From cancelled flights to closed roads, winter travel comes with plenty of inherent complications. And, unfortunately, packing can present yet another headache. In the summer, you can usually throw some flip flops, a bathing suit, and a couple outfits into a carry-on and call it a day, but winter trips require a little more strategy—both in packing enough layers to stay warm (and dry) and in managing to squeeze those bulky items into a reasonably sized bag. Luckily, there are some packable coats—we’re talking scrunch-up-into-the-size-of-your-fists works of magic—out there that'll help you battle the elements without commandeering your entire suitcase. Here are our favorites.

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Looking for a fun anorak? You got it. This playful, very packable nylon anorak from Nike is the perfect antidote to gray skies that threaten to ruin your trip. It's super lightweight and is both wind-resistant and water-repellent—so, it's better for fighting the elements than a hoodie, but you'll still want an umbrella if the skies open up. Think of this as your go-to for misty weather, or that sailing trip or kayaking adventure that'll have you getting splashed or hit by the wind. Of course, if you just want it for sightseeing, we won't blame you.

Madewell's packable puffer is aptly named the Travel Buddy—and it really is. The stylish, cropped jacket folds not into a pocket or pouch like most, but into a travel pillow that you can use on your flight. Talk about saving space. And, instead of down, this coat is stuffed with eco-friendly PrimaLoft insulation, which is made up entirely of recycled content like water bottles (15 went into this coat, to be exact). Plus, the A-line fit will look equally at home on a cold weather city trip as it will on your trek to Machu Picchu, and a drawstring hem will keep cold air from flowing in. It comes in sizes XXS to XL and in a few neutral shades—and, like most Madewell items, you can spice it up with a little personalized embroidery for just $10.



As they say, everything comes back around in fashion. The retro Nuptse is a redesign of the brand's iconic jacket from the late ’90s, and, if New Yorkers are any indication, it's become the bold unisex puffer to have once again. It has a super puffy, boxy fit, which makes it even more incredible that the hood easily stows into the collar, and the whole thing can pack into one hand pocket. The jacket comes in loud statement colors, like bright orange and school bus yellow, and subtle neutrals like khaki and grey, all in a shiny ripstop fabric. As with everything at The North Face, it also has a lifetime warranty.

Buy Now: Men's 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket, $249-$269, thenorthface.comBuy Now: Women's 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket, $249, thenorthface.com

For a short, no-nonsense rain jacket that will keep you dry and keep a low profile, Columbia's Arcadia II (for women) and Watertight II (for men) are trusted go-tos. Not only do these jackets have a thoughtful design, with details like a storm hood and breathable mesh lining (great for hiking), they're also no-joke waterproof. The seams are completely sealed, the pockets are zippered, and there's a drawstring at the bottom so you and your stuff will be protected no matter how bad the downpour. These coats come in a dozen colors, range in sizes from XS to 3X for women, and are available in both bigger and taller options for men. (And yes, there are also kids' sizes if the whole family wants to match.) Of course, they all pack down teensy-tiny into one of the pockets.

Buy Now: Women’s Arcadia II Rain Jacket, $35-90, columbia.comBuy Now: Men’s Watertight II Rain Jacket, $45-90, columbia.comBuy Now: Girls' Arcadia Rain Jacket, $30-75, columbia.comBuy Now: Boys' Watertight Rain Jacket, $30-75, columbia.com

This quilted pullover from Patagonia is perfect for fighting low temps—it can stand alone against the chilly breeze coming off the San Francisco bay or be layered up for a day on the slopes. Plus, there's a plush hood for keeping your face and ears warm when temperatures really drop. The smart design extends to the materials, too: The inside is stuffed with fluffy down, and the polyester fabric exterior is designed to insulate and quickly dry when it gets wet. All of which is to say, it's a jacket you'll wear a ton, making it well worth the price.

For coats that work hard at a great price, 32 Degrees' designs are the way to go. A mid-thigh length puffer for $40? You can't beat it. And in case you were worried that the friendly price tag might mean lower quality, think again. These jackets, which have a flattering slim fit, are insulated with 60 percent real down feathers, have a detachable hood and water-resistant fabric, and zip up into an included pouch the size of a liter bottle. Though the long jacket is the best for keeping your legs warm on colder trips, the brand also makes a short version for men and women.

Danish brand Rains has managed to design raincoats that are both utilitarian and chic—they'll get you through the worst of downpours dry as a bone, without your having to dress like a survivalist headed for the woods. While they're best known for their rubberized coats, the packable long jacket, which is a thin unisex design meant to fit every body, packs down best in your carry-on. The oversized shape also layers well, so you can bulk up as needed, but a drawstring waist cinch will keep you from drowning in it (no pun intended). Of course, like any brand coming out of a country with frequent rainfall would, they've thought of everything a good raincoat should have, including ventilation under the armpits and a cap function on the drawstring hood. Best of all, the whole thing is machine washable.

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