The 20 Best Lightweight Women’s Jackets for Travel (2019)

Best Lightweight Womens Jackets For Travel

Looking for the best lightweight women’s jacket for travel? Weather can be sinister at worst and unpredictable at best, especially while traveling. That’s why it’s so important to invest in a lightweight jacket to protect you along the way.

The best travel jackets should keep the sun off your shoulders during the day, keep you warm in the evening, be comfortable against your skin, and keep you dry during those unexpected downpours. Oh yeah, and be light and packable enough that you barely notice it in your carry on! 

This may seem like a lot to ask from one jacket, but we’re here to tell you it’s not. Many of the best women’s travel jackets will meet all these specifications and more, depending on the climate you’re traveling. So, here are some of the key qualities to look for in your next lightweight travel jacket. 



Best Lightweight Women’s Jackets For Travel

Women's Hiking Clothes
Arc’Teryx Beta AR

1.) Arc’teryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex Jacket

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Best Packable Rain Jacket
  • Weight: 10.9 oz.
  • Material: GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite® Plus
  • Waterproofing: GORE-TEX
  • Pros: Lightweight, Waterproof, Premium, Best Features, Room for Layers, Great Weight to Performance, Sporty Look
  • Cons: Price, Outdoor Performance, No Insulation

There’s nothing better than a jacket that’s so lightweight you don’t even know it’s there until you need it. Arc’teryx’s reputation precedes it; with the features and mindful construction for which the brand is well-known, it’s no wonder that one of its women’s jackets ended up on our list of best lightweight jackets. This is my summer jacket in the Canadian Rockies, and unless you’re into winter mountaineering (probably no one reading this list) it’s a solid year-round choice.

Not only is this jacket waterproof and windproof, but it’s also snow-proof to a point. If you have plans to see a lot of snow you’ll want a lower waist cut, thicker shell, and more robust sleeves. With snow in mind check out the Zeta AR series, but those are high priced shell jackets. Two layers of Gore-Tex finished with a durable, water repellent finish mean you stay toasty and dry.

The rain jacket is packed with technology and specialty fabrics that make it a top of the line investment. It’s the top-rated jacket for weatherproofing so it will stand up to any harsh elements you may throw at it.

More subtle details like the underarm gussets and the lightweight velcro cuff tighteners only make it easier to stay comfortable and keep the moisture locked out. Thanks to careful attention to fit (streamlined and flattering) and construction, this jacket is in equal parts practical and current – two things that will never go out of style.

This is the best jacket on this list, but it also happens to be the most expensive by a good bit. If you have the money to spend and need a jacket that will hold up to the elements this is a solid choice.

Arcteryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex on Amazon

Arcteryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex on REI

Arcteryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex on Backcountry


2.) Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket

Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket
  • Weight: 9 oz.
  • Material: Pertex® Quantum®
  • Waterproofing: Brushed Nylon With DWR
  • Pros: Superior Warmth And Weight, Super Comfortable, Warm Hood, Cinch Waist, Weatherproof
  • Cons: Bulky Fit, Not Waterproof

If you need a warm jacket it’s not possible to do better in terms of weight vs warmth than Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket. This down jacket features 2.8 ounces of 900-fill down with a down hood and an insulated draft tube behind the zipper. The last feature means that frigid air has no chance of making it through this beast of a vest.

While it may not be best for climates with a light chill, it is perfect for cold weather. These are our favorite down jackets on the market and we both have one. Our only gripe with the jacket is the slighly bulky fit. If you demand the best down jackets.

Feathered Friends is based in Seatle Washington and hand makes every jacket order. Their premise is about making ethical down garments for those who seek out the best performance.

Lastly, if you want to be able to handle any climate around the world when it comes to lightweight jackets, combine the Arc’teryx shell jacket above with the down jacket and you can go from snowy mountains to rainy jungles and back to crisp fall weather in one carry on sized bag — this is how we travel.

Feathered Friends Helios Vest


3.) Columbia Pardon My Trench

Best Packable Rain Jacket Columbia Pardon My Trench
  • Weight: 13.6 oz
  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproofing: Omni-Shield™
  • Pros: Stylish, Comfortable, Weatherproof, Long Cut, Lightweight, Colors, Affordable
  • Cons: Not Technical, Not Waterproof

There’s nothing like a good trench coat, and when you combine that with waterproof fabric, you’re left with a rain jacket that boasts double the awesome. Plus, with all the added features this jacket can offer, surprise rainfall is no big deal. Some of the features included making this option a no-brainer for our list of best lightweight travel jackets.

