As the outdoor industry gets ready to go into winter, the demand for heated clothing continues to grow. It’s a bit daunting knowing what’s going to best suit your needs, so here’s an easy guide on how to pick a suitable heated jacket or vest in accordance with your usage plans.
1. Size and Fit of the Jacket
Although sizing may vary from one store to another, you must ensure that your jacket is in good shape so that the heat elements inside to work. Always check the manufacturer’s sizing chart on their website. And if you’re not sure which size to get, err to the smaller size.
Keep in mind that not all jackets are designed for warmth. These types of jackets often contain less insulation than more serious winter cycling gear. You may want to consider purchasing a more robust winter cycling jacket if you feel your current jacket is not performing well in colder temperatures.
2. Thermal Layers
Most jackets with heated elements require the inclusion of an additional layer underneath to help insulate you from the heat elements within. One of the most common materials used to create these layers is Thinsulate that is said to be lightweight and effective at absorbing heat. The layer is best placed on your skin to prevent it from scratching against the surface of the jacket. If you’re thinking about buying an item that is heated but doesn’t come with an additional layer for warmth, remember that layering is necessary.
3. Charging Time & Battery Life
All jackets in the table come with a charger and a battery pack. Some batteries will fully charge in as little as two hours, while other require up to eight hours. Of of course, the more heating elements your jacket has, the more time it’ll need to recharge. But if you happen to find yourself stuck somewhere without a place to plug in your charger, try using an external battery pack to help to boost your battery.
It is also important to keep an eye on the life of the batteries for each jacket so that you know for how long you are able to remain warm without having to recharge or swap out batteries. If possible, try and choose a jacket made with Lithium-ion batteriessince they tend to hold their charge better than other types of rechargeable batteries.
4. Heating Levels
The majority of jackets we have reviewed come with both high and low heat settings. If you’re planning to stay out for a short time and wish to conserve power then the lower setting will be more than sufficient. If you intend to ride at higher speeds or travel for a longer time, the high setting is suggested.
5. Comfort Controls
A lot of jackets come with a remote control, but you must be able to regulate how hot your jacket produces. So, if you’re moving from a warm space to a cold space it won’t be a problem to feel cold the second you turn the jacket off. Therefore, I strongly recommend that every jacket that is heated has an element of temperature control.
6. Battery Life Indicator
It can be frustrating when you discover your battery is dead just before you arrive home, much like the gas tank in your car. This can be avoided by making sure that your battery is fully charged and taking note of the battery’s indicator before you start your bicycle ride. Jackets can tell you how long the battery will last based on the heat level. This will ensure that you don’t freeze in the cold.
7. Fit & Style
Keep in mind the tasks you’ll be using your jacket to perform. A looser cut is best for those who plan to wear it for outdoor activities. However, if you are looking for something more versatile and can be used as a part of a regular wardrobe, you will probably want to go with the more fitted jacket.
For more information, click men’s heated vest