Torch Coat review: the universal jacket heater

Gear ReviewAmy Hatch

I’ll admit, when I first heard about the Torch Coat heater, I was a little skeptical. I’m not really a gadget person. Even as an ultrarunner, I don’t own a GPS watch and my eyes tend to glaze over when people talk about cadence or pace.  

But, I am someone who gets cold, quite easily. And, I’m also someone who likes to live in places prone to subzero temps – the Tetons and Alaska, to name the last two places I called home. So when I got the offer to review the Torch Coat heater (priced at $89.95), I jumped at it.

It just recently got cold enough here in the Tetons to warrant firing up a jacket heater. On a snowy, dark Sunday night, I tromped out into the snow to clear off my car and head into town to run an errand.

Inside my jacket, my newly installed Torch Coat heater emanated warmth. “Now this I can get on board with,” I thought. It was like one of those seat heaters in cars, but wrapped all the way around my core.

Yesterday, I decided to take the Torch Coat out backcountry skiing. My plan was to turn it off during the skin up and turn it on during top-of-mountain transitions.

Although snowing, it was a balmy day. I found I had generated enough of my own heat to not really need the Torch Coat heater. So it sort of became a bulky inconvenience.

That said, I can easily imagine how nice it will be to have the Torch Coat heater in the backcountry when temps drop below zero. And, I especially plan to use the jacket heater when skiing laps at the resort – gone are the days of worrying about a cold blast of artic air on a slow chairlift.

With the Torch Coat hearter, I’m also significantly less concerned about it taking my car 20 minutes to warm up or moving in slow-mo through the outdoors with my 4-year-old daughter.

The bottom line: I’d recommend the Torch Coat heater to a friend. The best uses for it, in my mind, are running errands around town on wintery days, skiing at the resort or anything else that requires you to be outside and relatively motionless – like ice fishing or sitting on the sidelines at your kids’ ice hockey game.

Pros

  • Rechargeable battery lasts 2 to 5 hours
  • Installing the Torch Coat heater ended up being way simpler and less daunting than I thought it would be
  • Really easy to operate once it's installed 
  • The amount of heat it generates is just right – not too much and not too little
  • Easily transfers between jackets – it comes with enough Velcro patches for three jackets

 

Cons

  • The Velcro patches you use to install the Torch Coat heater are a little stiff and permanently affixed – so I’m hesitant to install them in puffies I use primarily in the fall and spring. This is problematic because I tend to use those same jackets as under layers in the winter, and it’s best to have the jacket heater as close to your body as possible.
  • A bit bulky, especially for activities like backcountry skiing, where I like to be as streamlined with my equipment as possible

 

 

 

Gear reviewTorch coat

2 comments

Amy Hatch

Amy Hatch

Alyssa,

Really good question … and something I actually thought about it briefly. Definitely worth looking into the research and/or asking someone else who might know the answer.

Amy

Alyssa Hitchcock

Alyssa Hitchcock

Has the company done any research on how the torch affects avalanche beacons? I would be worried about putting an it so close to my beacon – I haven’t done the research myself, but I’ve always heard that the closer an electronic device, the more interference it can have.

Definitely looks awesome for chilly chairlift rides, though!!

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