If you’re a keen backpacker or a traveler who doesn’t wish to be held back by the elements, then having a travel jacket could be the difference between freezing on a snowy mountain ascent, getting soaked on a hike or staying warm, dry and ready to tackle whatever the adventure throws at you. In this guide, we’re about to share with you what we think are seven of the best men’s travel jackets on the market.
Table of contents
- Things to think about when choosing the best men’s travel jackets
- Best men’s travel jackets – our top 7 picks
- The verdict: which travel jacket is best?
- Unpacking some of the technical terms – what do they mean?
- The bottom line
The right jacket will become a staple part of your travel kit, and could be the key in helping you to push yourself to the limits even further – taking you one step closer to reaching your travel goals. After all, you don’t want your kit to be the thing that lets you down.
When looking for the best men’s travel jacket, you’ll probably want one that’s lightweight, easy to carry around, and can fit into a backpack if the weather’s treating you well. You don’t want anything bulky to hold you back or get in your way as you’re seeing more of the world, so having a reliable, top quality travel jacket is an incredibly important piece of equipment to have.
However, with so many technical features, various adaptable fabrics and additional elements that all have their own useful purpose, choosing the right one isn’t easy.
By reading this guide, you will learn the following:
- The main technical features of each of our top seven jackets, so you can see what each one offers at a glance.
- The pros and cons for each one to help you see an unbiased view, ultimately helping you make your decision.
- The verdict: which jacket we think is best and why it’s a good investment for your travel plans.
Things to think about when choosing the best men’s travel jackets
When it comes to finding the perfect travel jacket, you’ll need to look for more than just the colour and overall look. Although you’ll want to feel good wearing it – and rightly so if you’re making an investment – there is so much more that a travel jacket can offer than simply the style alone.
When it comes to the fabric, you need to think about what you need your travel jacket for. For example, if you’re climbing or hiking then a soft-shell jacket will be suitable. For trekking, you might want something more heavy duty like a hard-shell jacket. And for more extreme sports, like skiing or sailing, something super technical with plenty of features to keep you warm, dry and easily seen by people around you is best. We’ll get into this in more detail with our individual reviews.
Overall, finding a waterproof jacket is going to be your best bet, as you’ll be prepared for any weather. However, there are benefits to using a non-waterproof fabrics too, like down-filled fabrics for warmth or shower resistant, lightweight fabrics if you’re in sunnier climes. Also, if you’re hiking upland you’re likely to experience wind, so you’ll need a jacket that’s both breathable and wind resistant.
As a general rule of thumb if you’re looking for a waterproof jacket; look for the waterproof rating on the jackets you’re interested in, which will let you know how much water it’s designed to repel before it goes through to the fabric. This will help you understand if the jacket you’re considering will suit your travel needs.
Finding something lightweight
As we’ve already mentioned, if you’re outside for long periods of time – especially between sunrise and sunset – you’ll want a jacket that fits compactly into a backpack or can be carried around easily. This is especially important if you’re hiking or climbing and already have a lot to carry, or if you’re outside during the colder times of the day. You can add plenty of layers underneath your jacket to really add the warmth, so your outer jacket can do the job of tackling the more extreme elements, like the wind and rain.
Are you heading somewhere warm and sunny? Or are you swapping comfortable climates for the stunning scenery that comes with a freezing mountain resort? This is really important as your end destination will ultimately determine which kind of travel jacket will serve you best. Sunnier destinations will require something lightweight and breathable, whereas colder destinations will need an insulated jacket with light reflecting trims to help you be seen. Make sure you factor this into your search.
We won’t lie to you – purchasing a travel jacket doesn’t usually come cheap. A travel jacket is far more than just a winter coat; it’s a performance aid that’s designed to have a range of technical features to help keep you safe and comfortable, whatever the weather. This means you’ll need to prepare yourself to make an investment, and when it comes to finding the right travel jacket we don’t think you should go for the cheapest one (if you can help it).
Choosing a more expensive garment will also ensure it lasts you a really long time, so in the long-run you’ll save money by not needing to replace an old jacket every few years because you’ve worn it out.
Best men’s travel jackets – our top 7 picks
This is the part of the guide where we go through our top seven travel jackets in greater detail. We’ve researched each one so that we can bring you an unbiased, tried and tested view in order to help you make the right decision for you and your travel plans.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
- Machine washable.
- Ultralight and packable; packs away into its own zippered internal pocket.
- Highly compressible, water-repellent PrimaLoft Gold Eco insulation. 60g.
- Recycled ripstop shell with water-resistant coating.
- Adjustable drawcord at hem stays secure under harnesses.
- Zip-up side pockets.
