There’s a reason why this flawless fleece has the endurance of a thru-hiker – it’s cozy, timeless and durable in all conditions
Warm, stretchy and breathable
Stay put hood
Two deep, zipped hand warming pockets plus inner mesh pockets
Abrasion-resistance face fabric
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Houdini Power Houdi: first impressions
You could say there’s nothing new about this fleece jacket, but in this case that’s not a criticism. The Power Houdi was released 20 years ago by Swedish outdoor brand Houdini and has remained largely unchanged ever since 2003, because there’s really no way to improve on the design. Made with Polartec Power Stretch Pro, this jacket delivers reliable warmth in frosty temperatures with a smooth, abrasion-resistant face and snuggly soft lining.
The timeless cut is flattering and allows enough room to wear it over a base layer while thumb holes make it easy to pull your ski jacket or waterproof jacket over the top. When pulled up, the hood cinches snugly around your head even in a gale with the collar protecting your lower face. Deep hand warming pockets have zippers if you want to use them to stash gear and that’s also where you’ll find the toggles to adjust the hem if needed.
• List price: $240 / €155
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s sizing available
• Sizes: Men’s: XS - XL / Women’s: XXS - XL
• Weight: 400g / 14.1 oz (women’s S)
• Materials: Polyester 57%, Polyamide 33%, Elastane 10%
• Colors: Many
• Best use: Hiking, Winter sports, Climbing
In addition to powerful performance, this jacket sports great eco creds as a Bluesign-approved garment, even though it’s made using plastics, which means production is vetted by a third party to eliminate any harmful chemicals or substances right from the beginning of the production process. Houdini recently conducted market research and deduced that this jacket is worn, on average a total of 1287 times and in excess of 10 years by each user, which means it’s also helping the planet by staying in circulation longer.
Now for the bad news: this technical and stylish fleece doesn't come cheap. In fact, it’s up there with the most expensive we’ve tested. If you plan to wear it for 10 years or more, you may be able to justify the expense, but if you’re just looking for a casual fleece to stay cozy at home or around town, it may be overkill.
Houdini Power Houdi: in the field
I hike for a living so I’ve owned and loved (and lost) a fair few fleeces in my time. When it comes to fleece jackets, I want them to be warm and cozy, but I’m not always blown away by their aesthetics. So when I was offered the chance to test out this iconic fleece that’s been keeping generations of hikers warm for 20 years and looks ultra stylish, I leapt.
It’s not always the case that I live in every piece of gear I test. Some are too technical for regular use, some I don’t like very much. This fleece, however, I've been living in for the past month: at home, in the mountains and on a recent family walking holiday.
Here’s how it performed:
Size and fit
I am a small and I tested a small and it fits like a glove. Well, a glove that has just enough room to wear over a base layer and comfortably move and raise my arms anyway. I’d recommend buying your usual size unless you like things baggy, but definitely don’t size down. It’s slim-fitting around the torso without being too tight, not too long coming down to just below my hip bones but not reaching mid hip, and the hood is super snug.
Warmth and breathability
Fleece is meant to be warm and warm this fleece is. We are having a really cold autumn so far in Scotland, and I’ve been loving the instant coziness this layer provides, even this weekend when I was hiking a Munro in near-freezing temperatures. It’s not sweaty and the wicking quality works great, but provides real toastiness when needed.
It’s nice that this jacket looks good, but if it wasn’t comfortable I wouldn’t wear it. The soft, inner lining feels great against the skin if I wear it with a short-sleeved shirt and even though the collar is quite snug around my lower face when fully zipped, there’s no chafing or rubbing.
Weight and packability
Fleece isn’t necessarily the lightest or most packable and compared to other fleeces we’ve tested, this is actually on the slightly heavy end, though it certainly hasn’t slowed me down on the hills. It rolls up about the way I’d expect from any fleece, though I’ve mostly been wearing it rather than packing it, but I did notice that the hood doesn’t add much bulk when it’s rolled or folded up which is nice.
Odor control and durability
One of my main beefs with fleece is how smelly it gets, so I was pleased when I wore this all day every day for a week on a walking holiday and it didn’t get too ripe at all under the armpits. Hanging it up to air it out was super effective, and when I washed it upon my return, it came out looking like new.
The smooth face fabric is abrasion resistant and really great whether you’re just giving it a lot of daily wear or wearing it on belay. As noted, the market research on this jacket shows that people wear it over 1,200 times over 10 years, so though I haven’t been wearing mine for decades yet, I expect it to last a long, long time. I can’t say I’d fork out $240 for it, but knowing how well it performs and how long it lasts, I can understand the price tag.
Houdini Power Houdi: the bottom line
This versatile, stylish and high-performing fleece jacket takes a planet-friendly approach to keeping you warm on a mountain top, a chairlift ride or on belay, but it’s priced for those with big budgets, and you can find an equally or similarly performing fleece with a smaller price tag, such as the Arcteryx Kyanite Hoody.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.