Shopping for a new jacket can be challenging, especially if you live in a place like I do where the temperature outside can drop faster than the NASDAQ after a Washington stalemate.
Where is the jacket for all seasons?
I never expected my search would end with my teenage son, Henry, who asked for a heated jacket for Hanukkah this year. I don’t know what surprised me more— the fact that my son was asking for clothing instead of the latest Call of Duty video game or that there was such thing as a battery-operated jacket.
Where does one buy a battery-operated jacket? A department store? A sporting good store? The Venezuelan black market?
Henry provided me a link to a place better known for selling chainsaws than clothing. Who knew Home Depot sells something you can wear besides a tool belt?
I purchased the Milwaukee M12 Lithium-Ion Jacket for $199, battery pack included. (Too bad it’s not solar). You can expect to pay less if you already own Milwaukee cordless tools because the jacket works on the same Red Lithium battery that charges Milwaukee’s power tools. The jacket holds a charge for up to six hours, which I found impressive considering my own body doesn’t stay charged half that long without a second cup of coffee.
The description reads as follows: “The multi layered soft shell jacket utilizes new cold weather technology to actively warm the body and stimulate blood circulation. The three sewn in carbon fiber heating zones distribute heat to core body areas, with a stylish performance-fit that gives users maximum flexibility and comfort during use,” which I’m pretty sure for anyone who’s not an electrical engineer means, “it’s comfortable and warm.”
When the jacket arrived a few days later my son assembled it by opening the battery compartment, hooking up the battery and holding the heat control button on the front of the jacket for three seconds until it turned red. Then he stood there glowing in his hot new jacket.
It fit him perfectly. It’s lined, yet thin and light weight, and water and wind resistant. The battery bulk isn’t an issue, and he especially likes the heated pockets. The only down side is that it’s hand wash only (after battery removal), which means as long as he’s in charge of doing his own laundry the jacket will never get washed.
Henry has had his jacket for several weeks now and loves it. It has three heat settings, which he usually adjusts to high for his walk to school. By the time he’s eaten his breakfast and packed his backpack he’s powered up and ready to go.
The glowing heat controller that serves as an easy visual reference to confirm the heat setting has gotten the attention of everyone at his school. Three of his friends have already requested a heated jacket for Christmas.
I’ve already put in my early birthday request. I won’t bet my shirt on a great 2015 for NASDAQ, but I will bet on a heated jacket to keep me warm this winter.
Please note: This reference to a commercial product is NOT an endorsement, but rather a reflection of hope that for the first time in seventeen years I won’t be cursing living in New Jersey this winter.