Are you an active woman?
Have you looked through outdoor clothing retailers for the perfect product to keep you warm on your adventures?
Then you may have seen a whole host of new heated clothing hitting shops worldwide.
Heated clothing has become the latest trend for outdoor and winter garments that has proved itself not to be a fad at all, but instead an innovation that is here to stay long after just this season passes.
A backing from sports
The recent innovation of heated clothing comes mainly from its use within sports and cold-weather activities as it has been proven to improve athletic performance.
British Cycling and Loughborough University’s Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre state that the wearing of heated clothing by athletes between their warm-ups and races can keep their muscles at a consistent temperature. This improves race performance and can also help prevent injuries during the race.
The 2012 London Olympics was the real offset for innovation, and the wearing of heated clothing by the track cycling team (specifically, ‘hot pants’ by Adidias) led to great success. The use of heated clothing within professional sports has only increased since.
Now for the everyday woman
Now not only professionals can utilize heated clothing to heighten their performance, usually hindered by the cold. It has become widely used by people in any winter activity.
Specific companies and garments focus on activities such as hiking, skiing, and motorcycling which require specific innovations within their clothing.
But heated clothing can now even be enjoyed for day-to-day wear by those who live in notably colder climates. Those who specifically struggle with winter temperatures or who, like construction workers or gardeners, work predominantly outside in the colder seasons.
What is available on the market?
Depending on what activity you are partaking in and what particular needs you have for the heated garment, there is a vast range of pieces for you to choose from.
One of the foremost innovations in heated clothing came from electric gloves, socks, boot liners, and mittens, for the extremities of the body are the first ones to become affected by the cold.
Most of these were, however, only initially available from construction retailers and were used primarily by those working outside, so were not as easily accessible to purchase by members of the public not looking for industrial-grade clothing.
But since then, as technology has evolved and the weather has become more volatile due to the increasingly severe nature of global warming, the mechanisms of heated clothing have become utilized in other garments and forms of clothing too.
This can now be found in vests, jackets, trousers, and hoodies to name but a few from a wide range of accessible retailers.
It is not only in wearable clothing that this same technology can be found, for it can also be seen and easily purchased in forms of blankets, seat covers, throws, and seating pads which are durable and practical no matter the need.
These can often be used anywhere now that the technology has been adapted, from the office, the home, even to in the car or, if need dictates, snowmobiles and motorcycles.
Why is a regular jacket or vest not always enough to keep you warm?
Standard insulation of non-heated products works by trapping naturally occurring body heat inside the garment. This, in turn, warms the body inside it.
But due to the lack of consistency in the amount of heat produced by the wearer, the insulation may not be adept enough to keep the wearer as warm as they would like to be nor for as long as they would like. This is due to factors such as lack of exercise or disturbance by sweat or even external rain or snow.
Heated garments are unique in that they can replicate body heat but to a degree that the body could not achieve itself. This can maintain that temperature to a consistency that the human body and typical clothing is simply not able to do.
How does it work?
Due to the different uses and needs of these products, there are many types of heated clothing that work to different functionalities typically ranging from powers of 5-12-volts.
The most common voltage is that of the 7.4 which is rechargeable in nature and is commonly utilized in heated gloves and jackets.
These tend to last on a single charge for an average of 2-8 hours depending on the product and the conditions they are dealing with, although there are many more durable products that can be purchased at a higher price point.
Products that need to be used for more extreme purposes and in more volatile weather conditions, such as for use with vehicles such as motorcycles or snowmobiles, 12-volt batteries tend to be utilized. They are more powerful than their 7.4 counterparts and can heat larger areas at higher temperatures for longer.
What else is there available?
Some products, such as knitted gloves, can be bought at a cheaper price point and may contain hidden pouches of a gel-like substance that can be heated in the microwave. Once warmed through, the gel can retain heat for a short period, typically from 30 minutes to two hours at a time, depending on the particular product and the size of the gel pack.
These products are generally more suited for children due to their better suitability and aversion to the use of electrics, although they are also perfect for people wanting to use them in more casual or short-term situations.
Similar products in the form of gel packs rely instead on a chemical reaction within the very gel rather than from an external source such as a microwave.
These plastic pouches of gel can be held in the hand or put into socks or pockets due to their usual sizing of a pack of cards.
These can often provide several hours of varying heat and can be reused when placed in a pot of boiling water to revert the original chemical reaction.
These are often used by actors on set dealing with cold working conditions and are commonly hidden in socks, boots, and also strapped directly onto the skin, although this is only recommended with certain products explicitly designed for such usage.
If you ever need a hand or have a question, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,