At The Broke Backpacker we understand the importance of versatile gear that can withstand the elements while keeping us comfortable and stylish on our journeys. Every backpacker, regardless of where they plan to go traveling, should always bring along a good jacket. It’s just one of those things you need as a traveler.

Icy wind, freezing rain, mountain climates, coastal evenings, chilly deserts, winter travel, pub crawls… there are a million scenarios when having a great travel jacket makes the difference between having an awesome time and wishing you were back home tucked up in bed!

I can’t tell you how many times my jackets have saved my life (sometimes literally) in the mountains. Having a good jacket is as important as having shoes that fit or a backpack with two shoulder straps! A travel jacket is a staple piece of equipment that should always be tucked down somewhere in the depths of your backpack.

In this guide, we’ll embark on a quest to uncover the best travel jackets that seamlessly combine performance, durability, and value. By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to know – cost, performance, weight, and all of the factors that go into making an awesome jacket to take traveling.

travel jackets
This is the definitive guide to finding the best travel jacket!

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Quick Answer: Best Travel Jackets Roundup 2024

best travel jacket

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie

  • Cost > $$$
  • Best Use > Hiking, traveling, climbing, daily use.
  • Waterproof > No
  • Hood > Yes
Arc'teryx Beta Jacket Mens

Arc’teryx Beta AR

  • Cost > $$$$
  • Best Use > Trekking, mountain sports, camping, traveling.
  • Waterproof > Yes
  • Hood > Yes

Ravean Down X Heated Jacket

  • Cost > $$$
  • Best Use > Winter travel, everyday use, cold day hikes, urban lifestyle
  • Waterproof > No
  • Hood > Yes

Arc’teryx Thorium Down Hoodie

  • Cost > $$$
  • Best Use > Outdoor sports, hiking, urban lifestyle, travel.
  • Waterproof > No
  • Hood > Yes

Feathered Friends EOS

  • Cost > $$
  • Best Use > travel, hiking or casual city use
  • Waterproof > Yes
  • Hood > Yes

Patagonia Nano Puff

  • Cost > $$$
  • Best Use > Traveling, outdoor sports, hiking, camping.
  • Waterproof > No
  • Hood > Yes

Burton GORE-TEX Pillowline Insulated Jacket

  • Cost > $$$$
  • Best Use > Winter sports
  • Waterproof > Yes
  • Hood > Yes
best travel jacket

REI 650 Down Jacket

  • Cost > $$
  • Best Use > Traveling, outdoor sports, hiking, camping.
  • Waterproof > No
  • Hood > No

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisper 2

  • Cost > $$
  • Best Use > Urban lifestyle, traveling, hiking
  • Waterproof > Yes
  • Hood > No

Best Overall Travel Jacket  – Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie

The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie takes the prize of best overall travel jacket for a variety of reasons. I have traveled with this jacket in my backpack for the last seven years. It has been with me to over 20 countries and at least 3,000 trail miles and counting. It is the best all around jacket and the most versatile travel jacket on this list.

The Nano Puff hoodie is made out of synthetic down, so it is a bit water-resistant, unlike natural down. It is lightweight and very packable at 12.8 ounces making it perhaps the best jacket ever!!!! If you want more protection it’s best to combine it with a waterproof Patagonia jacket.

patagonia jackets
The Patagonia Nano Puff

A good down (or synthetic down in this case) is an absolute must for most backpacking trips. Even in warm, tropical countries, I have ended up using my Nano Puff every day as a pillow on buses and whilst camping. When it’s windy out but not too wet I also like to combine it with my Patagonia Houdini for a bit more protection.

At $249.00 USD this Patagonia travel jacket is priced in the mid-range in terms of its competitors. It is not necessarily the best travel jacket ever but is very high quality, versatile and priced in the mid-range making it affordable. It also feels absolutely lovely to wear – its soft, light, warm and is kind of like being hugged by kittens!

Though My Nano Puff has seen a ton of abuse, it is still going strong after all this time. When the zipper on my Nano Puff died, Patagonia replaced it for free. Apart from the zipper I have had zero issues.

In addition to their excellent warranty, Patagonia is a great company to support in general. Each Nano Puff Hoodie is made from 55% post-consumer recycled content. You can feel good about supporting a company that actually gives a shit about the earth and their own impact on it. This isn’t the last time you will be hearing about the Patagonia Brand in the best travel jackets review!

Want to read more about this jacket? Check out our dedicated review of the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket.

