The Houdini is the lightest of the jackets with hoods and full-length zips but provides much the same protection as the others. The ripstop nylon fabric is comparable with other thin materials and is flexible and comfortable. The hood moves with the head and gives adequate protection. The rear volume adjuster is the only drawcord so this needs to be tightened to keep the hood on in strong winds and even then the hood can be pushed back on the forehead. The single pocket is very small – just big enough for my smartphone. Patagonia says the Houdini can be packed into it, which it can, just, though I wouldn’t like to try it with cold fingers. The elasticated cuffs don’t allow for ventilation but the sleeves can be pushed up. The fit is slightly on the snug side – Patagonia describes it as “slimmed down”. I can wear it over a thin fleece but would need a larger size to go over anything thicker. While the weight is low the cost is higher than for similar garments from Montane and Rab.
29th July 2013
Pros: Low weight
Cons: Small pocket, slightly expensive, no front hood adjustment