What better time to talk about the Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket than the middle of summer. As I sit writing this on my patio it is a balmy 86 degrees F outside. The point is I like being warm and do not like the cold, I have been wanting a M12 Jacket since the day they came out. Finally at the end of spring Eric gets me one from ACME Tools to shut me up. At the rate these jackets sell, now might be a good time to grab one while they are in stock.
When the Jacket arrived eyes gleaming I tore open the box like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he opened the Fed-Ex boxes. Finally I got one, I see it in my hands, I feel it, I smell it, OMG I love this jacket. I try it on and it fits like a glove, I pop a Red Lithium in the back pocket, hold the button down and it lights up flashing red. Everywhere I go with this jacket on and in heat mode people come up to me and say what is that? When I say heated jacket they are amazed and want one, I feel like a rock star!
The jacket has 4 heat modes: warm up, high, medium and low. It is all controlled by the LED illuminated M12 button just above the left breast. To start the heating you simply hold the button in for about 3 seconds and the jacket goes into warm up mode, a red flashing light indicates this. Push the button again and you get a solid red that indicates high heat. The third mode is white and that indicates medium heat and the last push is low that is indicated by a blue light. On a Red Lithium you get about 6 hours worth of heat. The heating elements are located on the chest and upper back area. Now I did not test this jacket in sub zero temperatures, I did however experience a few chilly nights where the jacket worked awesome and kept me toasty.
The battery slides into a power pack which you plug into the jacket and put into a back zippered pocket. This is usually out of the way but in some situations you may have to slide it over a bit. The jacket needs to be hand washed only so if you are prone to getting your jackets dirty it could be a chore keeping this clean. Milwaukee has introduced the Realtree AP Camo version of this jacket, but more than just the color has changed. The camo has a few unique features like the ability to accept M12XC batteries to extend the run time. The M12 LED/switch is on the left inside of the jacket so you don't give your position away to the deer when you are murdering them. On the back of the jacket is a tag holder that displays your hunting tag. I added some pictures of the camo version that we took at the Milwaukee event and those mannequins? They were actually Milwaukee security ready to pounce if we tried to walk out with a tool.
To sum it up I like this jacket it rocks in every way, but I do have some suggestions: Have a USB charger on the power pack. Also make the lightning bolt light up and add a battery fuel gauge that you could somehow incorporate into the switch. Make it so you can machine wash it, after all it is a work jacket and it is going to get dirty!