Leather jackets are a travel essential. With the right lightweight leather jacket, you can stay stylish and comfortable whether you’re strolling the streets of Paris or hiking the trails in Peru. When you’re traveling carry-on only, space and weight are at a premium. You need an jacket that’s versatile enough to layer over anything, durable enough to take daily wear and tear, yet compact enough to squeeze into a tiny suitcase.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the best lightweight leather travel jacket for your needs. You’ll learn how to evaluate the weight, versatility, comfort, durability and style of a leather jacket. We’ll also reveal our top picks for lightweight leather jackets from brands we love. Read on for expert tips to find your perfect travel jacket!
Factors to Consider When Picking a Lightweight Leather Jacket for Travel
Choosing a leather jacket for globetrotting isn’t as simple as grabbing the first cute option off the rack. To get maximum use out of your travel leather jacket, keep the following factors in mind while shopping around:
The heaviest pieces in your travel wardrobe should be shoes and outerwear. Since you can only bring so much on a carry-on friendly trip, weight is crucial. Look for leather jackets between 1-3 lbs. Thinner, lighter leathers like lambskin tend to create lighter jackets perfect for travel. Jackets lined with only satin or soft fabric are also less bulky.
Heavier jacket weights usually come from:
- Thicker leather hides like steer hide, which is very durable but weighs more.
- Pile fabric linings to make the jacket warmer. Skip for travel.
- Additional layers like shoulder pads or double layers of leather. Avoid for lighter packing.
The key to any good travel piece is versatility. To get cost per wear down on your leather jacket, make sure it’s:
- Pair-able with both casual and dressy outfits. Opt for sleek styling in black, brown or navy hues.
- Transitional for warm and cool weather. Look for light linings that can be removed, or even sleeve zips to let air flow through.
- Suitable for layering. Make sure it fits slim enough under bulky sweaters but has enough room inside for long sleeves.
You want your travel leather jacket soft enough to wear all day sightseeing, yet structured enough to hold its shape. Seek out buttery soft leathers like lambskin that feel broken-in right away. Steer hides are very durable but can feel stiff and rigid.
For the best comfort:
- Prioritize soft, flexible leathers that move with you.
- Ensure the jacket has breathable lining to prevent overheating and sweating.
- The collar should have a comfortable contour without digging in when zipped up.
Travel is tough on clothes! You need a leather jacket that will resist scuffs, oils and dirt through all your adventures.
For maximum durability, look for:
- Full grain leather, ideally 1-1.2mm thick, usually from cow or steer hides. Avoid super thin split leather prone to tearing.
- Reinforced seams with full binding tape rather than single stitching. This prevents seam failure.
- Water and wind resistance if you’ll be in inclement weather. Waxy pull-up leathers offer natural weatherproofing.
Ideally, your jacket should stand up to:
- Accidental spills while eating street food.
- Getting caught in the rain unprepared.
- Squishing into airplane seats and car trunks for days on end!
Just because it’s a travel jacket doesn’t mean you have to compromise style! Most leather jacket silhouettes work for travel, like:
- Timeless moto jackets with asymmetric zips and snap collar details.
- Bomber jackets with ribbed hems and cuffs for a sporty vibe.
- Minimal modern cuts without excessive hardware or zippers.
Consider these style factors when choosing a travel leather jacket:
- Flattering fit. Look for a tapered shape to define your figure.
- Color. Stick with versatile neutrals like black, brown or navy.
- Collar style. Choose from snap-down, zip-up, or fold-over lapels.
- Pockets. Opt for secure zippered or snap pockets.
- Length. Cropped styles work well for petites. For leggy looks, choose mid-thigh or longer lengths.
Since you’ll likely be layering your jacket over hoodies, sweaters and long sleeves, pay special attention to fit. Look for:
- A tailored silhouette that flatters your shape, not bulky or boxy.
- Snug sleeves that won’t slide up your arm when layered.
- Enough room across shoulders and chest to accommodate layers underneath.
- Length allowing full coverage of your hips.
Be sure to check size charts and measure yourself for your best fit. Leather doesn’t stretch like knits, so sizing up is better than down.
When buying a leather jacket for frequent travel wear, it’s worth investing more up front in quality that will last season after season. Figure at least $250 to $500+ for a leather jacket handcrafted from durable hides. Even higher end labels like Acne, Sandro, Reiss, and Allsaints have stylish options under $600.
If your budget is under $200, stick with well-reviewed faux leather that mimics the look of real leather for less. You may have to sacrifice long term durability and weather resistance. But for very occasional trips, it can work.
Now that you know how to evaluate travel-ready leather jackets, let’s reveal our top picks in lightweight styles we love!
Top 5 Lightweight Leather Jackets for Globetrotting Travel
After extensive research of dozens of brands and hundreds of jackets, these lightweight stunners rose to the top as our top picks for stylish travel:
1. Banana Republic Faux Suede Moto Jacket
- Vegan faux suede in a cool moto jacket silhouette.
- Removable knit quilted lining makes this transitional for warm and cool climates.
- Just over 2 pounds to stay lightweight in your luggage.
- Soft collar that sits elegantly when popped.
- Subtly distressed to skip the break-in period.
- Zip pockets keep belongings secure.
- Available in versatile khaki, black, and navy colors starting at $198.
Pros: Super lightweight and versatile 4-season wear. Cool moto edge at a price under $200.
