Travel In Style: Packable Outerwear

Packable outerwear for Winter and Spring travel. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

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.

Warm

Uniqlo ultra light down coat in navy blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you’re not expecting to be out in heavy downpours, this lightweight down coat is water-repellent in light rain. I have other down pieces from Uniqlo that I’ve been quite pleased with.

Lands' End packable down jacket with hood in navy. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

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.

Via Spiga packable puffer jacket in Seafoam. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

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.

LL Bean packable Primaloft coat. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

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.

Bernardo water-resistant puffer coat. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This water-resistant packable puffer coat is well-reviewed for warmth and comfort. The velvet lining on the collar is a nice detail. In three colors and sizes XS-XXL.

LL Bean H2OFF Raincoat Primaloft lined. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This raincoat with a warm (and removable) Primaloft lining is offered in Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes, in three neutral colors.

Eddie Bauer Girl On The Go Trench in charcoal. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Many of you have recommended this “Girl On The Go” Trench from Eddie Bauer. It’s offered in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes, and four colors.

& Dry

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.)

Cole Haan packable rain jacket in navy. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This unlined, packable rain jacket (Regular/Petite / Plus) is offered in several colors.

Uniqlo Blocktech raincoat in yellow. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

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.

Joules Go Lightly Packable Raincoat in Navy dot. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Though it’s also offered in several solid colors (here and here), I thought this dot textured option was a fun change-up. In sizes 2-14.

Mycra Pac reversible travel raincoat in olive. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

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?

More Packable Outerwear Options…

Stay in touch.

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26 Comments

  1. Ellen
    January 14, 2020 / 5:00 am

    Presuming that my destination will be less severe than the average winter in MN, my packable are both from Athleta: a black very lightweight, but water proof raincoat, and a silvery packable lightweight down jacket. Sometime I take both, layering the raincoat over the down. The raincoat can be tightly rolled and fastened with its own elastic cord. The down jacket can be stuffed into its own sleeve and can double as a travel pillow on the plane. Either one can be packed flait in the outer pocket of my suitcase. “Packable” means different things to different people; these meet my definition.

  2. SuD
    January 14, 2020 / 5:06 am

    Nice options, however, I did not see the Land’s End packable coat showcased in a previous post. Have you changed your recommendation on that one?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2020 / 6:42 am

      Hi SuD, I still like and recommend that one. I’ve featured it often and just wanted to offer some different options. But it’s still a good one (with responsibly sourced down) and on sale now HERE!

      • SuD
        January 15, 2020 / 4:29 am

        Ooh…thanks for the update!

  3. Margot
    January 14, 2020 / 6:25 am

    I bought my “girl-on-the-go” trench on impulse at the end of the season 2 years ago – the price was just too good to pass by! I’ve gotten more value out of it and surprisingly many compliments on it (it’s a grey duffle coat on a chubby older woman! Lol!). The separate outer shell and warm inner layer make it great for travel especially to climates where there might be a significant temperature swing.

    • Margot
      January 14, 2020 / 6:27 am

      I should also mention that the styling easily lends itself to an easy fit over other layers.

      • DeeDee
        January 14, 2020 / 6:38 am

        How was the fit? Looking at petites.

        • Maggie
          January 14, 2020 / 7:52 am

          Hi, I have the “girl-on-the-go” trench in both insulated and uninsulated version in the petite small.
          I go into my local Eddie Bauer store and try on the small and medium in the regular size and then order the petite version. My only complaint about the insulated version is that the hood is not insulated. The insulation does unbutton out of the trench but that is just too much work for me!

          • Maggie
            January 14, 2020 / 7:53 am

            I also have the down sweater-jacket from Eddie Bauer and unless it is raining or windy, that works very well for me in most conditions.

          • DeeDee
            January 14, 2020 / 8:24 am

            Thank you, Maggie! I will order two petite sizes online and see how it goes. I don’t live near shopping so online is the way I usually have to go. These jackets are on sale now and there are still great colors!

          • Lagatta de Montréal
            January 14, 2020 / 6:27 pm

            Have you tried wearing a warm béret or watch cap under the hood. We’d do that in my frozen waste. If you aren’t going somewhere frigid, there are cotton bérets and watch caps that add just enough warmth without bulk.

  4. Debra
    January 14, 2020 / 7:30 am

    I always find myself bringing two jackets; I have a Uniqlo Blocktech hooded coat that is great for casual days, but I sometimes want a dressier option and thus end up bringing a trench coat, too. I will usually pack the casual coat and wear the trench on the plane. I would love to find one coat that can do double duty, but have not run across one, yet (darn).

  5. Allene K Mares
    January 14, 2020 / 7:36 am

    I would also add breathability as a criteria. Nothing is worse than sweating while sightseeing!

  6. Terri
    January 14, 2020 / 7:42 am

    Love these picks. I have a version of the blue dotted jacket from Joules that you have shown. One negative on this one, despite being offered as breathable it is most definitely not a breathable jacket. Super cute but that has proven to be a deal breaker for me. I’m on the hunt for a new packable jacket!

