Here at bikes.org.uk we know you guys love bikes, but we also know that many of you love messing about in the snow, either skiing or boarding. So, with the ski season fast approaching, we thought we’d bring you news of this new ski jacket from Columbia.
If you think of an electrically heated jacket, I’m sure you’d imagine it to be a bulky, ugly jacket with a mass of rigid wiring. This is not the case, as Columbia’s heated jacket is impressively wireless, comfortable and flexible, looking just as stylish as any other ski jacket. To me that’s just an added bonus, as I’d happily sacrifice style for real warmth!
Tested by hard core enthusiasts in freezing terrains and given the thumbs up, the Omni-Heat Electric ski jackets contain small rechargeable battery packs that produce up to six hours of continuous heat. To get warmth on demand all you have to do is press the waterproof button to choose one of three different levels of heat, making it ideal for on and off the slopes and, as there are both jackets and soft shells, ideal for layering.
You can tell what heat setting you’re on as the button changes colour, but don’t worry, for those of you who have visions of looking like a Christmas tree the button is tiny and you can turn this feature off. Columbia also thoughtfully provide you with a dual battery charger and country adapters for when you ski abroad.
Containing the normal Omni-Heat thermal reflective shell and insulated liner, these jackets help to regulate your temperature by reflecting and retaining the warmth your body generates whilst allowing sweat and moisture to escape through the breathable material, keeping you comfortable and dry when you’re being active.
Columbia has kindly put together a series of videos demonstrating their latest inventions, with comparisons to Wim Hof, who carries an insane internal thermometer. You can view one of their video’s here.
I’m assuming most of you aren’t as crazy as Wim and don’t want to experience hyperthermia and obviously, it’s a serious piece of kit to invest in, with prices ranging from £600-800. But if you live in an area with bitter winters, or like to ski in colder locations, this jacket will keep you so toasty you’ll never want to take it off. The Omni-Heat Electric range not only produces jackets but heated boots and gloves as well. It looks like I’ll just have to keep waiting for the heated underwear!
In conclusion there are both pros and cons to the jacket. It’s made with superb quality, ground breaking technology and its luxury fitting means you won’t need to replace it anytime soon. However, the cost is quite considerable and for that reason alone may scare many skiers away, depends how serious you are about the sport I suppose.