If you need something warmer, then have a look at our guide to then best winter jackets from Patagonia too.

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Best Rain Jacket to Take Traveling  – Arc’teryx Beta AR

best rain jacket
The Arc’teryx Beta AR kicks ass is rain, wind, or snow as seen here whilst snow-shoeing in France. 
Photo: Chris Lininger

Arc’teryx is famous the world over for making some of the best quality gear for adventures. I have had several rain jackets in the past that claimed to be waterproof. There is nothing more frustrating (and potentially dangerous) than being out on a backpacking trip in the mountains and having your rain jacket fail you. Arc’teryx make some of the best traveling jackets out there though so that won’t happen with any of their gear.

After being a rain-soaked-hiker one too many times, I bit the bullet and bought an Arc’teryx Beta AR rain jacket. I have never once looked back. My hiking trips have never been the same and my happiness levels have stayed consistently high since that day, for me, it’s the best travel anorak on the market bar none.

You feel like you are wearing an invisible suit of waterproof armor. It’s Gore-Tex Pro Shell three-layer laminate fabric is waterproof, snow-shedding, windproof, breathable, lightweight and durable. If you’re going somewhere very rainy, like a Sri Lankan adventure, be sure to bring a jacket as waterproof as this one. (Or this one).

The Beta AR features taped seams like a tent so you are guaranteed to stay dry even in the most heinous of storms. It also features zipping watertight pockets for stashing your snacks (very important) or phone (meh). At just over 1 pound, it might just be the most useful piece of clothing you will pack for your adventure by weight. In fact, if you’re looking for the best outdoor jacket on the market, this might just be it!

The major drawback. For many backpackers, the Arc’teryx Beta AR is cost prohibitive. And for good reason. Who wants to spend $600 on a jacket?! I admit it was really tough for me to fork out that kind of dough for a jacket. But hey, serious adventures call for serious, quality gear. Arc’teryx Beta AR is the definition of quality and serious. Unfortunately, $600 USD is the price you will have to pay if you want the luxury of never being wet and cold again. Look at it as a lifelong investment in backpacking comfort.

Once you have this jacket on your body in a rainstorm you will know what I am talking about and you will thank me. When they say waterproof, your $600 guarantees that not a single fucking rain drop will be felt inside the jacket!

We also love the Arc’teryx Beta SL Rain Shell and the Arc’teryx Zeta SL for women, so check out those full reviews too! Want more options? Check out our list of the best Patagonia rain jackets to see if one fits the bill for your trip.

Best Winter Jacket for Travelers – Ravean Down X Heated Jacket

heated down jacket

Ever thought to yourself “yeah this down jacket is warm, but I wish they could make one with a heater built in.” When I have been walking around a city freezing my butt off, the thought has certainly crossed my mind. Well my friends, that is exactly what Ravean has done here with their ultra-toasty Down X Heated Jacket (they make both male/female versions).

The jacket is heated using a rechargeable battery system (that is also able to charge your phone), allowing you to manually regulate the heating element so you can stay comfortable in temperature ranges from -10° F to 55° F.

When we first heard about this jacket we thought the concept sounded gimmicky and that the jacket wouldn’t be attractive. How wrong we were. Oh and ladies: we wrote a whole post on the best women’s heated jackets too if you want to check out some more options.

For the perfect winter travel jacket that will keep you warm in a range of temps AND looks good too, the Ravean Down X Heated Jacket is hard to beat. We highly recommend this one for your winter travels or just as an awesome everyday jacket during the cold months.

Check out our full Ravean Down X Heated Jacket review.

Best Travel Jacket for Hikers – Arc’teryx Thorium Down Hoodie

Arc’teryx Thorium Down Hoodie is lightweight, durable, and super-warm.

Alas, Arc’teryx has made the best travel jacket list again. This time for the Thorium Down Hoodie. If you’re a keen hiker looking to stay warm and pack light whilst racking up big miles this is the jacket for you.

750-fill-power RDS grey goose down is the magic formula that keeps you cozy in cold weather. Weight only 1 lb. 2.2 oz, the Thorium Down Hoodie packs down to next to nothing. Stylish, tough as hell, and warm enough to battle the mountain elements, The Thorium Down Hoodie is one beautiful piece of gear to behold.

An interesting new feature is that Arc’teryx added Coreloft synthetic insulation in the areas likely to become damp and wet. This means the previously vulnerable down has been replaced with a synthetic that holds up much better against moisture.

