Weighing in at a miniscule 100 grams the Patagonia Houdini is a super lightweight/packable jacket. Although small in stature the Houdini has a lot of great features. Made entirely from 100% recycled rip stop nylon which, although very thin, is tougher than it first appears. The DWR finish surprised our guides as it holds up very well against light to moderate showers, although if caught out in heavier showers the material does wet out. As the Houdini is built for life on the move, if you do get caught in a downpour the featherweight material dries out very quickly. Wind resistance is also decent and for such a packable layer made for a quick and convenient solution for changeable weather conditions.

The fit, although deemed to be slim, we found to be quite generous in size. We could easily place the Houdini over layers we might be wearing such as a thin baselayer and insulating jacket without it becoming restrictive. This set up was perfect for fast paced hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. When you want to pack small and light but may be cautious that you need some sort of protection on route this is a great option. The elastic cuffs fit snuggly around the wrists but do not allow much extra space with the elastic it was near impossible for us to roll the sleeves further than a few inches up the arm. Breathability was OK, although it was noticeable after extended use, the Houdini has areas in which moisture did build up. This was mostly on the lower arms with the back and underarms especially noticeable if wearing a pack. The zipper can be opened to offer some airflow, but when weather conditions calm down you still need to remove the jacket to allow these areas to air out. As previously mentioned, this does not take long at all. The hood, although basic, features a one-pull adjustment which works well at blocking out light showers and wind, although don’t expect too much protection in worsening conditions. The same style of drawstring can be found on the hem and we believe this a great addition from Patagonia and is our much-preferred choice over Velcro which you more commonly see adopted with this type of ultra-lightweight jacket.

The Houdini has an integrated stuff sac. When packed away it is tiny and or the protection you receive in return this is certainly its main selling point. There is a reinforced carabiner loop so it can be attached to almost anything making it a top choice for numerous outdoor activities. We had it stashed onto our waist belt, shoulder strap, side pockets on shorts, front pouch on our bike, basically anywhere that is quick to hand. To keep the Houdini simple and lightweight there is only the single chest pocket, so storage options are minimal with just enough room for a compass and small map. There’s a large range of colours to choose from. We particularly took a liking to the Industrial Green we received. It is bold and stands out, which is a great factor to consider when returning home after a long ride or run and light may be beginning to fade.

Our Verdict

Patagonia’s Houdini jacket surprised all our guides with how impressively it performed whilst being almost unnoticeable when packed away. 100 grams of thin 100% recycled rip stop nylon, the Houdini not only protects against the wind but also does a decent job against rainfall. The Houdini, as Patagonia describe, is best suited for fast paced activities with our guides finding this to be a great addition for mountain biking, past paced mountain walks, and trail running.

Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...