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Woman hiking in Houdini WP Pants

Review: Houdini W’s BFF Pants

Versatile, eco-friendly and great looking waterproof trousers for hiking and snowsports

Ever tried to sneak up on someone whilst wearing waterproof pants? Yep, almost impossible. Ever walked for miles wearing those same pants? Uh-huh… infuriatingly noisy! The Houdini W’s BFF Pants however, are the most silent pair of waterproof trousers I’ve ever encountered. They don’t even look waterproof! But they deal with heavy rain showers and prolonged exposure to light rain with no issues at all. They’re also superbly comfortable, breathable and stretchy, featuring full length side zips and pockets for optimal functionality. Magic trousers at their very best!!

Houdini W’s BFF Pants: The stats

Best use:Hiking, skiing, snowboarding
Weight:312g
Waterproof?:Yes
Eco info:70% recycled materials, recyclable, fluorocarbon free water repellant and fully circular

Features of the Houdini Women’s BFF Pants

Fabric

Wet trouser legHoudini uses their 100% polyester Atmos Membrane which is hydrophilic allowing moisture to move through the fabric for breathability 15,000 g/m2 / 24 hrs). The HH rating of the fabric is 20,000mm and the outer layer of the 2.5-layer hardshell is treated with a fluorocarbon-free water repellent finish. Additionally, the fabric is made from 70% Eco Circle recycled polyester and 30% polyester which means the fabric is completely recyclable at the end of its life. The seams are fully sealed and the lightweight fabric is also stretchy for optimal movement.

Pockets

Thigh pocket on waterproof pantsThere are two hand pockets and one thigh pocket on the front of the leg. All three pockets are closable with water repellent zippers.

Side zips

Ankle zips on pantsLike the pockets, the side zips are also water repellent with internal storm flaps to add another layer of protection. The zips start just below the hand pockets on the side and curve slightly around to the back where a popper button at the base secures the internal storm flap.
They are two-way zips which adds versatility. Lower the top zips for venting at the legs or raise the bottom zips to make putting the pants on over boots really easy.

Bottom cuff

Lace loop on pantsThe bottom cuffs feature drawcords to cinch in the lower leg, if desired. Cinching in helps to prevent the pants from flapping in the wind and also decreases friction between the ankles. There’s also popper tabs inside the front of the cuffs. These loop around boot or shoe laces to secure the pants in place and prevent rain or dripping from entering the tops of the shoes.

Waistband

Waist tab on waterproof pantsThe low profile band of the mid-rise waist sits comfortably over tights or other hiking pants and doesn’t interfere with backpack harnesses. As well as popper buttons and a zippered fly, the waistband has Velcro adjustment tabs which are elasticated for a great fit.


Houdini W’s BFF Pants review

There’s a chapter in a book I dip in and out of occasionally – Rewild Yourself – that describes waterproof pants as “magic trousers”. They allow you to be out in the elements without a care about how soggy your backside might become or how cold your thighs are getting with every fresh and chilling raindrop. And I really do subscribe to this; a good pair of waterproof pants are worth their weight in gold. They disproportionately increase enjoyment levels when out and about on rainy days and seem to be more cherished than a rain jacket. Of course this is somewhat nonsensical. Rain jackets are lifesavers whereas rain pants just make everything better. But maybe that’s why they feel so valuable?

Anyway, the point is that waterproof pants are a game-changer. BUT, like rain jackets, they’re not all made equal. Worse than getting a soggy bottom from not wearing them, is getting a soggy bottom when your backside is supposedly protected and you’re not expecting it!

So, are the Houdini W’s BFF Pants waterproof warriors or a damp squib?

Woman putting waterproof pants on

Fit

First up, let’s talk about fit. Magic trousers don’t only need to protect against the elements, they also need to feel comfortable. The stretchy fabric moves wonderfully with the body – nothing like more traditional stiff and noisy waterproof fabric. And because of this, when I bend, lunge, sit or kneel, I’m not having to hitch up the fabric to make space for my movement. The pants are also really well shaped. Loose fitting but not too baggy, with a mid-rise waist that easily fits over other hiking pants or even jeans.

A word of caution on sizing… Houdini pants come up big. I usually wear a size S. The sizing guidelines put me at a size S in these pants but when they arrived they were far too big. I need an XS in these and in the MTM Thrill Twill Hiking Pants.

Woman hiking along rocks

Versatility

Secondly, these are not just waterproof pants reserved for bewitching the elements in changeable hiking conditions. They offer so much more than that. They are lightweight enough to pack as ‘just in case’ rain pants on hiking and biking trips. But they are also comfortable enough to wear over leggings or tights as some extra wind protection, even if there’s not much rain forecast. Additionally, the stretchy hardshell fabric makes them suitable for skiing and snowboarding worn over warm long-johns, as well as for cycling in inclement weather. You can cinch the hems right in.

They’re also rather stylish, as waterproof trousers go!

Woman hiking on rocks by the sea

Weather protection

And finally, the all important question of whether these trousers are as magic as I need them to be when it comes to weather protection. In short, the answer is yes, magic they are! Heavy rain showers and prolonged exposure to light rain just ain’t no thing for these bad boys. They also dry very quickly.

But, like most waterproof outerwear, there’s a limit to the fabric’s ability to fend off a repeated pounding from the rain. Prolonged wear in incessant rain and wind will eventually zap some of the magic out of these trousers. The good news is that you don’t end up with wet patches on your base layers. There’s no leaking going on here and the seams hold up very well. However, a small amount of moisture does start to build up on the inside of the fabric, especially in areas of high contact, like the knees and the hem of a jacket.

Sustainability

It’s impossible not to mention Houdini’s commitment to sustainability. They are huge on making high quality products that last for a long, long time. And at the end of a product’s life they request that garments get returned to them. They have recycling units in all of their own stores and at many retailers, too.
Woman walking in the rain

What I love the most about the Houdini W’s BFF Pants

Their stylish design and lack of waterproof-looking aesthetics seems to be rather unique in the waterproof trouser world. I really like this. Plus, the lack of shininess means that they don’t rustle as you move! Add to that, their versatility, functionality and magic protection against the elements and it’s really hard not to love almost everything about them! If I had to name one thing? Probably the fabric: lightweight, stretchy, matt, supple and really comfortable.

What I don’t love so much about the Houdini W’s BFF Pants

The price tag is far from magical! In fact, it’s breathtaking, in the wrong kind of way. BUT, you most certainly get what you pay for. These are high-end waterproof pants that are also a much more sustainable option than most.


Zipping up waterprppf pant legs

Verdict

These high-end waterproof pants are one of the most functional and versatile options you’ll find. Boasting excellent comfort, weather protection and style, the Houdini W’s BFF Pants will keep your pins feeling magical whether you’re hiking, biking, camping, snowboarding or skiing. The stretchy fabric is a winning feature, as are the full length side zips. Plus, they are recyclable and one of the more sustainable options on the market. They do come with a rather high price tag. But they’re designed to be worn hard and are certainly overkill for occasional / light wear.

Find the latest price at:
Houdini Sportswear

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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