Packable jackets

Five surprising spots your packable jacket can fit into.

I separate my winter life into two periods: before and after my first packable jacket. I never knew (and likely mistrusted) how lightweight a winter jacket could be. I was still all for the heavy-duty snow armor that would protect me from the cold even if it kicked down my door. Despite this I thought I'd give this newer jacket a whirl.

It made driving easier and it felt like a more natural fit once I got into the habit of wearing it regularly. For those really rough below zero days with a massive windchill factor (ice practically falling from the sky) I opted to layer up, using the down jacket as a kind of baselayer and a work coat on top.

One of my favorite features has been the packable part. It fits anywhere and can help the on-the-go voyager just as much as somebody who wears it in their daily travels. Here are five places you'd be surprised to find your packable packable coat.

1. In your backpack? Try the side pocket.

Sure, you can fit a down packable jacket in the large pocket next to your laptop. That's easy. But when your backpack is full of gym clothes or your swim gear, you can keep your down jacket safe and clean in that side water bottle pocket.

If you don't need your jacket to be tucked away tightly you can tie off the arms on the carry handle. It won't weigh you down and will stay secure.

2. In between the seat cushion.

After all, the best packable jackets can fit in places that you wouldn't believe. It's not totally uncommon to panic after leaving the movie theater wondering why you feel like you're missing something.

"Oh that's right, I came in with a down jacket on. Whoops."

And when you go back to the seat you see that your favorite jacket has figured out its very own magic trick: stuffing itself all the way in between the cushion and the back of the chair.

It's not the best place to keep your jacket but it's something to keep in mind.

3. In a locker.

There used to be a time where fitting a coat or a jacket into a locker was a real pain. You'd have to charge into it like a linebacker just to get it closed.

When you put your packable jacket in your locker it can hide away in a special corner instead of existing as a crowding behemoth. Your kids will notice the difference when they're getting their books out of the locker. And you'll notice when you're over at the gym and you fit your coat in with ease. No sweat.

4. In your carry on luggage.

When we talk about minimizing space, the first thing we often think of is "how to pack light" for a variety of trips.

This can be a never-ending journey for those of us who keep trying to whittle down options, cut baggage fees, and try to convince the airline that "yes this duffel bag is my personal item, please let me on the plane."

Getting yourself a packable jacket will save you space and a headache. It is a real shape shifter. It won't wrinkle like a sweater would and if you really want to try, it can be an airplane pillow.

5. In your pocket.

Parents are well-aware of this struggle: your kids are cranky, you're indoors, and somehow you've become a walking coat rack. Life's great, huh.

Well here's a great benefit. If your kids have packable jackets you won't have to be the coat chauffeur anymore. For the time being you can pack the coats tightly and fit them in your own coat pockets. Voila!

All you need to do is convince the other parents to do the same.

6. On your wishlist.

Like I said at the beginning: winter life for me is now categorized as before and after packable jackets. It may not be something you're trying to get right away, but you can save up or ask for it as a gift once the holidays roll around.

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