In my hunt for the elusive lightweight, waterproof, breathable running jacket, I’ve always struggled. I found the Brooks LSD jacket (my review) to be a complete joke in terms of keeping me dry. Plus, it was ugly. While Lululemon’s waterproof fabrics work very well, it’s usually only used for heavier coats. I do have a lighter jacket but have never loved the fit (my review of the Lulu Miss Misty jacket). Plus, I kinda messed up the fabric when I got vapo-rub on it when I went running in it with a sore throat two winters ago, so I don’t wear it a lot. So I’d resigned myself to just being wet on warm, rainy runs.
Along came a new need though. On these chilly spring mornings when I bike or walk to work, even my lightest jacket makes me sweat buckets. But I’m chilly without any jacket on. So I wanted to get something very lightweight, to act mostly as a windbreaker, but that I might also wear running in cooler temps.
I’ve looked at the Patagonia Houdini jacket a few times, but since it’s labeled “water resistant,” I didn’t think it would be good for keeping me dry. Now, since I would primarily be wearing it as a windbreaker instead of rain jacket, it made more sense. When it went on sale for REI’s 30% anniversary sale, I bought it in the pretty Petroskey Purple color.
Fabric and Features
Reviewers rave about how light this jacket is, and I agree that’s its best feature. It seems as light as a tissue! If you’re looking for something lightweight to take hiking or on trips that won’t add weight to your bag, this is a great jacket.
What keeps the weight so light is a lack of features. There is only one zippered pocket, on the chest. I think chest pockets are inelegant. It’s like the jacket is saying, “Hi! Here’s my zippered pocket!” because it’s so obtrusive. However, in terms of usability, it works well. I’ve been keeping my keys in it when I bike to work, and they don’t flop around like they sometimes do in typical waist pockets. Plus, it’s very easy to access, unlike a back pocket. So I’ve come to not mind the zippered pocket placement. The pocket is also pretty large. I can fit my iPhone SE (same size as iPhone 5) in it plus keys and a few gels. You can also pack the whole jacket into the pocket.
There are drawcords at the waist and at the hood. The cuffs of the arms are elastic. There are two reflective Patagonia logos, on the front and back.
I debated over what size to get. Many reviewers said it was tight on their hips and suggested sizing up. Others disagreed and said to get your usual size. I have big hips, plus I thought I might wear it in cool weather with layers underneath so a bigger size would probably be best. I ordered a size large, and I’m so glad I did. A medium would definitely have been tight on my hips. The fit is pretty loose all over but just skims my hips. I will easily be able to wear bulky layers under it. Plus, the back covers my bum, which I like in anything that is supposed to block wind or rain. If you have bigger hips or want a looser fit, size up. If you have narrow hips or want a slim fit, order your regular size.
In just a week, I’ve worn this jacket a bunch of times.
First, I wore it over a short sleeve to take the dog for his morning walk in low-60s weather. I got a bit overheated and started sweating slightly toward the end of the walk. This confirms my thought that even this light jacket would be too hot to wear running in warm weather. I’ll save this for cool-weather runs only.
I’ve also worn it biking to work, and it’s been perfect. It’s a little chillier biking than walking, and this jacket was perfect for keeping me comfortable without making me hot. The longer length is also nice for biking because it doesn’t ride up.
And I also got to unexpectedly try it in the rain. Yesterday, a big storm came through right as I was leaving my office. The wind was blowing forcefully as I walked to the garage where I park my bike. I had the jacket completely zipped up and my hood up but didn’t adjust the drawstring on the hood. The hood stayed in place without any problem, which was something of a miracle given how windy it was. It was, unfortunately, raining very hard when I started biking home. It was raining so hard that I was really scared of slipping and crashing. I’m not sure I’ve ever biked in the rain so wasn’t sure how possible slipping was. So I just biked a little slower. I was out for about 25 minutes total in a very heavy rain and was completely surprised that I stayed dry. The jacket really does work as a rain jacket! The only thing is that my forearms got a little wet because rain got into the arm cuffs. But everything else was dry. I’m not sure it would hold up for a really long time in a heavy rain, but I was impressed.
The Bottom Line
Huge thumbs up for this jacket! It’s lightweight and perfect for hiking, traveling, or any time you need to keep a light layer on hand. And it actually keeps you dry! I think this will also work really well as a cool-weather running jacket with layers underneath. This jacket retails for $99, but you can find it cheaper on sales. I got mine for $69, which I’m justifying because I’ll be able to use it for so many different things.