Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gerbing 7v Heated Vest review

I recently got a Gerbing heated vest. I got cold easily with my heart not functioning properly. So I had heard of Gerbing heated vest and thought it would be a good idea. Getty got me this for Christmas and they were on backorder so I didn’t get it until Feb. So my first real usage was at a Sheepdog trial on Feb 11th but I wasn’t running a dog but judging the trial.. It was darn cold, windy and rainy. The warm was sucked out of your body and soon you were shivering. At the last trial, I stayed in Judy’s RV but in the end, I still got sick from the cold.

So my vest arrived and I was the judge. I got to sit in a van but still had to get in and out to judge. It was raining and the wind was quite cold. I turned my battery on to full power and soon my back and upper chest was warm. I took off my other coat and walked about with just the vest on and I am sure people thought I was crazy.

But the true test was a few weeks later on March 10th, when I ram Maid,  Nan and Rainey. It was very cold, a bitter wind that made your bones turn to icicles, made you wish your at home, in front of a hot fire with a hot toddy. Instead, we were at a pasture that had large pools of water, a wind that played with our inner core temperature and rain that rivaled standing under Niagara Falls.  I had two batteries and my charger which I hooked up in Judy’s RV. The batteries last about 2 hours on 100% strength so since I knew I would be at this trial for about 10 hours, I wanted to keep the spare charging so I could swap them out. It last longer if you use it at the lower settings.

The vest is snug and needs to be so you can feel the warmth. The battery is in the left pocket and is plugged in at the top of the battery. One item of note is the plug will slide out easily so I wrapped a rubber band so keep it fastened. Other than that one small item, there is no issue with the vest.  I put it on high and it warmed up my back and front. It kept the cold out and I was able to function quite well. I wore my cap to keep my head warm and rain pants to keep my jeans dry. Having the inner upper body warm was wonderful. I was not shivering and it felt good. I also sat in front of the propane heater as a bonus. Not losing my body heat made me able to stay more alert and function a lot better during my run. When my battery would be low, I would swap out the battery. The vest worked quite well.

The last test was this last weekend at Heppner, Oregon. It was 28 degrees, bitter cold, very windy and just plain miserable. This is when I wished I had gotten the jacket. The vest did keep my inner core quite warm but my hands, head and feet were cold. Too bad I didn’t have the Gerbing products for those areas.  But the vest worked quite well but since I only had a spare battery, I was limited on my time. So I would chose to go out, flip on the battery, run my dog, then turn if off and go back into the van. I would also go out and walk the dogs or watch other runs. I would flip my battery on during those times. It helped quite a bit and I told a lot of folks about the vest. I think Gerbing will be getting quite a few orders for the jackets, vests and other gear.

Additionally, I have used my vest when I am training my dogs. Since my heart doesn't beat very fast I get cold quickly and have to go into the house to warm up. Now, I can go a lot longer as I am warmer and just swap the battery out after two hours. It has been a godsend for me.

It is well worth the price of $169 but I suggest getting a spare battery. You can order a car charger which I recommend. I just ordered the jacket which heats the back, chest and collar. I got the small size for both. I look forward to wearing it. The jacket that I bought is the older version, not the S2. I am on a budget so opted for that. The 7v is the model they sell now. I will do the jacket review soon.

Gerbing makes two types of heated jackets. One is the 12v technology which is for the Motorcycle riders and the 7 v for outdoor folks. Be sure to order the 7 v products.

In case you were wondering how this technology works, here is a brief description from their website

Gerbings developed Microwire™ in response to a Department of Defense contract for heated clothing for Special Ops Forces. Of the conventional heating systems employed in heated motorcycle clothing at the time, none of it was up to the stress and strains that a soldier would put these items through, especially the demands of Special Ops. Carbon fiber wires were too brittle and thick, and common copper wire heated too slowly and eventually the military was able to get it to it fail. In a nutshell, the military wanted something stronger and more durable, thinner and lighter, and which would heat more rapidly. The answer to all these requirements was what we call Microwire™. And when we were done developing it, we patented it.The wire in Microwire™ consists of bundles of hundreds microscopic stainless steel strands, each about 12 microns thick (about 1/4th the thickness of a human hair), twisted and wrapped in a thin Teflon-derived coating. Because heat escapes these strands from their circumferences, and because there are so many of these strands and they’re so tiny, Microwire™ heats instantly. No more waiting for the heat. It's there RIGHT NOW!

