Oxford Lithium Battery Hot Vest, £149.99
Time tested: 3000 miles / 12 months
What’s good? This is the only item of heated clothing I’ve ever owned, so my frame ofreference isn’t as strong as it could be, but I can categorically confirm that having a heated layer is a darn sight more toasty than not having a heated layer. I used this lithium battery-powered vest throughout last winter, when I was covering a minimum of 600 miles per week, regardless of the temperature, or snow and ice on the ground. There’s every chance the positive effects of not bordering on hypothermia actually saved my life – after all, your brain and body don’t react so well when you’re desperately cold. On my two-hour commutes, it would gradually power-down toward the end of the journey, but on shorter hops you can run it at full power without fear of draining it too fast. The four heat settings are palpably different, the jacket well made and comfortable (and a good wind-resistant layer in itself), and it’s washable, too. It’s a great addition to your biking wardrobe.
What’s not? The heat panels are fairly localised, and the battery life is useless for journeys longer than an hour and a half if it’s properly freezing cold. The lowest heat setting is almost imperceptible, and replacement/additional batteries are a whopping £54.99 each!
Quality rating: 4/5
Value rating: 3/5