Stay Warm with Heated Jackets, Vests, and Hand Warmers

During the worst of Canadian winters, sometimes even the best outerwear insulation isn’t enough. Synthetics and natural down can only do so much to trap heat. Sometimes, when it gets really cold, you need to add heat. With heated jackets, vests, and hand warmers, you can stay comfy while enjoying maximum mobility to boot.

Outdoor gear companies have made tremendous progress in terms of the quality of even the most affordable winter jackets. High-tech thermal linings, new materials for insulation, and ongoing research and development all help keep the snow and cold out and your body heat in. But the same modern battery tech that makes cordless tools nearly magic and helps power electric cars can give you an even better way to stay warm this year.


The idea is simple. You take an electric heating pad, similar to what you’d find in a heated blanket at home, and put it in the thermal lining of a jacket. Then you power it with a battery. A 12-volt replaceable battery pack offers more than enough juice for this type of direct heating, and the right power tool battery can give you a whole day’s worth of heat.


Flexibility is another big advantage of the heated jacket system. If the battery can’t last a full day, you can swap it. Just grab another off the charger and go back to being warm. With many tradespersons already running a brace of batteries for their tools, this option is extremely convenient.

Milwaukee Tool has one of the most comprehensive lines of heated jackets and vests around. Its M12 clothing for men and women uses the compact and common M12 battery system. These small packs use lithium-ion tech and are capable of providing hours of warmth and comfort.


The company has jackets in black and camo designs. It also offers heated hoodies and heated vests, which are great for layering or just for variety. If it’s tough to keep clothes clean in your work environment, wearing a heated hoodie under your outer gear will protect it while keeping you warm.

Milwaukee Tool M12 Black Heat Jacket Kit L

278.99 $ 238.99 $

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Milwaukee Tool M12 Black Heated Hoodie Kit L

218.99 $ 187.99 $

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Chemical hand warmers work because of a chemical reaction. Most are filled with a mix of iron, water, cellulose, salt, and vermiculite. When you open the package and expose the hand warmers to air, a chemical reaction happens that is basically a sped-up version of the rusting process.


The quick corrosion reaction produces heat, and that heat keeps you warm. You can find both hand and foot warmers on the market. The chemicals inside are the same, but foot warmers come in a different type of package that lets them work better in the low-oxygen environment in your boots.


There’s also a newer style of hand warmers that’s reusable. The substance inside these products transforms from a liquid to a solid, releasing heat in the process. You can re-activate these hand warmers by boiling them, which turns the crystallized substance back into a liquid. These hand warmers don’t usually stay warm for as long as the disposable kind, and they’re also more expensive. But being able to use them again and again is a big benefit.


So, if you’re working outdoors this winter, it might be time to think about heated workwear. It’s a lot easier to get work done when you’re comfortable than it is when you’re freezing.

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