Patagonia Micro Puff hoody: What is it?

A super-versatile synthetic down jacket from the Californian outdoors brand. The Micro Puff's really strong suit is its small size and high performance in a variety of conditions, which makes it a great companion for active travels when space is at a premium and you're not sure what the weather gods are going to throw at you.

Patagonia Micro Puff hoody: Why do I need it?

There's no such thing as a true do-anything piece of kit – particularly when you're travelling light – but the Micro Puff is an insulated jacket that does a hell of a lot in a tiny package. Patagonia says it has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any jacket it's ever made, and at 263g for the hooded version (the hoodless and vest variants are, obviously, lighter still) it's not going to trouble the airport luggage scales or hold you back when you're on the move. Every element – from the windproof and water-resistant Pertex Quantum shell to the down-aping PlumaFill insulation – is designed to extract maximum performance from the lightest possible materials and construction (check out those innovative quilted baffles). That being said, you wouldn't want to be exposed to snow or heavy rain for too long without a proper waterproof shell.

Patagonia Micro Puff hoody: Should I buy it?

The Micro Puff is the kind of jacket you'll find yourself using constantly, whether you're in the city, in the hills or travelling between the two. It looks good, has a great fit and has – as you'd expect from Patagonia – impeccable eco credentials. That should make the price a little easier to swallow: the Micro Puff's a high-tech, high-performance piece of kit and accordingly it doesn't come cheap. But if you frequently need a lot of jacket in a little package, they don't come better than this.

The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody (tested in Balkan Blue) costs £250; eu.patagonia.com