I was skeptical of this “piece”. Many reviewers claim ecstatically that it’s the single best windshirt out there. Bold indeed. The Marmot Ion née Trail Wind Hoody is certainly less expensive and the DriClime Windshirt a bit heavier. Oh, but the cut? Most Patagonia stuff I wear in size small, but sometimes I find small feels constricting or medium feels a bit loose. With the Houdini and R1 Hoody I ordered size small and the fit is athletic but not tight and you can wear a thick baselayer underneath, while the hood fits nicely over a hat or the R1 Hoody.
The first of many runs I took wearing the Houdini was in the rain and melting snow. So far so good, it kept me warm and dry, much unlike my feet. Next up were two hours of snowshoeing. Uphill I was hot, but simply flick off the hood, pull up sleeves, unzip, and go. How about running in a snow storm @ 18°F? Perfect again, the DWR works well and the cut of the shell is really well done for movement. The final test were two bouts of classic Nordic skiing. One afternoon it was almost 32°F out! I was on fire. Nonetheless with the wind I kept the Houdini on, though I did take off the gloves and hat! It was too hot on the snow.
The next morning proved a better test, 10°F on icy XC tracks. I kept the hood on over my hat and wore my goto Black Diamond MidWeight gloves. Once moving I was warm and stayed warm, never getting clammy as I have in other windshirts. My older thin Pearl Izumi cycling jacket I ran in frequently this winter would often become clammy within 30 minutes of running, whereas the Houdini breathes well and keeps the precipitation off.
I certainly haven’t tried every windshirt on the market, but I can tell time was spent getting the Houdini dialed in. At approximately 4oz, folded into its own pocket, it’s a no brainer to bring it traveling or zip it on for a cold early morning run. It’s on my “go list” for Alaska.