Do you really need heated vests for your camping and outdoor activities? Are heated vests worth it?
A heated vest is battery-powered (rechargeable) clothing that can be turned on and off to generate heat with a push of a button.
If you are the type of person who prefers wearing fewer layers of clothing and the ability to customize the level of warmth, then the answer is yes!
Heated vests can provide continuous heat to the core of your body when you are wearing them, and you can adjust the level of heat depending on the cold and/or your preference.
Typically these heated vests are made from carbon fiber or similar materials that are able to transmit heat safely to your body while also protecting themselves from moisture.
Heat vests are powered by safe lithium-ion batteries, and can also trap heat effectively to provide additional warmth and comfort.
In this buyer’s guide, we will discuss all you need to know about heated vests, as well as our product reviews for the best heated vests available right now.
What is the Best Heated Vest?
Our top pick for the best heated vest goes to the ARRIS Size Adjustable Heated Vest. This is a great heated vest packed with all the features you need to make your next outdoor expedition an enjoyable one.
It is a convenient, fast-heating option that is also very versatile with its four heat settings and up to 8 hours of runtime.
However, if you are still not sure whether the ARRIS heated vest is the right choice for you, below we will also discuss 9 other options in our top 10 picks.
So without further ado, let’s begin with our #10 pick.
Top 10 Best Heated Vests
- Unisex, four sizes to choose from, 5 heating tablets to meet your warmth needs
- Can be machine-washed or hand-washed
- Three temperature levels: the RED light (131℉/55°C – 149℉/65℃); WHITE light (113℉/45℃ to 131℉/55℃); BLUE light (104℉/40℃ to 113℉/45℃). Short press the switch to change temperature, and press the button for 3 seconds to start the heating.
- 30-day warranty if you choose the wrong size
- This practical gilet is made of lightweight memory cotton and Lycra ensures soft and comfortable to wear.
- Built-in 5 pieces heat therapy pad quickly warm up.
Pros and Cons
- Works fast, takes only a couple of minutes to warm up completely
- Versatile with three different temperature options that are easy to control
- Lightweight and compact fits well under layers of clothes without being bulky
- 30-day warranty
- Comes in four different sizes to choose from
- Needs a power bank to work (sold separately)
- Might not be hot enough for some users
- Large heating elements for your neck and back, more heating areas, and more warmth for your body, hand, and neck.
- Fast heating, can heat up in just 1 minute without harmful radiation.
- 100% nylon and use better light breathable cotton as the filler materials, keep your body warm but not stuffy
- 3 available heating settings, you can adjust the temperature you want with just a simple press of the button. Low level for energy-saving 77℉, the middle level for comfortable 95℉, high level for warm 113℉
- Light-weight battery included 5V UL/CE-certified 5000 mAh battery. More than 5 hours heating time
- 2-year warranty.
Pros and Cons
- Minimalist design, easy to mix and match with other clothes
- You can use your smartphone to regulate temperature
- Short battery charging time and heats up quickly under 1 minute
- Easily washable
- 4-way stretch fabric with elastic seams, very comfortable to wear with great flexibility
- Lacks complete insulation
- Can have connection issues with your smartphone
- Machine washable with the included laundry bag, or hand wash right away
- Made quality carbon fiber heat elements and 3 heating levels (131°F, 122°F & 113°F) to generate consistent heat for 6 core body parts (neck, back, abdomen, and waist), helping to maintain body warmth, promote blood circulation, and relieve pain as well as tension in muscles.
- Uniquely powered by a portable charger with 2A or 2.4A USB output to keep warmth in and stand up against elements. Can connect into a 10,000 mAH battery pack (not included)
- Capable of retaining warmth up to 7 hours at Low Level, 5 hours at Medium Level, and 3 hours at High Level.
- 4 zippers on each side of the vest to adjust the overall size of the heated apparel for various body types.
- Quilted, lightweight design and fine interior lining for unrestricted comfort and coziness in fall and winter. With a zipper on the front, you can layer this unisex USB heated vest over varieties of tops to add a touch of style for refined looks.
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- You can easily mix and match it with other clothes
- Efficient heating with well-balanced heating performance on all settings
- Can drip-dry for more convenience when cleaning it
- USB-powered for versatility and lasting heat
- The battery pack is not included (has to be purchased separately)
- Can be too tight for larger people, and might not be long enough for taller people
- Heat quickly in seconds, 4 carbon fiber heating elements generate heat across core body areas (Mid-Back, Left chest, Right chest, and Collar)
- Adjust between 3 heating settings (High, medium, low) with just a simple press of the button or smart auto-jump to lower temperature.
