Patagonia Houdini – Ultralight Backcountry Companion

Patagonia Houdini

Looking for a windshirt that won’t break the bank, stuffs super small and can stand the test of time? The Patagonia Houdini might just be the perfect jacket for your needs. The Houdini comes in at under $100 and under four ounces – winner winner, chicken dinner. Read on to see what else makes the Patagonia Houdini worth your hard earned money.

The Patagonia Houdini is not a new jacket and not much has changed over the years but it has not needed too. (Ed. Note– There’s a heated controversy – that most of you won’t care about – regarding Patagonia changing the Houdini fabric between 2012 and 2013.  Older Houdinis let more air through, allowing for more moisture transfer at higher activity levels while remaining windproof.  The newer fabric is not as breathable but is more weather resistant.  The more you know…)  The Houdini jacket is just that good. It has been part of Patagonia’s line up for years and comes in several models.

The Houdini jacket is more of a windbreaker or windshirt than an actual jacket. It does have a good DWR treatment that does a good job of shedding water, but it is by no means waterproof. It is a perfect emergency layer, something that you can keep in the car or your backpack for “just in case”. It is the perfect jacket for a nice hike or even for just hanging out. I find that I grab this jacket when I am not sure of the weather and/or want to wear a light jacket. I have even used it for snowboarding and backcountry travel. In fact, many others have used this jacket as their main jacket in the mountains.

You can stuff the jacket into this chest pocket and store it on the outside of your pack or harness. It is lightweight (4 oz) enough to carry with you on any trip. It is made a very thin but resilient material (15 D nylon ripstop). I have cut it on rocks but took some tenacious tape to it and it has not given me any other problems. The fit is spot on, not too tight, nor too loose. Size XL fits my 6’1” 200lb frame well. The sleeves have a nice bit of elastic that keeps them in place or allows you to slide them up on your forearms, for that 80’s look.

Patagonia offers both men’s and women’s versions in a hooded jacket and pullover.  You can also get a Houdini vest or pants.  And, it doesn’t really count for this review, but Patagonia offers a more robust, actually waterproof Alpine Houdini in both hooded jacket and pants.

With all the varieties of colors and different styles, there is surely one that fits your needs. Again, it is not new or reinvented, but it is tried and true and I (and many others) love it!

To see where it stacks up against a few other windshirts, check our comparison video:

See also –

Patagonia Storm Racer – The Best Ultralight Rain Shell for Most People

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