If you’re in the market for a wind-cheater or wind-breaker, then you could do a lot worse than the Houdini Jacket by Patagonia. It’s a 100% recycled nylon, take-it-anywhere jacket with weather-resistant protection for high-output endeavours. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn and it’s even got a nifty chest pocket!

I don’t know why they called it the Houdini and I did waste too much time this morning trying to work out why (and think up some suitable escapology-based puns and references). My only guess is that the jacket is ‘deceptive’ in how something so light can offer so much wind protection!

In this Patagonia Jacket review, I will tell you all about the wind protection and all the other key bits of info you’ll need to make up your mind as to whether this is the jacket for you.

Patagonia Houdini

Quick Answers in the Patagonia Houdini

Right then kids, let’s kick this Patagonia Houdini review off with some quick answers for those with a short attention span!

Who Is The Patagonia Houdini Jacket For?

The Patagonia jacket is a great option if you need a light, water-resistant jacket to take hiking, running, or cycling on fine days. It offers a decent level of weather resistance and with the zippered chest pocket, it’s got plenty of useful features.

Pair the Houdini jacket with the awesome Altra Lone Peak shoes and you’ve got a trail running set-up that will take you anywhere!

Who Is The Patagonia Houdini Jacket NOT For?

It’s not a winter or proper waterproof jacket. It’s primarily designed for good weather and active people. If you need full-on cold weather or rain gear, then look elsewhere. This one is more of a light rain and wind jacket that will keep your body heat in whilst hiking in spring.

Need more of an allrounder? Check out the Patagonia Calcite instead, or if you need something that’s more heavyweight, there’s the Patagonia Triolet jacket.

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The Patagonia Houdini Jacket At A Glance

  • Price: $99
  • Weight: 3.1 oz. (women’s small)
  • Materials: 100% ripstop nylon

Patagonia’s Houdini Jacket is a classic, lightweight wind-cheater (wind-breaker to some). It’s perfect for throwing in your pack when you set out on hikes, runs, cycling, or camping trips in spring, autumn, or summer. It’s also ideal for throwing on when it starts to rain or the wind picks up, though it’s not a fully waterproof rain jacket. It’s also got its own chest pocket which is often omitted on lightweight jackets and is super useful.

Whilst there are more breathable options available, the Houdini still offers a winning combination of weight, wind resistance, price, and style and is one of our favourite anoraks for travel. This Patagonia Houdini wind shell really serves a particular use and it does it well.

I reviewed the Patagonia women’s Houdini jacket option, but a men’s version is also available.

  • Epic wind resistance from an ultralight jacket.
  • Useful chest pocket
  • There are more breathable jackets out there.
  • Not a fully water resistant rain jacket
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Patagonia Houdini Jacket Performance and Specs

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Weight and Packability

Weighing in at a slightly 3.2oz, the women’s small version of the Houdini Jacket we tried felt like it weighed nothing. Jackets in this space are typically quite light anyway but this one is insane – by comparison, the Rab Vital Windsheet is about 70% heavier. As you can imagine that means it’s a pretty thin jacket.

Patagonia Houdini

If we were awarding prizes for jackets that defy gravity, this one would win. You can safely chuck this into your bag when you go hiking or cycling and not feel it at all. It’s a great jacket if you’re looking to travel super light. It also comes with a handy stuff sack too.

In fact, the jacket was so light that it kept falling off the back of my girlfriend’s chair when we sat in the pub after our walk. I can tell it could easily blow away on a windy day…

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Windroofing and Water Resistance

Despite being incredibly light (I mean it seems to weigh absolutely nothing) it packs in some serious warmth. The softshell masterfully deflects the wind whilst storing your body’s warmth. If you’re out hiking or trail running in cold windy conditions, throw it on and you’ll warm up in minutes.

If you are hill climbing or cycling, then you may even end up getting a sweat on. What the wind jacket does well is keeping your natural body temperature up in moderate conditions, despite the thin material.

Patagonia Houdini

However, this is not a winter jacket. If you are doing long hikes on winter days, climbing to alpine altitudes, or spending time exposed to gales and super cold wind, then get a proper Patagonia winter jacket instead.

