Preparing for inclement weather is all about layering, but when that midday sunshine rolls around, it can be annoying to actually have to carry your layers around with you. That’s where packable jackets come in.
A packable jacket can either compress into a separate pouch or into its own pocket, making it easy to carry or stash in a bag. Packable jackets are often favored by adventure-seeking outdoorsmen, who prioritize space-saving and lightweight items that can also handle the rigors of the great outdoors. But a packable jacket can be just as practical for weekend bike rides in the city and your daily commute to work as they are for summiting a mountain. They’re also perfect for travel, and you can easily stash them in your duffle bag or use the rolled-up jacket as a pillow.
There are plenty of packable jackets that are cut in a classic style that can suit casual or office wear, rather than just explicitly taking design cues from climbing and hiking clothes. But with the seemingly unstoppable rise of Gorpcore, a trend centered around outdoor clothing, there’s nothing wrong with rocking packable jackets from brands like The North Face, Patagonia and Arc’Teryx with your regular city slicker duds.
What packable jackets have in common is that they’re made from synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, which are lightweight and can be compressed in a way that natural fabrics like cotton and wool can’t. That also means that many of these packable jackets offer wind and water resistance. They may not be as protective as a men’s rain jacket, but they’ll offer lightweight protection for sudden rain.
These are some of our favorite packable jackets, ranging from lightweight windbreakers to winter puffers.
1. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
When it comes to lightweight outerwear that’s built for the outdoors, it’s hard to beat Patagonia. This full-zip jacket has a funnel-neck design, a drawstring hem and a lightweight Primaloft fill that ensures you’ll stay warm. It comes in a range of colors, and it’s a good option if you’d prefer a jacket without a hood. True to Patagonia’s eco-friendly commitment, the jacket is made using recycled polyester.
2. The North Face Men’s Cyclone Jacket
This stylish jacket from The North Face features a color-blocked red and blue or brown and white design. Or, if you prefer to keep it minimal, you can get it in all black. It has zippered pockets and a drawstring hood to keep you and your essentials dry, and the UPF 50+ protection keeps you safe from the sun on warm days.
3. Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket
The Ultra Light Down Jacket is one of Uniqlo’s most popular items year after year. It’s not hard to see why. It’s more affordable than similar options from other brands but still boasts comfortable and reliably warm insulation. A water-repellent coating helps keep you dry, too. The lightweight jacket packs into a drawstring pouch that’s attached to the inside of the jacket.
4. Arc’teryx Incendo Hoodie
BEST FOR RUNNING
If you’re looking for a lightweight jacket with all of the bells and whistles, the Arc’teryx Incendo hoodie is the way to go. Every inch of the jacket is thought out with smart features that will keep you comfortable while staying organized, and it’s a great jacket for running or bike riding. The jacket has a snap button at the chest that allows you to keep the jacket closed while allowing airflow through, and the smartly designed pockets are great for feeding a headphone cable through. The jacket also has reflective detailing, a hood, and breathable mesh panels. And it all packs away into the hip pocket.
5. Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Packable Windbreaker
Does your style skew more classic than outdoorsy? Then get this stylish blouson windbreaker from the master of classic menswear, Ralph Lauren. The jacket has a traditional point collar, rather than a hood, making it a dressier option. It has a zip-front and hand pockets with a button closure for extra security. Best of all, the polyester fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles. The jacket packs into its inner pocket.
6. Champion Packable Jacket
A packable jacket doesn’t have to be expensive — take this affordable option from Champion. It features a half-zip anorak design with an oversized pouch pocket, and it also has a drawstring hood. It’s available in several colors, although sizing may vary based on which you choose. The jacket packs into a hidden pocket for easy storage.Buy: Champion Packable Jacket $19.06
7. Nike ACG “Tuff Nuggets” Rain Shell
BEST STREETWEAR JACKET
ACG stands for All Conditions Gear, and it’s Nike’s outdoor-focused brand that gives traditional outdoors brands a run for their money. This stylish jacket is designed to repel wind and rain, and it has a drawstring hood and hem for warmth and insulation. It has a roomy fit that’s designed to accommodate a base and mid-layer, so you might want to size down if you want a fitted look. The jacket packs into its pocket. It’s made from recycled nylon.
8. REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket
Don’t sleep on REI’s in-house line of gear. This jacket is packed with top-of-the-line features, for a less than top-of-the-line price. It’s made using waterproof GORE-TEX and has a drawstring hood, adjustable cuffs and a drawstring hem. There’s a handy zippered chest pocket and zippered hand pockets. The jacket is lightweight and packs away, making it great for travel or the trail.
9. Lululemon Expeditionist Anorak
Lulelemon, that mainstay of suburban yoga moms, is a surprisingly great place for men’s active clothing. Take this sleek and minimal hooded anorak jacket, which packs into a convenient pouch. It has a convenient phone sleeve and zippered pockets for easy storage. The fabric is water-repellent and stretchy, making it ideal for staying warm while on the move.
10. Tommy Hilfiger Quilted Packable Puffer Jacket
For a more vibrant take on the packable puffer, consider this option from Tommy Hilfiger, which is available in a range of eye-catching color-blocked designs, including yellow, white and navy as well as red, white and blue. Or, keep it simple with one of the solid colors. Stock is limited, so act fast.