Chris Townsend reviews a classic ultralight windshell.
This review is part of our windshells gear guide, and was first published in the April 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.
Patagonia’s well-established Houdini is ultralight but has a few more features than the most basic jackets. The hood is adjustable via a drawcord with a toggle at the back of the head. This means it can be closed around the head to stop it blowing back in a strong wind. There’s a drawcord at the hem too. The cuffs are only half-elasticated but they’re still close-fitting, making it hard to push the sleeves up. There’s a single pocket that’s just big enough for a compass or small phone and which doubles as a stuffsack for the jacket. It’s situated high up just below the neck and I find it a little awkward to use.
The Houdini is made from ripstop nylon that’s windproof and breathable. Patagonia describes the fit as ‘slim’ and it is. I can comfortably wear the Medium size over only a base layer.
If weight matters but you’d still like a few features the Houdini is a good choice, especially given the low cost.