I’m a total sissy for the cold. According to all the genetic tests, I’m about 4,000% Scandinavian, but whatever noble traits my hearty ancestors developed to live in the cold skipped right over me.
Hating the cold as I do, I own a wide selection of cold weather undies. I’ve got wool and synthetics alike. I’ve got multiple weights of the same sets, and when I travel, I bring spares.
Powered by a rechargeable 7.4V Lithium-ion battery, each garment has fibers built into it that heat up key areas of the body. Instead of just passively warming your body through insulation, these garments actively add heat up against your skin.
It works. Praise be to Surtr himself, it works.
I’ve worn these garments riding in the back of a truck at night on anti-poaching patrols in the South African winter. I’ve worn them for days at a time in the mountains of Idaho while bear and muley hunting. And more.
In each instance, at the push of a button, I was warm.
The Pnuma long Johns are simple enough in operation. There’s a little pocket in each garment where you plug in the small battery. After that, just press the logo button and within minutes the garment heats up.
You get six hours on the lowest setting, three hours on the medium setting, and two hours on the highest setting.
I didn’t time the lowest setting, but pushed to the red highest setting. I really did get a full two hours of amazing heat. How hot? They advertise it as 131 degrees Fahrenheit on high. I don’t have a particularly precise way to measure that, but I can tell you with certainty that, at this setting, it’s too hot if you’re doing anything other than sitting still at well below freezing temperature.
And that’s awesome. When it was 20 degrees outside on a white tail hunt, I slept in the bed of my truck with nothing more in my Pnuma undies, regular clothes, one old army wool blanket, and an extra set of batteries that kept me warm and toasty all night. I had intended to sleep sitting in the cab with the heater on, but instead I laid out snug as a bug in a rug under the stars.
The realist in me quickly turns to pessimism when the mercury falls. As such, I would never trust a garment to keep me warm and alive based solely on battery power. The Pnuma Heated Core gear doesn’t only trust on technology. It provides solid passive heating as well.
Both the vest and pants are made of a synthetic blend of 17% Elastane, 23% Polypropylene, and 60% Polyester. This blend, or something close it, is pretty common now as it provides lots of warmth with little bulk.
The pants and vest also include their SilverStrike and Hydrowick fibers. Together, these technologies wick moisture away from the skin where it can more easily evaporate, as well as making it more difficult for odor-causing bacteria to grow.
Put together, the result is a garment made to be worn all day, again and again, without you feeling or smelling rancid. I spent four days straight in them during a winter anti-poaching effort in southern Africa. When I returned from my work, the fine ladies of the camp may have been repelled by the sight of me, but at least they weren’t offended by the smell.
The “Heated Core” technology is made for Pnuma by AddHeat. Headquartered in Taiwan, they make the wearable heat technology that’s sewn into many different manufacturers’ products.
The set is not inexpensive. That’s certainly understandable, as the technology has to be durable enough for the field (the vest and pants are guaranteed for life) and must be sewn into the garments outside of their otherwise normal manufacturing process. Add the fact that each garment includes antimicrobial fibers as well as a lithium-ion battery and charger, and the price is understandable. I looked at competing garments and the price tag is very much in line with others.
The cleaning instructions are simple enough — hand wash and hang dry. I’ve washed these in streams and highland lakes and of course that works just fine to clean them. I’ve also just washed it and dried it in a machine, like civilized folk. Machine washing or drying in any way voids the warranty, but it worked just fine for me.
My only complaint is that the vest is a vest. Being from Pnuma, I’m guessing that, since Pnuma is so focused on the bowhunter, the goal of having a vest was to make sure there was plenty of mobility in the back and shoulders.
That makes some sense, but the whole point of these garments is to keep warm, and keeping more of your skin covered is more likely to keep you warm. I called Pnuma about this, and they said the next version available will be full-sleeved. I’d wait for that version.
SPECIFICATIONS: IconX Heated Core Vest and IconX Heated Core Pants
- Easy access to three-color, waterproof LED heat level selection button
- Re-chargeable 7.4V Lithium-ion battery and wall charger included with purchase
- Approximately 6 hours of battery performance at low setting
- HydroWick™ high-performance hollow wicking fiber
- 6 Performance zones provide key muscle support and thermal regulation
- Infused with SilverStrike™ anti-microbial odor control
- Undetectable carbon fiber heating elements
- USB output on the battery can be used to charge your mobile device
- Athletic fit for easy layering
- Guaranteed for life (Pant and vest only)
MSRP: $200 for vest, $200 for pant
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * * ½
The Pnuma IconX Heated Core vest and pants are long-lasting, well made, and they keep you warm with active heating. It’s easy to stay warm when you’re in the sun and moving. It’s something else entirely to stay warm in those early morning hours when you’re stone still. To stay warm then, you’ll need lots of layers…or the push of a button. For me, I’ll take both. Half a star removed because it’s a vest and not full sleeves.
Pnuma sent me these long-Johns for review without cost. When I finished the review, I asked them to send me a return label to send them back. Pnuma politely informed me that nobody ever wants some old dude’s used undies sent in the mail, so I kept them. I paid for the batteries and chargers myself.