Tag Archives: dwr

Patagonia Houdini jacket review


Material: 1oz 15-denier Triple rip-stop nylon (w/ DWR treatment)

Features: Zippered exterior chest pocket, adjustable hood/hem

Weight: 4.3oz

Cost: $125.00

    This jacket fits in my other jacket’s chest pocket, no joke.  At 4.3 ounces, this is THE lightest ‘shell’ or piece of outerwear I have ever owned.  This versatile item deserves a place in everyone’s pack.

    Let’s set the record straight – I would NOT consider this a true shell or even a soft shell.  Patagonia describes this item as ‘soft, breathable, and ultra-light…weather-resistant protection…’.  This is fairly accurate but I wouldn’t count on this as your sole item for protection from the elements.  Even during a brief summer squall, this item gets wet fast.  Perhaps right off the shelf the DWR treatment will help it shed minimal precip but keep in mind the fact that DWR treatments wear off very quickly.

    My favorite application for this item is wind protection.  Lately I have been using the Houdini for skiing.  I wear a light-weight synthetic t-shirt, then a lightweight fleece, over that goes the Houdini, and finally a softshell layer.  The Houdini does breath very well and as long as the weather stays in the 20’s, I stay very comfortable.  In this application the Houdini blocks the wind that makes it through my softshell.  It also helps to hold in a little more body heat which keeps me warmer.  I like to wear the Houdini under my softshell to avoid ripping it on trees – it is EXTREMELY light-weight.

    Because of it’s small size and minimal weight, this item is unnoticed in a pack or even jacket pocket.  I have no reservations packing it on EVERY trip outdoors, in case I need just a little more then what I have.  I own an older version which had a fairly constricting hood that would NOT fit over a helmet and when zipped all the way up, felt like it was chocking me.  Apparently Patagonia has redesigned the hood to be more comfortable.  They have also redesigned the pocket on this newer rendition.  My version has an internal velcro pocket while the new version has an exterior zippered pocket.

    Overall, this unique item has been very useful and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s pack.  You might even be surprised at how often you use it, just be careful, it is ultra-lightweight!

Patagonia Mens Simple Guide Pants review

Material: Stretch-woven polyester (w/ DWR treatment)

Features: Elastic waistband with draw-cord, 2 zippered side pockets, 1 zippered thigh pocket, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, reverse fly zipper, cuff securing tabs

Cost: $99

I’ve wanted to do a review of the Patagonia Simple Guide pants for quite a while now.  I realized that I don’t have a single review concerning pants – this was the catalyst.

On to the review.  The Simple Guide pants are a light-weight, technical softshell pant that will perform in a variety of conditions.  They have well-designed features and an athletic fit that makes them a great choice for almost any outdoor pursuit.

Climbing The Yellow Spur in Eldorado Canyon SP

I’ll start off by saying that I REALLY like the material that Patagonia chose for these pants.  It is surprisingly light-weight, stretchy, and very comfortable.  Breathability is stellar while durability is fair.  Initially water resistance was sufficient but with any regular use, the DWR treatment wears off quickly and will need to be re-applied for continued weather resistance.  Getting back to durability, after 3+ years of use there are no holes, all seams are intact including the welded thigh pocket, and the zippers still function like new.  There is apparent wear on the seat of the pants from glissading, rock climbing, and sitting that has led to faster water absorption.  Bottom line, even when new, don’t expect to stay dry with continued contact with snow or water.  But don’t look at this as a failure – these are light-weight softshell pants, they should only be expected to shed minimal precip at best.  They do however dry very quickly, off-setting the fact that they will get wet easily.

Pockets are on the smaller side, leaving room for small essentials like a compass, lip balm, small camera, or car keys.  Having zippers on all of the pockets helps to keep your items from falling out while climbing, skiing, or hiking.

Out for an early Winter trail ride

The articulated knees, gusseted crotch, and stretch of these pants allows for a wide range of movement (think figure 4’s, high-stepping, and other acrobatic feats of alpinism).  Keep in mind that these have a slim fit and some folks may want to size-up to feel comfortable (unless you like the slim euro look).  The reverse zippered fly is a nice feature, zipping up to open.  This gives you easier access to your ‘delicates’ while wearing a climbing harness.  The cuff tabs have small metal grommets so you can attach your pants to your boots with a piece of cord.  I have never used this feature and don’t really see the point (unless you are performing some extremely acrobatic movements and your pant legs start to ride up?).  The newest version of these pants has a separating waist with a button.  My pants don’t have this feature but it has never been a problem.

All things considered I think these pants are a great buy at $99.  Patagonia has a great warranty to back up their products (in case these didn’t perform well).  Some great thought and design went into creating these versatile pants.