Breathable, ultralight, weather resistant, stretchy, soft, stuffable, recycled, recyclable – what else can you ask for in a great lightweight softshell jacket to take on your travels, stuff in your pack, or wrap around your waist? Sweden’s Houdini Sportswear Motion Light Houdi has been in its line of Motion Light products, and I love it as a superb travel jacket.

It is so lightweight at about eight ounces, yet this Motion Light Houdi (yes, a play on hoody and Houdini!) offers light rain and wind resistance, two front hand pockets, a hood, a full zip, and a bottom hem draw cord adjustment. Often light-as-a-wisp jackets pare back on fabric durability or overall features – making them great just-in-case pack-alongs but less practical as a real travel jacket. But you often need a few extra ounces to get protective features – me, I’ll take eight ounces with a little guts over three wispy ones for a travel jacket.

Motion Light Houdi worn by Therese while traveling in Berlin.

This one not only can stuff in a pack or bag as a you-never-know accessory but it can also serve as an everyday lightweight travel jacket to protect from the elements. Without that dreaded clown-like color blocking, this travel jacket can slip over nicer casual wear and look pretty decent going to dinner or coffee after a hard day on the trail, be it biking, hiking, walking or running.

Motion Light Houdi travel jacket for (nearly) any occasion

Houdini Motion Light Houdi rests on top of the pack next to Therese

On a hike in Italy, the Houdin Houdi was always nearby.

I dragged this baby all over the mountains, into restaurants and cafes in the Dolomites, and on and off trains on several international and domestic trips. The Motion Light Houdi (USD $200/EUR 150) took it all in stride, shedding grime and moisture (thanks to a water-repellent treatment) and shielding me from breezes. Yet it also dried quickly too after quick rinses or a little rain.

The Houdini’s Motion Light Houdi’s two-way stretch fabric moves with you superbly, and a narrow elastic cuff on the sleeves doesn’t bind. Sometimes elastic-trimmed sleeves can look cheap and be uncomfortable but these had a high-end finish and enough give to slip over your hands, a watch or a fleece mid-layer.

I really liked its slightly longer rear cut so you could still pull it down over the top of your hips, instead of that waist-length cut of many travel jackets that leaves your behind exposed to wind and weather. I for one really liked the close-fitting hood – being a hood person vs. those who are anti-hood and prefer hats.

Also available in the same Motion Light fabric is a men’s style, as well as active travel; shorts and travel pants. My other half at HI Travel Tales also quite liked the Men’s Motion Light pants. One caveat: They have an elastic bottom cuff that some may not find comfortable or attractive for all-around needs. Nevertheless, they fit, move and breathe great for travel pants. Of course, the Motion Light items are only the tip of the Swedish Houdini brands sleek line of outdoor and adventure travel items. The brand’s calling card is its emphasis on sustainability, using recycled materials and emphasizing recyclable products.

Motion Light earns a big thumbs-up among fabrics for HI Travel Tales, and the Motion Light Houdi with its features and design is a favorite piece for my HITT travel wardrobe.

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Therese Iknoian

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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