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Jackets are not exactly “on the brain” for most riders in the heat of summer and early autumn. Blackberry scrapes and clean alpine lakes hold our attention far better, as the sprinkles of spring are easily forgotten. Those of us who ride in the high alpine know that summer storms can turn cold and nasty without notice, regardless of the season, and having a lightweight packable jacket can make the difference between a miserable or memorable adventure.

We recently tested out a spectrum of packable jackets, from windbreakers for cool morning and evening riding to full-on rain shells, splitting them between those that are designed solely around packability, and slightly sturdier options.

JacketWeight (g)Size (in3)Price (USD)Waterproof?
Dainese AWA Wind Jacket7330$110N
Void Range12553$96N
Pearl Izumi Summit Shell10450$100N
Sweet Protection Hunter Wind12861$129N
Showers Pass Ultralight Wind12560$80N
Shimano Hybrid Windbreaker20980$114N
Mission Workshop Interval13261$225N
Maloja MaxM Jacket12161$138N
Ion Shelter Rain Jacket13353$120Y
Endura MTR Shell19880$200Y
Leatt DBX 2.0 Jacket313140$100Y
Assos Equipe RS190120$349Y
Gore R3 Active Hooded Jacket258115$299Y

Über Packable

All of the jackets in this section fit in a mesh water bottle pocket like this AWA Wind jacket from Dainese. Nearly all of them forego pockets, hoods, wrist adjustment straps, and any other material that will hinder their cramability. We added a rough measurement of each jacket in its most packed state, as well as weights to help you find the right shell for your needs.

Dainese AWA Wind Jacket

The AWA Wind Jacket from Dainese is about as packable as they come, fitting in a space far smaller than a balled fist. The 100% nylon fabric is somewhat breathable but decidedly windproof. This emergency layer will make your mountain-top evacuation far more pleasant as you run from or wait out the clouds.

The AWA fits true to size and is generally tight in the arms and torso to prevent the material from snagging and flapping noisily about. The sturdy YKK zipper, lined collar, and standout color make it a great option for a brisk night ride, provided you don’t snag it on anything too sharp. While the AWA material isn’t the most fragile, it is easier to tear than any heavier weight rain shell, as are all packable jackets.

  • $109.99, €99 (available at JensonUSA)
  • Actual weight: 73g
  • Packed dimensions: 4x3x2.5 inches (30in3)
  • Colors: Cherry Tomato (Shown) or Black Iris
  • DWR coated for water repellency
  • Self-stow pocket for tidy packing
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? You will for sure look like a cyclist. It’s translucent.

Void Cycling Range Jacket

The VOID logo is printed on a breathable mesh.

Void’s Range shell packs down to a slightly larger ball than the AWA above, though it also fits in the same hip pack compartment, or into its own self-stow pocket. The material is a bit heavier than some packable jackets and appears to be more durable as a result.

The polyester shell and lycra closures blend to give the Range some stretch where you need it, and mesh panels across the back and underarms make it a good option for longer rides on cooler days. I did some high alpine morning rides in the Range, and in ambient temperatures below 60°F it was a great option. The Range fits true to size, with a little room for padding or layering underneath.

  • $96, €110
  • Actual weifht: 125g
  • Packable dimensions: 5x3x3.5 (52.5in3)
  • Black only
  • PFC-free DWR coating
  • Self stow pocket
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? I think it was originally designed for clubbing.

Pearl Izumi Summit Shell Jacket

photo: Leah Barber

Pearl Izumi is known for making quality, versatile cycling apparel, and the Summit Shell Jacket fits right in. It’s not exactly waterproof, but the DWR coating ensures that moisture mostly just rolls right off the surface. I’ve found it works well in the rain and also provides just the right amount of warmth on cool, windy summits and the chilly descents that follow.

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The seemingly space-age material used in the Summit Shell Jacket packs down tight inside the integrated pouch pocket. Unleashed from its pouch, the jacket is wrinkled to the extreme, but I kinda like the look. If anything, those air pockets provide a bit of added insulation. A double zipper allows ventilation from the top or bottom, depending on how you feel as the ride progresses.

photo: Leah Barber

There’s an under-helmet hood to lock in even more warmth, though I find it obstructs my peripheral vision and feels too constricting on the bike. However, the hood does come in handy for off-the-bike moments in cool conditions and light rain.

