Nearly everyone wears some type of a base layer when snowmobiling – a soft but thin layer that not only traps heat within the body, but also repels excess moisture from sweating. Lately the heated apparel trend is all the rage within the clothing industry, as USB-enabled battery packs offer additional heat developed into products beyond the handlebar. It was only a matter of time until the two would meet.
According to specs, Anseris’ Heated Base Layer has a durable and lightweight microfleece construction that weighs only 22 ounces, while remaining breathable. The start-up company was formerly known as Torch Electrek before a rebranding in 2019. It also offers a product lineup featuring heated gloves, back supports, coat and boot insoles.
In its base layer an ultra-slim 5 volt, 6,000 mAh lithium polymer battery powers two enlarged heating panels – one for the front chest and one on the back between shoulder blades – and also doubles as a power source for phones (no doubt a convenient function). The battery requires three hours for a full charge, with a four-stage indicator on the side, and lasts up to six hours – a USB-to-micro USB cord with USB wall charger adapter (U.S. standard) is included.
On the right sleeve a push-button controls the three heat settings, with green (low), blue (medium) and red (high) displayed via the illuminated square logo. Specs indicate that, “added safety features protect from short circuits and hot spots,” but no further details are offered. We never had any issues with burning or shorting in either the heating panels or battery pack.
Its half-zip and collared design makes it fashionable enough to wear places where normal snowmobiling gear may appear excessively bulky. Two pockets – one chest and one side – are offered, however, I found both to be awkwardly positioned for functional use (the chest being too high and near the neck, and the side being mostly consumed by the battery). I would suggest the option of a horizontal pocket across the waist, similar to those found on common hooded sweatshirts.
While riding more than 1,000 miles last season, I found the base layer my go-to as a mid-layer for the majority of the time. Knowing I would be faced with sub-zero temperatures and harsh breezes due to speed, I would often opt for a traditional ultra-thin base layer, with the Anseris product on top of it. With said combination, I was comfortable in nearly every condition wearing it (and there was a lot of them). On warm days, I would simply remove the battery pack and store it away.
Its understated stylish appeal was also a bonus that can’t often be mentioned when reviewing other gear that flashes large logos across the chest or down its sleeves. I was able to blend the base layer into nearly any task or event – be it in the shop, office or for a night out. Frankly put, I found myself wearing it nearly everywhere.
The only downside came after repeated, continuous use – eventually it was discovered that the heating panels became inoperable in one of the vests tested. Two base layers were tested and washed roughly 20 times under similar conditions, and while one still performed (albeit to a slightly lesser degree), wires for the battery connection appear to have been twisted to the point of fraying on the other (likely by user-error).
Without the heating element, the base layer was still useful throughout an active lifestyle, and the accompanying battery pack was multi-purposeful. The company also offers a one-year warranty on its products in the event of failure.
Anseris’ founder Anthony DeVito said quality issues haven’t been common in products sold so far, and consumer reviews indicate the same. DeVito said that after a rebranding from Torch Electrek to Anseris, the company switched manufacturers, “This is the best manufacturer we have ever seen. Each heating element gets tested separately – one test is for heat consistency and temperature, and another to test the wiring resistance. We test every connection, and we use only the best parts. That’s a small example of how we are getting better every day and focusing on the small details that can make or break a product,” he said.
DeVito also said the company has a goal of 100 percent sustainability for its products in the future – including new heated gear prototypes and all heated products in its line.
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.