Two-way zip with a panel protects the zipper from the elements. Princess seams run down the front and back of the jacket for a slimming fit that looks as good as it feels. Bonus: for windier, rain-free days where you don’t feel the need to break out the hood, you can easily remove it and stow it away.And finally: looking for something a little more fun than black? This jacket comes in a wide variety of colors like red and yellow.

What I really love about this women’s lightweight jacket for travel is its blend of style, performance, and price. It’s a great well-rounded jacket!

Columbia Pardon My Trench on Amazon

Columbia Pardon My Trench on Backcountry


4.) Patagonia Down Sweater

Patagonia Packable Down Jacket
  • Weight: 13.1 oz
  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproofing: DWR
  • Pros: Comfortable, Warm, Style, Cut, Patagonia Brand Name, Wardrobe Staple
  • Cons: Not Waterproof

This was the first down jacket Natasha ever bought and it became a staple of her wardrobe. It does come with a higher price tag, but we love the Patagonia brand. In addition to being a great sweater the jacket shell is made from 100% recycled polyester and the fill is traceable goose down.

We love the look of this jacket and it does a wonderful job at keeping you warm. There is a lightweight version of the jacket, but it has an even higher price tag and the shell is less durable. However, the lightweight version does compress better due to a 15-D shell. The shell of the down sweater is a nylon 20-D and the fill is 800-fill power goose down.

The down does a good job at handling wet conditions due to the DWR treatment it receives. This provides a hydrophobic quality to the down. The Down Sweater has a comfortable design and fits that is well suited for city wear and weekend trips. This is Tasha’s jacket of choice. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that is highly rated in down jacket reviews as well.

I personally love the versatility of it. When combined with an outer shell you’re sure to be warm no matter what the temperature is outside. It’s an easy pick and is cheaper than the Feathered Friends above which is better in terms of mountain performance, not something we all need.

Patagonia Down Sweater

Patagonia Down Sweater on Amazon

Patagonia Down Sweater on REI

Patagonia Down Sweater on Backcountry


5.) Orvis Pack-And-Go Travel Jacket

Orvis Pack and Go Lightweight Women's Jacket
  • Weight: N/A
  • Material: Polyester
  • Waterproofing: DWR Polyester
  • Pros: Stylish, Long Cut, Stuff Sack, Stowaway Hood, Cinch Waist
  • Cons: Polyester, Borders on Lightweight

If you’re looking for something less outdoorsy and packed with style, the Orvis Pack and Go is a great choice. This adorable mid-thigh travel jacket is both wind and water-resistant, has a stowaway hood, and loads of space and hidden pockets.

The fit is very complimenting, cinching at the waist, and the colors are fairly muted, making this jacket the perfect pairing to almost any outfit! The polyester blend also resists wrinkling, which is excellent, because it comes with its own stuff sack so you can pack and go. 

A large downside for us is the use of polyester. It’s a cheaper material and one of the best ways to distinguish high-end vs more affordable options. Polyester has a lower fail rate, easier to snag, and requires a weather-resistant coating to remain water-resistant which breaks down over time.

Orvis Pack and Go on Orvis

Orvis Pack and Go on Amazon


6.) Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket

packable rain jacket marmot precip
  • Weight: 11.4 oz.
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Waterproofing: 2.5 Nanoproof
  • Pros: Lightweight, Affordable, Value, Weatherproof
  • Cons: No Pockets, Poor Ventilation, Not For Rough Conditions

This lightweight jacket boasts pretty much any feature you could possibly need when the wet weather hits, so it’s no surprise it made the cut for best lightweight jackets. To make it only better is the tremendous value you get with this jacket as for the price you get a lot of rain jacket.

It boasts some great features like a hood drawstring, fully-waterproof coated nylon fabric, and armpit zips for ventilation. A slight hi-lo silhouette covers your back and allows for protection below a backpack on your waist.

Deep front pockets with snap buttons are perfect for holding more than your average pockets (it’s nice to be able to keep your backpack where it belongs). It also comes in some nice color options.

Marmot makes a lot of great rain jackets when it comes to packability, value, and function. Not everyone needs a rain jacket that will hold up to an ocean wave or down pour. This scratches that itch between wanting a cheap packable jacket and getting a quality piece of gear — it’s less than half the price of the Arc’teryx jacket.

