I was looking for a light, easy-to-pack jacket that would reduce the bite of bike commuting on those mornings that are cool, but not cold enough for a regular jacket. The Houdini over-delivers, as is typical with most Patagonia products. It's a quality piece, and packs down easy. The only downside of its compactness, is that I often misplace it. It's definitely not waterproof, and is water resistant at best. A good minute or two and a rain shower and it is soaked through and through - obviously though, that's not its intended purpose. All in all, it's a great jacket and I highly recommend it. Cheers!
I took this jacket to Mongolia for hiking and general outdoor use. I ended up wearing it almost every day. Blocks wind and misty rain - great and weighs next to nothing. It is not a waterproof rain jacket though, so get under protection when you see a big story coming. Since returning I've been using it hiking in Virginia and WV. Probably the most used piece of gear I've ever purchased. Check online reviews. Everyone agrees these are just awesome!
The only negative thing I can say is that sizing is off. Or at least consistency with all of patagonia's sizing. I wear a large in this an all other patagonia products (6'1, 195) and it is tight, not uncomfortably so, but if I puff out my back I can reach the seam's limit. Besides that it is the bee's knees. sub 5 oz, will keep out the rain for a bit, can wear it when its hot out, easy to regulate temp with full-zip. Good for winter running, emergency summer climbing piece, wind-cutting for a blustery bike ride, or just not wanted to get wet while moving around between car, house, and life. for the price it cannot be beat. doesnt feel clammy either. I think Steve House wore this as his outer shell while climbing Nanga Parbat. If that doesnt do it for you, i dont know what will.
I have used this jacket on and off for several years now and it always done well in light rain. The weight is amazingly light and it can be packed into practically anything. The zipper can be hard to close when stuffing it inside itself, but I dont usually do that. It doesnt add much other than water protection, so its nice to just pull on/off when going outdoors into a downpour. The sizing is right on for me with Patagonia. XL on a 200lb 6ft1in frame and can put a thin sweater on underneath if needed. Highly recommended.
Love this jacket, use it mostly for running, works great to cut the wind chill and packs tiny. Even works great as a light rain jacket to stow away for an emergency, it won't keep you dry for long in a downpour but will get you by in a pinch, and adds a little warmth on a chilly evening, but doesn't wear like a plastic trash bag like most truly waterproof jackets. The hood is great, the elastic at the cuffs is just right. I'm 5'9", 150 lbs and size medium works perfect. If you're debating between sizes, I'd recommend going up.
"Best of the bunch for a ultralight wind cheater"
I looked at several ultralight wind jackets before selecting the Patagonia Houdini. A friend had one he loved so I saw it before I ordered from Moosejaw. My only mistake was ordering a medium. I'm 5'7" 150 pounds, athletic build (and 69 years old although that doesn't having anything to do with the fit). The medium was snug and would have limited it to wear over just a base layer. I returned the medium for a large and now have room for base layer, wool shirt, and a light sweater. I'm accumulating gear for a 10 day excursion to Alaska, and the Houdini will definately make the trip.
Bought a houdini after wearing a friend's while out in the north cascades climbing and promptly bought one when arriving back in town. This jacket is phenomenal for me in that I am very warm blooded and never really want to throw on a thick windshell/insulating. Instead, I can have a longsleeve T on and the Houdini and be fine for most cold, windy days. The thing COMPLETELY blocks the wind. During the cooler months I'd say I wear this at least 4 times a week. It's great both in the mountains (I've used it in the Bugaboos and while skiing) and to just run around town in. The only downside is that it is not fully waterproof, but I knew that going into it.Spark notes: best windbreaker you can buy for both looks and usability.
Good:- Excellent windproofing- Sufficient DWR water resistance for dry snow and light rain- As breathable as you can get- Lightweight, packable- Durable enough to last me a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail, plus a year of climbing approaches, bike commuting, backcountry skiing and bikepacking.- Patagonad's bomber guaranteeBad:- Beware the carabiner loop. My stuffed Houdini ripped off of my harness 300 feet up a desert tower and plummeted to its early demise. I promptly replaced it with the same.Ugly:- You, skinning up a ridge on a cold, windy winter ascent without this thing or an equivalent.. Also recommended: Montane Litespeed.
This is the third Patagonia Houdini that I have purchased. Two are in bright colors because I use them for jogging. But I also take one of these jackets almost everywhere I travel since it weighs only three ounces; it is almost un-noticed until I need it. I am tall, thin and get cold when the wind blows on me. The Houdini blocks the wind and keeps me comfortable. While the bright colors have been fine for mountains, deserts, lakes and oceans, they have been a bit strange for places like Paris, London and New York, so I recently bought a Houdini in blue. I recommend Houdinis to friends and relatives, and am extremely positive about it - - as long as you are not too heavy.