Look, we don't want to think about those brutally cold winter days ahead either, but there's no denying that Columbia's new electrically heated apparel could take the sting out of those below-zero temperatures. Similar to the company's Bugathermo boots
, its new gloves, jackets and boots pack what they call Omni-Heat Electric technology, which basically outfits the clothing with lithium polymer battery packs and a specially tailored heating system. Dubbed "on-demand" heat, you can turn on and off the heat with the touch of a button, and then adjust the level by pressing the color-changing LED-backlit button. The number / size of batteries depends on the article of clothing -- for instance, the jackets are equipped with two 15Wh batteries while each glove, as you can see up there, has a smaller capacity cell. So, how long will they keep you warm and toasty on the slopes? About six hours, says a Columbia product manager, and once out of juice you can charge them via any USB cord. Oh, and yes, you can refuel your phone or iPod using the battery pack itself -- obviously, we asked!
At its press event in New York City this week, Columbia dressed us in a Circuit Breaker Softshell jacket (yes, that's what it's called) and a pair of the Bugaglove Max Electric gloves and threw us into its Omni-Heat freezer booth -- we have to say, our arms and back stayed mighty toasty and the jacket didn't feel as heavy as we expected. The gloves, on the other hand, are bulky, though may provide some good cushioning for novice snowboarders like ourselves. Of course, that heat is gonna cost ya. The aforementioned jacket rings up at $850 and the gloves at $400. Sure, picking up a few hand and boot warmers would be cheaper, but believe us, you wouldn't look or feel nearly as cool.
Columbia Omni-Heat gloves and jacket hands-on
Columbia Omni-Heat Electric apparel