Marmot PreCip Jacket on Amazon

Marmot PreCip on REI

Marmot on Backcountry


7.) KUHL Women’s Jetstream Trench

Best Packable Rain Jackets Kuhl Trench
  • Weight: N/A
  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproofing: Airskape 2.5-L
  • Pros: Stylish, Comfortable, Waterproof, Long Cut, Performance, Affordable
  • Cons: Long Cut Not For Sport Use, Heavy

It’s hard to find a jacket that claims to do it all, but this option from KUHL is a pretty close fit. It’s got all the things we know you want and need your rain jacket to do: seam-sealed, fully waterproof and wind-resistant fabric, a hydrophilic outer coating to repel moisture just that little bit extra, a two-way zipper for extra comfort, and hand warming pockets for the days you forgot to grab your gloves.

But it does more than just that; style-wise, this is jacket is a steal. A subtle and streamlined shape will help make you feel stylish, with a dropped hem for more mid-thigh coverage. And if a straight or boxy silhouette isn’t what you’re feeling that day, then use the adjustable waist cords to tighten it above the hips for a balanced, more hourglass shape. It packs easily into its pocket for easy transport, so even if the weather tries to one-up you, you’ll always be prepared for a little unanticipated rainfall. If you want a jacket that feels more adept for travel than backpacking in the mountains this is a great jacket!

KUHL Jetstream Trench Coat on REI

KUHL Jetstream Trench Coat on Backcountry


8.) Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

 Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket Best Lightweight Jacket
  • Weight: 6.4 oz.
  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproofing: 2.5L Pertex Shield+
  • Pros: Ultralight, Packable, Waterproof, Cuffed Sleeves, Slim Cut
  • Cons: Doesn’t Breath Well, Warmth, Style

When it comes to ultralight jackets it’s tough to beat the Helium II from Outdoor Research. It weighs only 6.4 ounces is super comfortable and offers great protection for such a light package. The Pertex waterproof material is very effective for waterproofing and can easily save you in a rainstorm.

Do not expect a lot of features as there is only one chest pocket and no hand pockets. The main zipper is minimal and a single-pull cord is used for hood adjustment. This is the most packable lightweight jacket on this list, but we place it at number eight as it’s not well suited to city use given its style. However, if you need an emergency rain jacket in your luggage or backpack this is an excellent choice.

Outdoor Research Helium II

Outdoor Research Helium II on Amazon

Outdoor Research Helium II on Backcountry


9.) Arc’Teryx Codetta Coat

Arc'Teryx Codetta Coat Lightweight Travel Jacket
  • Weight: 15 oz.
  • Material: GORE-TEX
  • Waterproofing:
  • Pros: Style, Outdoor Performance, Amazing Weight For Trench Coat,
  • Cons: Price

With the quality of materials and products produced by Arc’teryx, we couldn’t help but mention another one of their fantastic travel jackets. This jacket provides city style and looks with the performance of outdoor mountain gear. It utilizes GORE-TEX fabric throughout for an amazing jacket that is durable, waterproof, weatherproof, and breathable.

It is roomy enough underneath for layers so it can be used any season. Active panels that include articulated sleeves, gusseted underarms, and a back vent are not features you typically find in a womens jacket this style.

The Codetta is a fantastic choice as it combines the qualities of top of the line outdoor wear in a stylish jacket. The style is a great blend of a sharp shell jacket with a trench coat.

In terms of lightweight jackets this deserves to be at the top of the list, but it’s price is a major deterrent. However, if you can afford the jacket you surely won’t be disapointed. We use Arc’teryx in our travels, but we also have the luxury of being able to pick the best of the best.

Arc’Teryx Codetta Coat on Backcountry


10.) Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Best Lightweight Jackets
  • Weight: 7.7 oz.
  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproofing: DWR
  • Pros: Comfortable, Warm, Style, Ultralight,
  • Cons: Not Technical, Not Waterproof

If you’re looking for an ultralightweight travel jacket that can take you from the airport to the backcountry than Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer is leading in class. It has less warmth than the Feathered Friends above but makes up for that with its slim cut style and weight.

Outdoor manufacturers have not always nailed it when it comes to style, but this lightweight down nylon blend jacket is here to change your mind. With darker, more subtle colors, slim cut, and the classic puffed ribbing, this jacket will help you turn heads while keeping you exceptionally warm in the coldest of climates. 

