Throughout history mankind has set out to explore and conquer, from Magellan to Neil Armstrong, and through this span of time we have evolved, adapted and innovated to push the limits. Our tools have evolved and grown so sophisticated that we have seen a rover crawl on the face of Mars. We set new limits daily and we will forever chase those limits as the explorers before us have. We have an innate capacity for adventure and that is something we all need to embrace. Because that is who we are.
Yet in the modern world we experience a plethora of barriers and excuses that hold us back. We can put a man on the moon but find that it is too cold to walk outside in the snow. But now the convenience and the availability of body heating technology will bring warmth into each of our lives as much as it has become a staple in the outdoor industry.
If you are ready to push past the barriers of the cold, this guide is for you. This guide is also available for download HERE.
Also check out the Future Trends of Winter Apparel.
Now let’s crank the heat and go explore!
Anthony DeVito- Founder at Torch Heated Apparel
First let's see what is in this guide:
We cover pretty much everything you need to know about heated clothing. If you live in a cold area or travel to cold areas or simply just hate being cold, read on and learn how the newest and most innovative technologies can keep you warmer than ever before. It’s time to love the winter season again.
Intro to Heated Clothing
Know why it’s the new craze and how you can stay safe and warm. Learn the health benefits and a couple best practices.
Where to Use Heated Gear
Discover what activities heated gear can be used for and how you are most likely to benefit.
What’s Available and what’s the Difference
Learn about the technology, what’s available and how it can help you.
Plan your next trip
Now that you are an expert on everything about heated gear, plan your next winter getaway!
"Besides the obvious health benefits, the biggest benefit of heated gear is the ability to just stay comfortable. Heated apparel offers an opportunity for people, sensitive to the cold weather, to be able to go out and enjoy all the things that life has to offer and be comfortable while doing it. This opens the door for folks to go places and do things that they would not have normally done without the comforting warmth of heated clothing."
-Robert Cooper- Senior Warming Expert
We all know that being cold sucks, especially when a trip we have been planning for months gets cut short because someone is too cold to go on. That person may be you, a friend or family member but we’ve all been there. Now I want to tell you something and I want you to think about it:
There is no such thing as being cold. There is only being unprepared.
Now don’t you wish you were better prepared!? Well read on and let’s get you as knowledgeable as possible so you can get toasty and stay outside longer.
Heated clothing is a piece of apparel that is connected to a rechargeable battery and heats up when it is turned on.
There are tons of electrically heated products available ranging from socks, boot insoles, pants, shirts, coats, gloves, and the Torch Coat Heater.
Heated clothing has tiny wires sewn into a layer of the fabric. These tiny wires are typically made of a carbon fiber or a metal composite, like nickel-chromium, that perform well under repeated heating and cooling cycles. These wires are known as the heating element. These wires are connected to a battery, and when the battery is turned on, a low electrical current is passed through the wires, causing the wires to heat up.
Most batteries will come with 3 to 4 heat settings that allow you to adjust the heat as needed.
Most heated apparel will have 3 heating elements placed in the most effective locations. For instance, most coats will have 2 heat pads located in the chest area and one in the center of the back. This is a typical location because it is the most efficient way to heat the body’s core. The number of heat pads and the length of wire in each pad will determine how hot each pads gets and how long the battery will last. This is pretty consistent between brands in each category of battery voltage (i.e. all of the 7.4 v products have 3 heat pads and last up to 5 hours.)
"The current trend of heated apparel seems to be integrating the ability to provide heat with comfort and accessibility. This is important so that the average consumer can realize how easy and beneficial a heated garment could be to their daily life."
- Brandon Morley- Customer Service Manager, TheWarmingStore.com
Let’s start by covering the common concerns and myths of heated clothing.
First off, your skin will never be in contact with any wires for electrocution to be a hazard, but even if you do touch the heating element while current is passing through it, you will not feel anything. If there is a break in a solder point that could pass a charge to you, the battery has safety features that will automatically shut it off before any harm is done.
There is no risk for electric shock.
Now, let’s just assume all the safe guards are down and you do get shocked, rest assured it is only a 7.4 volt battery. As a comparison you can lick a 12 volt battery that is almost twice as powerful.
The construction of the metal wires, if done poorly can produce hot spots and inconsistent heating. This is why you want to make sure you select a quality product.
