a climbing day

Test Review – Houdini’s new Power Air Houdi with Polartec Power Air

The Power Air Houdi is the result of an innovative project between Polartec and Houdini Sportswear, who was one of the first few outdoor companies that integrated the Polartec® Power Air into their products. So far, I have been using the Houdi on most of my outdoor activities and whenever we went climbing.

What is Polartec Power Air

The Polartec® Power Air™ has a new knit construction that encapsulates air to retain warmth and to reduce fibre shedding. This performant fabric sheds up to 5x fewer microfibers than other mid-layer fabrics, so Polartec.

Unlike the contemporary fleece, the Power Air fabric feels smooth on the skin. Its unique design resembles a bubble wrapper made out of fabric. Little air pockets, seamlessly knitted into the fabric, contain long recycled fibres that encapsulate warm air from the body. At the same time, the surrounding knit prevents loose microfibers from shedding out into the environment.

When does shedding happen and why is it an issue?

Have you sometimes wondered why suddenly a pullover or t-shirt becomes really thin after multiple washes? Shedding synthetic microfibers happen during the laundry and daily wear and tear hardly visible to the naked eye.

The filter at the bottom of a washing machine or the tumbler dryer collects textile lint during a laundry routine. This is perhaps the easiest way for the consumer to get an idea of how much fibre waste detaches from a garment.

Microparticles that include microplastics flow through these filters and straight into our environment. Since not all microplastics biodegrade, it has become an environmental issue. (source: Wiki) It’s scary to find more and more microplastic waste returning to our food chain cycle and into our stomachs.

Power Air Houdi
The Power Air Houdi

Power Air Houdi Features

The Houdi has a two-way zipper, a high collar hood and extended sleeves with thumb loops. Two front pockets with zippers keep little important things in the pockets and your fingers warm. There’s an adjustable hidden drawcord at the bottom hem. The Slim fit makes the Houdi tight-fitting. If you prefer a looser fit, order a size up.

It is durable, Bluedesign certified and made from 54% recycled polyester, 38% polyester, 8% elastane.

Resembles a piqué design inside, smooth on the outside – the Power Air Houdi

The Houdi in action

I wore the Power Air Houdi mostly as a protective layer on top of a t-shirt or a climbing top. It felt like a second skin. Its breathability is outstanding. The fabric absorbs perspiration well and transports this away from the body. However, at some point during a hike on a very cold day, I felt the jacket did not dry fast enough from excessive perspiration it adsorbed. Combining this with a merino layer below helped me solve the problem. It was also easier to interchange that layer to a dry one later on and worked better together when the temperatures dropped below 10°C.

The high collar zipper protects the neck and chin from the chill and wind. To keep all wind out, I had an extra Windstopper to stay toasty warm. The smooth surface on top of the fabric made it easy to slip into any 3rd layer.

The Power Air Houdi goes all the way over the hips and over the bum. This is an advantage when you bend over and the jacket doesn’t slip up the waist. The two-way zipper comes in handy when wearing the jacket with a harness. Open up the bottom zip so that the jacket doesn’t bulge in a funny way while belaying. Or wear it fancy in the evening with just the bottom zipper opened halfway through. Definitely an eyecatcher!

Thumb loops and extra length that covers the hips – The Power Air Houdi

What I liked:

  • great allrounder in summer. Perfect too, for urban environments and the city
  • very comfortable. Stretchy in every direction, free to move in any way.
  • Those thumb loops keep the balm warm.
  • Little to almost no signs of pilling even after multiple washes. Actually, it always looks brand new after the wash!

What could be better:

  • weight. Size S weighs 522 g on the scale. Multiple day trips to the mountains where weight is crucial will have to see this jacket stay home. I personally prefer a woollen or a light down jacket combination that would warm without aerobic actions instead.

The bottom line:

The Power Air Houdi is a high quality, technical Midlayer jacket, which can be worn well with a short sleeve basic below. It performed well and it’s comfy to wear, although I did miss all the snugly feeling of traditional fleece.

The Power Air Houdi comes in 5 colours and is priced at 200€ (List price).

The black colour keeps you looking sporty, yet elegant not only at the crags. I am looking forward to all the adventures where this Houdi and I will share the next years and am hoping that more sustainable fabrics like these will appear. You can find another test review in german from airFreshing.com here.

Houdini Sportswear’s sustainability credentials are inspirational. They have a repair service for faulty items and even a reuse section where you can resell your used Houdini products and redeem a goodie compensation when it’s sold. Unfortunately, this service is only available in Sweden and Norway. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to extend that service to the world?

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. 

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