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer on REI

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer on Backcountry


11.) Eddie Bauer Rainfoil

Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Best Lightweight Jackets
  • Weight: N/A
  • Material: Polyester
  • Waterproofing: 2-layer WeatherEdge®
  • Pros: Cheap, Waterproof, Lightweight, Style
  • Cons: Eddie Bauer Quality, Mixed Between Techincal and Style,

If you’re traveling to areas where rainfall is prevalent, you want to make sure your travel jacket can stand up to the challenge. The Eddie Bauer Rainfoil is definitely up for the fight. Made with fully seam-sealed WeatherEdge technology, this lightweight jacket is completely waterproof, while also being breathable enough for warmer conditions.

It’s stylish, as you would expect from Eddie Bauer, while also being packed with helpful features, such as a stowable hood, drawcord waist, mesh lining, multiple pockets, and entirely polyester construction. 

Eddie Bauer Rainfoil on Amazon


12.) Fjallraven Down Greenland Jacket

Greenland Down Jacket Best Lightweight Jacket
  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Material: Polyester/Cotton Blend
  • Waterproofing: Greenland Wax
  • Pros: Style, Warmth, Rugged, Lifetime Piece
  • Cons: Heavy, Price, Not For Warm Environments

I won’t lie and say that this jacket is lightweight, but what it offers it is tough to deny jacket is perfect for travel. Its style is fantastic and it has a classic outdoor look as a throwback to the beginnings of Fjallraven. It’s an environmentally friendly jacket made out of G-1000 Eco fabric and finished with a Greenland wax to protect against wind and water.

The jacket has a hood in case it starts raining or you are cold, making it a great all around outdoor jacket. The down fill will keep you warm and dry in rugged environments.

The cinched waist keeps it stylish and able to be fitten to all women’s body types. I love how many pockets this jacket has. Perfect for storage which is so helpful when traveling! Most amazingly this is the kind of jacket that will last you a minimum of a decade, and likely your lifetime.

Fjallraven on Backcountry


13.) Arc’Teryx Beta AR

Arc'Teryx Beta AR Best Lightweight Jackets
  • Weight: 13.4 oz.
  • Material: GORE-TEX
  • Waterproofing: GORE-TEX
  • Pros: Lightweight, Waterproof, Premium, Best Features, Room for Layers, Great Weight to Performance, Sporty Look
  • Cons: Price,

Arc’Teryx is known throughout the world for making some of the best adventure and travel gear there is. The Beta AR is just one example. This completely waterproof lightweight jacket outperforms the competition time and time again, leaving you wondering why you didn’t invest sooner.

And it’s not just waterproof; it’s seemingly everything proof. The Gor-Tex Pro shell gives you three levels of laminate fabric that’s also snow-shedding, windproof, breathable, lightweight, and extremely durable. All and all, this is the absolute perfect jacket for those adventure travelers among us!

It’s the best lightweight women’s jacket on this list, but it’s very high price point and techincal features are not for everyone.

Arc’Teryx Beta AR on Backcountry


14.) North Face Venture 2 

Packable Rain Jacket - Womens' Venture 2
  • Weight: 10.9 oz.
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Waterproofing: 2.5L DryVent
  • Pros: Lightweight, Affordable, Value, Weatherproof
  • Cons: Weak Features Like Hood and Zippers

You know when you buy North Face apparel you are getting top of the line adventure gear. So, of course, their Venture 2 travel jacket made it to the list.

This comfortably fitting, lightweight, polyester-blend jacket will keep you dry in the wettest of climates, stylish when needed, and warm even in harsh winds. This jacket also comes in a huge variety of colors that will have you debating whether you only need one!

North Face Women’s Venture 2 on REI

North Face Women’s Venture 2 on Backcountry


15.) Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange

Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange
  • Weight: N/A (Heavy)
  • Material: Polyester & Fleece
  • Waterproofing: Omni-Tech Waterproof
  • Pros: Affordable, Decent Quality, Great Value, Decent Outdoor Style
  • Cons: Very Heavy, Meh Interchange System

If you’re traveling to an area that is known for drastic weather changes, you definitely want to find a travel jacket that can be layered. Luckily, Columbia has done the work for you.