Patagonia is one of the leading designers of outdoorwear, helping its customers unlock a life of adventure. Founded in 1973, today Patagonia has cemented itself as one of the go-to outerwear brands, creating quality clothes that will last a long time.
The Nano Puff Jacket has more features than you can shake a stick at. Made from tough, hard-wearing ripstop fabric, it’s water resistant, windproof and warm. It also features a center-front zipper with wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at the chin, allowing for next-to-skin comfort
Patagonia is big on sustainable fabrics. The jacket is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn and is also padded with PrimaLoft Gold Insulation. This a high-quality jacket filler that’s designed to replace duck down. It’s super warm, maintaining 98% of warmth even when wet. And unlike down-filled jackets, it’s also lightweight. This means that not only is it kinder to animals, but it will keep you warm in colder climates. PrimaLoft Gold is also made from recycled materials, so it ticks the sustainability boxes.
Overall, this is a great jacket if you’re looking for a lightweight garment that will add that much-needed layer of warmth when the sun goes down, or on cloudy days.
- Packs down easily and is lightweight to carry around.
- Padded with PrimaLoft Gold – a premium quality, eco-friendly filler.
- Made without duck down, so it’s kinder to animals.
- It’s warm, breathable and insulated.
- Not the warmest jacket on the market.
- Not so good for super cold climates.
- The zipper is prone to snagging.
Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
- Machine washable.
- Made with 100% nylon.
- Waterproof, windproof and breathable.
- Regular fit.
- High performance weather protection.
- Three layers of Gore-Tex
- Weight: 455g / 1lb.
Arc’teryx is built on the principle of obsessive, precise design and production. Founded in North Vancouver in 1989, the name refers to the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx, symbolising freedom and adventure. If you’re looking for adventure-ready kit, Arc’teryx should be high up on your list.
When it comes to the Beta AR Jacket, Arc’teryx uses Gore-Tex technology, offering the highest level of waterproofing and breathability. It comes in a regular fit for comfort, with an internal collar in the hood to protect you from stormy weather.
It’s also lightweight and easy to pack, whether you’re stuffing it into a rucksack or suitcase. However, it doesn’t pack down quite as easily as the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, so you’ll need to allow for a little extra room when you travel.
To conclude: the Beta AR has been around since 2000 and has gained a firm following with adventurers all around the world. That many people can’t be wrong.
- Highly technical and built for performance.
- It’s fully waterproof; perfect for downpours.
- Great for loads of different activities, including climbing, skiing or being outdoors.
- Comes with a helmet compatible DropHood™ so you can wear it with a helmet for more extreme sports.
- Looks stylish and comes in a range of colors.
- It’s on the expensive end of things.
- The hood can get in the way if you’re not using it with a helmet.
- The waist cord can sometimes fail.
SCOTTeVest Revolution 2.0
- 25 total pockets; 14 interior.
- Made with 100% Healspro LM poly fabric, offering superior wind and water resistance.
- New and improved design.
- Removable hood and zip-off sleeves to convert the jacket into a vest.
- Teflon coated fabric to protect from water drops and dirt.
- Hidden wire conduits.
Durable, water resistant and breathable; the SCOTTeVEST Revolution 2.0 had been designed by a wife who grew tired of carrying her husband’s gadgets around in her purse. With 24 pockets in total, the jacket is built to balance weight while allowing the wearer to carry more and feel less. This is thanks to the patented weight management system, which spreads the total load across the whole garment without the pockets bulging.
In fact, there are plenty of dedicated pockets for cell phones, cameras, tablets and more. It even comes with space for an eyeglass chamois and pocket map, detachable key chain and water bottle holder, giving you enough space for everything you’ll need to take with you on your travels – and more.
The Revolution 2.0 is one of the most versatile jackets on the market, and can be turned into a vest by simply unzipping the sleeves. This is ideal in unexpectedly warmer weathers, or when you’re out during the day when the sun’s out and you’re feeling a bit warm. The hood is also removable; simply roll the hood away into the zippered compartment in the collar to keep it out of your way.
If you’re trying to travel light without a heavy backpack, or are looking for a jacket that offers more than what it seems to just from appearance alone, then this jacket is a winner.
- It’s fully versatile and can be turned into a vest for comfort.
- There is more than enough space for everything you’ll need on your travels.
- The fabric is Teflon coated, which is great for protecting against water spills and mud splashes.
- It doesn’t come in a wide range of colors.
- It doesn’t pack down very easily.
The North Face Apex Bionic 2 Jacket
- Standard fit.
- Windproof stretch soft-shell jacket for cool-weather activities.
- Center front zipper, zip chest pocket and zip hand pockets.
