Last year, fed up of feeling frozen when standing at shows and events, we invested in a heated gilet designed to keep us snuggly and warm. It was brilliant and kept the chills at bay when out hunting, spectating at events, even on the ski slopes. We carefully stored it away for winter, but when we came to resurrect it as this year’s winter weather took hold, we were dismayed to find that the battery pack which you popped in the pocket was no longer functioning properly.
So, we got in touch with the nice people at Blazewear who kindly supplied us with a new one to test, since the one we had last year was now discontinued.
So the spangly new gilet duly arrived and straight away we could see a marked improvement in all round quality. This jacket which comes in a lightweight, soft-shell fabric fits nice and close to the body – in fact a bit too close to zip up – it seems the sizing has changed between the original gilet we bought last year and this new model – either that or our tester has put on considerably more weight than she’s letting on! Either way the Small was not going to cut it (even though she was wearing an XS in the old jacket!) and we had to return it for a Medium to fit a size 12 tester!
You can choose whether you’d like your Active Gilet Heated or Thermal. If you’d like it heated then you’ll need to choose either a Single or a Twin Battery Pack at a respective £50 or £80 (on top of the £145 for the gilet itself) . If you prefer Thermal then you just select the ‘No Battery’ option. We had the battery and was impressed with how slick it was. It slides neatly into an inside pocket and is neither heavy nor bulky. Better yet – you can charge it using an iphone charger – and you can also recharge your phone from it when out and about too – so double whammy !
We followed the instructions which advised us to fully charge the battery pack and connect it up to the gilet and switch on, holding the on switch until the light went red. We did that -nothing. We did that several times – still nothing. Finally we resorted to contacting the nice people at Blazewear (again!) who advised that we should be pressing the on-button on the jacket – not on the pack! It didn’t mention any such jacket button on the instructions – but when we found it around the lapel area – Eureka – it worked and the gilet quickly warmed up.
Heartened by our success at finally getting the gilet to work – we ventured out with it on a cold morning for a few hours watching some showjumping training. The beauty of this slim cut gilet is that it fits unobtrusively beneath any jumper, jacket or coat and can’t be seen beneath a proper jacket thanks to the low cut front. We were soon basking in the warmth penetrating our back. There are 3 heat options – we kept it on high as we didn’t find it incredibly hot – but then we were wearing a jumper underneath it and we are ALWAYS cold! Someone a little more sturdy, or willing to risk wearing lighter layers beneath it might feel the benefit more and be willing to lower the temperature!
Overall we like this gilet. It’s a big improvement on the original version and once you get the hang of it – it works well. We’ll definitely be keeping this close at hand until the weather warms up again!
From: £145.00 With Battery: £195.00