With their Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange, you will have the 3-in-1 ability to change back and forth from the cozy fleece inner layer to the waterproof shell in a matter of seconds. Or just wear it all in one for maximum protection when the winter weather hits. 

North Face Women’s Venture 2 on Amazon


16.) Patagonia Nano-Air Hoodie

Nano Air Hoody Women's Lightweight Jacket
  • Weight: 10.2 oz.
  • Material: Nylon/Polyester
  • Waterproofing: Ripstop Nylon DWR
  • Pros: Comfort, Relaxed Fit, Weatherproof, Warm, Lightweight
  • Cons:

Best suited for colder climates, the Nano-Air Hoodie is a great travel jacket. Originally designed for rock climbers, you can count on this jacket is able to withstand the wear and tear of travel without losing its stylish, low-profile look.

It gives you the comfort and warmth of fleece while also being faster to dry than its down counterparts. Overall, it’s a phenomenal lightweight travel jacket that won’t disappoint. 

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoodie on Patagonia

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoodie on REI

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoodie on Backcountry


17.) REI Co-op Drypoint GTX

Packable Rain Jacket - REI
  • Weight: 10.5 oz.
  • Material: 3L GORE-TEX
  • Waterproofing: GORE-TEX
  • Pros: Lightweight, Waterproof, High Quality, Great Features,
  • Cons: Lacks Key Features

We recommend a lot of REI products because they have yet to let us down. Their Drypoint GTX is a fantastic offering for those seeking a top of the line technical jacket that doesn’t totally break the bank, disclosure it’s still expensive. However, with this jacket, you’re getting a tremendous value a waterproof/weatherproof shell jacket.

The jacket shell is durable and holds up well against the elements while the interior remains soft and dry. We like the features such as hand pockets, waist cinches, vents, a comfortable hood, and cuff adjustments.

If you’re not an avid outdoor enthusiast don’t fret as this is a hybrid jacket that blends together elements for an everyday and technical hiking jacket. You’ll notice it mainly in the cut of the jacket. Most importantly is this jacket is lightweight and can easily roll up into the hood for travel days or riding in your daypack. It’s an amazing women’s lightweight jacket for travel.

Drypoint GTX on REI


18.) Marmot Minimalist Jacket

Marmot Minimalist - Womens Packable Rain Jacket
  • Weight: 14.9 oz
  • Material: Gore-Tex
  • Waterproofing: 2.5L Gore-Tex Paclite
  • Pros: Performance, Great Value, Excellent Design
  • Cons: Heavier, No Stuff Sack or Pocket

This jacket hits the mark right between entry-level rain jacket and top of the line to deliver a versatile rain jacket sure to keep your dry. When we first got our hands on this jacket from the level below the quality difference was vast. It’s close to a true shell jacket and the 2.5L Gore-Tex material feels durable and waterproof. It’s a great material that holds up the elements with the benefits of breathability.

A jacket like this is for adventurers who will benefit from a jacket that is both waterproof and windproof. Coverage is good too as the jacket features a robust zipper, a thick, wrist straps, and hood waist and hood cinch. For the eco-conscious, the material Paclite Gore-Tex material is created with a recycled fabric face.

To make the matter better if you order the jacket at the time of publishing this article it’s on sale. Making it an incredible value if you’re in the market for a quality piece of rain gear that will be great in the mountains, rainforests, or just around home.

The negatives of this jacket include the lack of a stuff sack and heavy Gore-Tex material, that makes it not very packable despite its lightweight nature. Plus, not all travelers want a technical piece of hiking apparel for city hopping.

Marmot Minmalist on REI

Marmot Minimalist on Backcountry


19.) North Face Women’s Fanorak Jacket

Packable Rain Jacket
  • Weight: 10.9 oz.
  • Material: 50D Polyester
  • Waterproofing: DWR
  • Pros: Lightweight, Affordable, Value, Weatherproof
  • Cons: Weak Features Like Hood and Zippers

This jacket is simple, lightweight, understated, and still does everything you need in an emergency rain jacket. The adjustable hood comes with a drawcord for windier days and it packs into its front-kangaroo pocket for making it lightweight and packable.

The zippered pocket on the exterior of this kangaroo pocket is useful for things like transit tickets, your phone, or a little cash – things you don’t want to have to reach into your bag to find. With its pullover style and half-zip, elasticated cuffs, and slightly longer length, you’ll feel comfy and neatly tucked in, leaving wind and rain to stay where they belong – outside.

