If you plan to trail run, hike or climb in remote areas, it’s a good idea to carry an ultra light rain jacket in case of an unexpected storm, injury or quick drop in temperature.
The jacket should pack extremely small, weigh next to nothing and, preferably, have a hood. The Patagonia Houdini fits the bill. I tested the jacket on a five-mile run during a steady drizzle. The temperature was 64 degrees at 88 percent humidity.
The Gear: Patagonia Houdini Jacket (available now; $99)
Where To Use It: Rainy trails, windy mountaintops and packed tight in a hiking pack.
Who’s It For: Trail runners and summertime mountain climbers who need an emergency rain jacket and windbreaker.
Specs: Made from ripstop nylon with Patagonia’s proprietary Deluge Durable Water Repellant coating. Jacket weighs in at 4 ounces and packs down to the size of a wallet. Reflective logos on chest and back add to nighttime safety, and the hood adjusts for peripheral vision.
Boring But Important: The jacket is not fully waterproof — in a heavy rain, it will eventually leak. However, this highly-breathable material can be a good compromise for runners and others who will likely get more wet from perspiration than precipitation.
First Impressions: Running my standard route in Denver, but on a very non-standard rainy, high-humidity day, the jacket kept me reasonably dry. After five miles, my polyester t-shirt was damp but not soaked. The jacket fits close and is clearly designed with runners in mind; running with the hood up is no problem.
Our Take: This is one of several good ultralight running jackets on the market. At $99, it is reasonably priced for a high-end piece that is well made and should last for several years.
Who Should Buy It: Trail runners, mountain climbers and anyone who wants a very light, breathable windbreaker with moderate rain protection.
More Beta/Buy Now: Patagonia — Houdini Jacket
—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC.