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 or Patagonia with your regular city slicker duds.
Packable jackets generally come in two styles. Some jackets pack into a separate, detachable pouch, like those from Uniqlo and Tommy Hilfiger. The separate pouches are generally easier to use, but they’re also easier to lose. You can also get packable jackets that pack into their own pocket. These include the options from Champion and Ralph Lauren. You won’t have to worry about losing the carrying pouch, but it can also be slightly more tedious to pack them into their own pockets.
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 brown and orange 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 Pocketable Parka
This jacket is more akin to a running jacket than a true parka. It’s so thin that it’s almost transparent, but that’s not a bad thing; this jacket is the perfect lightweight layer for brisk runs or bike rides. It’s breathable and won’t weigh you down, so you won’t have to put the jacket on only to take it off five minutes later. That’s not to say it’s not protective; this jacket offers wind and water resistance, as well as UV protection. It’s hooded, and it comes in eye-catching colors like orange and royal blue, as well as muted tones like navy and black. Unlike many packable jackets, this option does not pack into its own pocket. Rather, a detachable pouch is included on the inside of the jacket.
4. 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.
5. 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. This lightweight jacket is about as thick as a windbreaker, so it’s a good lightweight layer for windy, wet days. True to Champion’s MO, it’s also great for athletic activities. 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. The sleeves are slightly baggy and a little too short for a taller wearer, but otherwise, this is a great jacket for a great value.
6. Eddie Bauer Rainfoil® Packable Jacket
BEST RAIN JACKET
It isn’t often that a brand invents a new kind of clothing item; Levi’s did it with blue jeans and Lacoste did it with the polo. Eddie Bauer’s Skyliner was the first quilted down jacket, a style of jacket since employed heavily by outdoor brands like Patagonia and The North Face. Eddie Bauer’s been doing the outdoors for a long, long time, and this packable jacket is a great option to see you through wet weather in style. It has hidden pockets for convenient storage and a cinched waist for insulation. The jacket packs into its own pocket to easily take on the go. Plus, it comes in this unique camo-inspired print, as well as solid yellow, black and dark teal.
7. 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.
8. Tommy Hilfiger Packable 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. The outer of the jacket is polyester, while the padding is genuine down. The jacket includes a separate, detachable pouch for holding the jacket.
9. Patagonia Isthmus Anorak
MADE FROM RECYCLED FISHING NETS
Anoraks are one of the most underrated jacket styles for men. They’re essentially hoodies that are made from water-resistant materials, and they typically have a quarter or half-zip front for breathability and easy removal. Anoraks generally also have large front pockets, and this jacket from Patagonia is no different. It has a large front pouch, quarter-zip placket and a stylish two-tone design. It has a DWR coating to keep you dry. Plus, the jacket is made from nylon that’s made from recycled fishing nets.
10. Old Navy Water-Resistant Packable Hooded Puffer
If you want a packable jacket but don’t want to spend Patagonia money on it, then consider this solid jacket from Old Navy. Sure, you won’t get all the performance bells and whistles of a higher-priced jacket, but this jacket provides water resistance, a hooded design and can be packed away for easy storage. Large, zippered pockets on the front are ideal for stashing your everyday items or keeping your digits warm. Plus, it comes in a range of stylish colors like burgundy, olive and off-white.
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