In the R&D process, we found that by altering the number of these strands in each wire, we were able to custom-tune the amount of heat. Additionally, by using these wires either in a heating pad, in a woven pattern or in our patented ribbon matrix, we could further tune how the heat is delivered. More, when using the ribbon matrix, we could refine the heat delivery to an even greater degree by altering the number of wires in the ribbon (from 2 up to 6). It is this “tunability” to each garment application that is one of the major advantages of Microwire™. But it doesn’t stop there.

Being as tiny as they are, and made from stainless steel, our strands (and therefore our wire) is incredibly flexible and exceptionally rugged. Also, at about .025” (vs. about .075 for the copper resistance wire that’s been in use all these years), Microwire is exceptionally thin. So much so you can’t feel the wires. Another advantage is at this tiny size we’ve been able to reduce more than a pound from the weight of our Jacket Liner, with similar weight reductions in our other Microwire garments.

So, in the end, Microwire is thinner, lighter, stronger and more durable. And it heats up in just 10% of the time that the old copper wire required.

Microwire is substantially more expensive to produce. However, it is Gerbings' intention to absorb this cost and hold its current retail prices, at least through the end of 2009.
Microwire is currently available in our Jacket Liners, G3 Gloves, Hybrid Gloves, T5 Gloves, Nubuck Gloves, Glove Liners and Insoles. Microwire is available in most of our products right now.


When colder outside temperatures are detected, the nervous system restricts blood flow to the extremities to maintain the body's core temperatures. The toes and the fingers quickly become uncomfortably cold.

Other factors besides just cold weather or wind chill aggravate the situation even more. Poorly fitting clothing, physical activity levels, individual physiology, and improper selection, use, and care of your clothing are all additional factors that increase the negative effects of the cold. Also, the presence of moisture increases thermal transfer significantly. This causes heat to escape more rapidly and cold to penetrate faster.

Although we all have different tolerance levels for the cold, we all know what it is like to be warm and comfortable. Gerbing's Heated Clothing works with the body's natural ability to generate heat. Adjusting the intensity of the heat allows the user to stay warm and comfortable in a wider range of temperatures without tapping into the resources the body needs to maintain its other health dependent functions. Our products allow you to concentrate heat to specific areas of the body such as just your hands, feet or your entire core, helping to offset the effects of being cold.

You know how it feels when you put on warm clothes right out of the dryer? Cozy, right? All of us, even those who live in the warmest climates, face the cold at one time or another. It may be an early morning spring frost, a blustery fall afternoon or a bone-chilling winter evening after the sun goes down. Gerbing's Heated Clothing products will prevent you from suffering in these environments and help you better enjoy them regardless of your outdoor activity by providing that "just out of the dryer feeling."

This is the link to the vest that I have. I highly recommend this vest. for those of your that are sheepdog trials. Make you get the vest that is snug as it needs to be close to your body to get the warmth. Get an extra battery and car charger and you will be set to go. I hope you will enjoy your heated vest as much as I do.

enjoy staying warm!


Karissa said...

I know someone who got the jacket this past winter and said it was the BEST THING EVER for our winters in the upper midwest. Granted, this winter was untypically mild, but I can so see the value in these products! Definitely something I'd love to get myself in the future. I appreciated hearing your review of the vest and how it works! I wasn't aware that the battery only lasted two hours, so that's good to know.

Alassel said...

I've had the 12v jacket since I started motorcycle commuting year round in 2008. Gerbing is a great company and they're based out of Olympia, so they're local to us as well. When the left sleeve of my jacket quit working a year after I bought it, I just took it down to them and they checked it, agreed it was busted, and gave me a brand new jacket to replace it. I couldn't ride in the winter (or spring these days) without it!

gvmama said...

I bought the 12v vest by mistake and had to send it back for an exchange. I bought the Medium. It fits snug (I have large ta-tas). Love all all of the pockets, zippered and nonzippered. The vest is super light weight to wear under a coat if need be. I also like the high collar to keep the wind out. Changing the battery settings is super easy. I felt it was worth the $$. :0) Suzanne

Roel Bobis said...

very good review about heated vestit really helps a lot!