I recently undertook an 8-day, 8-venue, 200-mile Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) journey for the charity Folds of Honor called OCR America. While I ran around in circles in weather that was below freezing, my pit crew had to wait around outside not generating much body heat. To ensure they were warm enough to survive and provide me with the support I needed, we picked up ORORO heated jackets and vests for them. Here’s what the OCR America crew and I thought about the jacket.
The jacket came in a nice travel pouch that was similar to pouches my wife buys for organizing her clothes when going on trips. The pouch makes a great travel pouch for your jacket or for your other clothes if you decide to wear the jacket on our trip.
Initial Setup and Sizing:
The jacket was intuitive. It comes with a battery pack about the size of an external hard drive that you plug into the wall. What was nice is that it came with charging accessories for outlets you would encounter throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. It makes using the jacket for travel very convenient. They recommend you charge the battery fully on the first charge so that’s what we did. The jacket was true to size as recommended on the website with podcast host Mike Stefano ordering a medium and my dad Terry Perperis ordering a large. Both fit well and reflected their normal jacket sizes. I will say if you are the type of person who normally is between sizes I would probably opt for the smaller size. The smaller size means the heating pads will be pressed up close against your body instead of having a gap between your body and the jacket.
The instructions took about 20 seconds to read and we had all the information we needed to operate the jacket. The instructions were pretty obvious including things like “don’t wash with the battery pack plugged in”. Other instructions included plug in the battery pack and hold the on button on the chest of the jacket to turn on. Blinking red means, it’s heating up, solid red means it’s on high and medium/low settings were both color-coded white/blue. Realistically, the heating levels were the only profound piece of information we got from the instructions, everything else was intuitive. As soon as you turned it on you could feel the heat, which was nice and let you know it was working. Podcast host of Obstacle Running Adventures, Mike Stefano commented after a week of use:
“I love how the jacket has 3 different setting so you can better customize your comfort”
The jacket has four heating areas, two on the front of the chest, one on the back of the neck and one on the back. Wearing it is like being hugged at all times.
Over the eight days of OCR America, the crew used the jackets on a daily basis. On many days they didn’t turn the heat on since the jacket is very warm even without the heaters on. The jacket says the heating will last for 10 hours, I can say that over the eight days of OCR America, no one in the crew had to recharge the jacket. They weren't keeping it on at all times but turned it on/off as needed based on the weather.
When my pacers wore the jacket for their laps, they quickly got too hot even without the heaters on. After falling in some ice-cold water in 20-degree temperatures, I used the jacket to warm up for half of the next lap. It was nice to have the jacket there as a backup/contingency just in case. If you wanted to really use it as a jogging type jacket, I think you would overheat unless you are in truly extreme conditions. I would also bring an extra buff or hat to pad the battery pack, which bounced around if you went into a full-on run.
The ORORO heated jacket is the perfect gift for your pit crew that is supporting you during cold weather OCRs. It is also a great gift for anyone that dislikes the cold and has to spend time outdoors. If you are your family is hunting, going to sports games in cold weather or skiing (great for using on the chair left when you aren’t generating body heat and the wind is hitting you), they’ll love the ORORO heated jacket. This might be the best gift you could get your pit crew (or yourself) if they aren’t a fan of the cold.
ORORO’s heated jackets are next level warm. While great for cold weather hiking, training or even racing (especially if you don’t like the cold), they would not be good for OCRs with lots of water submersions. While we didn’t test it for those, the battery pack is simply not designed for full liquid submersion. The ORORO jacket is perfectly designed for what it is meant for, keeping you warm in rainy or freezing cold weather. It is machine washable, covered in a water-resistant fabric and stylish making it a versatile coat you could wear outdoors on a hike or as an outer jacket to a formal event. ORORO is changing the game and making being cold a choice instead of a mandatory requirement. Pick up an ORORO today and feel the heat!