Hot spots have been the cause for recalls in the past, but with recent developments, this is a thing of the past.
Hot spots could form if there is a break in the heat element, but the smart batteries used today simply shut off and avoid any potential issue.
But I would also like to say that it would be extremely difficult to break a heating element, and it is more likely to break at a solder point, but like I mentioned before, the battery in that circumstance would automatically shut off and prevent any injury.
Here is why there is no risk of fire:
There is no risk of a fire.
Now that doesn’t mean it is flame retardant so don’t go rushing into a burning building thinking you are invincible.
We are all wondering this because of the recent phenomenon with the hover boards, which was a lithium ion battery like the batteries used in heated products, but also like every cell phone battery. This is where you may need to do some due diligence when looking at heated gear.
The hover board batteries that started on fire were cheap and defective batteries. You need to make sure the batteries have gone through the proper safety testing. Most product bought online in the US and Europe will be compliant, but be careful of knockoffs.
Look for a CE, UN or UL certification on the battery to make sure it is compliant.
This is consistent for all 7.4 volt batteries
Can you wash heated clothing?
It depends on the manufacturer but most heated gear can be washed although a best practice would be to hand wash and air dry. Avoid using the dryer.
It’s important to know the limitations of heated clothing and to follow a couple best practices so you can have the best experience.
"This technology is not new and has evolved to be a safe and easy solution. Safer than a heated blanket, with less voltage, and easier removal from the power source. Battery operated is the way to go."
- Laura Bunyard- Heated Gear Specialist AdventureOutfitter.com
Warmth may be best known for its comforting and relaxing properties, but heat therapy provides pain relief for sore and injured muscles and can expedite the healing process.
Applying heat promotes healthy blood flow that increases the oxygen and nutrient flow to muscles, relieving pain, decreasing recovering time and improving overall performance.
Heat for Painful Joints and Arthritis
Heat therapy isn’t just for muscles. Stimulating blood flow and increasing circulation increases the range of motion and reduces stiffness in painful joints.
Benefits for Athletes
Winter athletes have to perform in cold temperatures, but when the body is cold it tends to be slow, sensitive and tight which can give the feeling of being uncoordinated. Keeping warm is one thing, but heating the body will help you perform at your best. Keep warm and:
Snowboarding Pro Tips
Keeping warm will help you stay loose, limber, agile and less likely to get injured or feel sore later. Being warm also BOOSTS PERFORMANCE compared to performing while cold, so here are some best practices to make you ride better.
You can undermine a lifetime of training if your muscles are sore or stiff during competition.
"The most important thing for people in the winter time is staying warm so that they can enjoy all the great activities the snow provides. That’s why heated gear is going to help so many people and make winter activities more enjoyable and more accessible."
-Shane Eberspacher– Engineer, Entrepreneur, Designer Live Life the Brand
We all have different reasons for wanting to stay warm so let’s see what cold activities heated gear can help you out with.
Let’s start with the most common activities people buy heated apparel for and then let’s explore some other not-so-obvious activities that you probably didn’t think of, and then dive into what would be best for you.
Snowboarding and Skiing
Most people think “Why would I need a heater while I am being so active?” Yes, that is true, in fact I always turn my heater off while I am on the slopes. But let me remind you of those long, windy and down right freezing chairlift rides.
Hunting and Ice Fishing
These are the two most popular activities that get people into heated gear. Sitting in a deer blind or on a frozen lake for hours on end can get pretty cold. There is no surprise as to why so many hunters and fishers choose heated gear.
Milwaukee and Dewalt have their own line of heated jackets because they know that construction workers find themselves in harsh conditions. I have worked in the construction industry for the past 10 years and I can tell you first hand that you can’t escape the cold. I only wish I knew about heated gear sooner.
Snowmobiling and Motorcycling
These two activities are perfect for heated gear. While at times the adrenaline may be pumping and keeping your mind off the cold, the rest of the time you may be an icicle. That’s why they make entire suits that plug into you ride, although these tend to be pricey.
Anytime you are outdoors when the sun goes down is a good time to bundle up with a heater, especially if you don’t plan on being very active. Camping is one of those occasions that is meant to be fun, and being cold can quickly change that, so grab a heated coat and have the biggest smile around that camp fire. Use it in your sleeping bag too!
Hiking and Climbing
This also is a big hit with heated apparel. High altitudes bring low temperatures and when you are struggling to put one foot in front of the other, all you need is the mental boost of a little warmth to get you moving again.
