when the weather warms up.)
While not specifically advertised as “packable,” these Blocktech raincoats (and jackets) are lightweight, moisture-wicking, windproof and extremely water-resistant. Several colors offered in sizes XXS-XXL.
And while it’s a little more spendy, this Mycra Pac travel raincoat is reversible, so it’s like getting two coats in one. I’ve traveled with an older version of this style, and can attest to its water-resistance. And that hood is nice and roomy, so will keep your head dry if you get stuck without an umbrella. These coats run quite large, so you’ll want to size down.
What outerwear do you most often pack?