Patagonia Houdini Review

9.4 score
[Editors rating (9.4)] = (WalkJogRun) score (9.4)/10

Editor rating: 9.4 / 10
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The history of Patagonia is a complicated one. Founded by Yvon Chouinard, the Company was called Chouinard Equipment at first.

They sold a mountain climbing type of gear that was hand forged. But in the late ’80s, the business began to suffer. It was in that time that the company faced a couple of lawsuits and was forced to declare a state of bankruptcy. So Chouinard Equipment has split into two brand new companies not long after.   Yvon’s business partner reorganized the company and then founded the Black Diamond Equipment. Yvon rebranded as well from what was left of the company and continued to sell solely soft goods under the name of Patagonia.

And in fact, Patagonia’s logo was inspired by the outline of Fitz Roy Mountain in Patagonia. It’s a mountain that’s divided by two neighboring but very different countries (Argentina and Chile), much like it was the case with the original Company as well. And from the inception, Patagonia has pledged to donate 1% of the revenue to plenty of environmental causes and various non-profit organizations. That’s what’s separates Patagonia from the rest.

But for now, let’s look at one of their bestselling items. The Houdini windbreaker jacket. What makes this jacket good? What are the pros and cons of this jacket and is it a wise purchase?

Find out in the review below!

Editor's Pros & Cons

Machine Washable

Durable with water repellant property


Has a strong zipper closure




Entirely made out of nylon ripstop, the Houdini jacket is understandably very lightweight and pleasant. For those of you that are environmentally conscious, you’d be happy to know that it’s made out of completely recycled nylon, making it entirely eco-friendly. And it is. But although there’s none other fabric in the lining, the ripstop is in fact coated with a water repellent finish.

It’s, in fact, a highly durable finish and will not only protect you from the strong wind; it will also keep you safe and dry from the pesky rain you might encounter on the trail. The nylon ripstop is a special type of material that aside from being water-resistant it’s also resistant to tearing and damage caused by ripping. You never know what you can encounter on the outdoor adventures, and a strong branch is sometimes enough to tear a fabric that’s not resilient, durable and strong enough. You don’t have to worry about any of that with this particular material.


Sure the materials used in the making of the model play a significant role in the durability portion, but so does the sole craftsmanship. Often they go hand in hand, and in this particular case, they complement and support each other. The quality of the materials allows the durability to really shine through, and so does the craftsmanship.

Among the shining examples of the craftsmanship, is the fact that the jacket is easy to store and transport. All you have to do is roll it up, tie it nicely and store it in your backpack. Think about it. If you have to cram it, all scrunched up and not that secured, the durability of the item would be severely compromised no doubt about it. But when the opportunity to store it like an umbrella exists, well, use it to prolong the longevity of the Houdini.


The official page of Patagonia states that the Houdini has a slim fit accompanied with a drop tail. And it’s frankly a much better option than the relaxed fit, for several reasons. Why? First and foremost because there will be less room for the cold air to penetrate to the body. When the jacket is tighter and closer to your body there’s less chance of cold air, wind to circulate and keep you cold. The slimmer fit the better. And the second reason is, of course, is the weight. With the slimmer fit, less fabric is needed in order to compose the item. So, by actually keeping the fit tight, the weight of the jacket is reduced to 105 grams. But more on that later.


The entire Houdini model weighs a little more than a packet of uncooked ramen. Think about that when you’re purchasing this item. The company even describes this item as a featherweight item, and they’re not far from the truth. Keep that in mind. Think of the light, airy feeling that you’ll be able to get when wearing this model. And top of that, even with that weight, the jacket allows you to add layers underneath, in order to keep yourself warm and protected. The Houdini will make sure of that with the greatest of ease, but if you’re looking to go one step beyond and actually wear something more warm and comfy, you can absolutely do that. The weight (and the construction) of this jacket will make sure you do that.


Made entirely out of nylon ripstop the Houdini is as flexible as it gets, but that’s in no small part thanks to the design. Although designed with a slim fit, and a drop tail that falls slightly on the back of the construction, the flexibility is quite impressive none the less. The weight of just 105 grams adds volumes to the flexibility but the nylon is true culprit here. If it wasn’t for that nylon, you wouldn’t be able to fold this item into a pocket located on the chest. The pocket turns the jacket into a sack and you can literally do anything you please with that sack. Hang it, pack it, store it or just hold it your hand. All thanks to that fantastic flexibility.