At $450.00 it isn’t the cheapest hiking jacket out there, but it might well be the best. Broke Backpacker tip: sometimes you can find them on Amazon for under $400.

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    Best Ultralight Down Jacket: Feathered Friends EOS

    Best Ultralight Down Jacket - Feathered Friends EOS

    This one is a great lightweight warm jacket for travel, hiking, or for casual city use. Offering maximum amount warmth compressed into a tiny package, the Feathered Friends EOS jacket apart from the rest. Feathered Friends have been producing some great travel down jackets and sleeping bags for years. The EOS is yet another fine addition to their down layering arsenal. It’s a packable travel jacket which is great for popping inside your backpack.

    We tested this jacket in the Pakistani mountains on several long treks and found the EOS to offer the perfect blend of warmth, lightweight, and packability. To put it bluntly, the EOS kicked ass and felt great to trek in when the temperatures dipped on the glacier. What’s cool is that this jacket isn’t just a one-trick pony. It’s a solid choice for your Autumn adventures, regarding its weight, comfort, and packability.

    The FF EOS jacket has a fitted cut so it hugs the body whilst maximizing warmth. At just under $340, the EOS is not the cheapest jacket out there, but in our opinion, well worth the investment. Unlike true ultralight jackets, the Flinders can take a fair bit of abuse as the fabric is not paper thin. Plus, you would be hard pressed to find another jacket with Ethically-sourced 900+ fill power goose down power with the same warmth to weight ratio. 

    The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer for example, while an excellent ultralight option, simply can’t take the punishment other down jackets can. That’s not to say that it is poor quality though. If you don’t do lots of climbing or bush-bashing anyway, this shouldn’t be an issue for you if you want to really go ultralight.

    Best Travel Jacket for Women – Patagonia Nano Puff

    best travel jackets

    Patagonia joins our best travel jacket list again with the women’s version of the Nano Puff (sans the hood). This is the jacket merges the comfort of down with the warmth of a lightweight jacket. Whether you are hitting the town, the slopes, or tackling a summit bid in the summer, the Nano Puff has got you covered.

    The Nano Puff was technically designed for rock climbers and thru-hikers. As is the case with most of Patagonia’s gear, the Nano Puff is certainly a multi-purpose unit. If you are a lady looking to score the perfect travel jacket, your search is over.

    Ana, contributing writer and editor at the Broke Backpacker had this to say about the women’s Patagonia Nano Puff jacket: “The Nano Puff is amazing. I have used it all over, in multiple countries and it has held up great. It is super warm and a good insulator jacket. Because it is not down it can get wet and dry a little faster than a down would. I highly recommend checking them out.”

    For $199, you will be investing in a fantastic jacket that can handle all of the wear and tear of a seasoned traveler. In case you haven’t gathered it by now, Patagonia makes excellent products, and their line of ladies gear is no different. This one is made specifically to fit a ladies frame but there are loads of similar mens waterproof travel jackets out there so don’t feel excluded guys! The Nano Air is maybe the best travel jacket women can buy!

    Best Snowboard/Ski Jacket – Burton GORE-TEX Pillowline Insulated Jacket

    The Burton GORE-TEX Pillowline Insulated Jacket is the ultimate snow sports jacket…

    Burton’s first appearance on my list is for the Pillowline Insulated Jacket. This jacket is a fantastic cold weather/ snow sports layer. It combines the warmth of a down jacket with the elemental protection of a Goretex rain jacket. This truly luxurious, ultra-warm jacket packs a big punch with its sleek design and brilliant construction.

    Strategic placement of each insulation material ensures user comfort and prolonged jacket life. Down Composite Mapping places synthetic materials, which retains warmth when wet, along the hood, hem and underarms; areas prone to contact with moisture. lightweight 80 g ThermacoreECO insulation lines the core and sleeves where warmth is most needed. The hood comfortably fits over any ski or mountaineering helmet so you can cover up with losing your head protection.

    The Burton Pillowline jacket also offers up a solid ventilation design, allowing you to cool down while you are working hard on the slopes. Airflow and moderate sweat management for medium-intensity activities; mesh-lined, no-snag underarm vents enhance breathability and allow heat to escape because deep snow is a workout.

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Burton makes some of the best gear money can buy, and whilst their stuff can be outrageously expensive, you can be sure you are buying the best possible product on the market.

