Travel Gear We Use: Winter jackets that pack down small

Winter is a tough time of year to pack light, but it IS possible to do so. The easiest solution: winter wear that packs down small. We love our ‘puffies’! The best packable jackets keep kids and parents warm during winter travel, but fit well into suitcases for carry-on travel:

best-packable-jackets

What Pit Stops for Kids’ Dad is wearing:

Arc’teryx Atom LT: No one does lightweight, quality, technical jackets like Arc’teryx. The Atom LT is like wearing a cloud (not that my husband would describe it so poetically), and is really easy to layer under a rain jacket or over a fleece. It has two zippered pockets and is fully insulated, but does not have a a hood…which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your needs. Grab the Atom at Amazon for $228. And yes, it comes in a women’s version as well.

What the teens are wearing:

Craghoppers CompressLite PackAway Jacket:  In our opinion, Craghoppers offers the best value out there for parents needing to outfit the entire family. The CompressLite PackAway is our son’s go-to jacket for everything from air travel trips to backpacking trips. When he outgrew it, he refused to pass it down to the next kid, despite the fact that it had tons of life left in it! We had to pry it away from him. The CompressLite packs down into it’s own tiny stuff sack, and has elastic cuffs at the wrist to keep out cold. Best of all, it’s only $80, and will hold up for years. Read a full review on Practical Travel Gear. Buy on Amazon.

Dare 2b Burrow Jacket: With alpaca wool insulation, the Burrow Jacket keeps men and teens comfortably warm without bulk. The Burrow actually feels more like a windbreaker when worn (it has ripstop nylon on the outside), but is far warmer. There are lots of zippered pockets, and like many other of our picks, it packs into it’s own bottom pocket for easy storage. Find the Burrow for around $150 on UK sites, coming to the US Dare 2b site soon.

White Sierra Zephyr hooded jacket: The White Sierra Zephyr is another great pick for an affordable price. With kids outgrowing jackets on the regular, it’s essential that the layers we buy are a good value. After all, they not only need to be affordable; they need to be passed down! What the Zephyr does that others in the same price bracket do not: it has a hood and smaller, flatter cells for a thinner feel, and a slightly boxier fit. It’s as packable as the others, and water resistant and insulated. Find it for $100 on White Sierra or Amazon for a few bucks less.


What the school-aged kid is wearing:

Stio Hometown Down: While thicker than his older brothers’ packables, our school-aged kid loves his Stio puffy. The Hometown Down is a fully technical winter jacket with a hood and multiple pockets that still feels lightweight (he usually wears it only with a cotton long-sleeved tee). The jacket is 650 fill goosedown and comes in fun, bright colors. Made in Jackson Hole, the Stio sells for $159, and will last and last.

Big Agnes Ice House: Like the Shovelhead for women (see below), the Ice House is made with DownTek, which is warmer and more ethically harvested. The Ice House is a serious jacket that will keep your kid toasty warm from the ski slopes to city touring. It packs down small, so it will fit in a carry on or a boot bag. Pick it up on Amazon on SALE right now!

What I’m wearing:

Big Agnes Shovelhead Hooded Down jacket: Ok, it’s admittedly spendy at $249, but this jacket is made by the makers of some of the best sleeping bags on the market, and uses Downtek technology. If you tend to get cold easily, like I do, wearing the Shovelhead feels like wearing a sleeping bag, without any bulk. It’s shiny, sleek, fitted, and feminine. I love it because I feel all bundled up without looking it. (No hood, however.) Grab one on Amazon.

Exofficio Storm Logic: Slightly more reasonable but still indulgent, the Storm Logic comes on all my international trips. It has pockets for everything, from hidden money stash pockets to a place for keys, room key cards, cell phones, and passports. I love not needing to bring a purse everywhere I go. And yes, it’s still an insulated, winter-ready jacket that also packs into its own pocket. Find it on Amazon for $150.


Adidas Flyloft: This offering from Adidas is synthetic down, and lighter weight than any of the others. Honestly, I barely feel like I’m wearing a jacket at all. The thin design means I can walk and hike in it without overheating. Look for it on Amazon!

Do you have a favorite winter jacket that’s travel-ready? Share in the comments!

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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