Seeing is Believing
Follow our blog and watch as a Torch Coat Heater summits Mount Everest with our favorite climber Lynette Trott!
Sitting still outdoors at night can be extremely cold, especially in the remote areas you may find yourself when avoiding light pollution. Heated clothing is exactly what you need and will keep you gazing longer and happier.
Activities you didn’t think of
Who says you need to be snowboarding or sitting in a deer blind to enjoy the benefits of heated apparel. Below are a few things I do, and things you might do on a daily basis in the winter that may need a little more warmth.
Starting the Car in the Morning
This is something that pains me everyday in the winter time, especially in the morning. To make it worse, imagine the times scraping the ice off the car. Brrrrr!
My Winter Morning Story:
"It was colder than usual one morning and I was dreading the walk outside and waiting for my car to warm up, so I took my winter coat, put my Torch coat heater in it and cranked it to high. I put the coat on and waited to feel the heat radiate through my body. I remember smiling and feeling lucky to be alive. I went outside, started my car and drove to work.
When I got to work I realized I never even turned the heat on in my car. My coat kept me so warm I never even noticed the cold."
Football or Hockey Games
If you’re a fan like me, there is nothing that will get me out of that seat, not rain, sleet or snow. Or so we say, and then it rains, sleets and snows. Heated clothing is a must for any outdoor game and it will boost your spirits to be warm, and I’m sure the team you’re cheering for would appreciate that.
Ughhh….. Shoveling Snow
Here’s something not one person on the planet likes doing, and if you do like shoveling snow you should go get checked out. But with heated clothing you can at least be warm, making it less miserable.
Here are a couple more times you will want a heated coat
How to be a HERO
The old days of simply lending your coat to someone in need are long gone, I mean c’mon this is 2017. But when you lend someone a heated coat you might want to get a video of their reaction, it will be priceless and you may have just won a friend for life.
"Living in a place where snow removal is a constant process, I used to find myself too fatigued to continue shoveling the property outside of my home and my body would begin to slow down from the freezing temperatures. With heated apparel, I'm more mobile and comfortable when shoveling snow for long hours on end. The added mobility helps circulate blood to my muscles to finish the job efficiently with no problems. Heated apparel is the next step in letting you finish the task and to stay toasty while doing it."
-Tyler Shuman- Heated Clothing Expert
I’m sure by now you have realized your life is not complete without heated gear and you’re probably even wondering why this is the first time you’ve heard of it. All I have to say is, better late than never, now let’s get you fitted up.
Everyone is going to be different and want different things, so keep that in mind as you read my suggestions.
Having said that, I would suggest starting with a coat or vest because as I mentioned before, warming your core is the foundation to keeping your hands and feet warm.
There are a lot of options available so first figure out your price range, then figure out what you are going to need your coat for. Most of the coats available can be used for multiple occasions and there are plenty of style options available.
If the coat prices are too high, you can’t find the right style coat or you think you will want the heated function for more occasions than one coat can do, then I suggest Torch. Torch is great for people who aren’t familiar with the technology and aren’t quite sure when they will use it. Put Torch in your pea coat and see how you like it, then transfer it to your snowboarding coat and test it on the slopes. If you like the technology then you might be more willing to commit to a more expensive heated coat.
If you primarily will use your heated clothing for riding motorcycles then a 12 Volt coat is a great starting point. They tend to be expensive, but most motorcycle jackets are anyways. The best part is that you can hook the coat right up to your motorcycle battery and never run out of heat.
If you always have cold hands or feet then the obvious choice is heated gloves, socks or insoles. Again figure out your price range and then choose based on what you need. There are some awesome heated gloves out there, but maybe you like more of a variety, if that is the case look at getting glove liners and transfer them to whatever gloves you can fit them in.
With cold feet you have to decide between heated socks or insoles. Make sure the insole will fit in your shoe or boot before you buy.
Did you know that it costs about 1/10 of a cent to charge the battery used with heated coats? That means it would cost about 1 cent to power your coat for two days. Try using a heated coat all month and only spend 15 cents!!
Now that’s cheap heat!!
Let’s take a closer look at all the options available and their uses. As like with most products, you pay for what you get. Having said that, let’s dive in and see what’s out there.
