Wind jackets. Nowadays, wind jackets arent like the crinkly heavy and bulky things they used to be in the 90’s. Materials have lightened up big time. This jacket is brand new to me, and after having some time to test it out, I can say unequivocally it will be joining me on most trips from now on.
Weighing in at just over 3oz, this is hands down lighter and smaller packing than my rain jacket. The design is incredibly simple- just a small zipper in the front, a draw cord at the waist and back of the hood, a small chest pocket, and the sleeves are half elastic.
There is a small pull cord on the main zipper for easier grasping. Here you see the only pocket, in the chest. This doubles as a stuff sack.
It packs down pretty small! From now on if I go on a day hike with little chance of precipitation, this will be carried in place of my rain coat. Supposedly it will repel light drizzle, but will soak through in extended rain. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet so can’t confirm.
I tested it out on a nice day by the beach. Being late April we obviously weren’t going in bathing suits. Sun was shining, but it was windy enough that just wearing a t-shirt was cold. I was extremely impressed with how much of a difference in warmth the houdini made. Its perfect for situations where you would probably be warm if it wasn’t for the breeze.
The other place it was tested was a quick solo overnighter in Harriman state park. Here I’m listening to an audio book while watching the sun set from the top of a mountain. Really windy. Due to the lighter material, the hood will flap around quite a bit. If your back is to the wind, it’s not a problem, however even with the hood cinched it will blow down when facing the wind. That night temps begam to dip rapidly towards the upper 30’s, this jacket is definitely not cold weather worthy. Throwing on my down jacket between the houdini and my base layer was enough to keep me warm, and I do believe this jacket helped trap some of the insulation of my down coat.
You can see here the sleeves are only half elastic, I assume to save weight, but it works just fine. I had no issues with the sleeves covering my hands.
So its safe to say I’m sold on the idea of a wind shirt. While its not waterproof enough to take the place of a rain jacket, it breathes far better and in conditions that are windy but dry, it just makes more sense to hike in a wind shirt instead of a rain shell. For less than 3 and a half ounces, it is well worth its weight.