A Travel Writer Says This $34 Amazon Packable Puffer Vest Is a ‘Must-have’ for Fall and Winter Trips

I’ve worn mine everywhere from Montana to Machu Picchu.

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Amazon Packable Puffer Vest Tout

There’s sweater weather, and then there’s puffer vest season. If you’re like this travel writer, a puffer vest is the one item that you can’t be without, especially when it comes to a LBDV — you know, a lightweight black down vest. Similar to the quintessential little black dress, a down vest has been a staple in my wardrobe for more than a decade, largely because I live in Montana and winter tends to infiltrate spring and fall.

Over the years, I’ve tried my fair share of puffer vests and realized that they’re not all travel-friendly; some were just too puffy and took up too much space in my luggage. And, I’ve decided that not packing into a pocket or bag is a serious dealbreaker. Fortunately, I discovered the Amazon Essentials Packable Puffer Vest that conveniently compresses down into a drawstring pouch, which is about the size of an iPhone. Plus, it only costs $34.

Amazon Essentials Women's Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Vest
Amazon Essentials Women's Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Vest.


To buy: amazon.com, $34

Made of water-resistant nylon, I can confidently say the vest delivers. I brought it along on a recent trip to Peru, where rain was on the forecast. The Amazon Essentials Vest kept me dry while touring the Tambo del Inka Resort, as well as while hiking the Andean walking trails. It also kept me warm while visiting nearby Machu Picchu, which is at an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet and is usually cloudy and overcast. Two tourists at the iconic Incan ruins even commented on how they wished they’d brought their own down vests after seeing me in mine. 

While this vest isn’t made of real down feathers, it still keeps me toasty thanks to the high collar, zipper and pockets, and sleeveless design that allows me to layer my favorite long-sleeve tops and sweaters underneath. That said, perhaps my favorite place to wear my down vest is on flights. Plane cabins are always kept cold (and for good reason), but even with the blankets airlines provide on overnight flights, I’m always freezing. Thanks to the packable puffer vest vest, my core always stays warm, and I never find myself overheating or feeling restricted when wearing it since my arms are free. 

Adding to how travel-friendly it is, it’s easy to care for at home or on the go since it’s machine-washable, and it never comes out of the dryer deflated; I simply toss it in the dirty laundry pile with everything else and don’t worry about it. 

Amazon Packable Puffer Vest Author Photo

Travel + Leisure / Katie Jackson

Impressively, 6,500-plus shoppers have left it a perfect five-star rating, helping it to earn a spot on Amazon’s best-sellers list for outerwear vests. According to reviewers, the packable puffer vest is a “must-have” that’s well-made, warm, and versatile enough for any activity, from hiking and backpacking to outdoor training. I was particularly sold after reading a review from a customer that took it on an Alaskan cruise and was happy to report that it was not only warm enough but it also packed easily.

Shoppers have their choice of 11 colors, ranging from versatile neutrals like navy, gray, and black to red, yellow, leopard spots, and camouflage patterns. I bought it in black, of course, but I’ve also been eyeing the olive green version. It comes in sizes XS to XXL, and it’s worth noting that several reviewers mention that it runs small. (I’m about 5’4 and 110 pounds, and the XS fits perfectly.) Wearers also point out that it could pass for “more expensive brands,” making it a bargain at under $40.

Amazon Essentials Women's Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Vest

To buy: amazon.com, $34

In terms of fit, this vest might not have the same flattering silhouette that my Lululemon Pack It Down Vest boasts, but it’s still tailored enough that it doesn’t look boxy. And unlike my Lululemon vest, I can comfortably wear thicker layers — like my favorite cashmere sweater — under it. The Amazon Essentials Packable Puffer Vest is also super lightweight, so I never feel like the Michelin Man when wearing it, even when I stash things in the zippered hand pockets. 

Whether I’m hiking around Machu Picchu or simply trying to survive winter in Montana, the Amazon Essentials Packable Puffer Vest is definitely the MVP of my cold-weather wardrobe. Get one at Amazon for just $34 before your next trip. 

Amazon Essentials Women's Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Vest


To buy: amazon.com, $34

At the time of publishing, the price was $34. 

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