The Patagonia Houdini Jacket is a real basic windbreaker, but there are a few things I love about it. First, it’s not skintight like many cycling jackets. It’s just that right amount of loose fitting, so it breathes really well. I wear it for trail riding, because unlike on the road, I don’t need it to be form fitting to avoid flapping. The cut of the Houdini is generous without being baggy.
It also doesn’t have that asymmetrical cut you associate with cycling jackets, so you can wear it off the bike without it riding up around your belly button. There I am, in the chip aisle, able to contemplate my snack choices without being self-conscious about the cut of my outerwear.
The Houdini also gets the breathability/windproof balance just right for me. I run warm, so a lot of wind jackets turn into saunas when I wear them. The Houdini is a good top layer for me, especially with a wool jersey in winter, because I can use it until I warm up and then stow it in a jersey pocket no problem. It packs down very small.
Finally, I trust Patagonia to manufacture things in the most responsible way, and that has value to me.
This jacket is $109, and comes in 6 colors and sizes XS through 3XL.There is a men’s version and a women’s version (pictured above) that vary only slightly in the cut. The “women’s” version is slightly fitted through the middle.