  • $100 USD (compare prices)
  • Colors: Black and Forest (pictured)
  • Water resistant
  • 104g (size medium)
  • Packed dimensions: 3×5.5×3 inches (49.5in3)
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar: Sure. Just bring an iron if you’re embarrassed by the wrinkles.

Sweet Protection Hunter Wind Jacket

Sweet Protection has packed a handful of thoughtful technical elements into their packable offering. The Hunter Wind Jacket‘s snug fit keeps it quiet and close, and two vertical mesh vents across the back provide airflow where riders need it. A silicone strip at the waist keeps the drop tail in place, and the high collar will warm your neck as much as you like.

The reflective strips on the Hunter drop it into the night ride and urban commuter category, and it certainly feels warm enough for a long headlight pedal. I didn’t have a chance to test its rain-repelling capabilities but as a windbreaker and second layer, its qualities are fantastic. The fabric is a bit more breathable than the other packable jackets tested, and has a good amount of stretch to keep it cozy.

  • $129.95
  • Actual weight: 128g
  • Packable dimensions: 5×3.5×3.5 (61.25in3)
  • Colors: Black (shown), Navy, Dehrd
  • Water repellent
  • Zippered chest pocket
  • Reflective accents
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Yes, if you dig wearing cycling apparel off the bike.

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket

The Ultralight Wind Jacket from Showers Pass is as packable as the minimalist AWA from Dianese, with a few more features worth mentioning. Breathable mesh material along the arms and torso lets in a good amount of fresh air, helping the jacket move sweat through comfortably. Reflective accents across the shoulders kick it into the night-ride category, and the dropped tail has a silicone strip to keep it in place while riders focus on what the headlight scares up.

The Ultralight wind jacket fits considerably tight. If you need to squeeze a back protector beneath it I would recommend one size larger. The highly stretchy mesh panels give the jacket a comfortable fit that goes beyond the realm of an emergency shell, and still packs up like one.

  • $79.99/€71.35 (buy online from Showers Pass)
  • Actual weight: 125g
  • Packable dimensions: 5x4x3 (60in3)
  • Colors: Red Orange or Sky Blue (shown)
  • PFC-free DWR coating
  • Stuff sack included
  • Reflective accents
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Sure, let your coworkers know you’re an athlete.

Shimano Hybrid Windbreaker

Shimano’s Hybrid windbreaker is the most versatile of the packable options we tested. The jacket’s sleeves zip off to reveal a wind vest, so drop the top and cool off. Vents on either side of the upper back help ample air move through, making it a great shell for daylong adventures. This versatility comes at a small cost, as the jacket wads up to roughly the size of a fist and a half.

The Hybrid Windbreaker is cut with a notably tight fit and riders may want to order a size up if on the cusp of two sizes.

  • €102.47 (about $114USD)
  • Actual weight: 209g
  • Packable dimensions: 5.5x4x4 (80in3)
  • Black only
  • Water-repellent coating
  • Removable sleeves
  • Reflective accents
  • Single chest pocket
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Sleeveless or sleeved? Maybe go with the sleeves intact.

Mission Workshop Interval Jacket

The material designers at Mission Workshop have stretched the aesthetic possibilities of packable jackets with the Interval wind shell. If looking stylish on the trail is important for you, this is undoubtedly the right jacket. The 89% Nylon and 11% Spandex shell construction has an “athletic” but comfortable fit, with just enough flex to render it unnoticeably light and comfortable. I found space for a back protector beneath the shell, but for folks who like a roomier fit, a size larger may be in order.  

The hood packs tightly into the jacket’s collar and can be worn beneath a helmet for a little extra warmth. Thumb hooks on either wrist opening keep the sleeves securely in place under a pair of gloves.

