Patagonia Houdini Jacket Review

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Brett picking berries on the North Slope while wearing his Patagonia Houdini jacketThe Patagonia Houdini jacket provides ultralight bug and wind protection, allowing Brett to berrypick in peace.

Brett: "Weighing in at 4 oz., Patagonia's Houdini Jacket is a lightweight contender for one of the more versatile jackets we've brought out on the trail. This DWR-mantled windbreaker can shed a passing shower as easily as it can block a day of wind. If you can keep out of splashy water, the Houdini doubles as an impromptu paddling jacket. Perhaps the best merit of the Houdini as an Alaskan garment, however, is its ability to prevent mosquitos getting a bite through all the way to the wearer. In warm weather, toss on the Houdini and save yourself numerous applications of DEET. For short excursions, it can live at the bottom of a day pack or in a pocket without second thought. For longer trips, its versatility finds it accruing use every day.

Being a jack-of-all trades always costs a garment in more one-dimensional situations. The Houdini soaks faster than a true rain shell, and for real gusty weather nothing beats a true mountain shell. Everything about the jacket is minimalist, including the allowance of just a single chest pocket that the jacket stores itself into. Nevertheless, this jacket held up to Patagonia's pursuit of quality with not a single tear over 26 days of heavy use. At $99, this jacket is a TKO for both short- and long-range pursuits, and a savage blow to the bloodthirsty hoards of mosquitos that make trekking across Alaska more of an involuntary blood donation than a postcard-worthy pursuit."