Saddlebag Must-Have: the Patagonia Alpine Houdini

Rain has a way of getting into your bones. When you’re horseback and miles from home, thirty minutes of rain should not ruin your ride. But it can. Once that chill gets into you, it’s hard to shake it off, even if you push your horse into a long trot for a few miles. Your movements stiffen, your hands freeze, and your connection with your horse can go sideways – all because of a little rain.

dsc02170We have a lovely monsoon season here in Colorado. That means it might rain every day for a few months. Most days, though, this happens: clouds gather, skies darken, and rain threatens heartily before moving on.

Given the area’s hit-and-mostly-miss disposition for precipitation, I’ve stopped tying my bulky turnout coat to the top of my saddlebag and have found the perfect substitute: the Patagonia Alpine Houdini.

The Alpine Houdini (not to be confused with the Houdini jacket which is lighter, but a bit less tough and less water-resistant) weighs less than six ounces and stuffs easily into its own pocket or a plastic sandwich bag. It has an adjustable, helmet-friendly hood. It comes in gorgeous colors, like “Arbor Green” and “Concord Purple.” I’ve been wearing a “Sulphur Yellow,” which’ll be downright ideal for hunting season.

Call me me a veteran of many sopping wet outings:

  • I’ve tried the bulky, waxed canvas coats:

aThey’re super heavy. They will eventually leak. And eventually both you and it will start smelling like an unmucked stall.

  • I’ve tried the cheap, disposable plastic ponchos:

They might be okay for sitting in the bleachers or changing a flat tire. But stay dry and move horseback? Please. Use it more than once? No chance.

Comfort and no-fuss reliability are vital when riding.Those features allow you to focus on the trail, the conditions, and your horse’s well being.

The Alpine Houdini is comfy in its simplicity, fit, and design. There are no frills to get in the way. It’s quiet (unlike many rain jackets) and easy, making it the ideal back country saddlebag necessity.

Read about Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard.