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Review: Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket

Woman wearing Houdini Leeward Jacket
 

A super high end, sustainably made waterproof jacket with extra length and pit vents for four season wear

Boasting super sleek and on trend style (rather than ultra outdoorsy-looking), this high quality and functional jacket is a true all rounder for life in the modern world. Whether you’re hitting the ski slopes, hiking the coast in driving rain or browsing the shops on a weekend city break, the Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket has you covered.

Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket: The stats

Best use:Winter hiking, skiing and snowboarding
Weight:456g
Waterproof?:Yes, 20,000mm H2O or higher
Eco info:70% recycled materials, recyclable, fluorocarbon free water repellant and fully circular

Features of the Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket

Fabric

Jacket fabricThe hardshell three layer fabric is constructed with high density, slightly stretchy polyester that is 70% recycled. Internally the seams are fully sealed and the Atmos Membrane is waterproof and breathable. Finally, the fabric is treated with a fluorocarbon free water repellant. The result is a durable and waterproof shell with a dull and smooth surface that feels great to move in. The fabric is also completely recyclable.

Hood

Woman with hood up in the rainThe hood is helmet compatible which means it’s on the large side when you’re not wearing a helmet. However, it cinches down well via adjustable toggles at the neck and back of the head. There’s a good sized peak which sits above a soft panel of fabric which sits on the forehead and houses the elasticated drawcord. Additionally, the extra high neck comes almost up to my nose and is complemented by a soft and fleecy chin patch.

Zip

Jacket zipThe two-way zip is water repellent with an internal storm flap for further protection. The storm flap is fastened internally with a popper button at the base of the jacket. There’s also a webbing zip pull on the upper zip which is easy to pull with gloves on.

Vents

Leeward jacket pit ventsLike the main zip, the pit vents zips are also water repellent. They have the same webbing zip pulls which easily adjust the two-way zips.

Hem

Jacket hem toggleThe hem of the jacket is longer than average with even more length at the rear. The whole hem can be cinched in using two adjustable toggles that easily pull in the elasticated cord.

Cuffs

Bottom of jacketThe sleeves are plenty wide enough to fit over winter gloves and have a little extra length for good coverage. They are cinched in using simple Velcro tabs.

Pockets

Internal stuff it pocketTwo zippered hand pockets sit high up on the jacket and are protected with external storm flaps. The pockets aren’t especially deep but they do have width to them. There’s also a small internal zippered chest pocket (big enough for a credit card) and an internal mesh stuff-it pocket.


Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket review

Despite their foundations based around timeless aesthetics, Swedish brand Houdini, have still managed to create a practical jacket that is on trend but in a subtle and tasteful way. It’s designed to be used and loved for years and I believe it will still look great in a decade from now.

Durability is key for them. They really want their garments to last as long as possible and just touching this jacket qualifies this statement in an instant. Everything about it is well constructed and of the best quality. It’s robust and sturdy.

Woman sitting on rock by the sea

Fit and sizing

As with all Houdini women’s clothing I’ve tried, the Leeward Jacket comes up large. Despite my measurements matching the size S (which I usually wear) in the size guide, I actually need a size XS in Houdini clothing.

Once you get the size right, the jacket feels spacious but not baggy, with plenty of space for layers and a puffy jacket underneath. The stretch in the fabric also means that there’s plenty of movement if you are overloaded on layers.

The jacket is long, which I really love. Firstly, this adds warmth and protection, completely covering my backside. Appealing on many levels! It also means that I can wear longer layers underneath without them popping out of the bottom. The length adds a lovely element of cosiness, especially on the really wet and windy days. But also when I’m wearing it with jeans in rain showers.

The hood is huge! It’s helmet compatible which is great when you’re wearing a helmet. But when you’re not, it really needs cinching down to prevent it from completely flopping down over your face. Despite the excess fabric in the hood area, it still manages to fit well – when cinched down – and not gape open in the wind.

Back hem of jacket

Weather protection

The hardshell nature of the Leeward fabric means that it really does well in the wind. An excellent quality for winter conditions as well as spring / summer on the coast.

When it comes to waterproofness, I’ve mostly been delighted with it. Everyday rain bounces off it like I’m inside a protective space bubble fending off asteroids. However, when exposed to prolonged heavy rain it feels a little less invincible. It doesn’t bead water very well so it has the appearance that water is seeping through the fabric. And although it isn’t penetrating the membrane, in the main, I have found signs of moisture breaking in at the chest area where there’s extra pressure on the fabric. Slightly disappointing for such a high end jacket.

Woman hiking on rocks by the sea

Versatility

The Leeward is on the slightly heavy side for a waterproof jacket but surprisingly lightweight for a hardshell with such substantial coverage. Not lightweight in a ‘shove it in your pack just in case’, kind of way. It’s not especially packable. More in the way it feels and comparable to other hardshells I’ve worn.

In terms of activities, this jacket is best suited to hiking, skiing and snowboarding. The pit vents and good breathability of the fabric make it suitable for use in the shoulder seasons when the temperature is fluctuating more. However, unless your summers are on the cool side, the jacket isn’t especially well suited to warmer conditions if you are likely to be moving lots.

That said, its style makes it very adept at complementing jeans and casual clothing, making it an excellent everyday summer jacket in changeable conditions. Layer up underneath with your favourite wooly jumper and it doesn’t need to be confined to your casual summer wardrobe, either.

Woman wearing Houdini Leeward Jacket

Sustainability

It’s impossible not to talk about sustainability with a brand like Houdini. Firstly, it adds some context to the high price tag. But it’s also just really good to know that you’re buying into a brand that thinks circularly and long term. When Houdini garments are completely worn out, they ask that they are returned to them. They have recycling units in all of their own stores and at many retailers. Ground-breaking!

They are also huge on making high quality products that last for years and years. And because the fabric is made from solely polyester, it means that it is recyclable. Blended fabrics are very hard to recycle.

What I love the most about the Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket

The extra long design gets a big thumbs up from me. Plus, it’s hard not to love the understated and stylish aesthetics.

What I don’t love so much about the Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket

I’d rather that the hand pockets were a bit deeper. I’m a bit nervous about things falling out of them if I don’t zip them up. Also, for a jacket of this price, I’d like the waterproofing to be a little more bombproof.


Woman walking on coastal path

Verdict

It’s sleek, it’s stylish, it’s incredibly well made and durable, offering excellent protection from the wind and good protection from the rain. Plus, it’s made from recycled fabrics that are recyclable.

It does come with a fairly hefty price tag attached to it and the waterproofness should be better at this price point. However, the Houdini W’s Leeward Jacket will see you through year-round activities in moderate conditions on the trail, the ski slopes and for everyday wear.

If you like the look of this jacket then you’ll LOVE these Houdini waterproof pants.

Find the latest price at:
Houdini

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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