- Hem cinch-cord.
- Raised logos.
- Machine washable.
If you’re heading somewhere cold or even freezing, the North Face Apex Bionic 2 is designed for windy, cold-weather activities. The soft shell is designed to keep you warm, while the windproof outer fabric features a fleece backer for added comfort in breezy weather.
The fleece backing is made with WindWill®, which utilizes a unique fabric-bonding fabric process that allows a limited degree of external air permeability, drastically reducing the effects of windchill to enhance your comfort and warmth.
The outer fabric is also water repellent, so whether you’re braving the rain or light snow showers, no water is getting in. And want to know one of the best bits about it? It’s machine washable, so there’s no expensive dry cleaning involved to get the jacket back to its high-performing state. Just chuck a capful of your favorite waterproofing solution in with the wash and the jacket will be like new.
Overall, the North Face Apex Bionic 2 is a great all-round jacket that’s perfect for a range of activities, like skiing, snowboarding, camping, hiking, training, running, or climbing. Plus, North Face is one of the most famous outerwear brands out there, so their jackets are tried and tested by experts year after year.
- North Face is a popular, well trusted brand within the outdoor apparel community.
- It’s perfect for temperatures down to 42°F. Any colder and you’ll need to add layers – so it’s still an effective jacket even at the coldest temperatures.
- It’s got zip-up pockets to keep valuables safe and secure.
- It’s on the heavier side of midweight, so even though it’s warm you may get too hot if the temperatures are mild.
- It’s not very easy to pack away due to its weight.
Mountain Hardwear Men’s Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket
- Can be zipped into its own jacket for extra storage.
- Made from hard-wearing ripstop fabric; 100% nylon.
- Insulation: 90% goose down, 10% goose feather. Nikwax™ Hydrophobic Down™ 800-fill.
- Low profile quilt pattern to trap in warmth.
- Soft elastic inner cuff to keep out the cold.
When it comes to a jacket that can do it all, nothing really comes close to the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket. While a lesser known brand than its rivals North Face and Arc’teryx, it holds its own in a competitive market.
There are loads of features to shout about with the Ghost Whisperer. It’s insulated with Nikwax™ Hydrophobic Down™ 800-fill, which is made up from 90% goose down and 10% goose feathers. This makes it incredibly warm and insulating while resisting moisture. However, one of the best things about it is that the jacket has retained its lightweight hand-feel, even though it’s packed with down.
There are loads of additional features too, from the single interior toggle hem to the soft elastic inner cuff. There’s also a built-in secure loop for carbine attachment to a harness, which is perfect for climbers. Most people love it because it looks stylish – there’s a conception that technical jackets and fashion don’t go hand in hand, so the Ghost Whisperer does a great job of adding a stylish touch to your technical kit.
If you’re looking for a jacket that is big on warmth without the bulk, this one is a great option.
- It’s super warm and insulating.
- It looks just as good as it feels.
- It’s got great additional features for climbers.
- It features internal adjusters so you can find a great fit and shape.
- Can be easily ripped if you’re not careful when brushing past sharp objects.
- Can get a bit clammy during high activities – you might need to layer up so you can remove them.
Columbia Men’s Watertight Hooded Rain Jacket
- Omni-Tech™ waterproof with sealed seams to stop the water getting in.
- Stuffs down into its own hand pocket.
- Attached, adjustable storm hood.
- Drawcord adjustable hem
- Zippered hand pockets.
- Abrasion resistant chin guard.
- Packable into hand pocket.
- Mesh lining
- Center back length: 29 inches.
Columbia is a very popular outerwear brand, so it’s no surprise their Watertight Hooded Rain Jacket has made the list. Made using Omni-Tech™ waterproof technology with fully sealed seams, this jacket is designed to keep out the rain whether in light or heavy downpours. It can be stuffed into its own hand pocket, making it easy to carry wherever you are in the world.
There’s plenty of additional features to shout about too, including secure zippered hand pockets, an abrasion resistant chin guard, drop tail and adjustable drawcord at the hem. All of these elements are designed to keep you comfortable and safe from the elements. It also means you can wear the jacket your way.
Its lightweight construction means that it’s great for layering – and you might need to do this to add warmth if you’re heading to colder conditions.
- It’s a very affordable jacket.
- Packs down easily into its own pocket for easy carrying.
- Great for layering.
- It’s not the warmest jacket on the market.
- It’s not the best fit for taller people.
Eddie Bauer Men’s Rainfoil Packable Jacket
- Packs into the right hand pocket.
- Two-layer WeatherEdge® technology; fully seam sealed for complete waterproof and breathable protection to 5K/5K.
