Any suggestions for a travel jacket that can also hack it as a weather-protection piece and meeting wear? It doesn't have to look like a three-piece suit, but it should up the ante on standard backpacking gear. Rick Edmonton, Alberta
Well, thats an interesting question. A jacket that looks decent around town, survives being stuffed into a suitcase, and offers some protection from the elements.
ExOfficio Barometric Jacket
Were not going to find a navy blazer with little brass buttons that has a Gore-Tex liner, but by looking to travel-friendly outerwear companies we might find something. ExOfficio, for instance, makes a piece called the Barometric Jacket ($170, but now on sale for $119) that is essentially an urban soft shell. Its made from polyester twill with a water-repellent finish, so it can shrug off rain, offer some warmth when its cold, and resist wind. Its also wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent. The look is low-key, and, with a sweater or dress shirt, you would look fine walking into any business-casual environment.
I also think Patagonias Shelled Synchilla ($160) is a piece that looks good nearly anywhere. Its slightly on the technical side, with a slick polyester shell over a fleece lining. But its colors are subtle, and its bomber-jacket style is a go-anywhere classic. My Shelled Synchilla is more or less my standard winter uniform.
Lastly, Cloudveils Serendipity ($270) offers a really high-performance piece that employs Schoellers Dryskin Extreme fabric, which works well in wind, rain, snow. Its definitely an outdoor piece, but the design is very clean and understated. Get it in black, throw it over a black turtleneck, and people will just naturally show you the respect you deserve.
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