The market for clothing that is heated is expanding rapidly, because the outdoor industry is making preparations for winter. It can be a little daunting knowing what’s going to best suit your needs, so here’s an easy guide on how to choose a heated jacket or vest in accordance with your usage plans.
1. Size and Fit of Jackets
Although the sizing of a jacket can differ from retailer, your jacket has to be sized correctly so that the heat elements inside are able to work. Always consult the site of the manufacturer for sizing charts. If you’re not certain what size you should order then go with a smaller.
Remember that certain jackets are made to look more fashionable than they are warm. These jackets typically have not as insulated as more robust winter cycling apparel. You may want to consider purchasing a more robust winter cycling jacket you feel your current jacket is not performing effectively in colder temperatures.
2. Thermal layers
To insulate from heat, most heated jackets will require an additional layer. One of the most commonly used materials used for the layers is Thinsulate which is thought to be both lightweight and very effective at trapping heat. It is likely that you will prefer to wear this layer over your skin as you don’t want it touching up against the jacket’s surface. If you’re thinking about buying an item that is heated but does not include an extra layer to keep warm, be aware that layering is needed.
3. Charging Time and Battery Life
All jackets on the table are supplied with a charger, as well as a battery pack. Some batteries are fully charged in under two hours, while other require eight. Of course, the greater the number of heat elements your jacket has the longer it’ll need to recharge. If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t have a place for you to plug in your charger externally, a battery pack is a good option to give your battery some additional juice.
Also, take note of the estimated battery life for each jacket, so you are aware of the length of time you will stay warm and comfortable before charging or swapping out batteries. If possible, try and find a jacket that uses lithium-ion batteries because they tend to hold their charge longer than other types of rechargeable batteries.
4. Heating Levels
The majority of the jackets in our list have two levels of heating which are High and Low. The low setting will be adequate if you intend to only stay outside for a short period of time and save energy. If you intend to take a longer ride or commute for a long period of time, the high setting is suggested.
5. Comfort Controls
Although many of the jackets are equipped with an integrated remote control or controller, you should have some kind of control over the amount of the heat that your jacket creates. In this way, if going from a heated space back into a cold one then you won’t feel shivering after turning the jacket off. All jackets that are heated should be equipped with a temperature control.
6. Battery Life Indicator
It’s a bit of a hassle when you discover your battery is dead just before you arrive home, much like your car’s fuel tank. This can be avoided by making sure that your battery is fully charged and making sure you check the battery indicator prior to you go on your bike ride. Certain jackets will tell you how long your battery should last based on the heat level you have selected to ensure that you don’t get stuck in the freezing cold without warning.
7. Style & Fit
Finally, always keep in mind the tasks you’ll be using the jacket heated for. A loose cut is ideal for those who plan to wear it for outdoor activities. But if you want something more flexible and is able to be utilized as part of an everyday wardrobe, you will probably prefer a more tailored jacket.
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