As its water resistant it is good for the occasional rain shower, but it’s more a wind breaker than a full rain jacket. It’s made the list for just how lightweight and stylish the jacket is rather than it’s superior weatherproof details.

North Face Fanorak on REI

North Face Fanorak on Backcountry


20.) Scottevest Jacket

Scottevest Jacket Best Lightweight
  • Weight: N/A (Heavy)
  • Material: Cotton/Nylon
  • Waterproofing: None
  • Pros: Pockets, Security Features, Works For Quirky Travelers
  • Cons: Ridiculous Pocket Layout, Not Weatherproof, Heavy, Meh Quality

Multifunctional travel jackets have been pushing against the travel jacket standards for a while now. These jackets incorporate style, functionality, and an extreme holding capacity.

The Scottevest jacket is one of the supreme contenders in this genre, where one function is simply not enough. It comes with over 25 pockets, including an iPad holder and the capacity to lug around the same amount as a standard daypack without looking bulky. 

Scottevest Jacket on Amazon


How to Pick a Lightweight Jacket?


Style

London Three Day Itinerary Walking

When it comes to rain jackets, particularly those made for wetter climates, style is always an issue. It’s pretty easy to start to dislike a particular coat because while functional, it just doesn’t have any kind of style or look to it.

We’ve kept this list of jackets narrowed to options that give you a certain versatility but also a sleek and understated look so that you won’t feel clunky, boxy, or out of place. Plus, something you’ll be happy to wear when you’re back home, on your way to work, or just out and about on your day off.


Material

Best-Womens-Travel-Clothes

Material plays the most important role in the quality of a jacket and it’s easy to distinguish jacket quality when you begin at materials used. To make things easier here are the five primary materials you’ll find in jackets ranked. It’s also interesting to note that as the material increases in technical functions it also sacrifices looks and style.


1.) GORE-TEX

To understand how GORE-TEX works it’s best to understand different waterproofings. There are two main ways that waterproofing is achieved, coating and laminating.

Coating is the most common and it is achieved by spreading a thin layer of hydrophobic material over a jackets exterior and allowing the fabric to soak up the weather-resistant properties. You see this in nylon, polyester, and even cotton. Coating is referred to as DWR and it is the cheapest waterproofing. That cheapness comes with some downsides as it is not waterproof, it’s weatherproof, and overtime with washes it breaks down. It can be reapplied with products like Scotchguard.

Laminating is the more expensive and effective form of waterproofing. The most common form of it is with the technology referred to as GORE-TEX which is a brand name, similar to Band-Aid.


2.) Nylon

Nylon is a great product and what you find throughout most outdoor gear. It offers amazing weight to strength. Nylon is also water resistant, breathable, and quick drying.


3.) Canvas

Smack dab in the middle of this list is Canvas. This requires wax or coating to remain water and weather resistant. The best example is the jackets on offer from Fjallraven they use their proprietary G-1000 canvas material.


4.) Polyester

Polyester is super prevalent. It’s a cheaper material and one of the best ways to distinguish high-end vs more affordable options. Polyester has a lower fail rate, easier to snag, and requires a weather-resistant coating to remain water-resistant which breaks down over time.


5.) Cotton

Cotton is a classic style, but when it comes down to jackets it’s not great. It’s soft, but absorbs moisture. We never advise wearing cotton in cold or wet weather environments


Water Resistance

Travel:Camera Products I LOVE

If you’ve ever been caught in an unexpected downpour while traveling, you know what a dampener it can put on the rest of your day. Especially if you end up soaked to the bone miles away from your luggage and dry clothes. So, finding a lightweight travel jacket that has some form of water resistance is a biggy. 

Nylon and/or polyester jackets are great for this. They have natural moisture-wicking abilities and usually come with some form of a waterproof coating that keeps the rain from getting through. Cotton, on the other hand, while comfortable, is awful in this scenario. This material gets soggy and misshapen and can take hours to dry, leaving you cranky and miserable for the rest of the day. 


Wrinkle Resistance 

Best Packing Cubes

When traveling in the summer or dry, summer-like climates, chances are your jacket is going to spend most of its time stuffed into your bag or thrown in your suitcase. So, when the time arises that you need it, it will likely be a wrinkled disaster. Luckily, there are many fabrics that are naturally wrinkle resistant. 

