Pack-away jackets may be the best clothing invention for changing weather since Windstopper gloves. They can pull a multitude of tasks: a waterproof outer shell if it rains or there is moisture on the bushes, an emergency internal layer if the temperature drops, or a planned layer ready to take off and stash when it heats up. All three of these jackets ball up into a packable bundle and all are excellent at keeping you dry in a rain. In fact, most are better than heavier jackets boasting water repellency. All have strengths and weaknesses depending on what you are looking for.
The toughest built and thickest of the bunch, the MSR is the only one we’d recommend to riders who rip jerseys on a regular basis.
Completely waterproof and about as insulating as you are going to get in these shell-like jackets.
A mid-priced jacket that will last.
The most racy jacket in looks.What’s Not
Does not pack down as tight as the Klim and the zipper is not really designed to be operated inside out.
No straps for securing it once packed.
Not the best when worn under other jackets because of its comparative bulk.The Deal
MSR makes working-class gear that gets the job done and the Pac-Jak is durable at a fair price.
This is the lightest and thinnest material, rip-stop nylon, and it feels a lot more flimsy than it is since it resists tearing on branches better than the Klim jacket.
A roomy fit with an elastic collar and cuffs to keep cold and wet out, plus it hangs just low enough in the rear. The material does not breathe as well as the others, but it keeps you warmer than you’d think for something so light.
If it rains and you want to stay dry, there are not many things better besides trash bags for this price.What’s Not
Packs into a pretty large bag for such a light and thin jacket, but you can crush it further if needed.
If you don’t like gray, you are out of luck.The Deal
The Quick Coat is the low-cost option to keep you dry or warm, and with its lightweight it is hardly noticeable.
Made from Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, this is the top-of-the-line jacket that noticeably breathes and keeps you drier than the others since you are less likely to sweat yourself wet. The fleece collar is very nice.
Made to be worn over protection, there are elasticized drawstrings and heavier panels on the shoulders and elbows. There is even a waterproof breast pocket. Plus, you can wear this around and it doesn’t stand out as a motorcycle jacket-the best-looking jacket.
Packs into the tightest bag with a set of hook-and-loop straps for maximum storing options.What’s Not
The price is pretty hard to get over but you are definitely getting what you pay for. Klim just came out with a new and improved version, all the same goodness with a few more features!
The material was the easiest to tear in the branches and brush.
It is so nice and works so well that you don’t want to wear it on your dirt bike. Great for other sports, too!The Deal
This is the Ferrari of the pack-away jackets and you pay for it. But it is feature-packed and stands out.