No matter how closely you follow the three-layer system during the coldest days of winter, it's still possible to be cold when spending time outside. Heated clothing can help eliminate the cold by delivering a steady, adjustable flow of heat to your body. In turn, you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or whatever else you're doing without curling up in a ball and feeling sorry for yourself. Too often, heated clothes are made by novelty companies or unfamiliar brands, making finding a reliable product challenging. There are options manufactured by some top names in outdoor clothing and gear.
Mountain Hardwear Refugium and Radiance Jackets
Launched in 2009, the Refugium and Radiance jackets are insulated, midlayer jackets that are wired for heat. The jackets are designed to deliver electrical heat to your front and upper back. All that's missing is the Ardica Moshi Power System, a rechargeable battery pack that is sold separately. Wear the jackets as regular insulation, and if it's particularly cold out, add the power pack to enjoy heating. The jackets offer three levels of heat and provide up to 8.6 hours of heating on the lowest setting. As an added bonus, the jacket can both power and recharge electronics like digital music players and cell phones via a USB cable. The Refugium jacket is designed for men and the Radiance for women.
Columbia Bugathermo Boots
Also released in 2009, the Bugathermo are waterproof winter boots that provide heat to cold, numb toes and feet. The heating elements in each boot are located under the forefoot, providing steady, uniform heat. The rechargeable system connects directly to an adapter via a port on the back of the boot and everything is built into the boot. There is an adjustable dial on the side of each boot, allowing the user to switch through the three heat levels. Heat lasts from three to eight hours. The boots feature Nubuck uppers and 200g Thinsulate insulation. The women's version of these boots is called the Snow Hottie and features the same integrated heating system.
Heat Factory Gloves
If you don't recognize the name Heat Factory, it's one of the companies that offers hand-warmer packs that many people carry along in their pocket to keep warm. In addition to offering the packs independently, Heat Factory also designs a line of gloves featuring pockets in which to store for the packs. These are great solutions for those that don't want the hassle or expense of wearing electrically heated clothing. Simple, inexpensive and warm, Heat Factory gloves offer heat pack storage on the back of the glove, palm or under the fingers. These gloves are good for outdoor work like snow shoveling, and for lighter adventures like resort skiing, but aren't your best choice for more extensive backcountry trips that demand heavy, waterproof gloves. The heat packs can last up to 10 hours. Heat Factory also offers other heated items like hats, insoles, socks and balaclavas.