Merino wool is a fan favorite. It’s soft and comfortable against the skin while holding its smooth shape even after days of being stuck at the bottom of your travel bag. Polyester is another good one. Like Merino wool, it maintains its shape and is extremely comfortable. It’s also one of the easiest fabrics to find, which is an added bonus! Again, you want to stay away from cotton here, as well as ultra-thin nylon. 


Breathability 

Ackergill Tower Scottish Food

Even when faced with the coldest of climates, you still want a lightweight travel jacket that gives you some form of breathability. Without it, you’re likely to get sweaty and sticky underneath, and that’s never comfortable. Breathability comes in a few forms, some inherent in the fabrics and some as an added feature. 

Jackets with a “mesh-lined yolk” will give you maximum airflow where you need it most while still being able to keep the cold air out. This feature is especially helpful in lightweight winter travel jackets that have warm down or synthetic fill that traps the heat. Also, jackets made from Merino wool, nylon, and polyester have great degrees of breathability. I think you might be able to tell what our favorite fabrics are going to be at this point!


Packability

While traveling, it’s a no-brainer that you want to bring along clothing that can squish down to a reasonable size. All the more room for those knick-knacks and souvenirs you’re going to pick up along the way! So, finding a travel jacket that is minimalistic when packed down is really important, and there are a few ways that lightweight travel jackets achieve this. 

First, some come with their own compression sacks. This will be a small bag that will scrunch down your jacket to its smallest size so you can throw it into the side of your bag or luggage with ease. Another way is finding a jacket that packs down into its own pocket. This eliminates the concern of losing any accessories but still allows you to ball up the jacket into its tiniest dimensions. You can also lay your jacket flat at the bottom of your suitcase and pack your other belongings on top, as long as it’s thin enough. 

Pockets

Pockets are a great addition in everyday wear, but they become almost a dealbreaker when it comes to lightweight travel jackets. These handy inventions keep you from having to lug a heavy bag everywhere you go just to take your credit cards, cash, and passport. Even in a chilly airport, having a jacket with plenty of front pockets will allow you to quickly access your tickets and identification without having to scrounge through your suitcase. 

Many lightweight travel jackets will even come with RFID internal chest pockets, where you know your passport will be safe. Also, having hip pockets is a great way to quickly warm up your hands on those chilly days when you don’t want to carry around gloves. 

Ability to Layer

Another great characteristic that the best women’s lightweight travel jackets have to offer is the ability to layer. If the jacket is too bulky or form-fitting, you will lose the ability to layer sweaters underneath or a vest overtop. This is especially important in those fast-changing climates where you need to be extra prepared for weather shifts! You will want to look for jackets that are slightly loose while also being thin enough to throw extra layers on top of. We recommend wearing bulky clothes and bringing an extra jacket with you when you go to try jackets on. 

Extra Features 

As with all travel gear, travel jackets can be simple or come loaded with features. What features you want will be based entirely on personal preference, but here are a few to look for. 

  1. Zip out liners – these are great when you’re in a climate that changes drastically throughout the day. The liner is generally made from a material like fleece and gives you an extra layer of warmth when the weather takes a turn for the worst. 
  2. Stowable/removable hood – This is an excellent feature in rainy areas. It will allow you the sleek look of a no hood jacket, while also being able to cover your hair and face when the sprinkles start to fall.
  3. iPad holder – yep, iPads have even made their way in the world of lightweight travel jackets. These are usually internal pockets that comfortably house a small iPad for easy and discreet carrying. 
  4. Waist drawstring – this feature is exceptionally helpful for windy environments. The drawstring allows you to pull the bottom of the jacket tight into your waist to prevent drafts.
  5. Waterproofing – it is important to note that waterproofing and water-resistance are two very different things. Water-resistant jackets perform fine under light showers, but when traveling to wet climates, a waterproof jacket will be a better option. This is usually an external treatment that will be added to the label. 

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Cameron

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Cameron Seagle is one of the creative forces behind The World Pursuit. He is a writer and photographer for the travel website. Cameron has been traveling for the last four years. He found a passion for conservation and safari while living out of a truck in the African bush. Obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products, he loves to research new product releases. In his free time, you can find him shooting photographs, summiting mountains, and snowboarding. Cameron currently lives in Banff with his partner and blogging co-conspirator Natasha. Cameron's favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan. And he can never resist an excellent beach destination.

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