It can be hard to pack for any weather condition and not wind up filling your suitcase with a bunch of just-in-case items. It’s especially challenging in shoulder season, when it might rain but it might not, it might be cold but it might not, and the sun sometimes warms you but not always.


In cases like rain, I like to bring along an ultra-lightweight shell that can pack down into a tiny package and not weight down my suitcase, let alone my daypack. And while I don’t always choose performance clothing items in my travel wardrobe, this is a case when I do. The Patagonia Women’s Storm Racer Jacket is my current ride-or-die.


The Storm Racer is a fully recycled, 3-layer, waterproof shell that’s also breathable—so it’s not like being trapped in a greenhouse when you’re out on the trail or walking through the streets. The 3-layer 100% recycled nylon ripstop face keeps you dry and the 7-denier tricot backer feels soft next to your skin. A durable water repellent (DWR) finish that’s made without perfluorinated chemicals is an extra bonus. The jacket is also made in a Fair-Trade Certified factory, which helps ensure living wages in the supply chain.


The slim fit has a close-to-body cut, so there’s no extra fabric to impede your stride. The half-elastic cuffs are curved for better hand protection, the drawcord hem allows a quick and easy adjustment, and the hood can be adjusted in one pull for ease of use and improved peripheral vision.


A zippered, stash chest pocket is a great place for minimal gear, like keys, money, or a phone. When it’s time to pack the jacket away, just stuff it into that chest pocket for quick stowage.


The women’s Storm Racer Jacket comes in pimento red or subtidal blue and lists for $299.