- Up to 12 hours of heating with just a single charge
- Water and wind resistance, keep you warm anywhere
- Mylar thermal lining, skin-friendly and soft
- Hand/machine/dry washable
Pros and Cons
- A great choice for women, designed for the female body shape
- Machine watchable
- Long-battery life with four different heat settings, can last more than 10 hours
- Waterproof and windproof for better heating performance
- Pretty affordable for what it offers
- Comfortable to wear
- Battery quality is not the best
- Might be too big for smaller women
- 4-panel Zero Layer heating system
- Comes with a 7v rechargeable battery and wall charger
- Fleece heated vest has an instant warming system
- Top-quality heating system
- Comfortable, soft, lightweight fleece vest warms you to the core without restricting movement
- Money-back warranty
Pros and Cons
- A high-quality set of features with a reasonable price
- Perfect body-fitting for both men and women
- Three-main heating zones covering the three major parts of the body
- Comes with a 7V battery (rechargeable) and a wall charger
- Lightweight and soft design
- The fabric might look cheap for some
- This is the most expensive heated vest on the list
- Battery life relatively poor
- Can generate rapid heating in minutes for long-lasting warmth at 113°F, so that you can feel as warm outdoors as indoors.
- Made from light and warm pure-cotton material and external materials that can retain warmth. A piece of thermal clothes that only weighs 300g after being folded can replace all your thermal clothes in winter.
- It can keep heating for a maximum of 10 hours at a low level when connecting to our 10000mAh portable power source. (power bank not included, suitable for all 5V/2A power source)
- There are three levels of temperature adjustments (red 149°F, blue 131°F, green 113°F)
- Zippers on the side can be used to adjust the size of the heated vest
Pros and Cons
- Heats almost instantly with well-balanced heating performance
- Fits neatly with its zipper sides adjustable sizing system
- Well-made with durable material
- Easy to adjust heat settings
- Elegant design
- Doesn’t feature any heat zones in the front of the vest
- Battery pack not included
- Carbon fiber heating system powered by ADDheat
- Features 20% larger heating panels that help boost your core body heat fast. Ultra-thin carbon fiber heating targets your back, chest, and neck to keep you warm.
- High, medium, and low settings. Change the heat setting of your heated vest with a simple press of a button.
- Includes our 7.4V 5200 mAh Power Kit with Charger. Heat resistant and heated clothing safe. Operates up to 10 hours (low), 6 hours (med), 3 hours (high)
- Charge your phone and smart devices from our battery’s USB port (output only). Press and hold on the battery button to activate a mini flashlight.
- Machine washable and dryer-safe.
- 1-year warranty.
Pros and Cons
- Up to 10 hours of heating with just a single charge
- Wind and water-resistant, easier cleaning and better warmth
- 20% larger heating panel, allowing more instant heat
- Easily washable with dryer safety
- Battery included, and you can share its power to charge your phone and other USB-powered devices
- Included USB cable is poor quality
- Relatively expensive
- Three different color selections: Black Heated Vest has 2 heated areas (upper back and lower back). Gray Heated Vest has 4 heated areas (Front Chest x2, Upper Back x1 and Collar x1). Gray&Dark Blue Heated Vest has 4 heated areas (Front Chest x2, Upper Back x1, and Collar x1).
- Three heated levels can be selected only by pressing a button on the left chest of heated vest(Red,White and Blue light correspond to High,Medium and Low setting:from 40℃ to 60℃)
- High-quality fleece material with anti-static and excellent heat preservation keeps you warm.
- PROSmart 10,000 mAH battery is safe and steady with CE certified. Rechargeable up to 800 times. Can also power most compatible USB devices like smartphones.
- 2 carbon fiber heating elements generate heat across core body areas
Pros and Cons
- Relatively affordable price for what it offers
- Optimal and secure battery placement
- Has a handy pocket for your phone, and you can also charge your phone with the vest’s battery
- Compact and lightweight battery but decent power (10,000 mAH)
- Zipper pockets for extra storage
- Battery charges slowly
- 4 different heat settings, most other models come with just three. Very versatile and you’ll be able to get the perfect amount of warmth no matter how cold or warm it feels.
- 8-hours of continuous heat, more than enough to keep you warm during your camping sessions.
- Machine washable
- Carbon fiber heating elements, heat up very quickly so you won’t have to wait around to feel the warmth.
- Safe from electrocution and overheating
- 4 heating areas, you’ll get heating on your right and left chest, back and neck area.