- High neck collar prevents shirt underneath from getting wet.
- Mesh lining for enhanced breathability.
- Adjustable cuffs with Velcro® tabs.
- Adjustable drawcord hem.
- Interior secure Velcro® pocket.
- Secure zip hand pockets.
- Average length: Reg 28.5″.
- A universal fit; not too slim, not too relaxed on the body.
Both stylish and functional, the Eddie Bauer Men’s Rainfoil Packable Jacket is designed for convenience. It packs away into the right hand pocket and also doubles as a compact travel pillow. If you fly frequently or enjoy road trips, then this jacket saves the need to take a travel pillow on your adventures, leaving room for more important things. The hood packs away, too.
When it comes to the outer shell, it’s incorporated with two-layer WeatherEdge® technology. This basically means that it’s fully seam sealed to offer ultimate waterproofing properties that will keep you dry in rainy weather. Coupled with a StormRepel® finish on the fabric, moisture is shed and simply drips off.
Another great feature is the high neck collar, which prevents the shirt underneath from getting wet – keeping you dry whatever you’re wearing underneath. But to stop you from getting too hot or sweaty, it features a mesh lining for breathability.
If you’re looking for an affordable waterproof layer that will do the job of keeping you completely dry, the Rainfoil Packable Jacket’s got you covered.
- Has plenty of room to fit over midweight layers.
- It doubles up as a travel pillow for comfort.
- It’s affordable.
- It comes in a range of colors.
- It doesn’t come with many pockets.
- It’s not temperature rated.
The verdict: which travel jacket is best?
When it comes to the features on each technical jacket, there’s a lot to take in to discover which one is best. There are so many options out there, but we’ve chosen the seven that we truly think are the best right now; many of these jackets have undergone various design updates to bring them up to the standard they are now, and it really shows.
Overall, our winner has to be the North Face Apex Bionic 2 Jacket. Perfect for a range of various activities, from the extreme to the not-so-extreme, you can literally take it anywhere and it will deliver. It’s windproof, it’s designed to withstand the extreme cold and it can be easily layered up or down. The one thing is doesn’t have is waterproofing, but it’s water resistant so it does a good job in light showers.
A very close number two is the Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket. This one is in fact waterproof, and uses clever Gore-Tex technology to offer the highest level of waterproofing and breathability. It’s best for heavier showers, and is great for packing down. However, it loses points on how easy it is to pack down, as other jackets on our list take up less space, with is an important factor when traveling.
Most stylish: The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket wins on this factor. It’s been designed with both style and function in mind, and keeps its shape without any bulk. There are loads of additional features too, which ticks a lot of boxes.
Most Storage Space
Most storage space: If you’re someone who doesn’t like traveling with a bag or much equipment, then SCOTTeVest Revolution 2.0 offers an alternative solution through its 25 pockets. It’s built in such a way that it won’t become bulky, so whatever you’re getting up to you won’t be held back.
Now you have all the information you need, pick your favorites and do some extra research on the prices and check out customer reviews to help you make your decision.
Unpacking some of the technical terms – what do they mean?
If you’re unfamiliar with some of the technical terms when it comes to the construction of your technical jacket, this mini guide is here to help.
Gore-Tex is a breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric. It’s composed of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and, as explained here, the pores between its strands are small enough to keep water out, but large enough to let vapor through – keeping the wearer warm and dry.
Ripstop is a woven fabric that’s typically made of nylon, and is created using a special reinforced technique that makes the jacket resistant to ripping. Jackets made using ripstop fabric are generally better at withstanding more extreme activities.
Jackets made using duck down insulation are generally warmer and better at keeping in the warmth than other materials. However, man-made insulation is firmy on the rise, including PrimaLoft, as they’re often created using sustainable materials and do just as good a job as duck down, without the question marks around animal welfare.
While you’re most likely familiar with the concept of water repellency, it’s important not to get confused between that and waterproofing. Water repellent fabrics will generally only keep the water from getting through the seams up until a certain point, but it’s normally been treated with a special coating so that the water doesn’t easily penetrate. Waterproofing means the water won’t get through at all.
The bottom line
Now that you’re armed with a lot more information about the best men’s travel jackets and the features they can offer, we hope that there are at least a couple on our list that you can look into further. A travel jacket is one of the best investments you could make if you’re a keen traveler, and could seriously help with your performance and goals. Try a few on before you commit to make sure your favorite feels comfortable, looks good and does the right job for you.
We really hope this article helped you make a decision and we would love to know where you’re headed on your travels; please get in touch to share your travel stories with us! Got the travel bug? Then why not find out more about the best things to see and do on Palaui Island, or the best USB charging backpacks to take with you.