A few weeks ago I did something I thought I’d never do; I sold my Patagonia Houdini. It and my Traverse pullover funded the purchase of an on-sale Rab Boreas pull-on, their replacement.
Nice hood on the Boreas, That odd peak on the forehead seals very well over a hat with a brim, like a baseball cap or the excellent Arc’teryx Phaser Toque.
I hadn’t used the Houdini hardly at all in the last year. In Utah and Arizona, where wind was common but rain was rare, it came along on every trip. Here in Montana, a proper hard shell is almost always a necessity. The Houdini overlapped with the hard shell too often, and these two when layered impeded breathability a great deal. There just wasn’t a place left in the common quiver for the Houdini.
As I wrote about last year, balancing wind resistance and breathability is a tricky thing, especially in colder weather where the margins with both become more exacting. A few fabrics bend the curve a bit, but wind resistance and breathability have a direct and inverse relationship to each other. The art of picking a windshirt is finding a garment with the right balance for your conditions and exertion levels, most of the time. For me, in Montana, I found that the Houdini and Traverse were either too much of one or not enough of the other.
The Boreas is more breathable than either, and will I hope hit the right spot of cutting the wind a bit while breathing enough to wear while hiking or skinning uphill hard. My medium weighs 9 oz exactly, after cutting off all the tags. Like the Traverse, it should function akin to a heavier baselayer, being about as warm as a capilene 3 shirt. I am particularly excited about the nice hood, and fantastic use of a beefy #5 main zip.
The fit is good, snug but not tight, long in the torso, plenty of room to flap the arms. The arms are baggy, due to my T-Rex physique no doubt, and extraordinarily long. Long enough that I had enough room to add thumb loops, a feature the Boreas cries out for in any case. It does not have a factory DWR, which enhances breathability at the expense of water resistance. It dries reasonably well, especially given the fairly high lycra content.
Thus far I’m quite hopeful it will hit a sweat spot in my clothing system which has thus far proved elusive.