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They say that there are 10 outdoor essentials and one of them should be a super lightweight wind breaker. I have one with me on all outings, be it a trail run, a mountain bike ride, a backcountry ski day, or a full blown expedition. The problem is that they show wear and tear quickly, but then again that is a great excuse to upgrade or try something new in this category. I have blown apart several different wind jackets [Remember I said she was hard on gear. – Head Geargal) so it was indeed time to try something new. I chose the Patagonia Houdini. This is a full zip jacket with hood and one minimalist pocket. I loved it as soon as I picked it up, as it weighs just over 3 ounces. I thought that zipper itself would weigh more than that! On its first outing, it kept the ridgeline winds from stripping the heat from my core on a hike. On the second outing, it was a perfect outerlayer while skinning up for a touring ski lap. The hood fits nicely without restricting vision.

The overall slim fit of this jacket has cut down the bulk many wind layers have, which makes me look more contoured than the sack look many other jackets offer. The triple ripstop also gives at least a promise of a longer life span than its predecessors. In a few months I will know for certain. Now if I could just get over the color name, Poppy Fields, pleaseā€¦.