Not Your Grandpa’s Heated Vest: A Review of the Venustas Fleece Vest

Thanks to Venustas for sending us a jacket to test, and thanks to our correspondent Carl for his rigorous testing. Carl lives in Philadelphia and rides a Yamaha MT-07. 

Riding in the cold is its own sort of meditative experience. But when the chill turns to a shiver… you’re liable to put yourself in a ditch. 

Trust me, I almost shook myself off the highway on a cold November night in Japan. It was a modest 50 degrees out, and growing up in Chicago that meant tossing on a light jacket. But with 60mph wind on a motorcycle… you need every layer you can get. I under-packed for that trip and almost paid a hefty price for it multiple times. We ended up stopping a lot more than we wanted to just to get some feeling back in our hands. 

After reading Carl’s review of this Venustas heated vest below, I wish I had one of these on that trip. 

Venustas makes several simple vests and jackets with integrated heating elements and battery packs (conveniently with USB plugs) suitable for any outdoor activities. Carl opted to try the Men’s Heated Recycled Fleece Vest (7.4V) since it would layer well with his motorcycle jacket and other gear. 

Carl thinking about how much more he’ll spend on his bike if this vest really extends his riding season. 

Without further ado, here is Carl’s impression of the Venustas vest after a few weeks of testing: 

Hello everyone! I’ve taken this new heated vest from Venustas on my daily rides for about three weeks now. Normally I wouldn’t ride much this time of year, with temperatures ranging between the mid 30s and low 50s fahrenheit. That’s cold enough without the wind chill factor riding a naked bike like my MT-07.  

My hope was that the vest would keep me warm and toasty in these cold December temperatures and extend my riding reason… I am happy to say it delivered. 

Soaking up what little sunshine I can in this season, but ready to ride thanks to this heated vest.

First, I want to cover the vest itself: my impressions of the build quality and unboxing. Then I’ll talk about how it performed while I was out on a ride. 

As for construction, the vest is made from 100% recycled polyester fleece. Warm and tough. It comes with a surprisingly useful number of pockets: five in total. You get three pockets on the outside (one on either side and a chest pocket) and two on the inside (one that holds the battery on your lower back, and one inner pocket opposite the chest pocket). 

Good looking vest, and soft as a lamb.

It also comes with six heating zones – four in the front, a big one at the top of your back, and a really nice one in the collar. We humans tend to lose a lot of heat at the neck so that was a nice addition. 

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this given the price: but the build quality is solid with strong stitching and quality zippers. The fleece material is a perfect fit on a heated vest like this: it feels warm and soft. It lacks the premium feel of something like my Patagonia vest, but that’s not what I’m paying for here and it doesn’t matter much when I’m wearing a motorcycle jacket on top. 

Here’s the battery pack in the Venustas vest.

The 4800 mAh battery that powers the vest is just like you’d expect from a phone backup battery: compact and lightweight while being well built and durable. It has a USB-C type input for charging it up, and a USB-A (older style) output for connecting to the jacket. And by the way, it doubles as a phone charger in case you need some charge while you’re on the road. 

The battery pack comes with a wall charger and USB-C to USB-A cord for charging it (and any other USB-C devices, like a phone!)

Venustas claims the battery lasts for 8-10 hours; that’s about spot on. I found battery life to be around 7 hours when on the highest heat setting. That battery should charge up a brand new iPhone twice over too, or keep you warm for 3-4 hours and charge your phone from 0 to 100 in one day.

The connection between the vest and the battery pack was snug and secure while riding, despite a lot of movement on my bike. I never found the vest unplugged itself. Speaking of snug, Venustas was also clever to include adjustable pulls on both sides of the vest to keep it snug to your body and trap that hot air inside. 

The vest is machine-washable and can be put in the dryer which makes it very easy to keep clean and fresh. All you have to remember to do is take out the battery and close the back pocket that has the battery connection cord in it. I threw it in the washer and dryer once – no problems with the cord, heating elements, zippers, discoloration or shedding. Solid.

Should you have any issues with normal use and washing, the company offers a 1-year warranty on the battery and a 2-year warranty on the heating pads. Good to see a company stand by their products! 

+1 for Venustas with that warranty. The logo lights up when powered up too.

As a motorcycle rider, I found this vest to be a great way to extend my riding season. With outdoor temperatures in the 30s and 40s while testing this jacket, I’ve found it invaluable in keeping me warm and focused on the road. I made plenty of use of the three heat settings, but I found that I needed the hottest setting on my rides in this climate.

And although this is just a vest, I found it helped keep my hands and arms as well. The vest takes care of keeping my vital organs warm, so my body doesn’t have to redirect heat to my core. While I couldn’t ride around with just a Venustas vest and nothing else, the vest certainly helped keep my hands and arms warmer under my winter-weight jacket and gloves. 

As any rider knows, your hands are the first to get cold in these conditions. One trick I found with this vest is to stick my cold hands into the vest pockets when I took a break from riding. Like holding your hands over an open fire, they’re toasty and good to go in five minutes! 

Warming up those hands. 

As far as overall comfort, the heating pads take up no space whatsoever and I barely notice the vest under my jacket when I ride. That being said, I do recommend you wear this with a motorcycle jacket that has a bit of extra room because if you are wearing race leathers or a slim jacket that juuuust fits – the vest will not fit underneath. 

And I hope it goes without saying that this vest does not offer any protection in a crash. I’d imagine the garment would tear almost instantly on contact with the ground at high speeds, but then again, I didn’t buy it for protection. I have been wearing my motorcycle gear on top of it and I recommend you do as well. 

Don’t be that guy thinking a bit of fleece is going to separate your skin from pavement!

On the plus side, this means it lacks all the bulk of a traditional piece of motorcycle gear, so you can also wear it on walks, hiking, out to dinner and anywhere else you might want a little extra heat. 

And I have to admit, I’ve started wearing it off the bike as well. I love the look of this vest, and it just makes life easier. Usually I’d wear a jacket this time of year, but with the heated vest, I have been able to just throw it over a long-sleeve and take a half hour walk with the dogs. 

Choosing between a ride or a dog walk… 

Okay, so far I’ve had nothing but praise to sing about this jacket. But there is one small downside I noticed while living with this jacket: the location of the battery pack makes it annoying to sit with the vest on. Sitting in a chair or a car puts the battery back right between your lower back and the seat, which is not a comfortable spot for a plastic block. While the battery is compact at just 1 inch tall, that’s enough thickness to notice it. Not a problem on the motorcycle, but it would have been nice to have had the option of keeping the battery in one of the front pockets for everyday use.

But that won’t keep me from wearing this vest on and off the bike throughout the fall, winter, and early spring. It’s a fantastic piece of gear: practical, affordable, and looks good.

Venustas also has heated gloves, socks, hoodies and even undergarments – some with a mix available for men, women, and kids. Can’t wait to try these out too!

Evan Rally
Follow me

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *