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Can You Wear Heated Jackets in the Rain?

A piece of waterproof textile with the Gore-Tex logo repels raindrops, showing how effective the fabric is for staying dry.

Heated jackets are a joy for those who cringe about going outside in the fall and winter months, and yes, they can be worn in the rain. Although I have lived in the north all of my life, I am still one of those who gets grumpy over the cold. The heated jacket was a genius invention for me, and it can be for you too.

This is an invention that makes athletes happy and anyone that wants a little extra warmth on a cold or rainy day. Yes, these jackets are made to be weather-resistant. Do your research here before you buy, and learn more about the many benefits of heated jackets for rain or snow.

The Waterproof Science of Heated Jackets

Stylish girl in heated jacket.

Heated jackets are not a new thing. Even pilots would wear them in the Second World War. We just haven’t heard too much of them in the mainstream as they are not that common, but they are becoming a big trend for winter athletes.

The science is unbeatable. Heated jackets are made with materials and fabrics that will help them to be waterproof. They will be made with fabrics that have an outer shell that is waterproof, or that are coated with a chemical that is waterproof.

Nylon, polyester, and Gore-Tex are among the most common materials for waterproof heated jackets. Additionally, the coating called Durable Water Repellant (DWR) is often applied to the outer layer of heated jackets so that they can stay water repellant, and it is used on Gore-Tex as well. This is a common application used for many water-resistant garments.

DWR is also sold commercially, and you can use it yourself annually or semi-annually to keep your own clothes, boots, and shoes, water-resistant in poor weather. It’s a great application to have on hand when your heated jacket has worn at the cuffs and seams. When this application wears out from weather or use, the DWR is the first component of the jacket to wear off.

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Applying DWR regularly on your own can help you to keep your heated jackets warm and dry all season long. Heated jackets also come with the science of built-in coils and battery packs that bring the heated element into your jacket. Each of these electrical components is protected by waterproof casings and barriers, to protect them from being damaged in inclement weather.

The waterproof casings and components are strong because the manufacturers know they are designing a product that is intended to get wet. So, you can feel safe when you are wearing a heated jacket in wet weather, and secure that you will stay dry. However, there are some obvious considerations in inclement weather when you are wearing a battery pack.

You can get away with some water on the coat, that is what it is made for. Submersing the coat or getting it completely drenched will not keep you dry. The Gore-Tex fabric is one that has a range for thermal protection between -250 degrees Celsius and +260 degrees Celsius.

How Heated Jackets Work?

A man in a heated winter jacket. Under the jacket heating elements.

Heated jackets work through a series of coils within the jacket itself, and these are connected to battery packs. You can use a very simple switch or controller to turn your jacket on or off. Many heated jackets will also have various levels of heat control, much like a heated blanket does.

In some cases, a wireless controller can work to warm up the jacket for you as well. The connections on a heated jacket include leads and fuses that connect the battery pack to the coils that heat the jacket. This sounds complicated and dangerous even, but science is perfect in a way that you can be safe wearing them.

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Heated jackets are so convenient that many of them are even coming with charging ports for your smartphone. Get warm and charge your phone safely in inclement weather. The coils that manage the heating for the heated jackets will have a wire trail within the jacket that goes right to the battery.

Many of them are sewn into the jacket with controls going into zippered pockets. The controller for the heated jacket is not something that is going to be unsightly and cumbersome. The science of the heated jacket is well hidden so that you can enjoy the jacket like you would any other coat.

The battery packs on a heated jacket will typically work for several hours, and most are rechargeable or use batteries that are easily replaced. It will depend entirely on the voltage of the batteries when you are wondering how long the batteries will last. Most batteries for heated jackets will come in 5V, 7V, or 12V.

The batteries with the highest voltage will be the batteries that last the longest. So, a 12 Volt battery in a heated jacket may last as long as 8 hours, for example.

Benefits of Heated Jackets

Besides the obvious benefit of having a waterproof and water-resistant heated jacket for cold and wet weather, there are many other benefits of heated jackets. They are more lightweight than you think because the manufacturers know a heavy coat with a heating pack is a little redundant. So you can enjoy a lightweight coat with a heating accessory to help you work out, ski, or just go outside in cold and wet weather.

For that reason, these coats are also a little on the snug side, and this adds to their trendiness. They are sometimes made with a stretch material as well, to help with movement when you are outside or working out. At the same time, the added benefit of the snug fit is that the heat that is inside the jacket will help your body to radiate or conserve warmth and energy faster than if the batteries needed to work through a heavy jacket.

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The Safety of Heated Jackets

Water and electricity put together sound dangerous, am I right? It can be. Obviously, the manufacturers know this.

You are right to have this question when you are considering a  heated jacket. The truth here is that heated clothing uses lithium-ion batteries that are among the safest in the world. Most smartphones use them as well, and they withstand a lot of damage from us over time as well.

A heated jacket can not electrocute you when you are wearing it in the snow or rain. The reason that is the case is that the voltage in the battery pack isn’t high enough to cause a safety problem. At the same time, all of the heating elements in a heated jacket are surrounded by membranes that are waterproof to keep your safety a priority.

For injuries to occur from a battery pack that gets wet, you need to see voltages in the 40V range. Additionally, most manufacturers are putting safety triggers in their garments so that power shuts off when the components are in contact with moisture. Those mechanisms include features such as short-cut protection, over-voltage safety features, overcharge and discharge features, and temperature protection within the battery packs.

Rain that is pouring or blizzards that are blinding is not going to have an impact on a battery pack that is well insulated and encased with multiple safety features. Today’s heated jackets are designed so that you don’t have to worry about any of this. The heated jacket is waterproof, safe, and also as warm as you want and need it to be.