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Member Tested: Fieldsheer Hydro Textile Heated Jacket

Posted By Mark Thompson #218859, Monday, May 11, 2020

Fieldsheer’s Mobile Warming Riding Gear makes riding gear much more useful because you can have comforting warmth both on and off the bike. As we all know (or learn), heated riding gear extends our riding season and saves the day when the weather-guessers tell us “sunny and dry” and it becomes something much different.

To use its full name, the Fieldsheer Hydro Textile Heated jacket—let’s call it the “Hydro” - is a top-of-the-line, waterproof, all-purpose adventure/touring jacket. You can either plug it into the bike's electrical system or when you're off the bike, use an optional lithium battery (another $70) to keep you warm.

I needed just such a jacket for the wet and cold autumn months in Ohio. While not inexpensive - retail is $449 - Fieldsheer had it on sale on their website, saving me a bundle. This is a jacket that does the job of keeping you warm and dry under extreme weather conditions, whether on or off the bike.

I added the optional 12-volt lithium battery for off-bike use, which makes the inner, softshell jacket ideal for cooler weather spectating, errands or hanging out late on the patio at the local pub. The compact 5200mAh 12-volt battery is a little larger than a pack of playing cards and doubles as a backup cell phone power source. Its built-in LED light helped me find the keys I’d dropped in a parking lot one very dark night.

The Hydro is a two-part jacket, with the outer jacket constructed from Fieldsheer’s own Carbolex HD™ ballistic nylon, while the removable inner softshell jacket holds the heating elements and temperature control. The inner jacket looks like a typical lightweight jacket and is easily detached and worn as such. The lithium battery slips into a small zippered pocket that comes prewired with all connections; just plug in the lithium battery and hit the ON switch. Another inner pocket holds the prewired cable connections for directly hooking into the bike’s electrical system. With everything prewired and installed, there’s nothing more for you to do other than plug-in, power up, and go, a nice touch.

On the inner jacket's right chest, you'll find a small, round rubber logo—your power switch. One three-second push (easy even with gloved hands) and a red LED tells you power is on and at 100 percent. Another button push changes it to yellow (75 percent power), then green (50 percent), and blue (25 percent). The final button push brings it back to 100 percent power. On battery power alone, you can expect real-world times of about two hours of heat on a full charge, or three hours at 75 percent power, five hours at 50 percent, and perhaps 10 hours at the lowest setting. Green LEDs report on the battery’s charge level, and I saw about four hours for a complete battery recharge via electrical outlet and 90 minutes longer via USB.

Switch to running on the bike’s electrical system and clicking through the button choices gets you the same results. At the full-power setting, the temperature is at 149 degrees, dropping to 132, 118 and finally down to 100 degrees F.

Fieldsheer’s Mobile Warming gear uses pigtail (barrel style, male/female) connectors, not the more common SAE style. If you're going to add other heated garments like gloves, pants or socks, you may want to stay within the Fieldsheer brand. An illustrated manual shows how to hook up multiple garments to the bike’s electrics. The lithium battery, however, will only power one thing at a time. Some items such as the gloves offer the option of a separate lithium battery for power. Mix and match to suit your needs.

What great heat! Both your chest and back are swathed in wide zones of soothing warmth. Your upper back, arms and shoulders especially appreciate how the jacket keeps muscles warm and relaxed even after several hours in the saddle. The heating panels are large but not intrusive. When you’re off the bike and relying on the lithium battery, you get only upper back and chest heat.

One nit worth mentioning: Temperature adjustments mean unzipping the outer jacket because the power switch is tucked away on the softshell inner jacket’s chest. It can be a minor inconvenience or require a stop. More and more of Fieldsheer’s riding gear now offer a Bluetooth option, where you can control the temperature via your phone. Perhaps this will be in the Hydro's next generation.

Regarding fit, in size large it felt like Fieldsheer designed the Hydro specifically for me (they didn’t), but at six-nothing and 170 lbs., I’m a slim dude that usually goes for “athletic fit” clothing. This is a jacket you should try on first to see if it matches your physique. The inner jacket has drawstrings at the waist for sizing tweaks, and the outer jacket has hook and loop at the cuffs, double pairs of snaps on the sleeves, and more hook and loop on the waist for perfecting your fit. Level 1 CE armor hides in removable pockets in the back and shoulders. Zippered vents on the chest and back are there to provide a breeze on warm days. It’s all backed by a one-year warranty.

Phoslite® reflective panels in multiple spots on the jacket aide nighttime visibility. Carbolex-HD® fabric ballistic nylon fabric developed by Fieldsheer provides a high level of abrasion resistance. The Carbolex HD® is also waterproof, hence the “Hydro” in the jacket’s name, while a breathable internal membrane keeps you from getting clammy. All seams are thermo-sealed, and there are multiple large, convenient pockets both inside and out, most closing with zippers or hook and loop for secure storage. I could easily open the external pockets while wearing gloves. An adjustable neck bandana is built into the collar to help keep the breeze out—I flat out love this feature!

This is a substantial jacket with a weight of about seven pounds with the optional 11-ounce battery tucked into its pocket. This weight, however, is comparable to many other top-of-the-line riding jackets that don’t offer the versatility of dual power sources.

All this goodness comes at a price, of course. The suggested retail is $449, but I got mine for $337 at an end-of-season sale. You can order the Hydro and all Fieldsheer’s riding and work gear directly from the company. Their website includes a size chart. Go to mobilewarming.com for more information or to order.

Tags:  gear  jacket  winter 

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