Pros and Cons
- Versatile, perfect for all occasions
- Easy maintenance, machine washable
- Lightweight and not bulky, easy to mix and match
- Easy to use warmth adjustments
- Very comfortable to wear
- Might be difficult to find larger sizes
- Not very durable materials
- 7,200 mAH battery included
- 8 heating panels and 5 temperature controls, different heating areas controlled by different buttons
- Size adjustable heated vest, very versatile adjusting range, simply unzip the zippers under each arm, and replace the panels as needed to adjust to your size.
- Unisex: Man, woman, and children can use it.
- Uses a 7.4V battery to power, which could offer more power and better heat to the heating pads.
- 5 heating levels from 40℃ to 80℃
- Hand/machine washable
Pros and Cons
- Excellent high-quality materials
- Long-battery life, 7,200 mAH battery included
- Size adjustable, very versatile even for smaller children
- Lined with sandwich mesh cloth, which allows heightened ventilation into the fabric.
- Effective in pulling away moisture from your body
- Extra/replacement batteries must be purchased through the company
- Lack of instructions for the charging cable
Do You Need a Heated Vest? Pros and Cons
Is getting a heated vest the right option for your camping and outdoor activity needs? Let’s discuss the key ups and downs of wearing a heated vest that may help answer this question for you.
Pros of Wearing Heated Vests
- A good solution to keep you warm in cold weather without having to wear additional layers of clothes. Meaning, you’d need to pack fewer clothes when camping.
- Aesthetically neutral, so it’s easy to mix and match the vest with anything.
- Comfortable to wear, if you get the right model.
- Can provide solid warmth for a decent amount of time, thanks to the rechargeable battery.
- Most of them are machine-washable, so it’s easy to keep them clean.
- Relatively cost-effective when you consider all the other benefits.
Cons of Wearing Heated Vests
- Might be too tight for some people
- Might be too heavy
- Batteries do still run out, so you won’t get unlimited heat from the vest
- Depending on the model, heat is only provided in specific zones (will only warm specific body parts)
- Might mean an extra item for you to recharge after use besides your phone, tablet, vape pen, and so on.
As you can see, the heated vests actually provide some nice benefits and convenience as opposed to their minor downsides.
However, there’s also another key concern regarding the safety of wearing these heated vests, which we will discuss right below.
Are Heated Vests Dangerous?
Provided you are purchasing a heated vest from reputable manufacturers, then these heated vests are 100% safe.
Heated vests are designed to be non-conductive and only use low voltage, preventing overheating when worn by their users.
Also, most vests use DC (Direct Current) which cannot produce electric shock at all, as compared to the AC (Alternating Current) running in our home.
Heated vests use 12V, 7.4V, 5V, or lower voltage levels in the smart controller, so they won’t cause electrical shock to the wearer’s body.
Also, typically they are enhanced with protective elements stitched in the fabric to further prevent electrical shock, and also to protect the vest’s wires even when soaked in water (i.e. during machine washing).
Many of these heated vests also come with temperature sensors connected with in-line fuses, protecting them from power surges.
These temperature sensors (PTC) will automatically shut down all the electrical elements of the vest when the level of desired heat has been achieved, preventing the vest from overheating.
How Do Heated Vests Work?
The technological concept behind heated vests isn’t exactly rocket science, and a heated vest should be able to provide power at a controlled and reasonable rate, control the generated heat, and using the right material to handle the heat and wiring needs.
It is actually a pretty basic technology using similar principles to a toaster or oven.
An amount of (low-voltage) electricity is run through a resistor, typically made of metal, which will convert the current into heat.
This is the same principle that causes your smartphone to run hot when you charge it, but if it is an undesired side effect in your smartphone, it is an intentional benefit in the heated vest.
Typically the heated vest uses a rechargeable battery, usually Li-Ion (Lithium-Ion), which is the type of battery also used in most smartphones, tablets, and drones, among other modern devices.
Today’s Li-Ion batteries are relatively light, so while they will add some weight to the heated vest when worn, it’s not as heavy as, for example, your laptop’s battery.
The heat in a heated vest is produced by a flexible resistive mesh as the resistor, usually placed in specific parts (or zones) of the vest to generate heat to specific parts of the wearer’s body.
As you can see, the principles behind how a heated vest works are pretty simple to understand, and as you can also see, it is pretty safe.
A heated vest can help raise your body temperature in chilly conditions, including when you are camping outdoors.
However, keep in mind that because they don’t have sleeves, they aren’t a full substitute for a full coat in extremely cold conditions.
For our absolute best pick, although admittedly this is very hard, we’ll go for ARRIS Size Adjustable Heated Vest.