It's undeniable that when it comes to choosing the best jacket of any kind, a degree of aesthetics comes into play. But since style is largely in the eye of the beholder — when it comes to determining the best women's rain jackets for travel — the focus here is primarily how functional each jacket is in terms of being weatherproof and packable. But, that's not say there isn't some solid choices that are stylish, too.
When it comes to being packable, most rain jackets aren't particularly bulky. But the best packable rain jackets can be folded down into an accompanying pouch so that you can easily toss it in your day pack or even stow it away in your purse. The cream of the crop can actually be folded down and stored in its own pocket. This is particularly beneficial because you won't need to keep track of the pouch when it's not in use.
Next obviously, how waterproof a jacket is, is going to play a big role in buying a rain jacket. But an equally large part of that is also going to be your budget — because the two typically correspond.
After reviewing expert opinions and sifting through hundreds of user reviews on several sites, North Face's Venture Rain Jacket was consistently praised for its quality rain protection. But, if you're not ready to spend close to $100 on a jacket, Columbia's Switchback rain jacket costs half the price, and is a close second in terms of rain protection (that's why it's our overall best pick). On a serious budget? You can get a solid, packable rain jacket for less than $15. It may not keep you 100 percent dry in a downpour, but if you’re hoping that you don’t even have to use it, then the price for the quality can’t be beat.
Of course, as I said, personal style is a real factor for a lot of people. And to be honest, you don’t exactly need a serious rain jacket to protect you from a little mid-day drizzle while you wander around a city. So if you’re simply looking for the best rain jacket for travel that won’t look out of place if you need to wear it out to dinner, there are several nice-looking rain jackets that come in convenient little pouches so you whip it out in an emergency.
The Best For Most People
Not only is Columbia's Switchback rain jacket completely waterproof, but it's also lightweight and folds into the zipper hand pocket. At just 10 ounces, you won't have to worry about this jacket weighing down an overstuffed suitcase or an already heavy hiking pack. Made from a unique blend of Hydroplus nylon and mesh, it repels all moisture even the most intense rains, and is easily machine washable. It also comes with a unique venting system that adds to its breathability if you're traveling to warmer weather. Bonus: It also has zippered hand pockets so you can stow your valuables away without having to worry.
The Upgrade: A Pricer Rain Jacket That's Even More Weather Resistant
North Face's Venture rain jacket is no joke when it comes to all-weather protection: constructed in two layers, the breathable, waterproof outer shell completely shuts out any precipitation while the inner layer has zippered vents to maximize airflow. There's even a Velcro storm-flap closure to seal out the most aggressive downpours. Like our top pick, you can easily tuck it into its own pocket and take it with you anywhere you go. And, if you're an eco-minded consumer, this jacket is made with environmentally-friendly materials so you can feel good about this purchase.
The Budget Buy: A Packable Rain Jacket At A Great Price
Made from water-resistant polyester, this rain jacket is built with a full-mesh lining that protects you from all types of weather and wind, while still allowing for maximum airflow. With three zippered pockets, there's plenty of room to store your belongings, and the jacket itself folds easily into its own pocket. At an affordable $12, this jacket holds up surprisingly well. One reviewer wrote, "If you have to get stuck outside in the rain, the Totes jacket can make what would have been a miserable wet slog of a day into something bearable."
Honorable Mentions: Stylish Rain Jackets That Come With A Packable Pouch
Even though these jackets lean toward style over function, they are all waterproof or water-resistant and can easily be folded up and packed away in their accompanying pouches.
Haven's lightweight rain jacket features an outer shell made with a polyester-nylon blend for extra breathability during any season or storm. This jacket also features a hidden hood at the collar that you can easily tuck away when you don't need it, and has elastic drawcords around the waist so you can adjust it to be more comfortable. When you're ready to pack, just tuck this jacket into the separate pouch and toss it into your suitcase. As one reviewer notes, "Cool and comfortable, this little jacket comes in really handy for those drizzly, cool autumn days. And it looks really sharp. Five stars."
This breathable jacket by Lark & Ro is made with super soft water-resistant fabric and features a detachable hood for flexible coverage and style. It also has a stand-up collar to protect your clothes from rain, and front-flap pockets that lay flat against the fabric. And, it's super easy to zip up the whole thing in its carrying pouch when you're ready to go. One reviewer describes how easy it is to travel with it, praising that the jacket "has many convenient pockets, including on the INSIDE, which I really like for things like phone and wallet - they can't be pick-pocketed! Also the hood is "packed"; zipped away in the collar when you don't need/want it."
Not only is Cole Haan's rain jacket water-resistant and easily packable in its own pouch, it has a removable hood for versatile coverage. Available in a variety of colors, this coat fares on the lighter side, with some reviewers remarking that it isn't insulated for warmth. But as one fan says, "Unlike another light raincoat that I have, the material isn't too cold in the wind or too hot if the sun comes out. Fits in my backpack or purse. I even use the little purse that was included as a clutch purse for evenings out."
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