Women’s Packable Raincoats and Jackets for Travel
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Clothes to Take to Europe for Women
Most girls (over the age of 30) usually base their travel wardrobes around some combination of these:
- A knit pants and top set
- A knit skirt and top set
- A knit dress
You will find great travel outfits all over the internet, so look around. If you’re just putting your first travel wardrobe together, start with black and build upon that unless black looks terrible next to your complexion. (Actually, I wear "travel" clothing when I’m just “traveling” to the grocery store. Stretch knits are so comfortable.)
While there are many lengths to choose from, the most versatile lightweight raincoat is the 3/4 length, because it’s long enough to cover your fanny when you’re sitting on a wet park bench in London or sitting on a sea-sprayed seat in a Venetian water taxi. Some women prefer shorter rain jackets, but hiking/camping windbreaker jackets will look odd with some skirts. Hip-length coats and jackets (especially belted trenches) will always look chic with:
- Ankle-length dresses and skirts
If you will be using your raincoat for warmth, you might want a long, reversible Mycra Pac style, such as the Donatella (or something similar from another brand). I have a flocked Donatella that I wear over sweaters and it keeps me warm during chilly March winds in Paris, however I have not yet tested it in snow.
Travel Raincoat Colors
Because the basic knit travel skirts, pants, and tops come in solid colors like black, brown, or navy, it’s fun to add a bit of fire with a trench or jacket in a color like:
- Hot pink
- Cobalt blue
- Orange or red
- Purple paisley
- Bright yellow
- Hot white
- Any print that’s happy and festive
Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to wear a practical black Mac. Black, brown, and navy are totally elegant in every situation.
Best Ladies Raincoats and Jackets
Here are some examples of styles I like:
- * Nordstrom.com: Mycra Pac is my favorite brand for travel raincoats and jackets. A reversible raincoat is great if you’re klutzy and you spill coffee like I do. I have one of their leopard coats from a few years ago, but I like the color of the new style (in the photo) better. Would it be weird to have two Mycra Pac leopard coats? I might need this.
- * TravelSmith.com: This Plus Size Crinkled Metallic Anorak is good because it’s small enough that it can be stashed anywhere. Your raincoat won't keep you dry if it's in your hotel room. Pros: Zipper, lightweight, plus sizes, cute color. Cons: Should be an inch longer, almost sold out.
There are other raincoats at Travel Smith that might work. I'll tell you the pros and cons of each, so you can decide what kind of coat you're looking for:
- Crinkle Shimmer Raincoat: Pros: Good length, plus sizes, cute colors. Cons: Slightly heavier, no zip. This coat is a bit dressier with buttons rather than a zipper, but it's harder to close buttons when your hands are holding a bag and a map and the tickets and all that stuff. If you're on a tour, this won't be a problem. If you're an adventurous, spontaneous, disorganized, serendipitous traveler (like me) you might want something like the Crinkled Metallic Anorak (above). Well, it depends on where you're going, how often you'll be changing hotels, and how organized you are. The Crinkle Shimmer Raincoat would be fine for a trip to NYC or London... but not as good as the Metallic Anorak for a backpacking adventure through Europe.
- Reversible Houndstooth Hooded Raincoat: Pros: Good length, reversible, comes in cute colors, has accordion hood, small enough to fit in its own travel bag. Cons: No plus sizes, I'm guessing that it's a tad bit heavier... probably like a Mycra Pak. You can wear this anywhere and I think you can stash it in small places. Probably fills up more space than the Crinkled Metallic Anorak in the photo (above).
The Anywhere Packable Raincoat is cute and trendy in the chartreuse green color, although it might be a tad heavier and better for travel in the US where you don't have to run with all your bags to jump on a train. I've had to do that several times in Switzerland. The Swiss trains are always on time but they never tell you which track until the very last... and you have to drag your bags up and down stairs to get to the boarding platform... or maybe I'm thinking of France. Anyway, there are a few stations in Europe where I'm constantly knocking on the window of the trainmaster asking which platform I need and they don't know until a few minutes before the train arrives. That's the kind of place where you need the lightest coat... and the lightest bag.
If you're traveling in the US or you're on a tour where someone helps you with your bags, it won't matter if your coat weighs 13.6 ounces or 26 ounces.
You Need One Lightweight Mac
If you need to keep your luggage under the limit, try to find a packable raincoat or jacket that weighs about as much as a large Hefty Trash Bag. (I’m sure you’ll find something in a nicer color and style than a Hefty bag.)
If you end up getting a coat that’s a bit heavier, just wear it (over a bunch of layers) onto the plane. Your raincoat does not need to close, because you’re just going to throw your mac into the overhead bin after all the other passengers have stashed their heavy carry-on bags.
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