We hate to admit it, but it’s starting to get cold. That means no more shorts, no more flip flops, and if you’re thinking about any kind of sports, proper clothing is a must. Luckily, cutting edge textiles meet tech and make it easy to stay warm in the winter months. Heated clothes are out there, ready to wear. Generally, there are two types – motorcycle or heavy-duty cold gear that’s designed to draw power from your ride, and battery powered heat gear designed for casual use.
EXO² makes heated gear and accessories for a broad range of applications; everything from Workforce gear, to Dry-suit heating, to their upcoming equestrian line for both riders and horses ($1500). StormRider Heated Garments falls under their umbrella; motorcycle styles for people that want to ride through any storm. They have an entire line of gear, from vests and gloves to kidney belts. Since it’s intended for use far away from outlets, most of their gear has flexible power, meaning it can either be battery-powered or connected to the motorcycle (or microlight plane, if that’s your lifestyle) for power.
The heating element is a rubber-like polymer that heats up when current is applied (from the 12V battery or straight from your ride). Since it’s a polymer, it’s difficult to damage but easy to shape. Nor does EXO² gear have wires, meaning tears to the garment are less likely to cause a short circuit. FabRoc, a waterproof, windproof, crushable and stretchable polymer-based fabric makes up the heat panels.
The 2016 ExoGlo Men’s Vest ($200) offers up to five hours of heating time depending on how hot you keep it. It’s intended as a mid-layer on the coldest of days, the external later is Flylite, which means it’s water resistant and windproof. There are three FabRoc heating panels, one large kidney panel and two chest panels. This vest is a great bet from EXO², since it comes with a 12V power pack and charger in addition to the wireless remote. A lot of their StormRider gear is made with their heavier duty AirXtream fabric but you have to buy the battery separately to the tune of $100.
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Gerbing is another storied name in the growing heated clothing community. Johan de With from the Netherlands set a new world record for cold open water deep diving, while wearing Gerbing gear. He said about his decision to go with gear inside his dry suit; “I was convinced that I could use some heated products and connect it to a portable battery.” He went with the heated waistcoat, glove liners, and socks. The 12V battery survived the 169 meter depth (seven meters deeper than the previous record) with no problems.
Gerbing has 7- and 12- volt clothing. The 12V line is designed to keep you warm when you’re speeding at 120km/hr or for extended outdoor periods (say, if you’re fishing on a cold day). Stainless steel microwires encased in a waterproof coating distribute the heat throughout the garment. Lithium ion batteries and chargers are included, and you can buy additional batteries separately.
Since it’s a Netherlands-based company, if you’re in the US you may have to hunt for some of their stuff. However, they’ve put out the only heated full-leg sport bib with an athletic cut you’re likely to find, so if you’re going to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors this winter, it’s worth reaching out to Gerbing for a pair.
If you just want something simple for your day-to-day routine, the Warming Store carries a broader selection of Gerbing gear than Gerbing’s own website. The 7V fleece is a good bet; if you’re thinking of getting a new fleece already why not make it heated? It maxes out at 135 degrees, but its Lithium-ion battery will last eight hours if you keep it to the lowest of its four settings.
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Warm and Safe‘s new Generation 4 pant liners are like heated, moisture-wicking long-johns. Unlike long-johns that make you look like a cowboy surprised out of bed at the whore house, these are stretchy microfiber polyester and nylon taffeta, made gender-specific for a more snug fit. Antibacterial treatment keeps them from smelling funky between washes. Their cords tuck into zippered pockets when not in use, and they have a front panel positioned to block the wind that can cut through your legs when riding. Warm and Safe will even take trade-ins of your old pants in exchange for a discount on the new ones.
Warm and Safe has a decent selection, including its 12V line for outdoor sport and 7V base layers for everyday use. The most convenient feature is that they all all connect to each other; the pants liner and gloves plug into the jacket liner. Most of the Warm and Safe clothes and accessories are compatible and connectable. They also work with Gerbing clothes, and Harley-Davidson, so you can pull power from your ride. An entire outfit (pants and jacket liners, gloves, and socks) will run you about a grand, go for it if you have the means, extreme need, or a tax write-off.
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A hooded jacket just makes sense when the temps get really low. Ansai’s ski jacket has a water- and wind-proof hood, plus some cleverly designed heat panels with Thinsulate and reflective paneling. The heating system in Ansai gear uses three heating panels in the usual placement – two on the chest and one on the back – with steel alloy fibers. You get about 10 hours out of their 7.4V battery. The styling and materials for the line are classic ski as opposed to biker (except some of the gloves), so they wouldn’t look out of place on the slopes.
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Anyone in fashion knows accessories can make or break an outfit. AlphaHeat understands this. They have a bunch of reasonably priced heated accessories that are simple to use compared to the more complicated motorcycle getups. AlphaHeat claims the only battery-heated scarf on the market. A scarf (or mittens, $40) can add just enough warmth to get you through tough commutes without swapping out a major piece of your ensemble. Its power pack runs on AA batteries and lasts about five hours. AlphaHeat also has heated slippers ($50) and rechargeable battery heated socks ($119), perfect for when those exposed parquet floors turn to ice.
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CozyWinters has everything you could want to keep yourself at just the right temp – that means they also have cooling apparel, bedding, and dog goodies, but I digress. A lot of the heated gloves out there are massive affairs that make you feel like you’re wearing boxing gloves. CozyWinters’ gloves are thin enough to look normal, have a synthetic suede palm to help you grip things, and come with two lithium-ion batteries. Keep the heat to a low simmer and they should run for eight to 10 hours.
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The newcomer to the heated gear game, Ravean (pronounced like the techno party, rave-ean) is currently in the midst of an already-successful $100,000 Kickstarter campaign. The designers wanted to make something they could wear in any situation –from climbing a cliff, to the office, and everything in between– so the Ravean jacket is designed to be light enough to wear layered, yet tough enough to keep you warm in negative four degree weather.
Tucked inside jacket’s panels, there are a set of ultrathin heating panels, powered by your choice of 12V, 7V, or 5V batteries. No matter what power level you choose, the jacket’s unique power-cycling feature allegedly gives it an impressive 10 hour battery life.
And that’s not all. The coat also features built-in charging ports that allow you to use excess battery power to juice up your mobile devices. Ravean’s battery can supposedly charge your devices up to six times on a full charge — assuming you don’t use any power to heat up your coat, of course. And finally, as if it didn’t have enough features already, the jacket also comes with a carrying case and a pair of heated gloves. The gloves are designed to draw power from the jacket, so they don’t need their own power source.
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