  7. Anon
    January 14, 2020 / 7:49 am

    I like that these options as re mostly tapered to show a waist.

  8. Cindylou
    January 14, 2020 / 8:12 am

    Thank you Susan for these options. I will check these out and see what works best for London in February. It’s funny how minds can think alike, I asked yesterday for outerwear tips and you answered that you would be posting on it today!

  9. Lyn
    January 14, 2020 / 9:14 am

    Here’s my vote for the Lands End Women’s Hooded Waterproof Long Raincoat. The hood is removable!
    I searched for years for a waterproof (not water-resistant) raincoat with a removable hood and finally found it! It served me well on a recent trip to France where it rained almost every day. The removable hood lets the coat look dressier for dinner, and nicer for casual jacket wear when it’s not raining. It can be easily attached while wearing the coat. (Done that, mid drizzle.) It also has a light button-out liner. And it is a stylish trench. And it comes in petite.
    With a Uniqlo down jacket underneath, you are set down into the 30’s, and you have you endless layering combinations to take you up through the 60’s. Those two pieces are all you need for travel.
    [Note: I tried on Eddie Bauer’s Girl on the Go many times, but it just didn’t fit me well — tight around the waist, a bit stiff and bulky, and the sleeves were too long, even in petite. Nevertheless, it is worth a look if you are slimmer and taller.]

  10. Jan Whichard
    January 14, 2020 / 9:41 am

    My Lands End puffer 3/4 coat is a traveling hero. Bought it a couple of years ago at your suggestion and it’s perfect. In the northern Germany December cold I paired it with a packable Uniqlo down vest (they pack and stuff in a little bag down to nothing!) and with my UGG sheep wool lined lace up/zip up boots, nice jeans and Icebreaker merino wool leggings underneath, I was always toasty.

  11. Cathy D.
    January 14, 2020 / 10:20 am

    I have two of the LL Bean H2OFF raincoats, both in black. They are many years old, but are still in good shape. They come in different colors, different lengths, and with different types of linings. I have to admit that I’m sick and tired of black, and may purchase one in another color. The navy is very appealing.

    • Lyn
      January 14, 2020 / 2:24 pm

      The LL Bean H2OFF raincoat is hard to beat. It kept me dry in a 2 hour downpour. I would have stuck with it if I hadn’t been intent on having a removable hood. Bean offers about every option except that one. It packs pretty well, too. Mine is black too — not exciting, but it works well in Europe.

  12. RoseAG
    January 15, 2020 / 4:12 am

    No matter where you buy your package coat I think that’s a must-have. You can use it like a pillow or a blanket on the plane, they’re very light so it can be sweaterish, you can avoid the coat check at strange places by just stuffing it into your tote.

  13. Theresa Pittman
    January 15, 2020 / 11:37 am

    Hello Susan,
    I really like the MYCRA PAC. Could you share what size you purchased? I have noted we are similar in size. I am usually a small in most items. It has been mentioned to size down this coat.
    Thanks

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 15, 2020 / 12:46 pm

      Hi Theresa, mine is several years old and I can’t find a size tag anywhere, but I’m pretty certain it was the X-Small.

  14. Coach Laura
    January 15, 2020 / 1:54 pm

    I bought the unlined Girl on the Go trench on sale from Eddie Bauer after readers on another fashion blog (Corporette) recommended it. It has all the features I wanted – hood, zippered safety pockets and washable. I also bought the Uniqlo Ultra-Compact Down Jacket when Susan recommended it here last year. Got it on sale at the end of the season. Love that it is pack-able and can be worn under other coats, like a dress wool coat or even a primaloft coat for blizzards (not very common here in Seattle but possible when I travel) and that it converts to a v-neck from a crew neck.

    I think the trench and the Uniqlo together is the perfect travel packing combo for me for both business use and personal travel. Unlike the liner on other trench coats, the Uniqlo jacket can be worn on its own in addition to under the trench coat. The trench can be worn to the dog park on the weekend, be washed and ready to wear over a suit jacket to work on Monday. Some of the other raincoats I looked at were dry-clean only, as was my previous trench.

  15. Carol
    January 15, 2020 / 5:01 pm

    Orvis has good options for packable outerwear for women of average height and taller. I’ve ordered from them and been impressed with the quality of their jackets but I’ve sent everything back because they do not stock petite sizes and the sleeves are too long for my 5’2 frame, even if I order a size 4. Moreover, I’ve been advised that waterproof items should never be altered and I think the same holds true for water-resistant pieces.

  16. Sf-dre
    January 15, 2020 / 10:02 pm

    I have an earlier version of the H2OFF khaki coat (with removable hood) and a longer version in blue, both with zip out liners. For local weather, I’ll layer a hoodie, flannel or other layer underneath. Going on an Alaska cruise in May and will take at one of them, possibly a shorter North Face Apex jacket, plus blue and black berets.

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