Well our glorious June weather has meant that I’ve had ample opportunity to use my Blaze Wear heated waistcoat. Who’d have thought? Rain, rain and more rain, with lower than average temperatures too, mean my heated garment has really come into its own.
Blaze Wear offer a choice of 5V battery-powered and 12V bike-powered kit so you can choose a garment with the power option that suits best. From heated base layers and socks to jacket and glove liners, they seem to be making everything now and although they only entered the bike market in 2018, they’ve been providing kit for horse riders for years.
As I’ve always hated what I consider the faff of plugging myself in to the bike, my gilet is the 5V version, which has a small lithium ion battery in an inside pocket. What this means of course is that I can also stay snug when I’m working the Overland stand at events, or when working in the garage. With the low cut V neck it doesn’t get in the way of jacket collar closure, or the use of a neck sock, which is just brilliant and I’ve worn it under my woolly jumper and felt really smug and snug when blasting across the country on rain-soaked nights.
The battery pack uses a universal USB-type charger and I haven’t yet had reason to use it for more than 3 hours at a time, so can’t confirm exactly how long it’ll last, but I can confirm that by carrying a short cable in the same pocket I can charge my phone too when stuck. The heated elements integrate flexible carbon fibres – the thickness of a single hair – so it’s a relatively unobtrusive garment. It slips easily under my jacket and is a fine option in the UK for use during the commute or weekend ride. In the version I have the heated elements are only located in the upper half of the body (front and back) which may be a legacy of designing so much equipment for horse riders who sit astride a centrally heated beast. The long-sleeved full jacket liners have more coverage in the way that the gloves heat even the backs of fingers and are completely flexible.
The gilet does fold up easily without affecting the heating element and as it’s not a thermally-lined garment isn’t too bulky if you want to pack it away. Of course it can work as a windproof layer when switched off and if, like me, you need everything you carry to have multiple functions, it becomes a piece of clothing that takes the place of other layers. That makes it a great luggage reducing idea where you simply press the ‘on’ button when the climate changes and temperatures fall. There are 3 temperature settings which afford correspondingly extended battery life, so you can ensure that you don’t get a chill in the first place as you set off up that mountain pass.
There’s a part of me that’s looking forward to next winter!
For more information on the full Blaze Wear line-up, please visit: www.blazewear.com