Great thing in a small package
I've rarely come across an item as highly regarded on the web â I own several Patagonia items and did plenty of research on the Houdini before purchasing, deciding against more than once because I questioned whether this little jacket would be, well, too little â too thin, too specialized, too redundant in a closet full of various jackets designed for just about every purpose. Well, almost every purpose, because I keep finding situations where the Houdini fills a niche I never knew was missing from my jacket quiver. It really is a no-brainer to take this trusted little piece along whenever you feel like you might need it, perfect for those in-between seasons and throughout the summer when evenings turn cool and possibly damp. It's a fantastic wind shirt, and I look forward to incorporating it this winter into my layering system. It's perfect for jogging or cycling, shockingly warm because of its wind resistance, great for keeping the sun or bugs away without overheating, and (as with all Patagonia products) the attention to detail and craftsmanship in production is second to none. I purchased the 2012-13 model (previous version) on sale and read a lot about one of the primary complaints, the size of the chest pocket into which you stuff the jacket, producing a small little package about the size of a Twinkie, complete with a little tethering loop. From what I understand, the latest version has a larger pocket for easier stuffing, but I've found (while not easy) it is possible to roll and stuff into this pocket, although it's a tight fit and the jacket comes out more than a little crinkly. No matter, the wrinkles wear off in a hurry. It is a slim fit â I wear large in some Patagonia jackets, XL in others and needed an XL in this one. It's not a primary rain jacket, it's not a soft shell replacement, it doesn't have a helmet compatible hood or a fleece-lined collar. Guess what? It's perfect the way it is, everything it should be and nothing more.
Sickest jacket ever. The go to!
Bought this jacket in black on an impulse to use mostly around town for bike commuting (everyday!), walking around campus, going out for a few drinks on a fall Friday night, whatever... Very stylish piece (that's why it was such an impulse...). I'm 5'11 185--athletic and reasonably muscled--went with the XL and it's got a perfect, casual fit. Not baggy--more loose, but still form fitting. Large would have worked too, but was kind of short in front, like up to my belt buckle short. Which would be OK if I were using it strictly for trail running or whatever, but that's negative style points when you're out in social situations.
I have a separate Patagonia rain jacket that I use when I know the weather will be bad, but this one I think will be my go to for warmer weather day hikes when you need just a bit of insurance. Stuffs up smaller than my fist and weighs about as much as a bag of cotton candy. Throw it in the pack. Why not. Absolute no-brainer.
In short: a versatile piece that works equally as well riding your bike downtown on a crisp fall night to meet up with friends as it does climbing a 14'er on a gusty summer afternoon. Simple, light, stylish, if not a bit expensive, but extremely well crafted... you really do get what you pay for in this case though. This jacket will be your go to for pretty much all occasions. Guaranteed.
I bought this jacket off the outlet because I was looking for a lightweight jacket I could use for backpacking, hiking, and my school commute when my thick rainshell was unnecessary and cumbersome. I was skeptical how the jacket would perform due to its thickness, but I was looking for something compact and that's exactly what I got! The packed size is perfect for stuffing in a water bottle pocket, large saddlebag, or another jacket pocket.
On my daily bike commute, this jacket is perfect. I ride about 3 miles in the PNW where rain and wind are almost constant 10 months out of the year, but not too extreme. As expected, the jacket holds up just fine against mist and light rain, but I was impressed that it even kept me dry in a sudden downpour one evening. The material gets a bit clammy over exposed skin, but over layers there isn't much issue with condensation.
I have yet to bring it on any strenuous activities, but I would expect it to work just fine. The chest pocket zipper could get in the way of a backpack strap, but it fits loosely enough that you can get around it.
My only qualm is that the material is so thin that I'm afraid to rip it every time I touch it. So far its held up to everyday use, but I imagine a twig snag in the backcountry would make the Houdini do a vanishing act from my gear quiver.
When you got your fancy 20oz stretchy softshell, what you didn't realize is that you really wanted this 4oz wonder on top of an appropriate layer for conditions. I take this on nearly every hike and climb and on ski tours where I'm aiming for the lightest weight possible (OK, my 20oz softshell comes with me on most ski trips for durability reasons). I'm on my second one. It's not the most durable in the world but it's surprisingly good there too. Try before you buy as these things change shape over the years. My first one was pretty perfect but shred quite easily, my second one is heavier and the wrist cuffs are much baggier. That's annoying when it's cold and it lets cool air in, but great when it's hot and I roll up the sleeves and zip the neck down and dont have to take it off to stay cool. Merino base layer, houdini, synthetic jacket and you've got a layering system that not much can stop (as long as you dont). OK, all that said, I think the Rab Cirrus or arcteryx squamish or mammut whatever actually fit better as they are more slender in the waist. That is of course, very body shape dependent. My experience with the houdini is that it breaths very well. I wear a L which fits like most patagonia clothing, OK in the shoulders, big everywhere else. I'm 42" chest, 33" waist 6" 180#
Much tougher than it looks
I am 5' 10" and 165 lbs. The jacket size I got was a medium and it feels perfect. Originally I bought it for running as I do a lot of it on the greenways in Knoxville. Days that are between 40 and 65 degrees usually see me wearing this splendid piece. The yellow color stands out and that's what I want it to do as I also enjoy long night runs. It can handle mild precipitation, but I don't see it handling anything heavier.
The fact that it is lightweight and a thin material is what I love most about it. Other synthetic shirts or long-sleeves just get too warm for me on a long run. This jacket keeps the minimal warmth I need and the wind off of my skin to allow for the perfect temperature for a comfortable run.
