Last Updated: December 10, 2020

Patagonia Houdini Jacket Review: Is It Overpriced?

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Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Patagonia Houdini is a lightweight windbreaker with good water resistance. If you need a jacket that you can carry in the pocket of your favorite jeans, this might be the one you're looking for. View Latest Deal

Need a water resistant windbreaker? The Houdini jacket from Patagonia might just be the best option for you!

This thin and lightweight jacket does an excellent job at protecting you from the weather, without any bulk or added warmth. It can fit into the palm of your hand when packed down, so it really is a jacket you can carry everywhere.

But is it overpriced for a windbreaker? That’s just one of the many things we’ll talk about in this detailed review. Read on to learn our thoughts on Patagonia Houdini, and see whether it is the right option for you after all!

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Great water resistance
  • Stuffs into its chest pocket
  • Not restrictive

Cons

  • Just one chest pocket
  • Not very durable
  • Seams not taped

Product Information

  • Material: Recycled ripstop nylon with DWR coating
  • Weight: 3.7 ounces
  • Fit: Slim
  • Size Variety: XS-XXL
  • Pockets: Chest Pocket

Materials And Durability

The Patagonia Houdini jacket is entirely made from recycled ripstop nylon. This should mean that it’s a tough and durable jacket with great water resistance. Part of that is true – the Houdini is coated with DWR (durable water repellent) and water will just slide off the fabric.

But as far as durability goes, I wouldn’t expect too much from this jacket. And I’m not even bashing Patagonia; it’s just that jackets that are this thin and lightweight don’t tend to have the sturdiest construction. The Houdini is so thin you can see through the jacket – do you really think that fabric that thin would be able to survive repeated encounters with sharp rocks?

It’s not even that the jacket is poorly made, it is just that material this thin can’t withstand excessive use and abuse. The jacket will be fine if you wear it casually, but if it’s always getting caught on tree branches and rocks, I’m afraid it’s not going to live a very long life.

With thinner jackets like this one, seams are usually the first thing to go. And since they are not taped on the Houdini, don’t be surprised if you see some loose threads after a couple months.

About The Water Resistance

This windbreaker from Patagonia has excellent water resistance. It is made from nylon ripstop, which is a material with high water resistance without any additional coating or protection. But on top of that, the Houdini also boasts DWR coating on the body of the jacket, for the best water resistance you could hope for in a jacket this thin.

But it is not 100% waterproof. The seams are not taped, which means that water can get in through them. This might be an issue in heavy downpours, so you might want to stick to wearing this jacket only in light and mild rain.

On top of that, there’s no mention of waterproof zippers whatsoever. The Houdini features just regular zippers, which won’t do a whole lot in terms of protecting you from the weather.

Wind Resistant Features

The Patagonia Houdini jacket is a windbreaker so it only makes sense that it has some wind resistant features. And it does; to be specific, two features of this jacket directly improve the protection it provides from the wind.

The first is the drawcord at the hem. It allows you to cinch in the jacket at the waist, so that no air can get inside the jacket from below the hem. This is excellent for keeping the wind out and maintaining your body temperature.

There are also the half elastic cuffs. While they might not be as wind resistant as proper Velcro adjustable cuffs, half elastic is much better than non-elastic. It allows for some adjustment of the fit, and the tightness around the wrists helps keep the wind out of the sleeves. The elasticity of the cuffs also mean you are able to pull them over gloves and other bulky garments, which is certainly helpful.

Lightweight And Packable

The Patagonia Houdini jacket is feather-thin and it weighs just 3.7 ounces (105 g). That alone is enough to deduce that you can literally carry it everywhere and just forget that it’s even on you.

This Patagonia jacket stuffs into its pocket for ultimately portability. It can fit into the palm of your hand when packed down, which is more than you can say about your smartphone and you still carry that thing wherever you go. As far as packable jackets go, I doubt you can get a better option than this one.

There’s also a carabiner loop that is exposed when this jacket is packed up, so you can even attach it to the exterior of a backpack. Or your keys. All of this means that the Houdini is an excellent option for travel, as well as hiking and backpacking trips. It’s great for trail running, or, pretty much any scenario in which you want the option of a sofshell or windbreaker in your backpack, but you don’t have a lot of room or weight to spare.

Adjustable Hood

The Patagonia Houdini jacket is equipped with a non-removable hood for ultimate protection from the weather. It is quite a big hood that really hugs your head from top, bottom and sides, to ensure not a drop of water can get on your skin.