  • $225/€220
  • Actual weight: 132g
  • Packable dimensions: 5×3.5×3.5 (61.25in3)
  • Colors: Black, sutro camp, fog, burgundy (shown), orange
  • Water and wind repellent
  • Anti-odor properties
  • Convertible hood
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Yup, this one looks good anywhere.

Maloja MaxM Jacket

Maloja’s MaxM packable jacket is likely the most understated, aesthetically minimalist, jacket in the pile, and it packs up wicked small. The company’s 100% nylon “Moon Stretch” fabric has a noticeably hearty feel to it. I would prefer to crash in this jacket over most of the other shells, as it stands a chance of being in one piece when the sliding stops.

The MaxM fits according to size, with a tight cut to hug your jersey when it’s cool out, and the vented underarms provide some additional airflow in just the right spot. I have appreciated its warmth on a few cool morning shreds, and otherwise, it remains at the ready in a hip pack pocket.

  • €125 (about $138USD), buy it at Amazon
  • Actual weight: 121g
  • Packable dimensions: 5×3.5×3.5 (61.25in3)
  • Colors: River, moonless (shown), red poppy, cliff
  • Wind proof, water resistant
  • Laser-cut vent holes
  • Reflective waist and wristbands
  • Self stow pocket
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Well, I certainly have.

Ion Shelter

When the summer sky reads rain, the Shelter Jacket from Ion is a good one to have along. It is the most waterproof of the packable jackets I tested, and includes a hood to protect your dome from the mud that makes its way through helmet vents. The 52% Polyurethane and 48% polyester shell has a 2-way stretch quality that allows it to move with your body, and to give a little before snagging on anything.

The Shelter’s fit is a little roomier than most of the jackets above, with plenty room for a back protector and a thin set of elbow pads underneath.

  • $120/€120.96 (find the lowest price)
  • Actual weight: 133g
  • Packable dimensions: 5x3x3.5 (52.5in3)
  • Color: “Clear” with printed Ion logo
  • Windproof, waterproof
  • Taped seams
  • Slim hood with elastic hem
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Discoteque, definitely!

Mid Packable

The jackets below offer more functionality, additional rain and windproofing technology, and will take up a bit more space. Each of them is more packable than the lion’s share of rain shells on the market, but they occupy more than the fist-and-a-half space measurement that was allotted to the shells listed above.

Endura MTR Shell

Endura’s MTR Shell is 100% designed for rainy mountain biking, by folks who regularly ride in wet weather. The three stretchy layers of waterproof fabric breathe better than expected and are well protected from backpack straps with a layer of rubber on the shoulders. I went over the bars with this jacket on while riding the Black Hole Trail, and the stones were no match for its durable fabric. The detachable hood can also be stowed in a strap along the collar, keeping it out of the way and at the ready.

The MTR Shell has a slightly looser athletic fit, with room for padding and layers between you and the shell.

  • $199.99 (Find it on sale at Chain Reaction Cycles)
  • Actual weight:198g
  • Packable dimensions: 5.5x4x4 (80in3)
  • Color: Forest green (shown), mango, navy
  • Wind proof, waterproof
  • Reflective accents
  • Removable hood
  • Rubberized shoulders for backpack straps
  • Integrated storage strap
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? In Scottland, yes.

Leatt DBX 2.0

The DBX 2.0 is Leatt’s most packable jacket, filling roughly the space of two large apples when wound tightly into its own chest pocket. The layered construction makes the jacket a bit warmer than many of the packable jackets we tested, and it seems every bit as durable as you would expect from a motocross gear company. The adjustable hood isn’t detachable, instead securing at the base of the neck with a pair of magnets to keep it from flapping around.

The DBX 2.0 also fits with a looser athletic cut, leaving space for padding and layers when you need them.

  • $99.99 (compare prices and styles)
  • Actual weight: 313g
  • Packable dimensions: 5x7x4 = 140in3
  • Color: Ink (shown), black, ruby
  • Wind proof, water resistant
  • Reflective accents
  • Magnetic hood-keeper
  • Self-storage pocket
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? Be ready to explain the arrows pointing at your butt.

