Powderhorn Gunpowder Jacket Review
Before wearing the Powderhorn Gunpowder jacket, I thought all puffy jackets were the same: warm, lightweight and fragile. I would grab a puffy jacket on very cold days when I had no intention of being near trees or other pointy things that could snag a delicate coat. Now I grab my Powderhorn in nearly all conditions. Turns out, the Powderhorn down jacket is much more versatile; sometimes it’s good to be wrong. The first time I tested this coat was on a -20F day at Breckenridge with 70mph gusts. There was over a foot of fresh snow which made for a glorious ski day for those equipped to handle the brutal weather. The Gunpowder jacket kept me warm. Period. This earned it the top spot as my go-to jacket on sub-zero days. Another day, while wearing minimal base layers, I wore it in single-digit temps. Again, I was warm. It couldn’t possibly work on a twenty degree day, right? Wrong. It wasn’t too hot. Then I wore it on a 50 degree blue-sky day at Beaver Creek with only a single base layer. I opened the pit-zips and was comfortable all day. After discussing this jacket’s versatility with other puffy jacket aficionados, we concluded that a regular jacket cannot be comfortable below zero and on warm days. How does the Powderhorn jacket pull off such a feat? Magic. This coat is likely woven with magical fibers made from a Unicorn’s mane. Or maybe with “ceramic powder for thermal retention” as Powderhorn likes to call it. Either way, it’s amazing and unlike my other down coats.
It’s comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, but is this coat a one-trick pony? Not a chance. The cuffs have just the right amount of elastic and the hood fits perfectly over a ski helmet. At 5’7 and 150lbs, the medium almost fits perfectly. Since bulky base layers aren’t necessary, a small would have fit a bit better but the medium is almost perfect and offer room for layers. It does have a funky zipper that zips on the wrong side. As an ambidextrously-challenged male, the zipper on the left side frightened me. But it does something no other puffy jacket has ever done for me: it zips up effortlessly with a simple one-handed motion, and after a few zips I didn’t even notice that the zipper was on the left. What made me really fall for the jacket was how it feels. With an ultra-light base layer, a tight merino mid layer and this down jacket, I was warm in sub-zero temps and it felt like wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt. Wow. It’s warm and lightweight, so it must be super fragile, right? After getting whacked by snow-clumped pine branches and catching a few flicks from Aspen branches, I was shocked to see the jacket was still intact. The tear-resistant fabric is really durable for a down coat. Admittedly though, this jacket is so lightweight and comfortable that I was resigned to patching it with duct tape if necessary. I’m very hard on ski coats and spend a lot of time glade-skiing and hiking with my skis. Every time I threw my skis over my shoulder I wondered if they’d slice clean through to the feathers. After a dozen times skiing the glades and hiking with skis to reach that fresh snow, the Gunpowder puffy has one small cut from my skis and one tiny tear from a tree branch. A friend repaired both with super glue. It’s not noticeable and doesn’t affect performance. If you don’t aggressively ski the trees or haul your skis up the mountain on your shoulder, this jacket would be perfect. If you do, ask yourself how you look in duct tape. For a jacket this versatile, a few repairs won’t bother me one bit.
For more information on the Powderhorn Gunpowder Jacket, please visit powderhornworld.com