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2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket
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Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
why do you care? on 08/30/2013 13:20:24 MDT Print View

Yes, good so far, but I've only used the jacket on two relatively cooler trips, so I'm not sure my limited use matters.

There's also just the principle of it. I want a light jacket that I can wear while on the move that won't feel stuffy and block some wind so I don't feel overly chilled either. I paid the same amount for a product that was praised for this, yet I received an inferior (e.g. less breathable) product.

Edited by FeetFirst on 08/30/2013 13:51:35 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: houdini on 08/30/2013 13:41:18 MDT Print View

What about Pertex Endurance? Not as breathable because it's 'windproof'?

(Joomy) - M
Re: Re: Re: houdini on 09/08/2013 02:09:49 MDT Print View

Pertex Endurance HH is about 1000 from what I've heard so would expect CFM to be close to zero.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Am I the only one who sees a wind shell as insulation? on 09/08/2013 02:46:43 MDT Print View

I have to say I'm a little perplexed by all the hand-wringing over how breathable these windshirts are. Am I the only one that sees my wind shell as part of my insulation system while on the trail?

That is to say, I use my windshirt to stay warm. So to me, this means that I'm never going to be all that hot in the wind shirt (and therefore won't be generating too much sweat), and if I do happen to get hot, I just take the windshirt off and let the wind cool me down. Is this not what everyone else does?

I've got a wind shell that fails the "breath test" that was articulated earlier in this thread, but I still find it plenty breathable for moderate hiking with a pack.

I also like that it will warm me up a bit when I put it on and I know a big part of that is due to the fact that it's not super breathable. So I guess I see this as an advantage rather than a disadvantage (one that also, incidentally, makes the jacket more "windproof").

Now I can understand if you are all runners and are sweating like crazy under these things and routinely getting all clammy, but I don't understand the problem with moderate hiking in these things. Maybe I just don't sweat as much as most of you?

Again, whenever I get hot in my wind shell, I just unzip it or take it off. It's easy enough to take on and off that I don't really think too much about it anymore since it lives in the outside mesh pocket of my pack anyway (always within quick reach).

Edited by dmusashe on 09/08/2013 02:47:59 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Am I the only one who sees a wind shell as insulation? on 09/08/2013 08:49:17 MDT Print View

A windshirt is the seal for a layered system of clothing. The goal is to keep a warm *dry* layer of air close to your skin and not allow cold air to pick up your body heat. Those inner layers can be changed to suit the outside temperature and your level of exertion.

If I am moving and need protection from cold wind and light sporadic rain, I can add the windshirt over my thin base layer. For a cool rest stop or camp, I can add a fleecy mid layer like R1 or 200w fleece. Those mid layers breathe well and maintain the transfer of moisture away from my skin to the outside.

Breathability is the key to the dry part of system. Indeed, if the windshirt is too breathable, body heat would be lost. But there must be some exchange of air to transfer moisture out away from your inner layers. It is a tightrope walk, surpassed only by rain shells, where you are trying to make a waterproof fabric that is still breathable.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: 2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket on 11/08/2013 22:50:30 MST Print View

I have a spring 2013 (sp13) houdini. Originally I picked it up thinking it was an older houdini, it was steeply discounted on ebay and the seller was selling quite a few. It looked like clearance to me. I just figured out that I can see the date on the tag. I purchased it in early summer.

It passes the breath test pretty well, I can breathe in and fill my entire breath from empty before I feel uncomfortable. It seems breathable to me. I mostly, 90% of the time, use my houdini as a very light insulation layer over my shirt. It works well for that. I've never felt dampness even though I've almost always been wearing cotton or polycotton shirts underneath it.
This summer in the sierras when it got cloudy and chilly I wore it for about 3 hours of vigorous hiking without taking it off every time I overheated a little - and I was wearing a 100% cotton long sleeve shirt. I wasn't abnormally damp or sweaty, the fabric seemed to breathe.
It's also terribly not waterproof. I mean, water barely even beads off the surface.

So do I have an older style breathable houdini that was made in spring of 13?