Assos Equipe RS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Equipe RS rain jacket from Assos is the most roadie cut shell in the bunch, with an “Aero racing” design for an aggressively low position on the bike. Fortunately, it also works well on the dirt, and the two rear pockets are a welcome feature for riders who prefer to ditch the hip pack. Silicone gripper on the sleeves and rear tail keep it put, and the waterproof prowess of the jacket’s Schloss Tex material is undeniable.

Though this jacket is considered “black” it looks more like a translucent grey. The jacket itself is layered, and not see though.

The Equipe RS has a snug fit, with enough room for a base layer and jersey underneath, but no protective pads. For folks who enjoy all forms of cycling, this jacket will surely keep you and your pocket belongings dry and warm.

  • $349, €300 (buy it at Jenson USA)
  • Actual weight: 190g
  • Packable dimensions: 5x6x4 = 120in3
  • Color: Black (shown) or orange
  • Windproof, waterproof with DWR coating and taped seams
  • Double directional zip
  • Two rear pockets
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar? To an EDM show, of course.

Gore R3 Active Hooded Jacket

photo: Leah Barber

The Gore R3 Gore-Tex Active Hooded Jacket is a full-on, waterproof rain jacket that just so happens to be packable. Actually, Gore Wear doesn’t list packability as an official product feature, but the front “key” pocket can be turned inside out and is large enough to stuff the jacket inside with room to spare. The only indication that this isn’t an intended use is that the zipper pull is one-sided.

photo: Leah Barber

Because the R3 Hooded Jacket is designed to be a durable, waterproof jacket first and foremost, it’s rather thick and heavy which is great in a rainstorm. However, that places the jacket on the heavy side for packing, and isn’t something I’d throw in a pack “just in case.” But for days when rain is likely (or actively coming down at the start), it’s a great choice.

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As with all Gore Wear apparel, the construction is outstanding, and there’s a lifetime guarantee on the jacket. The hood is not removable, nor is it large enough to be worn over a helmet. The Gore-Tex material makes it both waterproof and breathable.

  • $299USD (compare prices and styles)
  • Colors: Red, Red/Chestnut, Gray/Black, and Blue/Deep Water Blue (pictured)
  • Waterproof
  • Attached hood
  • Taped seams
  • Reflective accents
  • 258g (size medium)
  • Packed dimensions: 8.5×4.5×3 inches (115 cubic inches)
  • Can I wear it to the office/bar: I would take it off inside the bar. It’s a rain jacket after all, and you wouldn’t walk into a bar with an umbrella over your head, would you?

We would like to thank all of the above companies for sending jackets to review. 

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# Comments

  • Robert Dobbs

    Wow, excellent reviews on a slew of jackets!
    The one thing I would like to see with these “packable” jackets is a rating (scale of 1-10) of “packability.”
    Of the 3 or 4 packable jackets I own they all require 10-15mins of fumbling to get them down to a “packable” size of a horse phallus. 😉 –They seldom (if ever) get down to the packable size the vendor claims they’ll achieve.

    • Brian Gerow

      Hi Robert,

      The top 9 jackets are all legitimately packable. You could wad them up and put them in the pocket of your shorts or in a small backpack pocket in under a minute. The final four fit closer to the forarm-size you are referring to.

  • Keith Sanders

    Waterproof is a very broad term. All waterproof garments have a waterproof rating that is in mm. Water proof can range from 2500mm to 30,000mm. I.E Goretex is roughly 20,000 mm to give a baseline. In addition the more waterproof garments will have sealed seams while the lessor garments will not. Including that would go a long way to determine what type of weather the jacket can be expected to be functional.

    • Jeff Barber

      This is correct. To keep things simple, we decided to classify jackets as either waterproof or not, based on how each is marketed by the manufacturer. (Admittedly this isn’t totally accurate either. Perhaps what we’re really saying is, would we stash the jacket for a rainy ride vs. just a cool, windy ride.) As you mentioned, looking only at the fabric rating doesn’t tell the whole story; a jacket constructed of 30,000mm fabric without waterproofed zippers or taped seams still isn’t waterproof.

  • vettorello

    Wow Turin!
    I live in the same city!
    Nice to see our city on this site!
    See you in Superga!

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