Wired for Weather: Mountain Hardwear Ardica Jackets

Until global warming fully engulfs us in warm, apocalyptic doom, designers of winter clothing will tirelessly experiment, test and tweak new ways of fighting the blaring cold, and every season new breakthroughs will be made. Traditionally, Mountain Hardwear had sought to perform this fight solely by using advanced shells and insulation designed to knock wind down and keep body heat in. However, they've turned to the eternal solver of all problems-electricity- to help in the good fight.

A new line of Mountain Hardwear liners, produced in conjunction with Ardica, will be wired for electrical heat. The Refugium (Men's) and Radium (Women's) liners can be purchased and worn on their own or inside of the Refugium/Radium Trifecta shells. The Ardica Moshi System lithium ion battery pack, which contains heat pods itself, will be sold separately, so the jackets can function as traditional performance outerwear or wearable automation, depending on just how cold you are. The battery pack slips into the back of the liner, where it provides heat to your back and taps into the prewired heat system on your chest. Three separate heat settings allow you to adjust to the perfect level.

Perhaps more interesting than the electrical heat, is a USB charger in the pocket. Use the USB charger to recharge those ever-important personal electronics such as MP3 players, cell phones and GPS navigators, so you'll never get caught out in the woods without the device you need. The battery pack will provide up to 8 hours of heat or 20 charges. Once drained, it will take about two hours to charge in a wall outlet.

Heated jackets and outerwear have been done, and so have power station jackets and gear, usually using solar power. Mountain Hardwear, however, took an innovative step in intuitively combining these two functions into a versatile, multi-function winter liner/jacket system. Whether you do any serious backcountry trekking or simply walk around the neighborhood and frequently forget to charge your cell phone, Mountain Hardwear has made your life a little easier and more comfortable. The fact that all wiring is done in the liner makes it an excellent 3-season solution.

Refugium and Radium liners to begin retail in Fall 2009.

Chris Weiss
Guest Blogger

Our guest blogger, Chris Weiss, is a freelance writer and outdoors enthusiast. He loves gadgets and new innovations of all kinds, but particularly those that help protect him out in the wilderness and keep him from getting lost and eaten by grizzlies.