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Exotogg's Keep You Warm Waistcoat

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Published in: Gear

Intro-Exotogg.jpg

When I was first approached by Exotogg about their “keep you warm” waistcoat about six months ago, I was skeptical. The main selling point was that it would be a fantastic bit of insulation kit to ride with in the cold. But I have a heated jacket liner which I love, and I couldn’t see the point in having to wear a potentially sweaty gilet style bit of kit.

Using the excuse that we had a long very hot summer, the Exotogg sat on a shelf. When the time came I wanted to review it in my own way, without being influenced in any way, so I didn’t even read the brochure that came with it.

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Eventually a weather change made me get on with it. I did so, indoors first. The forecasted short cold snap made me decide to keep the central heating off, and to instead wear the Exotogg at my desk. Did it help with the hours of mostly sitting still in front of my computer? Yes!

One of the key points of the Exotogg is that there are no wires, no connections to be made, and no power drain. That’s a very useful idea for riders of smaller dirt bikes or motorcycles whose batteries would struggle with the draw of more conventional heated gear.

It’s actually your own body heat that works with the Exotogg to keep you warm and there are no switches to control the temperature. Youdo that with the shoulder level marine grade two-way air valve; the more air added, the warmer you’ll be. I thought the neck opening was far too small for my head to fit through, but the material it’smade of is quite elastic. You then attach the wide Velcro strips at just above waist level. This arrangement allows you to get a fit that’s right for you.

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Blowing into the valve semi-inflates the waistcoat, and it’s the pockets of air that are trapped and act as a sort of double glazing; slowing the cold getting to you and slowing your body heat from escaping. The colder it is, the more air you pump in. The two-way valve is also how you deflate the waistcoat. It rolls up like a camping mattress, and I got it down to a tube roughly 7x4 inches.

What’s more, it has multiple uses. Its construction and thermoplastic polyurethane material is strong enough to use in your camping chair as a cushion both beneath you and behind you. I also used it for sitting on the ground; watching out for thorns and sharp stones, of course. On one particularly backside-numbing, long day’s ride for laughs I plonked it on the saddle and rode sitting on it, and it was surprisingly helpful! I’ve used it as a pillow while camping, in a motel, too.

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A lot of experience, science and smart design have gone into the design. Another interesting fact is that the designer has been a motorcyclist for over 20 years. The simplicity of the Exotogg ispart of why it’s rather clever, and I admit to being nicely surprised. Not only does it work very well, but I like that it’s so easy to use, the pack size and the flexibility.

IMG 4308c900BODY EXOTOGG folded

PROS:

  • No power needed
  • Rolls up very small
  • Takes up less space than fleece or my heated liner
  • Has multiple uses both on and off the bike
  • Waterproof

CONS:

  • Valve position makes wearing a backpack possible but awkward
  • Doesn;t work as well as powered heat generating jackets on long cold rides
MSRP: $125   Exotogg
 
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