Great things can come in small amounts, and this is one hell of a small amount. Weighing at only 105 grams, this is one of the lighters jackets on the market. But even with the featherweight construction, it can offer an impressive amount of protection. From top to the bottom. Let’s start with the hood. Also made from nylon, the hood in both the female and male version can be easily adjusted with just one easy pull.

And by doing that, the hood won’t block any of the peripheral vision on the sides. You’ll be able to see clearly on every side, and that’s something that you’ll definitely need into the great outdoors. Clear vision. And last but not least, the logo. You might think that a logo attached on the surface of any product is strictly informative. To let you know who it is that you’re wearing. Nope. Not here though. The logo in the Houdini is reflective and allows you to be seen even in the poorest visible conditions. The reflective surface of the P-6 logo makes it easier for the jacket to be spotted even from great distances. Talk about protection right?


The support much like comfort can come from several places. There isn’t just one provider of support, and over here in the Houdini model, there are three. First, there’s the fantastic nylon material. Used in every inch of the construction, adds support by repelling the moisture and the cold when you’re exposed to them. Secondly, there’s the great addition of the cuffs on the sleeves and the drawcord hem. The cuffs are half elastic and very durable, but the hem is supporting your form the top and the bottom area, as it is present on the bottom and on the hood.


Well, when it comes to the sizing, Patagonia really makes sure that pretty all shapes and sizes are included. The inclusion of the sizes is really impressive because the male version of the jacket starts from the XXS size and ends with the XXL. The female version, on the other hand, starts with the XXS size but ends with the XL. For more info regarding the size, the fit and other measurements look up the official sizing charts provided by Patagonia’s official website. There’s one for every item, and all you have to do is look carefully before you make the purchase.


Although there’s some improvement on the color selection in the male version of the Houdini, the female version is not that impressive color-wise. While the male version has 7 different color options, the female has only 2. Ikat purple and Microgreen are sadly the only 2 available options for this otherwise fantastic item. It’s worth mentioning that all of the color options in the male version of this model are monochromatic, and no visible pattern is present on any of them. The female version has one intricate pattern, and that’s only on the Microgreen version.


Simplistic yet stylish, the Houdini is practical above else. That’s not to say that it’s not fun and interesting, but the comfort and protection were the main 2 focus points obviously. Monochromatic in color and minimalistic in style the Houdini is a technological marvel that puts emphasis on comfort and practicality. Yup. Even the most stylish things on the jacket are designed to be practical above else. The hood although anatomical, is easily adjustable with one motion, while the logo located on the left side of the surface is reflective. Yes. The logo which on other garments would tell you the name of the company and nothing else not has a double purpose. It can really save your life.


When it comes to the function of the Houdini, the multi-functionality really first comes to mind. And that’s not an understatement. This jacket although may not seem all that impressive at first glance, it really can do so much that you’ll be left pleasantly surprised. It will protect you from the cold, the moisture, the wind and from dark barely visible situations. Secondly, it will become easily packable and transportable in a matter of seconds.

And third, because it’s so lightweight, it will provide great insulation and comfort without the need to add layers of clothes on your body. You can certainly do that since it allows layering, despite the slim fit but there’s the option not to do that as well. It’s up to you and your personal preferences. Oh and the weather conditions of course. The function of the jacket depends in great part on the weather conditions, since it’s designed to be worn on the open spaces. So think about that next time you think of purchasing an item like this.

Bottom line

Sometimes the look can be deceiving, and often times it’s a good thing. Well, certainly that’s the case with the Houdini model by Patagonia. The model is one of the lightest items in the long list of products offered by the company. At just 105 grams of weight, it’s light as a feather but unlike a feather, it’s not going to break that easily. It’s not that fragile for sure. In fact, this is one of the most durable jackets out there. The nylon for sure allows the majority of that durability, but the small details help for sure. Details like the cuffs on both of the hands, and the hem as well.

The cuffs are very durable and very practical. They’re semi-elastic but strong at the same time and they seal the area nicely so no air and cold can penetrate. The hood can be easily adjusted with one singular motion, and it will keep your peripheral vision intact. But all those small details are basically insignificant when it comes to the functionality of the logo. Yes, the small logo on the surface, although unimpressive at first can really be of help to you in tricky satiation. Stylish, practical, durable and versatile. This is a great purchase and one that you should always have on hand. Especially if you’re planning your next outdoor adventure. Wherever that may be.