    If like me, you value having quality gear, the reality is you have to fork over the cash sometimes. As is with most things in life, you get what you pay for and the Burton GORE-TEX Pillowline Insulated Jacket doesn’t everything but disappoint. It is great for alpine and winter conditions but if you are after a lightweight travel jacket then this one is NOT for you.

    Best Budget Travel Jacket – REI 650 Down Jacket

    best travel jacket

    After surviving my above list of amazing and expensive travel jackets, you deserve a quality budget option! Look no further than the REI 650 Down Jacket. As the name suggests, its 650 goose down insulation provides a high warmth-to-weight ratio and compacts so easily you can pack the jacket into its own left-hand pocket for storage.

    This jacket is super warm and is the perfect jacket for everyday use whether you are traveling or not. Sometimes us travelers simply don’t have the cash to spend on big-ticket items. Fear not! The 650 down jacket is very affordable for everyone! At $75 USD (current sale price) you’d be hard-pressed to find another high-performance jacket at this price.

    If you have never owned a down jacket before the REI 650 is a good place to start. Every backpacker needs a great jacket to take along on every adventure. This is the jacket for those looking for a solid piece of gear without the gouging price tag. REI also makes the same exact jacket in women’s sizes and colors.

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    Most Stylish Travel Jacket –  Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hooded

    Sleek, lightweight, and many color choices: The Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisper 2 jacket is my top pick for most stylish jacket.

    I agree that in addition to keeping me warm, I want my jacket to look somewhat nice. The outdoor industry is notorious for producing some of this least visually appearing garments in the history of western fashion. Who the fuck wants a neon yellow puffer jacket with lime green zippers?

    In recent years, the industry as a whole has become more style conscious. In order to win my most stylish jacket rank, the jacket must look good, but also be a badass piece of gear in the field.

    That is where the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer 2 comes in. This was a hard choice as now there are many stylish, well-performing jackets out there.

    The Ghost Whisperer 2 really has it all. It is super lightweight, warm, looks great in a city and performs in the backcountry. At only 8.8 ounces, the Ghost Whisperer is one of the lightest multi-sport jackets around. It even performs well in semi-damp conditions. Its “QShield” Down resists moisture and retains maximum loft even when wet!

    I gave Patagonia and Arc-teryx a lot of attention in this review, but Mountain Hardware’s Ghost Whisperer is a jacket not to be overlooked. If you want a jacket that looks cool and will keep you warm in freezing temperatures, the Ghost Whisperer has your name on it.

    Best Travel Jacket
    NameBest UseWaterproof (Y/N)Weight (KG)Main Material
    Patagonia Nano Puff HoodieHiking, traveling, climbing, daily use.N0.36Recycled polyester
    Arc’teryx Beta ARBackcountry Skiing, Downhill Skiing, MountaineeringY0.463-layer GORE-TEX Pro
    Ravean Down X Heated JacketWinter travel, everyday use, cold day hikes, urban lifestyleN0.15100% Nylon with DWR finish
    Arc’teryx Thorium Down HoodieOutdoor sports, hiking, urban lifestyle, travel.N0.31Nylon
    Feathered Friends EOSTravel, hiking, or for casual city use0.31Pertex® Quantum® brushed nylon with DWR
    Patagonia Nano PuffTraveling, outdoor sports, hiking, camping.N0.28Recycled polyester
    Burton GORE-TEX Pillowline Insulated JacketWinter sportsY1Breathable GORE-TEX
    REI 650 Down JacketTraveling, outdoor sports, hiking, camping.N0.31Recycled nylon taffeta
    Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 HoodedUrban lifestyle, traveling, hikingY0.24Ripstop nylon

    FAQ about the Best Travel Jacket

    Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

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      Final Thoughts on the Best Travel Jackets of 2024

      Patagonia Houdini
      A good travel jacket is both practical, and stylish.

      Well there you have it: the ultimate review of best travel jackets of the year! I hope you found this review to be helpful! Choosing travel coats and jackets can be bloody well tough but hopefully you are now ready to choose the right jacket for all of your traveling needs.

      Whether you are new to traveling or a seasoned adventure you know how important it is to have a great all purpose jacket ready at all times. Having an awesome jacket to take traveling is a great feeling. It gives you confidence and keeps you comfortable when the weather turns chilly (or worse).

      Any way you swing it, investing in a quality jacket of your choice is one of the best things you can do to prepare for your epic adventure.

      Stay warm my friends!

      What are your thoughts? Did this best travel jackets review help you? Anything I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments below – thanks guys!