Kemimoto Classic Heated Vest Review: Cozy, Wearable Warmth
Stay Warm in the Outdoors This Winter with This Stylish and Comfortable Layer
Update: Kemimoto has given RV.com /RV Magazine/Wildsam readers a discounted price on the Classic Heated Vest. Use promo code AFF18 at checkout to receive an 18% discount on your purchase.
Last week, we reviewed the Ignik Topside Heated Blanket, which, when connected to a power source, becomes an electric camping blanket you can take anywhere. After putting it through its paces, we found the Topside to be a fantastic addition to any RV, providing exceptional warmth in cold conditions. The only downside of that product is that it has to plug into a 12V port in a vehicle or on a power station, substantially limiting its portability.
But those looking to stay warm while on the go do have other options at their disposal. Thanks to the introduction of efficient and flexible heating elements powered by small USB battery banks, it is now possible to buy heated jackets, vests, gloves, socks, and other garments. When activated, these products provide a surprising amount of warmth, making it easier to spend time outside in cold conditions.
We recently had the chance to test the Kemimoto Classic Heated Vest and found it to be an excellent addition to any wardrobe. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the extra warmth this layer delivers, while those who hate cold weather may finally have an option that allows them to embrace the winter.
Classic Good Looks
Kemimoto is best known as a brand that produces accessories for ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, and other personal vehicles. Recently, the company introduced a line of heated clothing that includes the vest we tested, as well as a jacket, gloves, and socks. Each of those products is reasonably priced and includes several nice features that make them compelling options for anyone looking to stay warm in the outdoors.
The Classic Heated Vest lives up to its name. At first glance, this garment looks like most other vests you might find someone wearing on the trail or while running errands around town. It features a snug fit designed to keep warmth close to the body without inhibiting the wearer’s range of motion. And while it may not have a familiar logo on its chest, it would be easy to mistake it for a product from a more well-known brand.
Made from high-quality, moisture-wicking fabrics, the vest is very soft to the touch. It also features a classic cut that hugs the body nicely, making it very comfortable to wear. And because it features active heating zones, it isn’t overly thick or bulky, either. The vest is even machine and hand-washable despite its delicate circuitry and electronic features.
Warmth at the Touch of a Button
The one visually distinguishing feature of the vest is the two buttons on the left chest that illuminate when it is turned on. Those buttons activate and control the heating elements located on the front and back of the garment. The positioning of those elements creates two independent heat zones that are managed through various button presses. A long press turns them on or off while tapping the buttons quickly cycles through three temperature settings.
Such granular control over the vest’s settings allows the wearer to adjust the functionality to meet their needs. For instance, if a cold wind is blowing at your back, you can turn that specific heating element on even if you don’t need to activate the one in front. Both heat zones have their own temperature controls with high, medium, and low settings, corresponding to 131ºF, 122ºF, or 104ºF in the front. Meanwhile, temperatures for the back are a bit warmer at 149ªF, 131ºF, and 113ºF.
The vest’s controls are very easy to understand, and the buttons light up in different colors to indicate the current temperature modes. Red indicates the warmest setting, while blue and white are for medium or low. When the buttons are blinking red, the vest is in pre-heat mode, warming up the heating elements to the preferred temperature.
The Kemimoto Classic Heated Vest relies on a USB battery bank to provide power. The advantages of this type of device are that they are small, lightweight, and widely available. Customers can purchase the vest with a battery included or save $40 on the price and purchase one separately. The one supplied by the company offers a 9600mAh capacity, which provides three to eight hours of use depending on the temperature settings. That can be swapped out for a larger power cell, but it will also likely be bulkier and heavier, too.
The battery plugs into a USB-A cable located in a hidden pocket designed specifically to carry the power supply. Once connected, the vest is ready to go; simply turn on the battery pack and adjust the temperature settings as needed. Before long, you’ll feel the warmth emanating from the vest.
During our testing, we found that battery life consistently exceeded Kemimoto’s estimates while using the included power supply. Even with both heating elements turned on and set to high, our runtime was closer to four hours than the estimated three. Adjusting the temperature to medium or low will extend battery life even further, although the vest doesn’t provide as much warmth on those lower settings.
Overall, we were impressed with how well the Classic Heated Vest performed, with a few caveats. First, we found it to be warmest when worn as a mid-layer, with a shirt or baselayer underneath. This allowed the heating elements to perform at their highest level and allowed us to wear a warmer jacket over the top when the temperatures got really chilly.
We also found that the lowest temperature setting didn’t provide much heat but was still valuable in cool—but not cold—conditions. Your mileage may vary, of course, and those sensitive to warmer temperatures will appreciate the extra setting. That said, when the mercury took a plunge, the vest performed admirably on the medium and high settings, which is when we most wanted the additional heat anyway.
Kemimoto sells the Classic Heated Vest with a battery bank for just $89.99. That’s less expensive than similar vests offered by big-name brands that don’t use active heating technology. That makes it very easy to recommend this product, especially for anyone who dreads spending time outside in the winter. This garment can certainly help take the chill off and make it much easier to endure cold conditions. Even active outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the warmth it brings while hiking, trail running, or cycling during the chillier months of the year.
To learn more about this fun and unique product, visit the Kemimoto website.