Going light doesn’t mean going cold … at least, not when you’ve got a jacket like Patagonia’s Houdini along for the ride.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket Features:

  • Weight 113g (4oz)
  • Featherweight 1.2-oz, 10-denier 100% nylon ripstop
  • Deluge Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish
  • Slim fit
  • Zippered chest pocket converts to stuffsack with carabiner clip loop
  • Durable half-elastic cuffs
  • Drawcord hem
  • Four color options
  • MSRP $99.00

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Vanishing Tricks in the Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Weight-to-warmth isn’t just a spec ratio for through hikers; it’s just as important for trail runners looking to stay light and agile even when facing cool conditions.  Throw in a dose of breathability and water resistance, add a good helping durability, and you’ve got a piece of gear any trail runner will love.

Patagonia Houdini hiking

Which brings us to Patagonia’s Houdini.  If there’s a lighter and more versatile jacket for high aerobic activity out there, I’m not aware of it.  It’s also fairly rugged, and would be just as suitable for scrambling or rock climbing as it is for running.  And when you’re not using it, it stuffs down to a pocket smaller than your television remote for easy storage.

TiVo clicker on top, Patagonia Houdini on bottom

Material construction is 100% nylon ripstop fabric that is highly abrasion resistant, and has a very nice balance of breathability and wind resistance.  There’s a DWR finish coating the entire garment for water resistance in light rain.  I wore the Houdini over a single baselayer during some cold mountain hiking near Lake Tahoe, and even in high winds near 10,000’, as long as I kept moving, the thin shell kept me warm.  While running, the Houdini keeps me warm with temps into the mid 30s with just a single tech shirt underneath.

Low profile hood with rear pullcord

I’m generally not a fan of running with a hood, but the Houdini nearly won me over in this regard as well, thanks to some key design elements.  Its overall shape is fairly low-profile, with minimal obstruction of peripheral vision.  It cinches easily with a single rear elastic cord, and the material is soft enough that you don’t hear the thunderous rustling of fabric in your ears while running.  On the aforementioned mid-30-degree mornings, I use the hood when my ears start feeling frosty, then tuck the hood into the back of the jacket once I’ve warmed up.

I’ve also worn the Houdini as a midlayer between a shirt and heavier jacket for cold-weather hiking when I’m stopping more frequently or moving less quickly.  The super thin nylon and a smooth finish make layering underneath a jacket as simple as can be.

The Good

  • Outstanding warmth for such minimal weight
  • Great versatility and durability
  • Compact storage

The Bad

  • Rear hood pullcord can be tricky to reach and manipulate, especially with gloves.

The Bottom Line

With dynamic performance elements and superior compactibility, there’s almost no reason to leave the house without a Houdini jacket for chilly autumn adventures.

Buy now:  Available at Patagonia.com

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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