Houdini Power Houdi
I’ve had several Power Houdis over the years. They are expensive, but lovely. The quality was outstanding on my first Power Houdi, I had it every day for three years, and I very much regret throwing it away… It was not so common with repair companies for clothes back then (around 2010). Recent years, I’ve sadly found the quality decrease in the Power Houdis. I’ve heard that it’s gotten better again lately, so I might dare to buy one again.
I actually think that this hoodie is best used indoors, for example at the office. I think it’s too heavy compared to how warm it is. There are better options for outdoor life, such as down jackets or merino wool hoodies. The Power Houdi is very comfortable, and the range of colours is awesome.
Weight: 472 g (women’s L)
Violin rating: 🎻🎻🎻 (3/5)
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
I read about the Ghost Whisperer in a Facebook group about ultralight backpacking. There are cheaper options at Decathlon, but I didn’t know this when I purchased it. However, I must say that I really love this jacket and I think it’s well worth its price! I’ve used it loads. Here is a list of all the features I like:
- It packs down into its own pocket, the pack size is about a third compared to the Power Houdi described above
- It’s warmer than the Power Houdi (!)
- It’s incredibly light, less than half the weight compared to the Power Houdi
- The hood works well and no cap is needed
- The arm length is perfect, no cold wrists
- It’s excellent to wear when sleeping to increase the warmth of your sleeping bag.
I really have nothing bad to say about this jacket. I’ll probably need a new one in a year or two, I’ve worn it so much that the fabric has started to break in some places. I can highly recommend it if you’re prepared to spend some money on a good and light down jacket.
Weight: 206 g (women’s L)
Violin rating: 🎻🎻🎻🎻🎻 (5/5)
Houdini Wooler Houdi
The Wooler is in many ways a better middle layer for outdoor life than the Power Houdi. Since it’s made of wool, it doesn’t smell and rarely needs washing. It’s warm in cold weather, but cool in hot weather. I bought a men’s version size Large on a discount, so it’s a bit big for me and probably heavier than a women’s version would be. In early spring and late autumn, I typically wear this hoodie over a thick merino base layer, and combine it with the Ghost Whisperer and a shell jacket.
Weight: 430 g (men’s L)
Violin rating: 🎻🎻🎻🎻 (4/5)
Woolpower Full Zip Jacket 600
This Full Zip Jacket is a very warm wool middle layer. It’s a lot warmer than the Houdini Wooler Houdi, and I use it mainly in winter time in combination with 4-6 other layers (I easily get cold when standing still). The quality is not perfect, the jacket has gotten burled pretty fast and the cloth tend to hang a bit around the zipper.
Weight: 522 g (unisex M)
Violin rating: 🎻🎻🎻 (3/5)
Haglöfs L.I.M. Mid Jacket
The L.I.M. Mid Jacket is a middle layer designed for warmer weather and/or movement. It’s all synthetic, so it will require some washing if it gets sweaty. I like the happy colours, and it’s suprisingly warm. It also packs down pretty small. It looks a bit like a baselayer, so I wouldn’t use it at a restaurant (which means that this jacket won’t make it into my Camino packing list).
Weight: 175 g (women’s XL)
Violin grade: 🎻🎻🎻 (3/5)
Icebreaker Cool-Lite Cardigan
This cardigan is good looking enough to wear in a business meeting or at a fancy restaurant, but warm enough to work as a middle layer. I had a feeling that L would have too short sleeves, so I bought size XL. To my disappointment, the sleeves are a little on the short side despite the bigger size. (Please note that I have wider sholders and longer arms than a normal person of 168 cm height.) Despite being made of thin material, this is a warm middle layer. Combined with a wind shell and a scarf, it can deal with temperatures around +10 C (if you stay moving).
The weight is almost the same as the Ghost Whisperer jacket, but it’s definetily not as warm. The pack size of this cardigan is smaller than the Ghost Whisperer, so that is an advantage. This is a cardigan made for the summer or the indoors, and it has therefor been a strong candidate for the Camino.
Weight: 195 g (women’s XL)
Violin grade: 🎻🎻🎻🎻 (4/5)
Sidenselma Light Silk Cardigan
I’ve been searching for a middle layer that works in warm climate. This cardigan is ridiculously light (featherlight!) and packs down incredibly small, around 2-3 dl. I was sceptic at first, but I have been so surprised and impressed by it. When it’s warm it feels cool and when it’s cold it warms me. If I combine it with a light (37 g) silk scarf, it works just as well as the Houdini Power Houdi at the office. I’ve tested it on longer hikes combined with the same scarf and with a light (57 g) wind shell jacket. That combination is outstanding and can definitely cope with temperatures down to at least +10 degrees Celsius if you keep moving. Isn’t that just amazing? Oh, and did I mention that it doesn’t smell and that it dries in a blink of an eye? Another important factor is that it looks awesome and it can be worn at a restaurant. This one will definitely be in my backpack for the Camino.
Weight: 81 g (women’s L)
Violin rating: 🎻🎻🎻🎻🎻 (5/5)