The best thing about the hood is that you can adjust it in one quick pull. This ensures that the hood is not going to block your peripheral vision and that it’s only going to cover your head as much as you want it to. But you will need to find the perfect balance – if you tighten the hood too much, it is going to be restrictive and you won’t be able to comfortably move your head without it either falling off or blocking your view.

One thing I don’t like about the hood is that you can’t stow it anywhere. Sometimes you’re not going to need it at all and it’s just going to get in the way – this could have been avoided with the addition of a tiny hood pocket on the collar. Considering the amount of money Patagonia wants you to spend on this jacket, I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

The Lonely Pocket

The Patagonia Houdini jackets boast a single lonely chest pocket. It is zippered and it acts as a stuffsack for the jacket, but that’s about it. The zipper is not waterproof, so don’t use it for items that shouldn’t get wet.

I understand that zippers and additional fabric would have made this jacket much heavier and less packable, but really Patagonia? And the main reason I don’t like this is because the jacket is partially intended for runners, who don’t really carry additional bags with them. They can carry only what they can fit on their person, and for a lot of those people one small pocket just doesn’t cut it.

If you’re fine with the single pocket, feel free to disregard my annoyance. But if that’s just not enough storage space for you, I encourage you to look at more options before you actually go and buy this jacket.

Who Is This Jacket For?

If you are wondering what the purpose of this jacket is, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not for you. The Houdini is designed for people who need something to shield them from the rain. It is not a jacket that will keep you warm and it’s certainly not a jacket that can be the main focus of your outfit.

This is a jacket designed for hikers and runners. It is an outer layer that will protect you from wet weather, but without adding any extra bulk or warmth. The Houdini is a great jacket for rainy summer days when you want protection from the weather, but it’s too hot to wear a proper jacket.

And that’s exactly what makes this Patagonia jacket great for hikers and runners. You get quite warm within 10-15 minutes of starting either of those activities, and a thin jacket like this one is amazing. It won’t make you feel any hotter than you already do, but it will provide a barrier between your sweaty body and the wet and windy weather.

How many times have you wanted to take off your jacket during a hike, but couldn’t because you were sweaty and it was actually cold outside? That’s exactly where the Houdini comes in – it has all the benefits of a good rain jacket, but without any of the bulk, weight or warmth.

Size Variety And Fit

This is a slim fit jacket, so the best size for you will depend on how you plan to wear it. It’s not stretchy at all, so you will need to get it in a bigger size if you plan to wear it over anything thicker than a plain t-shirt. But if you have no intention of wearing this over bulky hoodies or insulated jackets, then your usual size should fit you just fine.

One thing I really like about the fit of this jacket is that it’s much less restrictive than you expect. Slim fit jackets are usually quite restrictive, especially around the waist and hips. But, the Houdini features a drop tail and an elastic hem, so you actually have a good range of motion here.

The windbreaker runs true to size, and it is available in size from XS to XXL. Unfortunately, it is currently not available in any plus sizes.

Pricing And Value

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with this jacket is the $99 price point. In my humble opinion, there is just no way that 3.7 ounces of fabric can actually be worth that much money. At the time of writing this, Patagonia has one of the colors discounted by 50%, which is a much more realistic value of this jacket.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Houdini is overpriced for what it is, but a lot of people just don’t care about that. And if you’re one of those who can afford to spend $99 on an item without even blinking, then great! You can pick up this jacket and you won’t feel like a fool when you see it half-priced on a sale.

I’m one of those people who will pay full price for something and then get furious to see it heavily discounted the next week. And if you’re anything like me, I would highly recommend waiting for this jacket to be on sale. At $50, it’s a steal for an excellent water repelling layer for hikes and jogs. But at $99, it’s just an overpriced piece of fabric with a couple of zippers stitched onto it.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket: Final Thoughts

The Houdini jacket is a polarizing piece of outerwear. It is either exactly what you need or the last thing you would ever buy. So, which is it?

If you are in need of a lightweight windbreaker that’s ultra-portable, the Houdini is a good option for you. It has excellent water resistance, the wind resistance is perfectly adequate for a jacket this thin and it won’t restrict your mobility too much. The jacket has a single zippered pocket for your must-have items, and the half-elastic cuffs and the adjustable hem are a nice touch.

But it’s not cheap. You can get great value for this jacket when it’s on sale, but otherwise it might be a bit overpriced for what it is.

If you’re not sure you can make do with just a thin windbreaker, then it is best to check out some other options first. Go through are related posts for ideas on similar water resistant jackets – if you don’t like any of those, just come back to this one.

And if you’re already in love with the Houdini and you want it now, just head over to Patagonia’s website. Fingers crossed that your favorite color is on sale!

 

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