Patagonia Houdini Jacket Review 2023 – Climbing Gear Reviews
6 mins read

Patagonia Houdini Jacket Review 2023 – Climbing Gear Reviews

If you are looking for one of the most lightweight windproof jackets on the market today, look no further than the iconic Patagonia Houdini Jacket.


  • Ultralightweight
  • Windproof
  • Packable


  • No venting
  • The chest pocket could be larger

The Patagonia Houdini jacket is a lightweight, packable, water-resistant, and breathable jacket that is perfect for a variety of outdoor activities. It is made from a 100% recycled nylon ripstop with a PFC-free DWR finish, and it weighs in at just 100g. The jacket packs down to the size of a grapefruit, making it easy to stow in a backpack or pocket. It is important to note that the Houdini jacket is water-resistant and not waterproof, it is not going to be a substitute for your Gore-Tex hardshell. It is not designed for that, it is designed as a compact, emergency shell that can be deployed when the breeze gets up or showers appear on the horizon. It will get you back down into the valley in relative comfort, but not dry!

Outrageously light and compact, the loop is plenty big enough to fit a carabiner through if needed.

Let’s look at a few of the positives for the jacket:

  • Ultralight and packable: The Houdini jacket is one of the lightest jackets on the market, making it a great choice for backpacking, hiking, or other activities where weight is a major concern. It packs down to the size of a grapefruit, so you can easily stow it in a backpack or any other tight space. I’ve found it perfect for using with my waist belt (bum bag, fanny pack, etc).
  • Water-resistant and windproof: The Houdini jacket is water-resistant and windproof, so you can stay comfortable in light rain or wind. The PFC-free, DWR finish on the fabric helps to repel water, and the tight weave of the fabric helps to block the wind. It has repelled the odd shower and has beaded up well, as you would expect from a ‘factory finish’ it took about 15 minutes of steady rain to begin to wet through. The seams are lap sewn so but you can expect water to seep through here too, particularly at the shoulders. 
  • Breathable: The Houdini jacket is also reasonably breathable, so you won’t get too hot or sweaty when you’re active. The gossamer-like fabric is made from a lightweight, (reasonably) breathable material that allows moisture to escape, so you can stay comfortable even when working up a sweat. Although not so much for me as I sweat a lot when active!


The Patagonia Houdini jacket is a great choice for backpackers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a lightweight, packable, water-resistant, and breathable jacket. It is well-made and durable, offering good value for the price considering it is manufactured in a Fair Trade Certified facility – you are buying Patagonia for their responsible practices after all.

The hood is adjustable via a shock cord at the back and fits well over a cap or beanie.

I’ve been using it all summer for trail running and fast hiking activities. I’ve kept it in my pack when out climbing as it fits neatly into a pack lid pocket. I generally wear a cap for my hiking and running activities and the hood fitted well using the single adjustment cord at the rear. It was ‘flappy’ when left unzipped and would only stay on when done up completely. Although, once I got my adjustment for fit, I left it that way and it was fine. It doesn’t not very well over a climbing helmet – but then I’m not intending to use it for climbing as it feels a little delicate and I’m worried I’ll rip it on rough rock. It does have a decent sized loop on the stow pocket to get a carabiner through.

The fit was great for fast-paced activities, I was caught out in a large shower just after this photo!

The fit is great, not too athletic and it fitted easily over a thin fleece or base layer, it also felt OK next to skin although began to feel clammy after a while due to either sweat (mostly) or seepage.

One improvement I would make is to make the chest pocket slightly larger. I feel that the extra space would be useful for stowing gloves or a bit of food. It did hold my iPhone SE with a case but anything larger + case would be tricky. I usually have my phone stashed in a pack pocket so it wasn’t so much an issue but I could only stash a thin pair of gloves (which was useful when I’m running with a waist belt) or a couple of food bars. That said I can work around that, but as I said it would be very useful with not too much weight addition. Maybe some venting at the back would also help to help shed heat when working hard.

The Patagonia Houdini rightly retains its iconic jacket status. It is unbelievably light and compact, has some great features and comes with high ethical practices as standard. It deserves a place in any keen trail runners and hiker’s summer pack and you’ll hardly notice it’s there until you need it.

The Patagonia Houdini Jacket comes in sizes XS – XXL for men and sizes XS-XXL for women.

There is a large selection of colour options and the SRP is £100.

It can be purchased directly from Patagonia and specialist retailers.

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