Edited by justin_baker on 11/08/2013 22:51:08 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: 2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket on 11/08/2013 22:59:50 MST Print View


Based on your reported breath test: yes.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: 2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket on 11/08/2013 23:14:23 MST Print View

Of course my breath test was highly subjective and I lack real comparison. I can breathe through it, not easily, but it passes through and I can fill my lungs from empty to full more than fast enough before I feel uncomfortable.
Can I assume with the new houdini that it's impossible to breathe through (like trying to breathe through plastic wrap) or that you can't breathe through it quickly enough to fill your lungs without gasping for air? That's a weird way to describe it, I know, but resistance is hard to describe with words.

Edited by justin_baker on 11/08/2013 23:15:29 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Re: 2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket on 11/08/2013 23:34:19 MST Print View

Yes, there is a dramatic difference.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket on 11/10/2013 09:46:03 MST Print View

Justin B. wrote re: spring 2013 Houdini, "It's also terribly not waterproof. I mean, water barely even beads off the surface."

That doesn't sound like the Houdini and it's epic (silicone) like coating at all, at least not like the 2012 ones we have (3 currently).

Some ideas: You possibly got a lemon, or it's possibly a knock off. There is a big market in China for re-creating expensive brand name clothes and they can be pretty good about making it look just like the real thing except for you know, important things like a truly durable DWR coating (which costs significantly more money and is harder to do).

The fact that the retailer had a bunch of them and was selling them cheaply, is a bit suspect.

In any case, not that big of a deal except for the crappy DWR. It will still more or less perform it's function, blocking up to moderate winds while being semi-breathable. Will just have to occasionally treat it with a DIY DWR occasionally.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2013 Spring Patagonia Houdini Pants / Jacket on 11/10/2013 12:16:45 MST Print View

Hmm.... never thought of that. I think I'll send patagonia an email and see if I can figure this out.

Klaus Kostenbauer

Locale: Canadian Maritimes
Houdini Jacket -- Thank you on 12/17/2013 13:43:52 MST Print View

I found this forum when researching rain jackets and I am grateful to you. First it became clear to me that a wind jacket beats a rain jacket in some situations. Then, after researching wind jackets, I settled on the Houdini. Luckily I read this forum before purchasing. Without this forum I would have bought the 2013 Houdini Jacket. This forum educated me that the 2013 version barely breathes at all. Taking the hint, I emailed a small distributor and asked him if by chance they have an old model laying around -- he did! It's #24017, which is a 2011 model (I think), so the CFM should be just under 40.

On the larger picture, I have accepted that when moving about in rainy warm weather, staying dry just won't happen. Either I get moist from the outside in, or from the inside out. The best breathable rain jackets seem to have CFMs that cannot prevent profuse sweating once on the move. I prefer staying cool and getting somewhat moist from the outside in. Or in a true downpoor, wet. That's just how it goes. I have trecked in jungles with 99% humidity and lots of rains and with my breathable nylon pants, shirt, nylon Tilley hat and jungle boots, it was quite alright.

From this forum I have learned that a wind jacket beats a rain jacket in warm weather situations.

Thanks guys!

Edited by KlausKostenbauer on 12/17/2013 15:17:44 MST.

Klaus Kostenbauer

Locale: Canadian Maritimes
Arc_teryx Tweave 518c windjacket CFM 40 on 12/17/2013 14:07:15 MST Print View

As a Houdini replacement, the most interesting windjacket I found is from the company that allows you to custom-design their Mountain Guide Jacket for a number of features including fabric. Their most interesting fabric (for this forum) is called "Tweave 518 c" from the Arc'teryx company. From the site,

Rugged 84% Nylon construction
16% Spandex provides excellent stretch and recovery
Tremendous abrasion resistance
Water Repellency, Spray Rating (AATCC 22) – Initial rating: 100; after 20 launderings: 80
Air Permeability (CFM via ASTM D 737-96): 40

"518C is a four-way stretch woven fabric containing 84% Nylon and 16% Spandex. It weighs only 4.0 oz/yd, and because it is both thin and durable, 518C yields an extremely lightweight, packable garment. 518C makes for a lightweight soft shell jacket, perfect for warmer climates. It can also be used as a breathable side panel in a jacket made with 520E or one of our insulated soft shell offerings."

Digging a bit into the spandex, the manufacturer (‎ ) writes that for their Durastretch fabrics (such as the 518c), the spandex is enrobed by the nylon.

