As an avid hiker living in Colorado, and trail guide on five continents for my travel company Go Get Lost…Worldwide Adventures, I’m often asked for my recommendations on travel clothing. Without a doubt I have my favorite pieces of gear and apparel…the items that go into my suitcase without a second of mental debate.
It’s rare the trip that doesn’t see me wearing my Android II jacket from Mountain Hardwear (Retail $150). It doesn’t often get packed in the checked baggage; I either wear it during the flight or pack it in the carry-on bag for deployment during the flight when the cabin temperature drops to 10 degrees below frigid. The great thing about this jacket is that it does what I strive for with every piece of gear or apparel…multiple uses. Clothing that can do double-duty means you can pack less…which is always the goal, right?
In the past I’ve had to use a standard jacket with a more finished look to travel, and nice enough to wear to a restaurant in the evening. But then I also had to pack a more performance oriented jacket for the trail, boat, or whatever adventure my trip threw at me…maybe a fleece with a breathable, windproof lining. There are tons of great high-tech performance jackets out there, but they look a bit odd when you wear them out in the evening to dinner. You tend to look like you just parachuted in to the restaurant. Then to make packing even more difficult, I also needed a water-resistant jacket for the inevitable rainy days.
Now, thanks to the folks at Mountain Hardwear, I can have one piece to cover all of the above. The Android II looks smart enough to wear in business class, with a zipper front and clean, classic sportswear lines. Don’t be fooled by its low-key look, though, when it comes to performance. The soft outer shell is slightly stretchy to accommodate movement comfortably, and fairly water-resistant, perfectly suited to shedding the rain as you run for a cab, or chase down your horse. A fuzzy inner liner of breathable polyester lets the Android II take the chill off on your morning hike. After it warms up you can shed the jacket, roll it up and stuff it into your daypack without worrying about wrinkles. And when going to a nice restaurant in the evening, it looks much better than a pullover fleece jacket or a brightly colored outdoor hiking jacket. At the end of the day this jacket can even be washed in the sink at your hotel and, being entirely synthetic, will dry quickly.
Without a doubt, though, my favorite feature is the wind-blocking Air-Shield technology! I’ve long been a proponent of wind-blocking yet breathable fabrics…I’m a believer! I rarely buy any type of outerwear without that feature. Jackets with this are sleek and not bulky, but yet manage to keep you cool when it’s hot, dry when it’s wet, and warm when it’s cold. I’m not sure how this works, I think magic is involved.
Through the airport, on the plane, during my daily adventures, and in the evening to go to dinner…it covers all of them! (And no, I don’t sleep in it.)
You can find it here at Amazon.com: