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Kit review: Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Written by Fiona

May 02 2016

Patagonia describes their newly updated Houdini jacket as “a featherweight nylon jacket that is easily packable, weather resistant and super versatile with a minimalist style.” It is aimed at trail runners, as well as climbers, cyclists and anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Features include:

  • Weather-resistant 100% nylon ripstop fabric to block wind and withstand abrasion
  • DWR (durable water repellent) finish treatment
  • Full centre front zip
  • Slim fit to allow for a baselayer (the new jacket has slightly more shoulder room)
  • Hood that cinches with a single pull
  • Lightweight cording and toggles
  • Half-elastic cuffs
  • Drawcord base hem
  • Packs into zipped chest pocket
  • Reflective logos
  • Male and female specific designs.
  • £85

Buy from Patagonia. Also see the men’s Houdini jacket.

On test: Patagonia Houdini Jacket

I have tested the jacket while running, walking and road cycling. My favourite features are the super lightweight fabric, slim-fit design and the tiny size of pocket that it packs into.

This is a jacket that is ideal for fickle summer weather (I have used it in Scotland a lot). I also made good use of it on an early season cycle holiday in Mallorca when a lightweight jacket helped to keep out the wind and chill when cycling fast downhill.


The women’s size small fits me nicely. I can wear a couple of thin layers underneath yet the jacket doesn’t ever feel like it’s billowing around. Equally, it’s not so tight that I can fit only a t-shirt underneath.

The length is fine. It’s not super generous so when bent over on a bike the shorts and the back hem are a little short for me but I am a tall female.

The hood fits neatly and is easy to adjust so that it doesn’t blow off in the wind.

The jacket could weigh less if the full zip was replaced with a half zip and the cord pulls were smaller and flimsier but that might make the jacket a bit throwaway.

Jacket repels light rain.

Jacket repels light rain.

The jacket is effective at keeping out the wind. Even when whizzing downhill on Mallorcan mountain passes I found the fabric kept out the worst of the wind.

In light to medium-weight rain, the jacket also does a good job of keeping the rain off the clothing underneath. The fabric is very breathable as well so this means that you do not get wet on the inside due to sweat.

However, you should be aware that the fabric is light and thin. It is see-through! Although made of nylon and therefore durable this is not a jacket for winter weather.

Squeezed into a bike bag in a bottle cage.

Squeezed into a bike bag in a bottle cage.

I am not keen on the rustling sound of this jacket. There are far quieter jackets, such as those made by inov-8, but it is also not the noisiest jacket I have tried. I think I am quite sensitive to the rustling noise of jackets os other people might not notice it at all!

Small hand-sized pack.

Small hand-sized pack.


24146_VLTB_STUFFI love that the jacket packs down to a tiny size. I would be happy to carry this in my hand or a pocket when running or walking. In Mallorca it stuffed into a small bike bag that I had on my bike.

Conclusion: This is a brilliant jacket for spring and summer for all kinds of outdoor activities, which makes it useful and versatile. It’s a just-in-case kind of product. It packs away very small and is very lightweight to carry around. When wearing the jacket it offers a surprising amount of weather resistance for such a lightweight item.

I think the price is fair although you probably need to account for the big brand name of Patagonia in the RRP of £85. At the same time, Patagonia is a brand to trust so I think it’s worth paying for that feeling of confidence.

See Patagonia UK.

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