A light, packable, and good-looking softshell like this one is an essential travel piece because of its versatility. I wore it trotting the globe: from the damp streets of Ho Chi Min City to the cool mountains south of Santiago. The supple, stretchy polyester breathes very well, sheds light rain, and dries quickly, making it a killer piece to pack when you need something that will thwart chill and drizzle on a dayhike and still look low-tech in the city.
The brimmed hood cinched snugly during a daylong blustery bike ride through the hills of Vietnam, and adjustable cuffs let me block out light rain. Cut is long and straight, with enough room for a few light layers beneath. Limitation: For truly wet and windy weather, you’ll want more protection. patagonia.com
Travelers who want versatility, performance, and style for moderate weather
> Kristin Hostetter (other tester: Shannon Davis)
> Duration Sept. to Nov.
> Locales/conditions Chile, Vietnam, New England; 40°F to 70°F; winds up to 20 mph, high humidity and light rain
> “I spilled red wine on the sleeve one night in Vietnam. Back at my hotel, I washed it out with water and a bar of soap.”