Cons: Runs large so size down. Faux suede lacks the weatherproofing of real leather.
2. Sam Edelman Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket
- Smooth faux leather with a broken-in look.
- Quilted lining that can be removed to drop over 1⁄2 pound of weight.
- Princess seams create an hourglass silhouette.
- Bold zippers amp up the edgy moto style.
- Front zip pockets secure essentials.
- Comes in both black and brandy for $198.
Pros: Stylish moto jacket under $200. Removable lining makes it perfect for warmer destinations.
Cons: Sizing runs inconsistently, so diligently check measurements before ordering.
3. BLANKNYC Faux Leather Moto Jacket
- A budget-friendly faux leather moto jacket.
- Sophisticated fit with crisp tailoring through shoulders and waist.
- Sleek fold-over lapels and zip cuffs polish off the edgy look.
- Substantial front zip pockets hold travel necessities securely.
- Weighs around 2.5 pounds for easy packing.
- Snag it on sale from Nordstrom for under $100.
Pros: Very lightweight and affordable. Great tailored fit flatters most figures.
Cons: Quality reflects lower price point. Spot clean only.
4. Allsaints Balfern Leather Biker Jacket
- Genuine lambskin leather with Allsaints signature biker edge.
- Strategic paneling creates a slim, flattering silhouette.
- Shiny gunmetal hardware amps up the downtown rebel vibe.
- Zips on cuffs allow versatility in warmer weather.
- Weighs under 3 pounds for lighter packing.
- Get it in black, gray or tan for $428.
Pros: High quality lambskin gives a super soft feel immediately. Expert Allsaints tailoring and detailing.
Cons: Slim fit can feel restrictive for curvier figures. Delicate lambskin requires gentler care.
5. Topshop Patsy Faux Leather Bomber Jacket
- Sporty bomber style modernized in slick faux leather.
- Ribbed cuffs and hem give a casual varsity vibe.
- Roomy yet tailored fit layers perfectly over tees and sweaters.
- Front zip and side pockets fit travel necessities.
- At 2.5 pounds, it won’t weigh down your luggage.
- Find it on Nordstrom for $115 in black and ivory.
Pros: Great lightweight and versatile bomber style. Faux leather makes it budget friendly.
Cons: Runs large so consider sizing down. Minimal lining means less warmth.
Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!
We know picking that perfect travel leather jacket can still leave you with questions. Here we’ll tackle some frequently asked topics to help you decide:
How do I clean and care for a leather travel jacket?
Genuine leather should be professionally cleaned to avoid damage. Many faux leathers can be spot cleaned at home with mild soap and a damp cloth. Avoid submerging leather in water. Since you can’t toss it in the wash, avoid light colors that could stain easily while eating exotic foods!
What temperature ranges can a lightweight leather jacket handle?
It depends on the lining! A fully lined leather jacket can keep you cozy even into the 50s °F. For warmer destinations, look for thin or removable linings. Breathable leather types like lambskin also resist overheating better than heavyweight cowhide.
How do I keep a leather jacket from smelling while traveling?
Allowing it to air out overnight can help dissipate odors. Using cedar chips or dryer sheets in your luggage can absorb lingering smells too. To freshen up, gently wipe inside the jacket with diluted white vinegar or lemon juice using a microfiber cloth.
Should I buy real or faux leather for travel?
Genuine leather is more breathable, ages well, and withstands the elements. But faux leather weighs less, costs less, and is easier to care for. Faux leather technology has improved to mimic a real leather look and feel. For shorter trips, faux leather can totally work!
How can I prevent scratches and scuffs on a leather jacket?
Avoid wearing bulky jewelry or bags that could rub against your jacket. Store your jacket on a wide hanger, away from other items in the closet that could scuff it. Treat it before trips with a light leather conditioner to help resist marks.
What’s the difference between a moto jacket and a bomber jacket?
Moto jackets have an asymmetrical zip and moto-racer styling details like epaulets and zip cuffs. Bomber jackets have more varsity-style ribbed hems, cuffs and collar with a full front zip. Bomber jackets typically provide less warmth than fully-lined moto styles.
How can I find the best deals on leather jackets?
Check end of season sales for brands like Allsaints, Sandro, Maje, and Reiss. Nordstrom Rack is another go-to for major brand leather jackets marked down. For a deal under $200, check Zara, Topshop, BlankNYC or Sam Edelman.
How should a leather jacket properly fit?
It should contour your natural shape rather than drowning your figure. Aim for roomy but not baggy sleeves allowing layers underneath. Size up if needed for a comfortable zip, but avoid excessive looseness around your midsection. Proper shoulder fit ensures the sleeves hang correctly.
How can I maximize versatility from one leather travel jacket?
Stick with neutral colors like black, brown or gray that pair with anything. Look for a mid-length hem you can wear dressy or casual. Details like epaulets, zips and buckles add styling options. Opt for sleeker finishes and simple lines over anything too bold or funky.
It’s Time to Find Your Perfect Travel Leather Jacket
We hope these tips help you shop smartly for the lightweight leather jacket of your dreams! Keep fabric weight, versatility and quality in mind as you search. And don’t forget to reference our favorites for timeless style you can wear anywhere your travels take you.
Finding a leather jacket that combines durability, comfort and packability is well worth it when you consider the memories made wearing it. Now go forth and shop confidently for that one perfect travel jacket to live in during all your adventures!
Which style or brand looks like your top contender? Share your thoughts in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!