Heated gloves and liners range in price from anywhere between $20 and $500. They typically have a battery dedicated to each glove that connects directly into the glove and fits in a pocket on the outside of the glove. As general rule of thumb, heated gloves under $129 will not warm the fingers only the top of the hand and heated gloves over $129 will heat the hand and the fingers.
Heated socks also have a wide price range, from $20 to $500 and like the heated gloves, each sock will have a dedicated battery that heats each sock. The heating elements are typically on the ball of the foot and provide heat for the toes.
There are a tons of heated coats and vests ranging in price from $130 to $500. Most, if not all, will have the standard 3 heating elements (2 in the chest area and one in the middle of the back) but the pricing is really based on the quality of the coat. Again, you get what you pay for. Recently there has been more style options available as opposed to the mostly black, outer shells previously available. But now you can find camouflage heated coats, and down heated coats with many color options.
Warming your core is the foundation to having warm hands and feet.
Heated insoles range from $100 to $200. Each insole has a dedicated battery that fits in the insole itself. Some come with a remote to control the temperature which will be necessary when you want to adjust the heat setting.
The 12 volt gear plugs right into your motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile. With more power, the 12 volt gear has the ability to heat a larger area. The great thing about 12 volt gear is that they have coats that attach to your pants and you can use them in unison. In fact you can use a heated coat in unison with heated gloves, heated pants and heated socks all at once!
The 3.7 Volt batteries have a couple advantages worth mentioning. The lower voltage allows the use of USB connectors so you can charge the battery with any USB cord. The other great advantage of using USB is that the battery now doubles as a powerbank and you can charge your cell phone with it!
Milwaukee makes their heated coats in a few variations (red, black and camo) and they have great reviews. Milwaukee uses their proprietary power tool battery. Watch out for the low cost options because they don’t include the battery and charger, but if you already own Milwaukee power tools, and the batteries, this could be the best option for you!
Dewalt also makes their heated coats with a few variations (red, black, high-vis, and camo) and they have great reviews. Dewalt uses their proprietary power tool battery. You will also want to watch out for the low cost options because they don’t include the battery and charger, but if you already own Dewalt power tools, and the batteries, this could be the best option for you!
These coats get great reviews, but every bad review I have seen is mostly regarding how bulky the battery is. Keep that in mind when purchasing these coats.
New to the 2016 market is Torch, popular for being the first “coat heater.” Torch boasts a highly sought after feature that makes it fit universally in any style coat, and it is completely removable.
Torch utilizes the same sophisticated technology found in the leading brands but has a few key differentiators that make it one of the first choices for people new to heated apparel, so let’s try and cover it all.
You can put Torch in virtually any coat
Torch is becoming one of the best products for “heated gear newbies” and for good reason. The price point at $89.95 makes Torch one of the more affordable products available. The low price point is made possible simply by not having a coat to go with the heat elements.
By being able to put Torch in any coat you have unlimited style options. In fact we have put Torch in everything from a suit coat, to a snowboard coat, a leather jacket, pea coats, down jackets and even rain coats.
The versatility of Torch was so cool we had to show a few more pictures of it in action.
Pass the Torch
Torch can also be passed from coat to coat. You may buy it for your snowboarding trip but you will use it with every coat and for every occasion you anticipate being cold.
Something to Think About
How many different style coats exist?
Honestly I have no idea. But it’s a lot. Next time you go to a ski resort on a busy day, count how many people are wearing the same coat.
Spoiler alert- you won’t see the same coat twice because there are so many options. Well you might but let’s not split hairs here, this is hypothetical.
People want to be different and wear what they want to wear. Torch allows you to wear your favorite style coat and add the coveted functionality that heated coats offer.
"At TheWarmingStore.com we specialize in heated gear and we believe everything should be heated! We are super excited to welcome Torch to the Heated Clothing world. It's a unique product that fits the growing category perfectly. The accessibility of heated products is growing like crazy and Torch is the perfect addition."
-Zach Silverman – General Manager
Now that you don’t have to worry about the cold there are so many more destinations and activities for you to do. Follow these links below to find the best place for your next winter vacation.
This list doesn’t have every vacation destination but it’s a good start! Follow the links below and get exploring!
Ready to get some heated gear for the winter?
Start with a Torch Coat Heater!
Start with the most versatile product on the market and wear whatever coat you want. Stay warm and keep the adventure going!
Contact Us if you have any questions!