You know that question, "If you could take one thing to a desert island, what would it be?" Well, if there were a jacket equivalent, like "If you could only have one jacket for the rest of your life," I'd immediately know my answer: the Atom LT Hoody from Arc'teryx.
It's an easy choice because the jacket fits almost every scenario. In the middle of the winter it's a great puffy piece. Coreloft insulation in the torso, arms, and hood keeps you warm when the temps drop, and Polartec Power Stretch fabric side panels let you breathe if you're working.
It's not so warm, however, that you can't wear it on milder days in the spring and fall, or even up in the mountains during the summer. It has a thin taffeta shell that keeps the wind out, and a DWR finish to fight off mild rain or light snow. There's a great range of motion if rock climbing is your thing during the off season, and it packs down nicely if you need to stash it in your mountain bike day pack.
I have a trip planned to France in June and frankly, I can't think of a better traveling jacket either. I look forward to snuggling up in the Atom LT during the overnight flight, and matched with a summer shell, it will be able to handle any of the elements Europe could throw at me.
The Atom LT is spendy. We know. But like all of Arc'teryx's products, you're paying for bomber construction. And since we're on the other side of winter, you might be able to find the Atom LT at a discount.