Photo: Morgane Croissant

This Packable Rain Jacket Will Keep You Bone Dry, Even in Torrential Rain

Technology + Gear
by Morgane Croissant Dec 29, 2023

November tends to be the most miserable month of the year. At least if you live above the 30th parallel north. It’s overcast, wet, and, although not necessarily very cold, certainly nowhere near warm. It’s usually when temperatures are too high for a proper winter coat, but the weather is too horrid not to wear something waterproof and windproof.

Enter the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell.

This past November 11, just like every year, my partner and I went to our small town’s Remembrance Day celebration (the Canadian equivalent of Veterans Day), which takes place outside City Hall, no matter the climate. Veterans and active military members in uniforms are present, there’s a brass band, the mayor and the city council are here, and several hundreds of townspeople wrapped in their finest impermeable clothing or holding colorful umbrellas stand for about 90 minutes to honor those who have fought in world wars and other conflicts. In 2023, it was, pardon my language, properly pissing down. I’m pretty sure the band’s tuba had several inches of water in it.

While I was in an ill-thought-out, dressy wool coat trying to keep the rain away with a large umbrella, my partner opted to wear my too-big Jack Wolfskin jacket. In the end, with the hood snug around his head, the jacket fully zipped, and his hands deep inside the roomy pockets, he was drier than I was.


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Sizing for the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell


Jack Wolfskin jacket: Pack & Go Shell

Photo: Morgane Croissant

Last fall, Jack Wolfskin kindly offered me a Pack & Go Shell to test out — all they needed was my preferred color and size. Because I know that female clothing’s sizes are a total mess, I dutifully checked out the detailed guide on the brand’s website, got my measuring tape out, and picked the corresponding size. The result was XL. I usually wear a size M, but if the website said I needed XL, who was I to not follow its advice? A fool, that’s who.

Upon informing them about the issue, the brand told me to keep the XL jacket, which I gave to my six-feet-two-inches, 180-pound male partner to whom it fits just right, and sent me a size L, which suits me perfectly.

If you’re between sizes, order the size up, but don’t follow the website’s guidelines exactly — they tend to err on the large side.


The best features of the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell



It’s extremely waterproof and windproof


Jack Wolfskin jacket: Pack & Go Shell

Photo: Morgane Croissant

Both my partner and I tested this Jack Wolfskin jacket in very wet conditions and we are both adamant about one thing: It does the job of keeping you dry impeccably.

When zipped all the way up, the collar lands just under your eyes, keeping most of your face dry and protected from the wind. The hood is also adjustable thanks to an elastic drawstring at the back, allowing you to keep your ears and hair fully covered from inclement weather. The cuffs are fitted with velcro cuff tabs for the same purpose, and there are two elastic drawstrings at the hem. Once all adjusted, there is no way you’ll get wet, even in a downpour, or cold, even in a windstorm.


It’s super light


Jack Wolfskin jacket: Pack & Go Shell

Photo: Morgane Croissant

This Jack Wolfskin jacket weighs 11.6 ounces (330 grams), so it’s easy to put it in a bag or luggage in case the weather turns, and forget all about it. It also means it’s pleasant to wear — it does not feel bulky and does not hinder movement, even with multiple layers underneath.

Note that the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go is a shell, so it won’t keep you warm in low temperatures. You need to add warm layers underneath if you venture into colder climates.


It’s packable


Jack Wolfskin jacket: Pack & Go Shell

Photo: Morgane Croissant

The Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell is ideal for the traveler who likes to be ready for anything. Because it packs into a 9.8 x 7-inch trapezoid and it’s very light, you can easily add it to any bag or suitcase without taking much notice it’s there. I’ve taken the habit of just throwing it into my backpack when I go somewhere for the day and I’m not sure what the weather will throw at me.

To turn it from a fully functional rain jacket into the aforementioned trapezoid, just stuff it into the left pocket. It takes 30 seconds and requires no specific instructions. Easy-peasy.


Additional great details about the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell



Romy zippered pockets


Because the pockets act as stow pouches for the entire jacket, they are very large. You can stuff your mittens, your phone, and your keys in them, and you’d still have room for a snack. It also means you can keep your hands dry and sheltered from the wind when needed. The icing on the cake is that the pockets are zippered, which is a must to keep your belongings safe.


Grippy zipper pulls


Jack Wolfskin jacket: Pack & Go Shell

Photo: Morgane Croissant

Every little detail counts when you purchase a piece of gear that you know you’ll wear a lot in uncomfortable situations, even the zipper pulls. On the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell, each of the three zippers (the main front zipper and the two pocket zippers) is fitted with a non-elastic cord covered in a grippy material. The zipper pulls, along with the zippers, drawstrings, velcro tabs, and lining, are all the same color and match perfectly the exterior of the jacket.


The material is excellent


Jack Wolfskin jacket: Pack & Go Shell

Reflective details on the Pack & Go Shell. Photo: Morgane Croissant

The Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell is entirely made from the softest, breathable, non-crinkly, wrinkle-resistant polyester (the lining is made of a recycled polyester mesh). You can take it out of its stow pouch and wear it right away without worrying about looking unkempt.


What the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Shell can do better



Few color options


Because the brand gifted me two Jack Wolfskin jackets, I was able to take a good look at two of the colors available for women — night blue and hedge green — both of which are lovely and discreet, but a little flat. There are currently very few colors available on the brand’s site (four for women, three for men), all of them rather tame. Options that are a little brighter and fun wouldn’t go amiss.


It could use one more pocket


While the two pockets available are roomy, an inside zippered pocket to fit a phone, a small wallet, or a passport would bring this Jack Wolfskin jacket near perfection.

Buy Now – Men’s

Buy Now – Women’s

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