Get cold, put on more clothes. That’s the way people have stayed warm for pretty much ever. And while the advent of heat-trapping technical fabrics has made wearing more layers lighter (and warmer), wouldn’t it still be easier just to throw on clothes that generate their own heat? Hong Kong-based PolarSeal thinks so, which is why its unveiled this new line of battery-powered shirts with built-in heaters.
Billed as “Heat on Demand” clothing, the lightweight athletic long-sleeves PolarSeal PolarHeat are embedded with two ultra-thin heating elements ⏤ one in the lower back, the other around the upper back and shoulders. The elements are controlled by a pair of LED-lit thermostat buttons in the sleeve and can be set to one of three levels ⏤ low, medium, high. You can choose which heating pad (or both) is on at a time, and the heat reportedly fires up in under 10 seconds.
PolarHeat’s flexible heaters are powered by an external low-voltage (5V) compact USB power bank that is: a) reportedly totally safe, even if you sweat all over it; and b) connected via an integrated cord (with USB-A connector) that’s accessed through a zipped back pocket. Depending on how high the thermostat is set and whether you’re heating both zones, the shirts will stay warm between four to eight hours. Each heating element can reach a max temp of 122° degrees Fahrenheit.
Thankfully, the PolarHeat’s polyester/elastane quarter-zips are water-resistant and shockproof; they’re washable, although not in a machine: you have to disconnect the battery, pop the rubber cover on the internal USB cord, and hand wash. They’re available for both men and women in four colors ⏤ jet black, heather gray, alpine blue, and fuscia pink.
Honestly, the biggest issue with PolarHeat’s shirts is that the $199 price tag doesn’t include the damn battery. You have to buy it separately, and they can run anywhere from $12 to $60. That aside, the shirts are currently available for pre-order at a discounted $179 and will start shipping early next month for when the real cold hits.