The 8K FlexWarm heated jacket

I’m a sucker for any item designed to heat up my body- electric bed blanket, electric throw blanket, zipper handwarmer, hot water bottles, microwavable slippers – I have them all. When the lovely team at 8K FlexWarm asked if I would be interesting in testing out one of their heated jackets, I jumped at the chance!

The jacket arrived in the post a couple of days later, but I’ve had to wait a whole 6 months for the bloomin’ hot summer to pass before I could give this jacket the test-run.

Bonfire night provided the first and perfect opportunity to test out the jacket and really benefit from the heat while stood still admiring the firework display. Nervous that the battery wouldn’t last the duration of the event, I waited until we had reached our chosen spot in front of the bonfire (well, as close as they allow the crowd to the fire!) to switch the heating on. I need not have worried; the battery lasted over 3 hours of me playing around with it. The power buttons, which are located close to the side pocket of the jacket, illuminate when switched on and change colour depending on the setting chosen.

When opening the packaging containing the battery pack, I thought its weight would weigh heavy in its pouch causing the jacket to pull down like having a pocket full of heavy stones. It doesn’t though; the battery fits neatly in its dedicated pouch and doesn’t change the shape or fit of the jacket. It feels similar to having a phone in my pocket, which I’m used to. Another benefit of the battery pack is being able to charge another device, such as a phone. I normally carry one for my phone anyway, so now I can get warm at the same time!

For comfort and practicality, I would like the jacket to be longer so that the small of my back doesn’t become exposed when I bend over. However, I love the look of the tailored cut which hugs my body tightly. I prefer items of clothing which show the shape my waist rather than those that hang straight down, so the style is very much to my liking.  For women who prefer a looser fit or a jacket which doesn’t stick to every body contour, this one is probably not what you are looking for.

Being a person that spends most of my outdoor time on hikes with the threat of rain, mud and spikey foliage, I wear a hard-waring jacket that can withstand everything nature throws at me. I wouldn’t dare take this jacket out into the ‘wild’ in fear of the fabric snagging or getting drenched when I’m caught out in a storm. It wouldn’t forgive myself if I damaged such an expensive item of clothing! I will mostly wear this jacket on outings where I consider my appearance more, such as evenings out in town or visiting friends.

There are three temperature options- 40, 45 and 50 degrees- but being a cold-blooded reptile, I reckon I will always have it pumped up to the max. The settings can be operated using the buttons on the jacket or from the phone app which is free to download. The app is snazzy yet simple and gives more control of the temperature, but I found myself just using the buttons.

I get cold easily and when I get really cold, I clench the muscles in my lower back so much that I get back ache. There are there heat zones, one of which is on the lower back feels like heaven and makes me relax my muscles.

Being a Yorkshire lass, asking me to dig deep into my pockets is not an easy ask. I feel the price will be a sticking point for many. At over £200, this jacket is on the same shelf as a Patagonia goose down jacket to which it doesn’t compete in terms of brand reputation and technical performance in the wild outdoors. It is, however, a novel jacket for gadget geeks and a practical piece of clothing for anyone who wants to keep warm while looking stylish. I imagine people who spend long periods of time standing out in the cold will love this jacket: Commuters who wait at the bus stop on a work morning, parents who watch their children play sport from the side-lines and clubbers waiting for the taxi home.

Pros:

  • Keeps you warm (!)
  • Ultimate geeky item
  • Easy to operate
  • Great looking style
  • Heats up quickly
  • Option to charge another device such as a phone
  • Light weight and packs down well
  • Available in 6 colours, 3 styles and male & female fits.

Cons:

  • Not a replacement for a technical outdoors jacket (but definitely compliments one)
  • Expensive product

Overall, I think the jacket looks really good on and the heating functionality makes it the ideal item for when I’m stood around outside in the cold. I wouldn’t choose it over my insulated and waterproof hiking jacket for an outdoor adventure and the £200 price tag will probably place it out of reach of all but those who love the latest gadget and those who have a big budget for desirable items. When 8k FlexWarm has established its reputation (which they quickly are- just Google them for proof!) as a wearable technology brand, I reckon their heated jackets will be at the top of many Christmas lists.

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.