Gobi Heat offers a range of heated clothing and other gear, including their bestselling Sahara Heated Jacket (the subject of this review) and heated hoodies, vests, gloves, boots, chairs and blankets.
I already have first-hand experience of their products having previously reviewed other gear including the popular Gobi Heated Chair, so was interested to check out some of their apparel, too.
Although heated apparel is ideal cold weather gear, the warmth and comfort they can provide can be useful year-round, not just to keep you warm in colder climates but also if you live at altitude or live or spend time outdoors camping or adventuring in areas where the temperature drops after the sun goes down.
In this Gobi Heat Sahara Jacket review I:
- explain the key features of the Gobi Sahara jacket, how it works and when you may find wearing one useful
- talk through the pros and cons of this heated jacket based on my experience while using and testing the jacket for this review
- provide details of where to buy and tips for getting the best deal.
Why you may need a heated jacket
A heated jacket is essentially an insulated jacket that can be attached to a battery pack to heat special panels in the jacket’s fabric.
The purpose of having a heated jacket is to help keep your core warm and help you maintain your body temperature when in cold environments.
Circumstances and conditions where you may particularly appreciate a heated jacket like this include:
- Everyday use in winter or on cold days – you can wear it for work, commuting, spending time at home or in the backyard, for example
- Sitting or standing outdoors for long periods of time, such as when watching sports games
- On active adventures, including camping and hiking. The jacket’s technical fabric and windproof shell mean it’s suitable for sweaty endeavors like a winter hike!
- Any time you feel the cold – some people who struggle to get or stay warm may really appreciate this jacket year-round for the warmth and comfort it provides.
Key features of the Sahara heated jacket
In the photos throughout this review I’m wearing the Gobi Heat Sahara women’s heated jacket.
There’s also an equivalent men’s jacket, which comes in men’s fit and sizing and different color options to the women’s version.
Before I cover the heating functions of the jacket, let’s go over the key features of the jacket itself.
The Sahara jacket is essentially a soft-shell polyester jacket with a fleece lining. The outer layer is wind and water-resistant (but not waterproof), and the jacket is insulated throughout.
It has a full zipper up the middle, a zippered pocket on the chest, and two zippered hand pockets.
The design and materials used to make this jacket mean that it’s similar to traditional jackets that are designed to be used as a mid-layer when layering up for heading outside in cold weather, whether that’s for work or heading out on a skiing, snowshoeing, hiking or other adventure where you may encounter colder weather.
This makes it a suitable jacket for wearing outside in cold weather, even without the heat.
Like other similar jackets, it’s machine washable, assuming you remove the battery from the pocket (and zip the pocket back up) before putting it in the machine – the battery is definitely NOT machine washable 🙂
The rechargeable lithium battery
The Gobi heated jacket comes with one compact, palm-sized lithium battery, which is what is used to power the heat.
To connect it to the jacket, locate the small cable from within the inside left zippered pocket, and plug it in. That pocket is where you’ll store the battery while using it.
The battery itself has four charge indicator lights on the side that show how full it is.
It also features a USB port so that, if needed, you can charge a device such as your phone or a rechargeable headlamp, for example.
Battery life is up to 10 hours, which assumes you’re using it from fully charged, on the low heat setting.
There are three heat settings in total – high, medium and low. Stated battery life is 6 hours, 8 hours and 10 hours for each setting respectively, but of course the actual life varies depending on the mix of settings you use, and whether you use the battery for anything else at the same time.
To turn it on, first press the power button on the battery pack, ensuring it’s connected to the jacket, then press and hold the button on the jacket’s chest.
Pressing it again cycles the heat settings through high, medium and low, and a long press turns it off again.
For most people, 10 hours of heat on one charge is going to be enough, and the battery recharges in around 3 to 4 hours using the USB cable provided.
However, it’s worth knowing you can buy extra batteries so if needed you could carry a spare and switch them out to extend the heating time.
So you’re probably wondering what parts of the Sahara jacket heat up.
There are three heat zones in both the men’s and women’s versions of the Sahara jacket: two in the chest (one on each side of the zipper) and one large zone on the back.
The heat zones work using conductive thread heating technology, so there’s no traditional heating element, as such – it’s woven into the fabric of the jacket itself.
If you’ve never worn a heated jacket before, you’re in for a treat the first time you wear one and feel the heat coming through!
At the time of writing this review, the women’s jacket is available in six colors including black, red, blue, green and purple.
The men’s version is available in four colors.
Check Gobi Heat’s website for current color and sizing options.
My experience wearing this Gobi Heat women’s heated jacket
I can feel the cold at any time of year so while it really pays off having one of these for when the colder winter months hit, cool evenings, early mornings, and other times when I’m feeling cold, such as in an overly air-conditioned office or when traveling through climate-controlled airports, it’s a wonderful item of clothing to help with staying warm.
The first thing to note when choosing your jacket is to ensure you order the best size for you.
Based on my experience (and that of other reviewers who left reviews on the product page of Gobi’s website), these jackets come up very small. So you’ll need to order at least one, if not two sizes than you would normally.
I normally wear a small or medium in other brands, and would have usually sized up to a large.
However – being pregnant at the time of getting the jacket, I wanted to ensure it would fit around my growing middle, so I went for an XL! You can see how this looks on me in the photos throughout this review.
Not to worry if you do end up ordering the wrong size, though. Gobi Heat offers free 30 day exchanges for jackets (and other gear) ordered on their website, so you can request a different size and return the one that doesn’t fit.
The heat settings provide soothing radiant heat on your front and back.
I tend to feel the cold on my back more in the lower back area, however the back heated area, while large, is located towards the middle and top of the jacket. This is a shame for me, as I’d love a warm heat source to wrap around my lower back on those cold days.
Depending on how cold it is (or how cold you feel), you can pick a heat level to suit you to turn the heat up or down.
I haven’t found I often need to use the high heat setting, although if I was to visit somewhere that was bitterly cold and spend a lot of time outside then I’m sure I would.
If you’re wearing a lot of layers under the jacket it will take longer to feel the heat provided as it comes through those base layers, so if you’re really cold initially you may want to start out with the high heat setting until you get warmed up, before reducing to medium or low, as needed.
Cost and where to buy
The Sahara heated jacket, with battery included, costs $199 with free shipping, when bought directly from Gobi Heat’s website.
It’s also worth knowing that if you visit the Gobi Heat homepage they’re currently offering 15% off when you sign up for the newsletter! That brings the cost of the jacket down to around $169.
Visit Gobi Heat’s website homepage to check out their other heated clothes, chairs, blankets and accessories!