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Bosch PSJ120 Makes A Great Winter Running Jacket (Review)

Disclosure: At times I may include affiliate links to useful products that I believe to be beneficial. It doesn't cost you anything and I generate some revenue from it. Learm More
Friday, December 20, 2013
Tool maker Bosch recently came out with a heated jacket, the PSJ120, which I've been using as a winter running jacket. Even though it was meant for tradesmen that need to work out in the cold it has some features, like reflective accents, that make it an awesome running jacket.

One big obstacle is I hate the cold. Keeping up with my hiking and running when the weather gets cold is difficult. Being able to wrap myself in Bosch's battery-powered, heated jacket has made dragging my butt out of a nice, warm bed early in the morning a lot easier.

Battery Powered

The PSJ120 is heated with a small 12V Lithium-Ion battery which is not included with the jacket. If you don't own any of Bosch's new 12V power tools you can pick up a Bosch 12-Volt Max Battery/Charger Starter Kit (SKC120-102) which includes one 12V battery and one charger.


The battery slides into the battery holster that's included with the jacket. A power cable from the jacket gets plugged into the top of the battery holster and slips into a pocket inside the jacket. The pocket zips up and the battery pack sits on your side. Its location is comfortable and doesn't get in the way while running nor does it bounce around.

The battery holster even features a USB port that allows you to charge your smartphone while on the go. You just need to plug in a USB cable into the holster and connect it to your phone then press the USB button on the side of the holster to start charging. The holster is designed to charge your phone and heat your jacket at the same time. A belt clip makes it easy to use the battery holster without the jacket if you want to bring some extra power for your phone on long trips.

I like to use Noom's app on my phone to keep track of my exercises. In the past I've been stuck waiting for my phone to charge in the morning when I forgot to plug it in the night before. Now I have one less excuse to get in gear.

The jacket has holes that allow you to pass the USB cable inside the jacket from the battery pocket up to the zippered cell phone pocket on the right breast.  You can also use the hole by the cell phone pocket to run the cable from ear buds through the jacket.  This keeps the cord secure and out of the way of your swinging arms.

Personally, I don't listen to music when I'm running but I like that the cell phone is close to my ears which makes it easier to hear the prompts and announcements from Noom.

Not sure if you can make it out in the photo but the main zipper pull is on the left. Normally in the US, the zipper is on the right in men's jackets. Outside the US they don't have the same convention. One theory I read was that when zippers first came out they were expensive and only used by nobility and wealthy people. The left-sided zipper made it easy for their servants to zip them up. I don't know if I buy that but don't let the zipper turn you off.

Heated

You turn on the heat when you need it by pressing down the button on the left breast for 4 seconds. Press and hold again to turn the heat off. Three heat levels, high, medium and low can be cycled by pressing the button again. The button's LED will change color from red to green to blue to indicate what temperature it is set at.


On low the jacket will provide heat for up to 6 hours. On high I find it's around 2 hours.

When I get up early, before the sun has come out it's easy to see the LED, indoors it seems almost too bright, but once the sun comes out it's difficult to see. There's no mistaking when it's on though. This thing gets hot!

I've gone out for a few long walks with some running and one short run with this jacket and it's the most comfortable I've been even when temperatures where below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, maybe a little too hot to keep the heat on all the time.

I start the heat on high before I head out to get the jacket warmed up.  Three heating elements, one between the shoulder blades and 1 over each side of the chest, start putting out heat you can feel within a few seconds. The jacket is fairly well insulated so the heat from the elements combined with your own body heat creates a very cozy, warm feeling around your core. Adjustable wrist cuffs, a high zippered collar and a drawstring waist help keep that heat in.

Once I step out into the cold it doesn't feel as harsh as it used to. In the past I would wear multiple layers, a t-shirt, a long sleeve t-shirt, a hoodie and then another jacket on top of that. Sometimes even a rain jacket on top of everything else too to help block the wind and cold.

With the Bosch PSJ120 heated jacket I have gone out with as little as a t-shirt underneath and have been very comfortable. Trying to find and wear all the different layers I used in the past took up a lot of time in my half awake state. Now it's easier to get ready for a run or walk in the morning and I feel much warmer too!

When I get to the end of my warm-up walk I switch the jacket to medium heat (green) before I start jogging. Once the blood starts flowing I switch it to low (blue) and then eventually turn it off completely until I'm done and walking back home.

Even though the heating elements are only around the chest and back, I feel warm all over. Without my body needing to restrict blood flow to my extremities to conserve heat around my core the rest of me stays nice and warm too.

Wind and Water Resistant

The jacket blocks wind and rain very well. They don't call it water proof and recommend not wearing it out in the rain with the heat on but I find it sheds water well. Water just beads up and rolls off the jacket, here's a picture of the outer shell under the faucet.


After using a towel to wipe off what little water didn't roll away the jacket hardly felt wet at all.  The inner lining is also water-resistant, which is good because it won't absorb your sweat while running, but it does feel a little more wet than the outer shell after running it under water. It does shed most of the water though.

Sizing

The jacket is available in sizes ranging from Small to 3XL. For use as a running jacket I have it one size smaller than I normally wear. It hugs my body which is more comfortable when running and keeps the heating elements close to me which makes it more effective. The jacket is cut in a way that you still have a good range of motion even when you buy it in a more form-fitting size.

Bosch lists the dimensions of the jackets as:


SMLXLXXL3XL
1 Chest 49"51"53"56"58"61"
2 Height29"29.1"30"30.1"31.4"31.6"
3 Arm Length 32.4"33"33.7"34.3"34.9"35.7"


The sizing information from the German site was a little easier to work with. The instructions were to measure your chest at the widest point with your arms down to your side then choose a size based on the following table:

SMLXL2XL
Chest 36"39.5"41"44"45.5"

Conclusion

Between the jacket and battery/charger combo the PSJ120 isn't cheap but you're not only paying for the heating, you're paying for the fine craftsmanship and materials. This jacket was designed to withstand abuse at a construction site.

It also looks great and has gotten a few complements. The reflective accents on the chest, back and forearms increase my visibility to oncoming traffic when it's dark out.

The jacket is warm on its own and I think of the heating elements as an invisible layer you put on or take off with a simple push of the button. It reduces the bulk and inconvenience of the multiple layers I used to wear in the past.

I don't need to keep the heat on high the whole time but even if I did there's enough run time to get me through even one of my longer regular trails.

One downside is the jacket needs to be hand washed and hung to dry but making it easier for me to maintain my outdoor fitness schedule makes it all worth it.

The Bosch PSJ120 jacket and battery/charger combo are available at Home Depot. Feel leave a comment with your thoughts on the jacket or any questions you might have. I'd love to hear if anyone else is using the jacket this way.

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