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A travel raincoat is typically a type of light waterproof jacket that is designed to pack easily into a suitcase or carry-on bag. While a travel raincoat may suffice on a trip, it is generally not a jacket that is intended to be worn everyday while at home; purchasing this type of raincoat generally requires some compromise on quality. This is certainly not a guarantee, however, and many travel raincoats can function well when shoved into a suitcase or when worn every time it rains.
Because a travel raincoat is designed to be lightweight and easily able to be folded, it may have a thin interior liner or none at all. Some feature a removable fleece-type liner that may be zipped into or out of the raincoat to be worn on chillier days. Most travel raincoats simply feature a water resistant or waterproof exterior; cheaper, lower-quality raincoats may have a plastic exterior, while a more expensive travel raincoat might have a more advanced fabric.
A hood is a very common inclusion on a lightweight raincoat. The hood may also be able to be zipped off and removed, though that may slightly defeat the purpose of a raincoat. A raincoat may also feature a small pouch within the top of the coat, in which the hood can be stored while it is not in use, such as while using the coat as a windbreaker.
Travel raincoats come in men's, women's, and children's versions, and often in bright colors. Still others are completely clear. They are offered in varying lengths; hip length is fairly popular, but a longer length may be a good idea if traveling to a particularly cold, rainy climate to protect the tops of the legs. Longer raincoats generally reach to approximately mid-thigh.
A travel raincoat is designed to be folded to a compact size and unfolded without looking too wrinkled. Some coats come with carrying pouches to store the coat in, while other coats are capable of transforming into their own carrying pouch, and zipping in on themselves. This type of coat is excellent for travel, because it eliminates the need to carry an extra carrying pouch, and the raincoat is often able to get much smaller than if it were just folded.
If one does not plan to travel frequently, however, it may be a good idea to purchase a standard raincoat instead of a travel version. An everyday raincoat may be thicker and of higher quality, and may be able to keep the wearer warmer and dryer than just a thin travel raincoat is capable of. In addition, travel raincoats and everyday raincoats tend to be fairly comparably priced.
Travel raincoats are also useful for keeping in the back seat of a the car, just in case you forget your umbrella, or get caught in a sudden shower. Maybe they're not intended for everyday wear, but they certainly can come in handy!
I like the ones that are made out of something that looks like the parachute material they used to use for trousers in the 80s. Those seem to be the best at actually keeping the wearer dry in a downpour.
I'd also say a hood, removable or not, is an essential feature. If you don't want to wear it, just don't pull it over your head.
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