This Patagonia windbreaker jacket is designed to deflect light to moderate showers but is not a fully waterproof piece. Its durable water-repellent exterior is designed for active use, so it should be enough as long as you keep moving in all but torrential downpours.

If you are expecting to get exposed to heavy rain, bring a rain shell as the material will eventually soak up water and you will get wet. However, it’s so light and thin that it does dry out very fast.

Patagonia has an epic range of waterproof jackets if you’re looking for something a little more able to deal with a downpour.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Ventilation and Breathability

Hmm. A common feature of windbreakers is that they can get a bit hot and clammy, and the Houdini air jacket is no different. The Houdini’s full ripstop nylon construction offers excellent warming, but this does come at the expense of breathability.

My girlfriend did have to zip this jacket down to let her body breathe quite a few times when the sun started to shine. The full-length zipper does help get a bit of air when needed! Overall the women’s Patagonia Houdini jacket performed as expected for this kind of jacket.

Patagonia Houdini

She also wore it to a rave (yes you read that correct), and whilst she looked amazing on the dancefloor sporting her shell green Houdini, my god did she sweat. Which reminds me, the Houdini doesn’t seem to have any anti-odour functionality built-in….

For this reason, I may find myself reluctant to take this jacket cycling – I am a fast peddler, I do get a sweat on and ventilation is at a premium. If you do need something better ventilated then plump for Patagonia’s Houdini Air, which, as the name suggests, takes airiness and ventilation up a level (and costs more for the privilege).

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Durability

Coming in at about $100, one would expect to get at least a few years wear out of a windcheater. As we’ve only had it for a few weeks so far, I can’t really vouch for how durable this light jacket is.

Patagonia Houdini

It doesn’t seem to have any anti-odour technology and, because it can get hot, the jacket will need washing quite a bit which may take its toll over time. Also, bear in mind that the material on the Patagonia Houdini jacket is ultralight and soft which doesn’t scream “durable”!

However, Patagonia only makes high-quality gear and I have good expectations about the longevity of this piece as long as you take care of it – I would probably handwash it to be safe. Though on first impressions it does seem surprisingly durable for its weight.

Perhaps we should come back with a sequel Patagonia Houdini jacket review in a few years!

  • Very light
  • Quite warm
  • Wind Resistant
  • Poor ventilation
  • Too light?!
  • Wrist cuffs aren’t adjustable
  • Doesn’t Have an adjustable hood

Patagonia & The Environment

Patagonia Houdini

Some good news here.  Sustainable and ecological travel gear is really trending right now (and hopefully forever) which for a bunch of tree-hugging eco-freaks like us, is truly frigging wonderful. The Patagonia brand is one of the leaders of this movement, and rather a lot of gear in their product ranges can now be classified as fully or at least partially “sustainable”. 

The fabric used in the Patagonia Houdini is recycled nylon and the entire production process has been awarded bluesign approval for eco-conscious production methods. Oh, and the Patagonia brand meets fair-trade standards meaning the jacket wasn’t stitched together by modern-day slaves.

This is reflected in the price tag; ethical products do cost more, but at least you know where the money is going. It’s one of the many reasons we rate Patagonia gear as some of the best outdoor jackets on the market.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket Comparison

Patagonia Houdini$993.7 oz.100% ripstop nylon
Patagonia Houdini Air$1694.1 oz.90% nylon, 10% polyester
Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell$1293.5 oz.100% ripstop nylon
Rab Vital Windshell Hoody$995.6 oz.100% nylon
Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody$1594.9 oz.100% stretch nylon

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    Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Final Thoughts

    Did you find my Patagonia Houdini Jacket review useful? If so, let us know in the comments below and if not, tell me why and how to improve it!

    I mean, of course, you did, this bloody thing knocked the other Patagonia Houdini jacket reviews out of the water right!? Anyway, the point is, if you’re looking for a windbreaker jacket, then the Patagonia Houdini Air is it!

    We have reviewed plenty of other jackets elsewhere on the site so if the Houdini is not quite right for you, check out our other round-ups to try and find something else.

    Want something similar? Check out our rundown of the best Patagonia jackets if you’re on the lookout for something else. If you’re after something a little warmer but still super lightweight, the Patagonia Nano Puff might suit you instead.

    And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!