Also of note, only wildthingsgear makes reference to 518c. It cannot be found anywhere on the web. However, I suspect that it is nearly identical, if not identical, to Tweave 536n as both are described as a lighter version of the 520e fabric, and both are described as having 84% nylon and 16% spandex.

I sent the company an email to ask about the weight of the jacket.

Edited by KlausKostenbauer on 12/17/2013 14:10:13 MST.

Mark Handy
about that distributor on 01/07/2014 19:51:04 MST Print View


Are you willing to post the identity of that small distributor that has stock of the 2011 Houdini? I'll bet readers of this thread would be happy to give them some business! If you don't want to post it publicly, would you send it to my g mail address, which is mark dot handy dot 2014?

Did you get an answer on your research at Wild Things? The $289 price isn't realistic for me, but the concept is interesting.


Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
@ Justin re Testing Your Houdini on 01/07/2014 21:14:55 MST Print View

Say, Justin:

Elsewhere Richard Nisley has posted that you can approximate the breathability of 35 CFM (which he sees as a nearly ideal CFM for a windshirt--which is what the older breathable Houdinis were). Simply stack two paper coffee filters and breathe through them as a reference. I can suck in a chestful of air in about 9 seconds through two coffee filters. But at 3 CFM (new Houdini), you'd soon need to stop your test and breathe, because it would take more than eleven times longer to get a chestful of air.

Edited by Bolster on 01/08/2014 08:55:26 MST.

Ryan "Rudy" Oury

Locale: East Bay - CA
found houdini at REI on clearance... any way to tell which year? on 01/07/2014 22:44:31 MST Print View

I've been thinking about adding a windshirt to my wardrobe and came across this thread researching the Houdini. Was just at REI tonight and wondered into the men's clothing area browsing. Came across a Houdini on clearance. Would one on clearance at REI at this point be the newer, less-breathable option, or is this possibly one of the last of the older, more breathable? I asked the sales lady and she checked the computer, claiming it had been around since late 2012, put on sale ~1 month ago. I've never owned a wind jacket so have no frame of reference to compare how breathable the jacket really was. I tried breathing thru it a little bit but was getting some pretty funny looks from the sales lady so didn't continue... it certainly seemed more breathable than my Marmot Precip wpb rain jacket. Any way to know??

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
2013 Houdini on 01/07/2014 23:25:36 MST Print View

Based on the way REI clears old inventory quickly it's almost certainly the newer Houdini.

Telltale signs of a newer model Houdini: very small pocket that's hard to stuff, and small zipper flap over the pocket. Also, the elastic will only run on the back of the jacket, and the elastic cuffs are only on the bottom half of each sleeve.

I still like my 2013 Houdini despite everyone complaining about it. I don't think it's a lemon. I just think it no longer fills exactly the same role that people originally wanted it for.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: found houdini at REI on clearance... any way to tell which year? on 01/08/2014 01:38:51 MST Print View

The surefire way is to look for the style number on the tag, similar to "19001F6". The final letter/number indicates the season, in this example Fall '06.

(example image at

Tuan Cao
Transition Houdini on 01/08/2014 05:40:24 MST Print View

When I bought my first Houdini in december 2012, I got a transition jacket. A few days later I was caught in a light rain. One side of the jacket was dry (good new DWR), the other side was completely wet (no DWR at all).
I brought the jacket back to the Patagucci store in Zurich. They tested it in the sink and agreed, that it's strange and offered me an exchange.
Now I'm stuck with a 2013 houdini, that's not breathable nor waterproof ... arrgh.

Ryan "Rudy" Oury

Locale: East Bay - CA
rei clearance houdini on 01/08/2014 07:21:06 MST Print View

@Stephen- the only one of those signs I noticed was the cuffs only had elastic half way around, not fully. I'll check out the others you mentioned though. Sounds very likely its a newer version...
@jeremy- any idea what the cutoff is (or at least transition period)? Certainly of its "13" its a newer version and "11" is older, right? Should "f12" be old, new or either? Do they just do "f" for fall and "s" for spring?

Is a little funny how "up in arms" we are getting about this, but when a jacket filled a specific niche and did it far better than any other option, I can see where the frustration lies. Like others, I'm of the mind that a wind shirt needs to push the envelop towards too breathable because otherwise its just a poor rain jacket and has no point.