I've looked at other similar jackets that have come out by Mountain Hardware, Outdoor Research, and New Balance, but the fabrics just did not appeal to my senses. They were either thinner or did not appeal to my sense of outdoor style. One other fact that I will point out is that I tend to frequently use this on hikes with a pack of about 20 to 30 pounds and it seems to have no indication of wear in the fabric. Really tough stuff.
One modification: a chest pocket for my mp3 player. Otherwise a definite great buy.
I will give this 5 stars even though my 2013 version deserves 3 stars for the failed pocket size. This has been corrected by Patagonia on the newest colors.
I owned a prior version of the Houdini, so when it came to replacing it, I naturally went for another Houdini. This is a time-tested classic. I will merely echo the sentiment of other reviewers. The stuff pocket on the 2013 Viking Blue color version is TOO SMALL!!!! This is almost never an issue for my puffy clothes since I prefer to use a stuff sack. However, I use my Houdini stuff pocket regularly. I read the other reviews regarding the pocket, and decided to give it a try anyway. On the medium, it would take me two hands and an extra two minutes of gentle effort to jam the jacket into the pocket so that I could zip it closed. Not worth it! This was with a medium. I'm not sure if the pocket size is identical across sizes. If you wear a small or XS, you might have an easier time.
I compared the stuff pocket size to my old Houdini. The pocket on my older version is about 60% larger.
If you plan on using that stuff pocket, I suggest you purchase a 2014 version. I already noticed that the pocket size on the jackets with the newest colors is larger based on the photographs on the Patagonia website.
Simply put, the glowing, detailed reviews for this jacket misled me into thinking it was more than it was. What it actually IS: an ultra lightweight,minimalist, semi-breathable windbreaker - plain and simple.
Patagonia did many things right with this jacket. They executed perfectly on the wind portion. But make no mistake, this jacket has no place in your aresnal for showers, rain, or really any moisture. This to me was a disappointment as I was searching for a very packable jacket that could handle some rain if need be.
Pros: lightweight, athletic fit, nice color choices, stuffs in its own pocket (in theory), nice hood.
Cons: no water protection, potentially fragile, no wrist cuff adjusters, no pit zips, orange jacket is semi transparent, 2013 versions don't stuff easily into their own pocket (too small), its lightweight nature allows it to flap a lot in the wind.
In the Northeast US, rain often accompanies wind. Unfortunately, contrary to other reviews, the Houdini doesn't qualify as a rain jacket for more than 5 minutes of drizzle. Maybe for some climates this is a great jacket, but it just doesn't provide enough value and versatility for my purposes.
Instead, I plan to purchase a Marmot Minimalist. It has a more substantial (and heaver, yes) shell with Gore-Tex Paclite for the elements. From all that I read, the Minimalist can handle both wind and rain and has adjustable cuffs and huge pit zips for heat management.
If you're a runniner, you need the Houdini
I've been a runner for over 10 years and have ran over 30,000 miles. I live in SE Ohio and winters are usually mild but there are always a few weeks of cold and windy runs. In the past, I've suffered through cold days, coming home freezing and unhappy. My experience was hardly good in the winter because I never was able to dress properly. This past winter, I bought the Houdini. It just so happens we are in the coldest winter of my life, with consecutive weeks of below freezing, and some weeks of below 0. On top of that the windchill makes it feel -20. The Houdini has saved me. Putting the Houdini on top of two layers keeps me warm during the coldest and windiest runs. It is crazy how much this little jacket blocks wind and keeps your body heat in. It is also highly functional with a nice hood (that keeps your head really warm), sleeves, zippers and breast pocket, and waist draw string in the rear. It is easy to store and very lightweight, you hardly notice it is on. If you are an avid runner, and run throughout winter, you need to have the Houdini as part of your gear. It will last a lifetime and the price will increase in value over the years!
I was nervous about my purchase of the updated Houdini. Everything was up in the air: fit, cut, weight, waterproof, breathability, etc. The reviews had me hesitant, thought about maybe XL or another garment. I even consulted w/ Patagonia's Customer Service (who are excellent) because this was a B'day present to myself and needed to be right, esp' since I have Synchillas in Large thru the Relaxed Fit but needed a versatile, lightweight rain-jacket. Ultimately I took CS's advice and got a Large: Zero regrets. This is another Patagonia Beast and will get years in the Seattle environment from me: daily commute, out-door activities, casual, work, etc. There is room still to layer (not for Antarctica, but I can see going to maybe the 30s in this with the right gear). There is also plenty of room to move; might think of it as Sport Fit instead of Slim Fit. The waterproof is all the more reason to have it: fun to see water just run off the cuff's intricate design that lends more to staying dry. And, hey, you almost forget that it goes into its own pocket in a rush because of so much else it provides. There when you need it, gone when you don't. I highly recommend this Jacket if this review isn't clear enough.
Great running jacket
I love this jacket as it has become a go to jacket for more than just running. Since it's very light and packable, it can be stuffed into any bag and quickly be put on. It can also be pulled off quickly when wearing a back pack. I like the idea of the internal stuff sack, but you really have to squeeze the jacket into the stuff sack which frustrated me at first. I would request that the zipper direction be reversed to pull closed towards the clip loop, this way I can use a small carabiner to clip the loop to the hole in the zipper around a waist belt. If the zipper direction is reversed, the jacket's zipper won't pull open drawing out the jacket when running. This is the only draw back but it can be worked around. Also (I know this will defeat the whole point of the minimalist design), it would be nice to see a version of this jacket with pit zips for better breathability in humid climates. The fit for me was spot on. I ordered a small without trying it on and it fit great. There is also a great range of motion when stretching without it pulling out from a waist belt.